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Old 06-10-2016, 01:20 PM   #61
autonomy
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
Right, and the point is not an individual one. It is not to criticize you for choosing a less geometrically efficient mode of transportation and contributing to traffic.

The point is to acknowledge that you have a system that incentivizes you to choose an inferior (systemically) mode of transportation due to time/cost/convenience. Then, to build a system in which you are incentivized (through time/cost/convenience) to choose a more geometrically efficient mode of transportation. Once people are choosing more geometrically efficient modes (switching from driving alone to carpool/bike/walk/mass transit), we can move far more people in a far denser area, more smoothly and quickly, due to the geometric efficiency.

If we keep catering to geometrically inefficient modes (driving alone), we are left with geometric inefficiency (traffic). If we want more geometric efficiency (smooth, fast movement through a densely populated area), we need to build infrastructure for geometrically efficient modes of transportation (HOV, biking, walking, mass transit, etc), such that they have an advantage on cost/time/convenience.
My case (and, actually, for 3 of my coworkers who live in the same town):
our commute is more of a north-south route and would require using transit which heavily favors the hub-and-spoke system. To commute 5 miles it takes me:
1hr by public transit. This can be shortened to 45 minutes if I take the express bus, which runs every 40 minutes and doesn't run on the weekends.
15min by car with no traffic; 25min on average; 40min with heavy traffic
25min door-to-door by bike

I've been choosing bike as much as I can, but there's just no situation in which I will choose public transit. I'm sure many people in my situation feel the same.

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The problem with telling many folks to take a bus instead of driving, is that as bad as driving is (now as bad as pre-Big Dig) it's still far better than taking public transit for most folks outside of Boston (and let's face it, much of Boston itself south of the core is pretty suburban as well). And for some of the same reasons that car pooling doesn't work for most people - you need to live and work at the same place for it to make sense.

I don't have a feasible/ realistic solution, but I certainly think we need to think way outside the bounds of Boston.

Currently:
~1.3m living outside of Boston, but inside the circumferential highway
~646K living in Boston

Much of our daily traffic comes from well beyond 128/95 - a good % from out of state.
I agree. I feel like Boston isn't dense enough to support everyone who would want to live there and rely on the T (forget the sky-high property valuations that very few can afford). I don't have a feasible solution either, but we have to realize that these days we have many people coming from the outside to the almost-downtown. Take Waltham for example and the office park space buildout explosion there. What public transit can possibly serve people commuting from just outside of 95 or north/south of Waltham? We're incentivizing more driving and dumping more traffic on 95. An 18-min-drive for me would turn into a 1.5hr commute involving either 2 buses + commuter rail or 3 buses.
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Old 06-10-2016, 01:33 PM   #62
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

The problem is that a lot of people (not all) will fight like hell to keep that level of density in those towns.

The people who insist on living in places with off street parking for 3+ cars and 1+ acre lots? I can't really say I feel too bad them and their 1+hour commute.

The folks who want to live in but were priced out of denser/transit connected communities are the ones who got screwed.
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Old 06-10-2016, 11:39 PM   #63
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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...exactly.

All that's missing in that gif is the final frame that would say "here are those same 200 people sitting in cubes on two floors of the new giant-floorplate office buildings in the seaport."

To my mind that's the final link of the geometry argument - if people are going to be densely packed at their destination, they also need to be densely packed in the mode of transport that gets them to and from that destination.
CSTH -- the problem with that kind of analysis is that its always years if not decades behind he actualities

If the Seaport is building a lot of office space than it needs to build a lot of bedrooms as well -- or at least within an easy walk

The same is true of DTX and the Financial District - -why not have a good number of the people you need to work there live there -- even in the same building in some cases

Not all will chose to use there feet directly to commute -- but give them a chance to make that decision

The same incidentally is true of Waltham and Lexington where a lot of Biotech and Pharma have and are locating

Part of the problems was for many years Planners liked to segregate usage of land by large blocks with one or two usages permitted per planning zone -- aka Zoning

This made sense in the era of the Kenall Boiler and Tank Co. when they were making bolilers and tanks by riveting steel plates or the giant forges of the Chain Works at the Charlestown Navy Yard

However, other than the fact that a lot of them are and still looks like they are Gnurds -- living in the same building as the Microsoft NERD or Google or GE -- is not a whole lot different than living next to the MFA or a bank branch in downtown Lexington

Get rid or more realistically release the strictures of the Zoning and developers will be happy to build more residences near where people work
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Old 06-11-2016, 05:57 AM   #64
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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CSTH -- the problem with that kind of analysis is that its always years if not decades behind he actualities

If the Seaport is building a lot of office space than it needs to build a lot of bedrooms as well -- or at least within an easy walk

The same is true of DTX and the Financial District - -why not have a good number of the people you need to work there live there -- even in the same building in some cases

Not all will chose to use there feet directly to commute -- but give them a chance to make that decision

The same incidentally is true of Waltham and Lexington where a lot of Biotech and Pharma have and are locating

Part of the problems was for many years Planners liked to segregate usage of land by large blocks with one or two usages permitted per planning zone -- aka Zoning

This made sense in the era of the Kenall Boiler and Tank Co. when they were making bolilers and tanks by riveting steel plates or the giant forges of the Chain Works at the Charlestown Navy Yard

However, other than the fact that a lot of them are and still looks like they are Gnurds -- living in the same building as the Microsoft NERD or Google or GE -- is not a whole lot different than living next to the MFA or a bank branch in downtown Lexington

Get rid or more realistically release the strictures of the Zoning and developers will be happy to build more residences near where people work
Where in central Boston is zoning getting in the way of residential development? DTX? Seaport? Financial District? Bullfinch Triangle? Chinatown? South End? Back Bay? South Boston? Fenway?

No, we are not bulldozing historic neighborhoods anymore, but on available space we are building residential developments.
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Old 06-12-2016, 08:34 AM   #65
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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Where in central Boston is zoning getting in the way of residential development? DTX? Seaport? Financial District? Bullfinch Triangle? Chinatown? South End? Back Bay? South Boston? Fenway?

No, we are not bulldozing historic neighborhoods anymore, but on available space we are building residential developments.
JeffDowntown -- Zoning get's in the way because of archaic and arcane meddling by all of the various bureaucratic hoops and hurdles -- result is growth by corruption as the developers have to "pay to play"

Instead the City should decide on and publish the boundaries of the growth-city and let the developers -- develop as they see fit. The "As of Right" development would be subject only to available resources [e.g. FAA height, water, fire protection, electricity, roads, transit] and a very few external constraints such as you can't knock down the State House [old or new] or Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market, etc.

That is what is done in most dynamic places such as Houston and Austin, San Jose, London, Singapore, etc -- its time for Boston to join the modern world

And as part of this transformation -- incorporate everything inside I-495 into a Metro County and give the Metro area a representative government and ownership of all the Alphabet Soup of Agencies such as Massport, MBTA, etc. -- its time for Boston to join the world as what it is a muscular growing city-state at the center of the Knowledge Economy
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Old 06-12-2016, 10:33 AM   #66
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
JeffDowntown -- Zoning get's in the way because of archaic and arcane meddling by all of the various bureaucratic hoops and hurdles -- result is growth by corruption as the developers have to "pay to play"

Instead the City should decide on and publish the boundaries of the growth-city and let the developers -- develop as they see fit. The "As of Right" development would be subject only to available resources [e.g. FAA height, water, fire protection, electricity, roads, transit] and a very few external constraints such as you can't knock down the State House [old or new] or Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market, etc.

That is what is done in most dynamic places such as Houston and Austin, San Jose, London, Singapore, etc -- its time for Boston to join the modern world

And as part of this transformation -- incorporate everything inside I-495 into a Metro County and give the Metro area a representative government and ownership of all the Alphabet Soup of Agencies such as Massport, MBTA, etc. -- its time for Boston to join the world as what it is a muscular growing city-state at the center of the Knowledge Economy
OK, I do think zoning gets in the way of development in the suburbs. You are very challenged to build density even where it is warranted.

Boston is getting much better about As-of-Right zoning. The Harrison Albany Corridor is a great example where the zoning was reset to rational limits through a masterplanning process, and now the challenge is to get the developers to actually use what they were given (witness the under dense Ink Block). Seaport operates under a similar master plan. That process is now underway Citywide!

As far as cities to emulate, I'm OK with London and Singapore. But you completely lost me with Houston and San Jose. Both are car centric wastelands as far as I am concerned.
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Old 06-12-2016, 04:25 PM   #67
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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As far as cities to emulate, I'm OK with London and Singapore. But you completely lost me with Houston and San Jose. Both are car centric wastelands as far as I am concerned.
But the omnipresent sprawl in Houston is the exception that proves the rule! It is a by right, no zoning city, except for massive mandatory parking minima, setback requirements, and height restrictions. These added bits of additional zoning essentially ban dense development many places. Where they are relaxed in Houston, there are dense infill townhouses.
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Old 06-12-2016, 04:49 PM   #68
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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OK, I do think zoning gets in the way of development in the suburbs. You are very challenged to build density even where it is warranted.

Boston is getting much better about As-of-Right zoning. The Harrison Albany Corridor is a great example where the zoning was reset to rational limits through a masterplanning process, and now the challenge is to get the developers to actually use what they were given (witness the under dense Ink Block). Seaport operates under a similar master plan. That process is now underway Citywide!

As far as cities to emulate, I'm OK with London and Singapore. But you completely lost me with Houston and San Jose. Both are car centric wastelands as far as I am concerned.
Jeffdowntown -- You already admitted your bias in the discussion by saying "car-centric wastelands" -- OK, so you don't like cars and perhaps you don't own one -- my brother has made it a point to not own a TV set -- that's your prerogative and his

However, neither you, nor my brother, have a right to insist that others follow your particular choices -- you can argue are you want -- but if someone wants an alternative a free society allows that option as well as what you or even the majority think is best

So -- you obviously don't like the car-centricity of Seaport Blvd., and you obviously are a devotee of Scotto's Alley where with difficulty you could use a motorized scooter or a hoverboard -- but nearly everyone has walked for 300 years plus

But what do you have to say to the person who has to drive their beat-up 2002 Honda Civic 100 miles each day to/from Seaport Blvd. to the family home in say central NH
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:23 AM   #69
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

Soooooo many straw men. Whiggy, when do you want to bulldoze Boston and turn it into a parking lot? Also, when did you start beating your wife?
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:18 AM   #70
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

I would say that NH commuters are going to have to vote the Lowell line extended to Nashua-Manchester and Haverhill to Plaistow ( which they've been killing and re killing for the last dozen years). The Big Dig was explicitly promised only to decongest non-rush freight, airport, and to shorten the shoulders of rush. It was Menino and NH who wrongly assumed it could be used for commuting.
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:15 AM   #71
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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But what do you have to say to the person who has to drive their beat-up 2002 Honda Civic 100 miles each day to/from Seaport Blvd. to the family home in say central NH
"Park in lawrence and take the train"
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Old 06-13-2016, 01:15 PM   #72
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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"Park in lawrence and take the train"
CSTH -- Flippant reply at best

You can't know from my statement where in NH they might be living

Fitchburg might be closer if they were coming from somewhere near Dartmouth or Durham on the Downeaster if they lived near UNH

Nor can you know whether they are or are not car sharing and needing to to go to two quite disparate locations

But no matter -- the point that I was making is that the gal or couple in an old Honda have just as much a right to travel as they would like as the fancy dude in the Tesla or the person who chose to live across Cambridge Park Dr. from Alewife

Despite your apparent aversion for the passenger car -- neither you or Mike Dukakis have been granted the absolute authority to enforce your vision of the future.
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Old 06-13-2016, 01:31 PM   #73
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

"Park your civic, tesla, or other vehicle in Fitchburg, Haverhill, Lowell, Lawrence, Newburyport, Durham, Exeter, alewife, Anderson, or anywhere else...and take the train (or bus)."
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Old 06-13-2016, 01:37 PM   #74
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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I would say that NH commuters are going to have to vote the Lowell line extended to Nashua-Manchester and Haverhill to Plaistow ( which they've been killing and re killing for the last dozen years). The Big Dig was explicitly promised only to decongest non-rush freight, airport, and to shorten the shoulders of rush. It was Menino and NH who wrongly assumed it could be used for commuting.
Arlington -- No it was something called Freedom

That's what having your own motorized wheels at your own control to go when and where you like does for you. It allows you to bring with you as you please along with yourself: your tools of the trade, handicrafts, colleagues, business guests, children, pets, food, building supplies, plants, financial documents, goods for sale, arrested felons, other modes of transport, political advertisements, Nobel Prize-winning research, News video and photos, sick individuals, others carried for profit, etc., etc, etc.

No public transportation system can do all that. Public transport is optimized for efficient transport of people at very high volume to / fro a limited number of locations. The successful modern society has to accommodate both the Mass transport and the Flexible Transport options or it will fall off the economic pedestal.

Boston has inherited some good aspects of both which serves the currently thriving economy quite well. While there are bad days, in general, and compared to many other cities, the T and the highways both mostly perform up to expectations. In the future, both aspects of the overall system need enhancements -- the challenge is how to balance our limited resources.
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Old 06-13-2016, 01:43 PM   #75
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

Your version of freedom fails to account for a multitude of negative externalities.

EDIT: Can we agree to spend a week calling traffic jams 'freedom jams'? Any chance we can temporarily rename this thread 'FREEDOM disaster looming for Boston area?'
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Old 06-13-2016, 01:43 PM   #76
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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Boston has inherited some good aspects of both which serves the currently thriving economy quite well. While there are bad days, in general, and compared to many other cities, the T and the highways both mostly perform up to expectations. In the future, both aspects of the overall system need enhancements -- the challenge is how to balance our limited resources.
I think your 10 years to late with this comment.

The city & the surrounding areas are congested and need to be upgraded now concerning INFRASTRUCTURE/Innovation.

Boston does not want to end up like LA
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:43 PM   #77
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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EDIT: Can we agree to spend a week calling traffic jams 'freedom jams'? Any chance we can temporarily rename this thread 'FREEDOM disaster looming for Boston area?'
Man, I hate jam bands. Can we have our FREEDOM rock disaster looming over Boston instead?

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Old 06-13-2016, 04:56 PM   #78
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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Your version of freedom fails to account for a multitude of negative externalities.
EDIT: Can we agree to spend a week calling traffic jams 'freedom jams'? Any chance we can temporarily rename this thread 'FREEDOM disaster looming for Boston area?'
Exactly. Calling unpriced roads "freedom" is an almost Orwellian lie

A lie that dangles a false arbitrage of moving to a vastly-cheaper exurban home and believing that somehow "the system" will insulate such people from the costs by providing a 50-mile commute at near the same price as a 5-mile, 10-mile or 15-mile one--or at a tiny cost relative to the home cost and tax savings to be won by moving to NH.

That New Hampshire commuter's home gobbles up ~50 car-lane-miles of asphalt at peak times every day to keep it connected to a job in the Seaport--the kind commute that constantly demands add-a-lane projects at 5x the rate of a home in Woburn.

Each mile of driving at, say 22.5mpg pays just 2 cents in motor fuels tax (call it 45c/gal 25c to state and 20c to feds).

Regardless of when they drive to the Seaport, a person from Woburn pays 20c for a 10 mile to get there and those from NH pays $1.00 for a 50 miles. At uncongested times, this is probably a fair price for wear & depreciation of the road.

But at peak times, neither pays anything close to paying for *capacity* and neither comes anywhere close to paying for the delays that they impose on everyone else (everyone wastes everyone else's time in the "you are traffic" world)

Worse, the "Live Freeload or Die" NH commuter runs his/her infrastructure deficit and imposes congestion costs along 5x as many lane-miles and affecting perhaps 3x as many abutters as our "Woburn" commuter (they both might come close to paying for *resurfacing* what each car uses, but too many people have moved too far out such that they demand added lanes, which either cost billions or cannot be added by any feasible price or method--either inducing congestion or forcing trips (e.g. freight) to go at economically less-efficient times.

The freedom to swing your commute ends where our congestion begins.
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:39 PM   #79
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

That's why I call New Hampshire the "Freeloader" state.

Freedom ain't free. Few people would be willing to pay the true cost of driving, it turns out, though. Especially once you factor in the lives lost and cut short by crashes, injuries and air pollution.

The ones who yell most loudly about freedom are usually the ones who take the least responsibility for their behavior. People like whighlander are more than happy to grandstand, but where are they when the bill comes due?

Freeloaders.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:04 PM   #80
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Re: Traffic Disaster Looming in BOSTON

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I think your 10 years to late with this comment.

The city & the surrounding areas are congested and need to be upgraded now concerning INFRASTRUCTURE/Innovation.

Boston does not want to end up like LA
LA would actually be a good example to follow. They passed a dedicated sales tax for subway and transit expansion, and are building lots of new subways now.
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