HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Environment & Energy » Public Transportation and Smart Growth (Group) » Here is a paper I have be... » Reply #6

Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 08:53 PM

6. Some thoughts


1. Encouraging pedestrian travel to the Transit stop.

I am surprised by the people who do NOT know how far is a Mile NOR how long it would take them to walk a mile. I remember telling a teacher I walked a mile to school every day, and she told me I did not (I recently did that trip on Google Maps, and it was 2/3rds of a mile, still a long haul for a 1st to 6th grader). As an adult that is not far, but as a child is was a long distance.

I bring it up for many people have no idea how far they can walk nor how fast. The last time they did mileage walking was as a child to and from school. Thus a mile is a distance for them, but as an adult it is not. Most people can do 3 miles per hour, thus a one mile hike is about 20 minutes in time. In many ways, time is a better way to look at the distance to the stop then mileage.

Looking at the old 42/38 Streetcar line in Pittsburgh, the cut off tends to be a mile or 20 minutes walking. In the Mt Lebanon Suburb of Pittsburgh you can see this. Bower Hill Road ended at Washington road, which the 42/38 Streetcar ran on. For about the mile of its length you see mostly American Four Square housing (Bullt 1900-1940). You have businesses right next to the Streetcars (and apartment complexes) but right behind them individual four squares. As you move away from the Streetcar you see the Garages getting bigger (i.e. built later 1920s instead of 1910s).

Now do to the Great Depression, housing died in 1928, made a brief recovery in 1938-1942, then died again do to WWII, then picked up again in 1946. The Four Squares by 1945 were no longer in Style, mostly do to the fact many people wanted a smaller cheaper house to live in. Thus the Ranch became the main American home being built after 1945 (Through the Ranch did NOT dominate the housing market post 1945 as the Four Square had done 1890-1945).

On the Streetcar line you do NOT see ranch systle home till you are over a mile away from the Streetcar AND once you cross a Major highway that intersects with Bower Hill Road. It is like you cross some border (Through this whole area is in Mt Lebanon Township). Between Cochran and Washington Road, the area around Bower Hill road is dominated by Four Squares (and Bower Hill Road itself is a two lane, one lane in each direction, highway). Once you cross Cochran, you enter a four lane highway (Two lanes in each direction) and at first you see some upscale homes, but quickly changes to Ranches and other post WWII types homes. The lawns are bigger and the homes are further apart. These homes are to far to walk to the Streetcar line.

My point is while a mile walk (or a 20 minute walk) seems to be a cut off, another set of cut off is having to cross a major highway. In any discussion you have to address these problems. In my experience crossing of any major highway, even with a walk sign, is a killer for pedestrian traffic. People will walk up to a mile, but will refuse to cross a major highway (and the more lanes the worse).

2. Bicycles

As to other means of getting to the transit stop, bicycle, etc. The time distance is about the same, cut off at about 20 minutes (In the case of bicycles that is about three to four miles). Given that a Eastern US County is only about 20 miles North to South, or East to West (Western Counties are larger, through Northern California Counties seem to follow the Eastern Rule), and four miles in each direction from a transit stop Four transit system can cover a whole county (six times four is 24, and all we need to cover is 20 miles, eight times four is 32).

I do NOT see major highways as a block to bicyclist as such highways act as to pedestrians, but you then have the problem of what to do with the bike? I have seen oversea pictures where a lot of bikes are locked and parked in lots. I just do NOT see many Americans doing that unless their can Secure their bicycles

3. Bicycles lockers as advertisement

I have always been tempted to develop a locker for bicycle. The locker would have a track in the Bottom middle for its wheels, and long enough for the bike to be pushed into the locker, and wide enough for a bicycle with conventional handlebars can it in. Lockable like a regular locker, This has the advantage of keeping the bike clean and anyone trying to take the bike, will NOT know if the bike is actually in the Locker or, for it would be sealed (and no way to know what type of bike either).

Now, one way to reduce weight on a bicycle is NOT to carry a lock, instead leave the lock where you normally lock your bike up and use the lock when you get to that point. The Bike locker idea came out of that concept, a huge lock on the locker, kept locked except when removing or putting the bike in the locker.

Now, the bike locker is a concept I think is coming, but I have NOT heard of any yet. Ideas are NOT be patented, so whoever design one can patent his or her design. I bring it up as a potential advertising gimmick.

Now, you must understand that Advertising is more then ads on Television, radio, newspapers etc, it is the whole concept of getting ideals to the public. You could come up with a design for such a locker at an area near a transit stop. Propose it for that stop and how people 3-4 miles away could use their bikes to get to the transit stop, drop off their bike in the Locker and then go to work. You could even propose it in two different stations so someone can ride his or her bike from home to the Station, ride transit, then go to his of her other locker at that second stop, take out a second bike and ride the remaining distance to work

Propose it locally, print out handbills and pass them around. Someone MAY even like the idea, but the real reason for the proposal is to show that people CAN ride a bike to the station, secure their bike and take transit to work. You mention how such rides and securing a bicycle is done WITHOUT the locker as what people do NOW, while saying how much better it would be if the lockers were installed.

The purpose is to expose people to the idea of riding a bike to the station and how they can secure their bicycle TODAY. The proposal doe bicycle locker is just a way to get people to read what can be done TODAY without those lockers. Mention how far someone can bike in 15 minutes, don't use miles, use time AND most importantly HOW (and that is seems like minutes, avoid terms like quarter of an hour or a third of an hour, any measurement in regards to hours is just to long, minutes sound shorter. For example, without thinking, which of these two phases SOUND shorter "60 minutes" or "One Hour"? Most people (Who are willing to suspend their understand that 60 minutes is one hour) will opt for "60 Minutes" for the simple reason Minutes sound shorter then anything measured in Hours.

I like the Bicycle locker as an advertisement gimmick for the simple reason it sounds reasonable and at the same time bizarre. Most people had lockers in School, but one big enough for a Bicycle?

Now someone may have made something like a locker for bicycles if you find it, mention it in any broadsheet. Bring it up in any meeting within reasonable distance of the transit stop, just to get people to think about it AND thus also to the idea of biking to work. A Locker for a bicycle is such an idea coming so far out of left field that people will reject it, but well rejecting it are then exposed to the idea of biking then taking transit.

4. Denser population tend to follow transit stops

Most Light rail/Streetcar systems (and other such means of transportation) tend to encourage development around the system (I will use the Term LRV from this point forward, but my comments also extend to Monorails, rubber tires automated systems, even bus ways). The biggest problem it sometimes takes years for people to accept these changes.

What is now the 42 LRV system in Pittsburgh Pa was first built in 1905 it was through sparsely populated areas. Within ten years you had large number of housing being purchased near it, with businesses and apartments right next to it. This phenomena continues today, when a subway or LRV is built, the value of the land near the system goes up and tends to be purchased by the people who will put it to the most profitable use. This tends to change the area from a sparsely populated area to a more high density populated area. In the period of 1905-1920 you saw a lot of new housing, older homes being torn down for apartments. In the 1920s you even saw the development of the first generation of "Suburban" Branches of downtown stores.

An example of this was the former Horne's store at the end of the 42 route. Horne's in Pittsburgh was the upscale Macy's and moved to it first suburban location in the 1920s, but at the end of the streetcar line so people in cars could get to it, but so could people who used the streetcars.

Notice it took time, Horne's did not move till 20-30 years AFTER the Streetcar line was installed. This lag time is NOT unusual, for it take time for people to change they ways of thinking how things are. In 1905-1920 the thought was people could just take the Streetcar to the main store, but the 1920s it was clear some customers wanted to stay in the suburbs. It took a while for the stores to accept that this change had occurred. (Side Note Horne's moved out of the store at the end of the 42 line in the 1970s, for it had opened a bigger store further out as part of the First enclosed mall in Pittsburgh, South Hills Village in 1964).

Other downtown Pittsburgh Stores also moved to the end of the Streetcar Tracks in the 1920s and 1930s (and further out in the 1960s and 1970s). Much of this was in response to the Automobile, but by staying close the Streetcar tracks, people (including most of the sales staff) could also use Streetcars to get to the store.

My first point is simple, leave things occur on their own pace. Point them out to others when they occur, but people will tend to minimize their travel time, and if that means moving close to the Streetcar they will do so even if that means living closer to their neighbors then they have been,

5. Tell stories how using transit can can cost of living

Sooner or later the price of gasoline will go back up. When the oil price increased occurred in the 1970s, I would take myself and my sisters on the 42/38 Streetcar to South Hill Junction and then take the 36 Drake line. The 36 Drake line ran about 1/2 mile from South Hill Village (mentioned above). We had to cross an open field up a slight grade, cross a major highway, but it was worth it for we did NOT have to use any gasoline to get to the mall. We never did this walk alone, a lot of other people exited the Streetcar at the same stop and walked to the Mall. Later on that same year I read that all of the Malls in the Pittsburgh had seen a drop in sales EXCEPT South Hills Village. I suspect the reason was that the number of people who stopped driving to the mall, were replaced by people taking the Streetcar and since most sales is a product of how many people goes to a store, the ability to use the Streetcar explained why South Hills Village was the exception.

Watch for stories like this, you may have to show the connection for many writers of such stories will not. Stories like this tends to encourage use.

Just random thoughts based on your question. I hope I was helpful

Reply to this post

Back to OP Alert abuse Link to post in-thread

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
happyslug Dec 2011 OP
KamaAina Dec 2011 #1
happyslug Dec 2011 #3
phantom power Dec 2011 #2
Kennah Dec 2011 #4
NYC_SKP Dec 2011 #5
LineLineReply Some thoughts
happyslug Dec 2011 #6
NYC_SKP Dec 2011 #7
happyslug Jan 2012 #12
Saving Hawaii Jan 2012 #15
JDPriestly Jan 2012 #8
wtmusic Jan 2012 #9
happyslug Jan 2012 #10
wtmusic Jan 2012 #11
happyslug Jan 2012 #13
wtmusic Jan 2012 #14
happyslug Jan 2012 #16
happyslug Feb 2013 #17
Please login to view edit histories.