Shifting gears on mass transit

Shifting gears on mass transit

There are 20 comments on the Baltimore Sun story from Jul 7, 2008, titled Shifting gears on mass transit. In it, Baltimore Sun reports that:

For the vast majority of us, the idea of sharing the commuting experience with strangers was as remote as planting our own tofu trees.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Baltimore Sun.

Niamhaine

Ireland

#1 Jul 7, 2008
It really is not about "them people" (I'm assuming the writer meant African-Americans), as "those people" live, quite successfully, in Carroll County. Please note that we do not have reports of the race based graffitti of other places.
It's about crime, and you only have to look along the northern route of the light rail system to know of what I speak.
Quite frankly it sounds a bit like sour grapes on Neil's part since he was not elected. Perhaps he needs to check out Perry Jones from Union Bridge, who happens to be black, but more important is highly regarded and has successfully run for public office. Sounds like Neil needs to change his rhetoric, and the first step might be to step down off of his pedestal.
Alexander Hamilton

Hunt Valley, MD

#2 Jul 7, 2008
Poor Neil, him and his kind always blame the the voters rather than their own message.

"... it is the consumer's fault that our product is not selling!! "
Transit Rider

Joliet, IL

#3 Jul 7, 2008
Niamhaine wrote:
It really is not about "them people" (I'm assuming the writer meant African-Americans), as "those people" live, quite successfully, in Carroll County. Please note that we do not have reports of the race based graffitti of other places.
It's about crime, and you only have to look along the northern route of the light rail system to know of what I speak.
Quite frankly it sounds a bit like sour grapes on Neil's part since he was not elected. Perhaps he needs to check out Perry Jones from Union Bridge, who happens to be black, but more important is highly regarded and has successfully run for public office. Sounds like Neil needs to change his rhetoric, and the first step might be to step down off of his pedestal.
Then why are people so opposed to commuter buses? These are attractive exclusively to commuters, not to the riff raff of which you're so afraid.
ABS

Stamford, CT

#4 Jul 7, 2008
The problem around Baltimore is that the mass transit just plain stinks. I'm from Montgomery County originally, which has its own bus system that runs smoothly with the DC metro line and buses. One can combine use of the metro and bus lines with ease, and many routes meet up so that transfering is no problem. Around here? Forget it. Much of the time you wind up on a hunt for a bus stop, and transfering is a nightmare. It's a rare thing to have a bus actually come on time. The MTA is poorly planned, plain and simple. If I didn't have things keeping me in the Baltimore area I'd move back to the DC area in a heartbeat.
Alexander Hamilton

Hunt Valley, MD

#5 Jul 7, 2008
Transit Rider wrote:
<quoted text>
Then why are people so opposed to commuter buses? These are attractive exclusively to commuters, not to the riff raff of which you're so afraid.
If mass transit is truly intended to be an option for commuters then it needs to be 1) fast 2) convenient 3 )safe.(re: any country in Europe)
None of these can be used to accurately describe the current MTA.

Crime at the Hunt Valley towne center dropped 30% when the light rail was not running the other year.
Transit Rider

Joliet, IL

#6 Jul 7, 2008
Alexander Hamilton wrote:
<quoted text>
If mass transit is truly intended to be an option for commuters then it needs to be 1) fast 2) convenient 3 )safe.(re: any country in Europe)
None of these can be used to accurately describe the current MTA.
Crime at the Hunt Valley towne center dropped 30% when the light rail was not running the other year.
I'm a white male who rides the metro from Owings Mills to downtown daily. It takes perhaps 10 minutes extra (on a normal day - train can actually be faster when there is an accident on 83) including parking, waiting for a train and walking to work. For those on the northwest side of town, metro serves the main downtown job centers on the westside, Charles Center, east side of downtown and Hopkins. I've never had a single issue regarding safety. Are the teenagers annoying? Sure. Are they rampaging gangs looking to pillage and plunder? No.
Brian

Narberth, PA

#7 Jul 7, 2008
No slots, no money for commuter bus Aaron.
Alexander Hamilton

Hunt Valley, MD

#8 Jul 7, 2008
Thanks for your perspective, it seems to be evenhanded.
I have used the light rail but find it slow compared to driving at the times I go to and from work. So I car pool.
I do not think there are pillaging gangs but there is a real crime increase issue wherever the light rail and buses go that should not be dismissed as mere hysteria.
Randy in Baltimore

Tucson, AZ

#9 Jul 7, 2008
Transit Rider wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm a white male who rides the metro from Owings Mills to downtown daily. It takes perhaps 10 minutes extra (on a normal day - train can actually be faster when there is an accident on 83) including parking, waiting for a train and walking to work. For those on the northwest side of town, metro serves the main downtown job centers on the westside, Charles Center, east side of downtown and Hopkins. I've never had a single issue regarding safety. Are the teenagers annoying? Sure. Are they rampaging gangs looking to pillage and plunder? No.
Typically, the most persistent problem I see on Metro is the hiney-holes who hold the doors at Lexington Market. Almost every afternoon you get that, and at least once a month (such as this afternoon) a train becomes disabled as a result.

Light Rail is a typical Don Schaefer project: poorly planned and hastily built. There should have been a special track in the center for rush-hour express trains, like the subway lines in the Bronx. Instead, Willie Don single-tracked huge chunks of the road, creating a slow ride.

As I've said to Jeanne Dresser, Baltimore should have built an extensive rapid rail system 50 years or more ago. Look at Philly: it has only two subway lines (and a short spur between them), but there's a vast commuter train network, plus trolleys, mini-trolleys (the Subway-Surface system), trackless trolleys (look like diesel buses but run on power from overhead lines), and a great bus system. And don't even mention NYC!!
Niamhaine

Ireland

#10 Jul 8, 2008
Transit Rider wrote:
<quoted text>
Then why are people so opposed to commuter buses? These are attractive exclusively to commuters, not to the riff raff of which you're so afraid.
FYI, a private bus service has been providing this exact service to Baltimore (and then to the OM Metro station opun it's completion) for over 25 years from Northern Carroll County. Should he be forced out of business and the taxpayers forced to foot the bill to acquiece to someone who has moved into an area without checking out their needs/facts? The lady that recently moved to Hampstead and wrote to Mr. Dresser literally has this service right on her doorstep. This bus runs down Route 30, and Hampstead straddles Route 30. However, it appears to be much easier for her to attack then investigate, as is the case with Mr. Dresser. If this was a thinly veiled attempt at attention getting, I'm sure her neighbors are making her wish that she never went there.
I do not know what you mean by "riff-raff". If the term you meant to use was thieves, than you are correct, I would not invite them into my neighborhood. Would you?
Niamhaine

Ireland

#11 Jul 8, 2008
P.S.- I do know how to spell "upon", but it appears my fingers were not cooperating at that moment.
TRAC

Baltimore, MD

#12 Jul 10, 2008
The real issue is both mass transit and land-use. Yes, Baltimore's transit is lacking, but much of the region is such a sprawling mess that mass transit doesn't make sense for a lot of people (such as Mr. Perry Hall to Hunt Valley).

The State of MD has failed us by 1.) years of investing in freeways over transit, which leads to 2.) allowing wasteful, low-density housing all over the region that makes mass transit that much harder to implement.

I would put them in that order, too - you can't realistically scold people for driving when the population densities (and not just in the suburbs) are so low.

First comes transit, then comes land use.

www.getontrac.org
Transit Rider

Joliet, IL

#13 Jul 10, 2008
TRAC wrote:
The real issue is both mass transit and land-use. Yes, Baltimore's transit is lacking, but much of the region is such a sprawling mess that mass transit doesn't make sense for a lot of people (such as Mr. Perry Hall to Hunt Valley).
The State of MD has failed us by 1.) years of investing in freeways over transit, which leads to 2.) allowing wasteful, low-density housing all over the region that makes mass transit that much harder to implement.
I would put them in that order, too - you can't realistically scold people for driving when the population densities (and not just in the suburbs) are so low.
First comes transit, then comes land use.
www.getontrac.org
Absolutely. The real problem is that individual localities control growth, rather than an overarching plan guiding growth for a region. If Baltimore County is excellent at managing growth (and I'm not saying that it is) Carroll County (or York County, or Harford County) could still allow sprawl that undoes the good work of Baltimore County. Local planning may have worked when populations were lower and energy cheaper, but it's clearly not a solution for the 21st century.
Jim

Sterling, VA

#14 Jul 10, 2008
I just saw this in an article in today's Sun about how enforcing traffic laws may cut down on other crimes. It disagrees with the argument that mass transit breeds crime (at least according to Law Enforcement). An excerpt:

One of the theories behind the strategy is that society's bad guys are often bad drivers as well. And a routine traffic stop can often lead to arrests on drug or weapons charges or on outstanding warrants, police say.

"How do most criminals get to the scene of the crime? In their car," said Hall.
Jim

Sterling, VA

#15 Jul 10, 2008
Transit Rider wrote:
<quoted text>
Absolutely. The real problem is that individual localities control growth, rather than an overarching plan guiding growth for a region. If Baltimore County is excellent at managing growth (and I'm not saying that it is) Carroll County (or York County, or Harford County) could still allow sprawl that undoes the good work of Baltimore County. Local planning may have worked when populations were lower and energy cheaper, but it's clearly not a solution for the 21st century.
Wouldn't it be great if the counties worked together to eliminate future sprawl?
YouHelpFixIt

Scottsdale, AZ

#16 Jul 10, 2008
Transit Rider wrote:
<quoted text>
Absolutely. The real problem is that individual localities control growth, rather than an overarching plan guiding growth for a region. If Baltimore County is excellent at managing growth (and I'm not saying that it is) Carroll County (or York County, or Harford County) could still allow sprawl that undoes the good work of Baltimore County. Local planning may have worked when populations were lower and energy cheaper, but it's clearly not a solution for the 21st century.
It almost seems like you are trying to blame the counties for being attractive places to live and work and that you think that if only we had the right people with enough authority to limit the peoples' choices, everything would be better.

Be careful what you wish for.
Transit Rider

Joliet, IL

#17 Jul 10, 2008
YouHelpFixIt wrote:
<quoted text>
It almost seems like you are trying to blame the counties for being attractive places to live and work and that you think that if only we had the right people with enough authority to limit the peoples' choices, everything would be better.
Be careful what you wish for.
Absolutely not. But just look at what's happened in Southern Maryland: PG County restricted growth in the southern part of the county, and Charles Country encouraged growth in its northern part. The result? An explosion in growth further from the DC metro area that leads to more traffic, longer commuting times, and loss of open space. And, in the end, greater taxpayer cost to support services for those that live further from where they work. A regional planning commission could help steer growth into areas that can minimize cost (monetary, environmental and social) and maximize value (ability of existing infrastructure to handle new residents or jobs).

When decisions are made in a vacuum, each decision maker will make the choice that's in their own best interest: the county that needs more tax revenue encourages growth, even if it comes with signficant costs, because often those costs are born by a neighboring county. I'm not trying to restrict the choice of where people live; I'm just trying to make sure that the choices people are offered are sustainable ones.
YouHelpFixIt

Scottsdale, AZ

#18 Jul 10, 2008
Transit Rider wrote:
<quoted text>
Absolutely not. But just look at what's happened in Southern Maryland: PG County restricted growth in the southern part of the county, and Charles Country encouraged growth in its northern part. The result? An explosion in growth further from the DC metro area that leads to more traffic, longer commuting times, and loss of open space. And, in the end, greater taxpayer cost to support services for those that live further from where they work. A regional planning commission could help steer growth into areas that can minimize cost (monetary, environmental and social) and maximize value (ability of existing infrastructure to handle new residents or jobs).
When decisions are made in a vacuum, each decision maker will make the choice that's in their own best interest: the county that needs more tax revenue encourages growth, even if it comes with signficant costs, because often those costs are born by a neighboring county. I'm not trying to restrict the choice of where people live; I'm just trying to make sure that the choices people are offered are sustainable ones.
So exactly what authority would you suggest a regional planning commission have? Should they have the power to tell Charles County they must restrict growth, PG County that they cannot restrict growth, or both?
Chris

Baltimore, MD

#19 Jul 28, 2008
YouHelpFixIt wrote:
So exactly what authority would you suggest a regional planning commission have? Should they have the power to tell Charles County they must restrict growth, PG County that they cannot restrict growth, or both?
Ideally, a regional planning commission would include elected reps from both counties, and they would work out their growth policies in concert, rather than in competition with each other.

This should also be combined with new rules for transportation funding, stipulating that any locality that breaks the mutually-agreed-upon rules for growth, has to fund the infrastructure improvements themselves. That means roads, sewers, police, etc.

I don't claim to be an expert on this at all, but that's the basic idea.
YouHelpFixIt

Scottsdale, AZ

#20 Jul 28, 2008
Chris wrote:
<quoted text>
Ideally, a regional planning commission would include elected reps from both counties, and they would work out their growth policies in concert, rather than in competition with each other.
This should also be combined with new rules for transportation funding, stipulating that any locality that breaks the mutually-agreed-upon rules for growth, has to fund the infrastructure improvements themselves. That means roads, sewers, police, etc.
I don't claim to be an expert on this at all, but that's the basic idea.
Do we need another State legislature?

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