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  #161  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2022, 6:12 AM
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I don't think we're at a point where chasing choice riders should be the goal. Rather, I think the goal should be to build out and maintain a system that can get as many people to their destinations as efficiently and quickly as possible. Only after we get a good start on that kind of system--and the new rail lines u/c and planned are a good start--should we make attracting choice riders the goal.

And we already have streetcars in LA!

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  #162  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2022, 2:42 AM
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If you look at transit mode share by destination location (rather than residence/origin location) in Toronto there's a huge difference between downtown and more outlying areas on the rapid transit system.

Transit mode share by destination (Toronto):

Central Etobicoke destinations have extremely low transit mode share, despite being served by the Bloor subway line, and I think a lot of this is due to it being fairly accessible by car. Transit mode share in most inner-suburban areas served by the subways is typically less than half as for downtown, and even in Willowdale (very dense + subway) it's only about half of downtown. Not that many people walk to downtown Toronto, less so in Willowdale. Driving to destinations in Willowdale is more than twice as common as to downtown destinations.

This is driver mode share by destination (GTA):


However, the differences between downtown and inner suburbs are much smaller if you look at transit mode share by location of residence (Toronto)


There's a lot of people in Willowdale commuting to Downtown Toronto. The area is more expensive than outlying areas - if you work in the suburbs, there's not as much of a point paying the premium for housing, a lot of people live there for the subway access to downtown. If you commute from Willowdale to Downtown, it really makes sense to take the subway, you save on downtown parking costs, and the subway is usually just as fast as driving (at least during peak hours).

However, if you live in Markham and commute to Willowdale, transit is much less advantageous. Even if your average highway speed is 60 km/h rather than 110 km/h due to congestion, that's still a lot faster than most forms of transit (when accounting for stops along the route, waiting for the bus/train, walking to/from stops). And parking in Willowdale is cheaper than in Downtown Toronto. So a lot more people drive.

Conclusion: I think it'll provide a lot of benefits, facilitate redevelopment of parking lots/garages in DTLA and allow new office buildings to be built without having to invest in as much parking. It'll also help support infill. But it won't lead to a huge paradigm shift in transit use, like I wouldn't expect NYC or Paris levels of ridership. But it could still lead to a decent increase in transit use (especially if new housing + employment is built near transit).

It's not just about whether there's a lot of rapid transit lines but where major employment centers are located. High transit ridership usually occurs when employment destinations are accessible from throughout the metro area thanks to the existence of many rapid transit lines, and when driving is inconvenient due to congestion, narrow streets with lots of traffic lights, high parking costs, etc.

Although people in LA like to complain about how terrible their traffic is, I suspect it's still not *that bad*. Yes, you'll be going a good bit slower than how fast you could be due to congestion. But that un-congested baseline speed is still quite high thanks to a lot of freeways and boulevards. Yeah, you're going to have a 90min+ commute in each direction if you try to commute from the periphery to the core, but LA is a huge city, there's plenty of housing options closer to the core, and plenty of employment options closer to the periphery.

Although most of the biggest employment destinations will be covered by these rapid transit lines, those still hold a relatively small proportion of overall jobs. And aside from DTLA, most of these employment centers are only served by 1-2 rapid transit lines, so it will only be convenient to take transit to them from parts of the metro area. How expensive does parking get in DTLA? That will also be a factor. And much of LA is not super dense. It's very evenly moderately dense, but it doesn't have the density peaks that you see along transit in NYC, Toronto or even Vancouver.
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  #163  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2022, 3:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Doady View Post
"Choice riders" as non-car owners only is misleading. Maybe they choose not to buy a car, or they choose to live in a place where a car is not a necessity. To build a city where the car is not a necessity is the main goal to begin with. Such definition of "choice riders" means continuing to strive towards facilitating cars and satisfying the demands of car owners as the main goal.
Yeah, I agree with this. People who own a car are likely to continue using it, and they probably won't sell it either. But if it gets old and breaks down and isn't worth fixing, or if they're non-car owners, that's a more important decision point imo. If a significant proportion of people decide they don't have to arrange their finances with the idea that they will need a car in the future, that's a big deal. If you look at what percentage of the population becomes first time car owners each year, and add to that the percentage who replace old cars with new ones, that's maybe 10% of the adult population? If every single one of those decide that the car isn't necessary because they can use transit now, and only 20% used transit as the baseline, then that's like a 50% increase in transit ridership in a single year which is absolutely massive and unprecedented.

So there's really no need to build transit that's so amazing that people will sell their cars. You just need to get them to forgo buying new ones. You'll probably have the most luck doing that with young people, who are already used to using transit as teenagers or college students, and reach the point where they could (barely) afford a car, but decide to spend the money on something else because the transit system is good enough.

Los Angeles is pretty similar to Brampton/Mississauga. Similar moderate densities, similar decentralized employment, similar car transportation system of large arterials (and highways). Brampton & Mississauga have pretty moderate transit ridership, they still feel very auto-oriented. It's not the upper middle class middle aged people using it (as it is with GO trains or the TTC subway). I would say it's mostly working class, elderly and students/teens using it. But those demographics do use transit at decent rates and add up to a good bit of people. Even if you exclude GO Transit ridership, Mississauga and Brampton have per capita higher transit ridership than LA County from MiWay/Brampton Transit, so LA Transit still has a lot of room for ridership growth without having to attract affluent users.
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  #164  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2022, 4:18 AM
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The D Line subway tunnels now extend from Century City to downtown Beverly Hills (pic taken by Metro from inside the Wilshire/Rodeo station):


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  #165  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2022, 6:50 AM
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Originally Posted by memph View Post
Conclusion: I think it'll provide a lot of benefits, facilitate redevelopment of parking lots/garages in DTLA and allow new office buildings to be built without having to invest in as much parking. It'll also help support infill. But it won't lead to a huge paradigm shift in transit use, like I wouldn't expect NYC or Paris levels of ridership. But it could still lead to a decent increase in transit use (especially if new housing + employment is built near transit).
I think that it depends on the goal.

If the goal is to generate as much transit ridership as possible, then the solution is probably to invest in commuter services to downtown, and build a subway system in Central LA.

If the goal is to serve as many people as possible, but not necessarily generate the most rides, then the solution is to build a county-wide light rail system, as they are doing.
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  #166  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2022, 11:46 PM
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Yeah, I agree with this. People who own a car are likely to continue using it, and they probably won't sell it either. But if it gets old and breaks down and isn't worth fixing, or if they're non-car owners, that's a more important decision point imo. If a significant proportion of people decide they don't have to arrange their finances with the idea that they will need a car in the future, that's a big deal. If you look at what percentage of the population becomes first time car owners each year, and add to that the percentage who replace old cars with new ones, that's maybe 10% of the adult population? If every single one of those decide that the car isn't necessary because they can use transit now, and only 20% used transit as the baseline, then that's like a 50% increase in transit ridership in a single year which is absolutely massive and unprecedented.

So there's really no need to build transit that's so amazing that people will sell their cars. You just need to get them to forgo buying new ones. You'll probably have the most luck doing that with young people, who are already used to using transit as teenagers or college students, and reach the point where they could (barely) afford a car, but decide to spend the money on something else because the transit system is good enough.

Los Angeles is pretty similar to Brampton/Mississauga. Similar moderate densities, similar decentralized employment, similar car transportation system of large arterials (and highways). Brampton & Mississauga have pretty moderate transit ridership, they still feel very auto-oriented. It's not the upper middle class middle aged people using it (as it is with GO trains or the TTC subway). I would say it's mostly working class, elderly and students/teens using it. But those demographics do use transit at decent rates and add up to a good bit of people. Even if you exclude GO Transit ridership, Mississauga and Brampton have per capita higher transit ridership than LA County from MiWay/Brampton Transit, so LA Transit still has a lot of room for ridership growth without having to attract affluent users.
Living in Brampton and Mississauga, I think it is a good example for more of USA to follow. Car owners don't have to be car owners forever. It's not about maintaining same rate of car ownership, but trying to reduce the number of cars per household. Maybe instead 3 cars per household, we will see 2 cars per household, then one car per household. Just look at the success of transit in Brampton and Mississauga. It's a small step, but it is an easy one, that most of the USA hasn't even bothered to take. Instead it's always about making a big leap toward "world class" transit, because of people's "financial means". Just an obsession with status symbols which makes me laugh. It's no wonder US cities have 1/3 of the transit ridership of Canadian cities, even the lowly systems like Brampton and Mississauga.

I am happy to hear of a huge system like LA building rail, because that's exactly what a system trying to serve such a huge area and such long distances should be doing. But don't make this about wealth or status. Trust me, poverty is not less of a problem in LA than it is in Brampton or Mississauga. Lack of poverty or too much wealth is not the reason for LA's lower transit ridership. Same can be said of Detroit, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Kansas City, etc. Too much "financial means" or not enough "world class" has absolutely nothing to do with the lack of transit riders in any of these places, and such misconception is what has been killing transit in USA in first place. Look what happened to the bus system in Milwaukee in the past decade. That system is not for "choice riders", so it has been decided that the system is not worth funding anymore. 41% ridership loss from 2011 to 2019, those "captive riders" have now found different means.
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  #167  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2022, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
I think that it depends on the goal.

If the goal is to generate as much transit ridership as possible, then the solution is probably to invest in commuter services to downtown, and build a subway system in Central LA.

If the goal is to serve as many people as possible, but not necessarily generate the most rides, then the solution is to build a county-wide light rail system, as they are doing.
The county-wide LRT system is more a function of politics and regional equity. This dynamic partly explains why phase 4 of the Purple Line extension (VA to SM) was not included in Measure R because the Expo Line hadn’t even reached SM yet. When Measure M came along, most of the capital earmarked for the Westside was allocated toward the Sepulveda Corridor.

Once the R/M projects are out of the way, focus can be shifted toward building infrastructure where it makes sense (Central LA), as there’s nothing in R/M (which will merge in 2040 to form a 1% “no-sunset” sales tax) that stipulates that X amount of funding needs to go toward Y sub-region.
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  #168  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2022, 10:26 PM
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It is actually hard to envision. Getting rid of parking minimums would be a good first step. As well as adding more protected bike lanes, narrowing the streets and widening sidewalks. DTLA has added a lot of residents in the last few years, but I wonder how many of them are actually car-free, let alone car-lite. If the podiums and parking ratios are any indicator, I'd wager very, very few.
If the plan is to add another 125,000 residents to DTLA by 2040 (along with meeting broader sustainability goals), then car ownership becomes both less inconvenient and necessary. More people means greater density of amenities within walking distance, which in turn will lead to less demand for parking and calls for road diets and streetscape improvements.
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  #169  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2022, 12:10 AM
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Most NYC households are car-free. That's particularly notable in the auto-crazed U.S. context, as even European transit meccas like Paris don't have higher core splits. The % of car-free households is also pretty high in urban North Jersey; comparable to % car-free in the most transit oriented U.S. city propers excepting NYC.

Yeah, there are sizable portions of NYC (and inner suburbs) with driveways, but a relatively small % of the overall population lives in those areas. Obviously those types of neighborhoods don't have density remotely comparable to the more urban enclaves. The southern half of Staten Island and the really suburban parts of Northeast Queens might have 125,000-150,000 people each. Outside of those two areas there aren't any large suburban geographies in city proper.
Only 55.4% of NYC households have "no vehicle available," per the 2019 ACS 1-year estimate. Yes, that qualifies as "most" (majority), but that means 45.6% of all households owning at least one vehicle... that's a fairly even split. Also consider that out of a total 3,998,051 commuters, only 1,836,721 had "no vehicle available."

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The other cities (DC, Boston, Philly, Chicago, SF), yes, have relatively high vehicle ownership. But they're different from LA in that they A. Have a high(er) share of non-poor choice riders; B. Have a traditional dominant core that's ideal for transit corridors; and C. Have a significant share of urban landscape built pre-auto and not particularly adapted to auto age.
Household car ownership for context:

Chicago: 72.2%
Philly: 70.6%
SF: 67.7%
DC: 65.1%
Boston: 64.3%

SF and DC are the most accurate because they are neatly defined geopolitical entities.

Philly is also coterminous with a higher-level jurisdiction, but its numbers are skewed by the post-war Far Northeast section of the city.

Chicago also makes a pretty clear distinction between city/suburb; its borders are a little more arbitrary, but the city doesn't have suburban sprawl.

Boston's the most difficult to assess because transit availability and density patterns are quite different than municipal geography. But places like Cambridge and Somerville follow a similar urban structure to outer Boston; I don't think the addition of those two would alter the percentage by more than 2 points, if at that.

As for your other points, LA's rail system hasn't reached more affluent parts of the city yet. And a pre-war urban landscape doesn't automatically translate to car-freedom. Among the 5 cities, Philly is: A) the poorest, B) has far and away the best urban bones, and C) is the least sprawly metro.

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It would be difficult to envision LA overcoming these factors. Doesn't mean it isn't worth trying, but it would be a fundamental rethinking of the region, which is tough when a region is mature and developed. LA Koreatown just isn't built like SF Nob Hill, even if the densities are roughly comparable, and I'm not sure how you'd make such a transition.
No, but Koreatown is located between DT and Hollywood and already has 4 heavy rail subway stops. Conventional wisdom has it that auto-centric elements like driveways and curb cuts foster an urban environment less conducive for car-free living, yet I pointed out that the best-designed U.S. city (by far) has a 71% car ownership rate.

And what about Tokyo, the most functionally urban city there is? Lots of curb cuts and car ports and no elevated sidewalks along single-lane roads.
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  #170  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2022, 12:30 AM
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I don't get any of the above points. Tokyo isn't close to the most urban city, and doesn't even have particularly strong fabric, I have no idea what the "best designed city, by far" is (or means) and I don't get how 55% of households not owning a vehicle in the most car-crazed country on earth, including basically the lowest car ownership of any first world western geography, is proof of autocentricity.

LA Koreatown isn't gonna become SF Nob Hill, in our lifetimes, and probably ever. It doesn't have the same fabric, and won't.
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  #171  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2022, 12:42 AM
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Commuters with "no vehicle available":

NYC: 45.9%
DC: 25.8%
Boston: 24.4%
SF: 22.9%
Philly: 18.4%
Chicago: 16.95%


Commuters who take public transit, walk, or use a taxicab/motorcycle/bicycle/other means as a percentage of all commuters (didn't factor out WFH):

NYC: 69%
SF: 57.4%
DC: 53.8%
Boston: 51.9%
Chicago: 38.3%
Philly: 37.8%


Commuters that have "no vehicle available" as a percentage of those who take public transit, walk, or use a taxicab/motorcycle/bicycle/other means (didn't factor out WFH):

NYC: 59.7%
DC: 41.6%
Boston: 41.6%
Philly: 38%
Chicago: 36.7%
SF: 34.9%


And finally:

Commuters who take public transit, walk or use a taxicab/motorcycle/bicycle/other means that have "no vehicle available" — as a percentage of all commuters (didn't factor out WFH):

NYC: 41.2%
DC: 22.4%
Boston: 21.6%
SF: 20%
Philly: 14.4%
Chicago: 14%


https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table...T1Y2019.B08141
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  #172  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2022, 12:58 AM
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Conclusion: Car-lite living is very prevalent in each of the "Big Six," with only NYC having a car-free-household majority. In the "Other Five," car-lite living is much more common than total car-freedom, although a significant portion (1 out of every 3 or 4 households) of their respective populaces do live car-free. This can probably be attributed to them having relatively small NYC/European-level urbanism across their cityscape (although Philly is hard to explain).
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  #173  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2022, 1:21 AM
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I don't get any of the above points. Tokyo isn't close to the most urban city, and doesn't even have particularly strong fabric, I have no idea what the "best designed city, by far" is (or means) and I don't get how 55% of households not owning a vehicle in the most car-crazed country on earth, including basically the lowest car ownership of any first world western geography, is proof of autocentricity.

LA Koreatown isn't gonna become SF Nob Hill, in our lifetimes, and probably ever. It doesn't have the same fabric, and won't.
Tokyo is the world’s largest urban agglomeration, has the most developed rail network on Earth, (rapid transit, commuter rail, high-speed rail), and (probably safe to assume) the highest transit ridership anywhere on the planet. It is *functionally* the world’s most urban city, even though its built environment is post-war and doesn’t fit the Northeastern US / Western European archetype.

LA’s Koreatown being post-war doesn’t preclude it from becoming functionally urban. And by virtue of the fact that it’s mostly of post-war fabric, yes, it won’t ever become SF’s Nob Hill. No need to speculate.
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  #174  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2022, 4:33 AM
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Only 55.4% of NYC households have "no vehicle available," per the 2019 ACS 1-year estimate. Yes, that qualifies as "most" (majority), but that means 45.6% of all households owning at least one vehicle... that's a fairly even split. Also consider that out of a total 3,998,051 commuters, only 1,836,721 had "no vehicle available."



Household car ownership for context:

Chicago: 72.2%
Philly: 70.6%
SF: 67.7%
DC: 65.1%
Boston: 64.3%


Chicago also makes a pretty clear distinction between city/suburb; its borders are a little more arbitrary, but the city doesn't have suburban sprawl.
Yeah, though of course there are some very auto-oriented neighborhoods (e.g. Mt Greenwood, with some census tracts having > 99% car ownership according to the last ACS). That said, even the Loop and River North have slightly > 50% households with a vehicle and the tracts with the smallest percentage of households with cars are in places like Englewood.
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  #175  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2022, 4:11 PM
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There's some scholarship suggesting that transit orientation is more a function of driving being hard than transit being easy.

Obviously hard can take different contexts, where, for example, in Singapore it's generally too expensive to own a vehicle, or in Mexico City, the auto congestion is terrible. But in LA, I've never felt that driving was in any way difficult, anywhere, so it isn't shocking that choice riders go with the convenient option. Traffic moves, parking is affordable and plentiful, and the city is structured to accommodate private vehicles.

It also means that here in the U.S., we shouldn't be surprised when transit share doesn't increase due to transit investments, but due to measures making driving more burdensome. LA is probably more likely to see rising transit share via (to take random examples) additional gas taxes, parking restrictions, tolled highways, narrowed streets, etc. Of course these moves are all much more difficult than transit ribbon-cuttings.
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  #176  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2022, 4:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Quixote View Post
Tokyo is the world’s largest urban agglomeration, has the most developed rail network on Earth, (rapid transit, commuter rail, high-speed rail), and (probably safe to assume) the highest transit ridership anywhere on the planet. It is *functionally* the world’s most urban city, even though its built environment is post-war and doesn’t fit the Northeastern US / Western European archetype.
Tokyo has easily the most extensive transit network on earth, but I don't think it's the most functionally urban city, at all. Hong Kong has higher transit share, and is much more functionally urban.

There are cities with fantastic transit network and extreme transit share, with relatively poor urbanity. Moscow, for example. Almost any former Soviet or (mainland) Chinese city. Tokyo has vastly better urbanity than a Moscow but I wouldn't rank it close to environments like Paris, Barcelona or Venice. Even Seoul is functionally stronger, with higher density and better street-level pedestrian orientation.
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  #177  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2022, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Quixote View Post
Tokyo is the world’s largest urban agglomeration, has the most developed rail network on Earth, (rapid transit, commuter rail, high-speed rail), and (probably safe to assume) the highest transit ridership anywhere on the planet. It is *functionally* the world’s most urban city, even though its built environment is post-war and doesn’t fit the Northeastern US / Western European archetype.

LA’s Koreatown being post-war doesn’t preclude it from becoming functionally urban. And by virtue of the fact that it’s mostly of post-war fabric, yes, it won’t ever become SF’s Nob Hill. No need to speculate.
Tokyo is very urban, but I'd say somewhere like Dhaka is easily more urban. Urbanism is about more than transit mode share, and while Dhaka's transit mode share is nothing too exceptional, its private auto mode share is extremely low and will always remain that way as long as most of its population lives on streets like these:
https://www.google.ca/maps/@23.76840...7i13312!8i6656

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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Tokyo has easily the most extensive transit network on earth, but I don't think it's the most functionally urban city, at all. Hong Kong has higher transit share, and is much more functionally urban.

There are cities with fantastic transit network and extreme transit share, with relatively poor urbanity. Moscow, for example. Almost any former Soviet or (mainland) Chinese city. Tokyo has vastly better urbanity than a Moscow but I wouldn't rank it close to environments like Paris, Barcelona or Venice. Even Seoul is functionally stronger, with higher density and better street-level pedestrian orientation.
eh, I'd give Tokyo the edge over Seoul.

Much of Tokyo is like this:
https://www.google.ca/maps/@35.76629...7i16384!8i8192

Much of Seoul is like this:
https://www.google.ca/maps/@37.50516...7i13312!8i6656
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  #178  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2022, 1:31 AM
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Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
I think that it depends on the goal.

If the goal is to generate as much transit ridership as possible, then the solution is probably to invest in commuter services to downtown, and build a subway system in Central LA.

If the goal is to serve as many people as possible, but not necessarily generate the most rides, then the solution is to build a county-wide light rail system, as they are doing.
Another part of the equation, and a much faster and direct increase for LA transit is to seriously encourage transit-oriented developments around these existing and future metro routes, even subsidize it. It’s the easiest way to increase it, and the challenges are more political than financial.
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  #179  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2022, 10:44 PM
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There's some scholarship suggesting that transit orientation is more a function of driving being hard than transit being easy.
Generally speaking, yes. But when I mentioned Philadelphia being the "best designed city, by far," I was alluding to this sentiment. Philly's easily the least car-friendly city by design. It has a tight grid, housing with no side or rear parking (unlike Boston), no mid-block alleys (unlike Chicago), narrow residential streets (unlike SF), and very few wide arterials (unlike DC and NYC).

Philly is also the poorest of the "Other Five," and is very centralized. Its heavy rail infrastructure is among the best (underrated actually) in NA, with 75 stations spaced across just 37 miles. Trolley lines and commuter rail serve many parts of the city without heavy rail.

Despite these factors working in Philly's favor, nearly 71% of households own at least one car.

Conversely, SF, DC, and Boston: A) have more obviously car-oriented design features, B) are far wealthier cities, and C) have more de-centralized employment centers. Yet, all three have lower car ownership rates and much higher percentages of non-car commuters.

Quote:
Obviously hard can take different contexts, where, for example, in Singapore it's generally too expensive to own a vehicle, or in Mexico City, the auto congestion is terrible. But in LA, I've never felt that driving was in any way difficult, anywhere, so it isn't shocking that choice riders go with the convenient option. Traffic moves, parking is affordable and plentiful, and the city is structured to accommodate private vehicles.

It also means that here in the U.S., we shouldn't be surprised when transit share doesn't increase due to transit investments, but due to measures making driving more burdensome. LA is probably more likely to see rising transit share via (to take random examples) additional gas taxes, parking restrictions, tolled highways, narrowed streets, etc. Of course these moves are all much more difficult than transit ribbon-cuttings.
The absence of viable alternatives heavily factors into driving being the most convenient option. Once the Purple Line extension is finished in 5 years, it will take 25 minutes to travel from Wilshire/Westwood to Pershing Square. During weekday rush hour, that trip can take anywhere from 40-80 minutes by car (according to Google Maps).

Making it harder to drive absolutely factors into increasing transit share, but implementing city-wide road diets and building housing without parking "cold turkey" isn't possible here. It could work in smaller cities (population and geographic area) with more homogenous racial demographics like, say, Seattle or Minneapolis.
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Old Posted Feb 12, 2022, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Quixote View Post

Conversely, SF, DC, and Boston: A) have more obviously car-oriented design features, B) are far wealthier cities, and C) have more de-centralized employment centers. Yet, all three have lower car ownership rates and much higher percentages of non-car commuters.
Size matters.

SF, DC, and Boston are all cute little boutique cities with around 50 sq. miles of land area, and not a ton of outer neighborhood streetcar suburbia "fluff", at least not on a relative basis.

Philly is a regular old big city with about 135 sq. miles of land area.

If you carved out the most urban 50 sq. miles of inner Philly, I'd wager a fair sum that the gap in some of those stats you're talking about would significantly narrow.
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Feb 12, 2022 at 11:01 PM.
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