Eske Esquire wrote:
My leaving 2 hours early (which was hyperbole, but I suppose we're beyond that, now) was for multiple reasons, most of which fall under the "money" header.
IIRC, you said that the train station closest to your house wasn't working, and you'd have to drive to another one farther away, but that this station didn't have enough parking, so you left 2 hours early to ensure that you could park at that station in order to ride the train in to work.
Getting into the city using mass transit is nice and cheap compared to driving in. The train saves on what would be a brutal gas cost for daily trips in and out. It saves money, it lets me live further out from the city, which I like, and it's almost never an issue.
I understand the financial argument. But my point is that the difference in cost is so great *because* the system was built deliberately to make it that way. You talk about living further out from the city, but what if the city wasn't where all the jobs were focused in? What if 90% of the businesses on Manhattan island were spread out in various business parks throughout the surrounding area? Wouldn't it then be more likely that you could have found employment that was just as good as where you are working now, but that wasn't "in the city" and to which you could commute quickly and easily by car?
I know much, much more about city planning than you do. Much more. You don't know anything about it.
You might just know much more about how cities plan within already existing assumptions. I'm talking about changing the assumptions themselves. You live and work in a city where that mass transit decision was made several generations ago. It's probably hard for you to comprehend how things might have been built differently.
I'm living in a city where we have avoided the mass transit issue, but some are trying to force it on us. In my lifetime I've seen some of our city planners talk people into building a trolley system, then when it didn't make enough money, use the needs of the trolley system as a lever to change city planning. The literally chose to expand or create certain downtown sites specifically to make use of the mass transit system which wasn't paying for itself. Right now, there is talk of moving the stadium from the nearly perfect location it is at, to the increasingly congested downtown area. Why? There are plenty of better places. But that way they can put it somewhere where there's no sufficient parking and no way to get there, so people will have to take the trolley to get there.
Heck. They've already done this to a degree. Even at the existing site, they jacked up the price of parking (by about 400%) to help offset the cost of building a spur line out to the stadium. Why? Well, because it's "better" to get people to ride the mass transit system of course! So now a bunch of people ride the trolley to get to games, not because there isn't plenty of parking, and aren't plenty of routes in and out, but because they artificially increased the cost of parking to force people to pay for a trolley ticket instead.
So excuse me if I don't buy that line. In my experience watching this conflict first hand (which I'll bet you never have) what I've seen is that mass transit systems end out forcing changes to city planning that are not beneficial to the public but serve to justify the costs of the mass transit system itself. As I said earlier, it's a self created problem. Don't build it in the first place, and your city doesn't concentrate beyond that which your road system can handle, and you don't need the mass transit system.
The total amount of business in an area is exactly the same whether you concentrate it all in one downtown area or not. The theory that concentrating shops and business somehow amplifies money flow is flawed economics at best, and flat out wrong at worst. Why on earth would I take a train into a busy and crowded city center if I could access the same shops and restaurants and venues distributed across the whole county? And because they are spread out, there isn't heavy traffic getting to any one location.
Open your mind. There are newer and better ways of designing cities. Some of us realize this. Others stick dogmatically to what they were taught in some classroom somewhere.