Tuesday, December 16, 2008

infrastructure, what's the deal?

so in the space of a few hours, i went from an airport to the centre of the city in two countries via fast, efficient and easy train transit. in europe, they actually put train stations in airports, or airports in trainstations not sure which came first. but you don't need to take a cab, a bus, a monorail you just walk and be transported on rails. name one US airport that is that easy to get to. ok, besides Reagan National (which you can bike to!). to get to the long island railroad from laguardia (what? 10 miles apart?) you need to take a cab, get stuck in traffic, then get dropped off at woodside, realise you want to be at jamaica so you take the train back into new york city to go out east. seriously?
so there's all this talk of obama's new deal infrastructure plan. how about some f-ing trains. no, i mean ones that are actually affordable and fast and connect useful things like planes to cities. you know what else? in amsterdam you can take a train to brussels. or, rotterdam. for next to nothing. pretty much anywhere. in philly, you can pay $100 to go to new york and it will be slower than driving. most developed country in the world, huh? oh my amsterdam: bikes and electric trollies. and the trollies turn off at stoplights to save energy. and the only vehicles are mostly trucks for deliveries, not much traffic. brilliant. now compare that to where you live. pfffff.


LJ said...

Here is an interesting video about the Toronto subway system (which, though good, has its faults): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzaLWoVtkZ8

FoggyDew said...

Other airports with mass transit links: BWI, Midway and O'Hare in Chicago, SFO in San Francisco, Pittsburgh has a dedicated busway, Dallas and Boston have train-bus combination just to name a few.

America wasn't built around trains. Railroads and light rail cost a lot of money to build and are not nearly as cost effective as roads, which can be used for other purposes.

That is, they are not cost effective until a lot more people start using them. A situation I believe is changing. Be patient, look how long it's taken to get a line out to Dulles.

Roxanne said...

i just heard they're gonna do a high-speed electric train that will take you from DC to NYC in 2 hours! of course, it will probably take 10 years to implement and cost three times the original estimate...but I'm sure we can expect it sometime before 2020!

lefty said...

foggydew: our country wasn't built aorund trains?? check your history book. working railroads were here way before any long, navigable roads were...how do you think we opened the west? with horse and buggy? railroads are used for ALL sorts of transport (including cars!). the problem is when you put an airport like Dulles or BWI way the hell out there, and come up with the transportation plan afterwards. totally backwards. a line to dulles? uh..what? or do you mean the plan that was barely approved that will take ages to execute, and will lure even more urban sprawl? i don't call that a 'line' in any sense of the word.

lefty said...

oh, and BWI link? the marc train only goes on weekdays, and amtrak (once an hour, maybe?) costs a fortune. the bus to the metro is ok...if it doesn't happen to be a holiday, in which case if you don't claw your way on board before the masses, yer F'd.