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Old August 8th 03, 10:35 PM
Tanya Quinn
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Default Do bicycles and cars mix?

Dave Head wrote in message exercise which is good for you. And if someone is driving to work and
then drives to the gym to work out for an hour, they've saved their
work out time by biking.

Well, right now I can't seem to exercise every evening, (I usually use a
LifeStep 9500 machine, if you're familiar with gym equipment), or my knees get
sore. I don't think I'd have much better luck on the bike.

Hi Dave,
Have you tried biking? Its actually a form of exercise that is least
harsh on the knees, definitely more so than stair climbing. I find my
knees get sore (as my legs are a bit uneven in length) if I walk for
too long and with stairs. If you get sore knees cycling you may just
need to adjust the height of the seat.

You don't have to bike a real long distance, short trips to the store
occasionally save wear and tear on your car and can be fun.

in other states, but they are all "State Highways" here. They're terribly
dangerous for the _cars_, too. I point it out, and they say its too expensive
to change. I say that's what dynamite is for...

Yup dynamite would be good

Firstly, I don't want to give up the luxury of not having to plan things. I'm
sure I'm not alone, so that will hurt ridership on that basis.

There's two types of travel: travel within the city, that you do on a
frequent basis. For this, yes, ideally you should not have to plan
your life around the transit schedule. In a city with enough demand,
vehicles should come by frequently enough that you don't have to check
the schedule (say every 5 minutes)

Travel between cities - usually this happens on a less frequent basis,
and the trips take a longer time. For this it is reasonable to plan
for a less frequent schedule. Obviously once a day would be
inconvenient, but hourly trains between major centers should not be so
much of a problem for this type of travel. You go to the station close
to the departure time, and ideally the trains run ON TIME.

Second, in order for transit to be _really_ accepted, it has to be faster than
a car, door to door, at all times of the day and night. That way, it can be
making money 24 / 7. Its no wonder the mass transit is so expensive, when it's
built such that it can only be used "efficiently" when the alternative is
totally hosed by congestion.

The main time when there is traffic congestion in any place is during
"rush hour", where everyone is trying to get to work at more or less
the same time. Commuting accounts for a large portion of personal
travel. If people used transit to go to work but cars for pleasure it
would still have many benefits for all. If you want to make the
transition to car-free you need to have competitive service at all
times of day and night, I don't think transit necessarily has to
always win, but to win some of the time, and not be too much of a
penalty at other times would be ideal.

As for waiting, it often isn't a short time. I tried to take the bus in
Indianapolis to get from a car dealer back home after dropping off the car. I
_waited_ for that bus, which was _scheduled_ to come 1/2 hour from the time I
got to the bus stop, but that one never came. I had to wait for the next one,
an hour later.

This obviously is not a place then where public transit is a viable
option. (for most people) If buses showed up every 10 minutes like
clockwork, you would be waiting on average for 5 minutes unless you
just missed one.

A much better transit system than Indianapolis is Washington, DC. I decided to
go to an inventor's meeting on the north side of DC. I hate to drive _in_ DC,
so I parked at Springfield on the south side, walked a considerable distance to
the platform, got on after about a 10 minute wait, went downtown, transferred
to another train that was about a 15 minute wait (this was in the evening), got
off at the closest station, and spent 15 minutes or so hiking up to the
facility where the meeting was. I had GPS to pinpoint the building, so I
didn't walk too far out of the way, but it was a pretty lengthy walk.

Where buildings are designed around the automobile and providing a lot
of parking, it is going to not be so convenient to take transit, as it
will be a long walk to most points from a rapid transit station. Its
hard to change the design of a city

I'm fortunate (transit-wise) in that I live in Toronto. Subway trains
come every 90 seconds during the peak periods, and 5-6 minutes in the
slowest periods up til about 1:30 a.m. These waits are very reasonable
for going places and many destinations are easily accessible from the
subway stations. Parking is also scarce and expensive in the downtown
so its quicker to take transit than drive AND park.

Now, the trains run 60 mph at top speed, but they aren't at top speed very
much. They stop... and stop... and stop... Average speed is pretty low,
actually. Then you add the waiting when changing trains. Its crawling,

Because of stops subways and rapid trains within a city are usually
slower than a car could circle the city on an expressway. On city
streets traffic lights cause about as many stops as the train would
stop. For intercity travel though high speed trains that can travel up
to 4 times faster than cars become a very competitive option when
going somewhere that would be a 4 hour drive.

I could have easily _circled_ the city, and beat that train. The transit
system _has_ to go to the personal rapid transit model, with no stopping of
rail vehicles from start to stop, or it is never going to be competitive with

I don't believe that is necessary - it can be competitive when it has
its own right-of-way where cars are congested (and as population grows
traffic will become more congested), it can be competitive on price
where time is not too bad - if parking is scarce and expensive, it can
be competitive even if its slightly slower if its more comfortable
(not often, but room for improvement) or enjoyable (can do something
else at the same time)

technology is here, with personal rapid transit, if someone will just go ahead
and build it. People would likely still have to drive to a PRT terminal, at
least until the system is built out to basically "everywhere", but PRT would
win the competition, and then people would _pay_ to ride it. Beginning of the
end of highway congestion, I think.

I'm trying to envision how this would work. It will take a lot of
space to implement this and I can only see it working fairly well on
expressways - otherwise how does all the stopping, starting and
turning that happens on local streets take place? It may be better
than a high-speed train in that it eliminates waiting but it would
seem that it would necessarily be a huge consumer of space, with a lot
of empty vehicles constantly going by. While our current culture seems
to value personal space it takes up a lot more valuable real estate
than a train would. I actually enjoy the aspect of transit where I can
run into an acquaintance and have a conversation.

As for waiting on transit, _nobody_ likes to wait. On anything. But waiting
on a train is generally done in the weather, no matter if it is raining,
snowing, -20 degrees or 105 degrees. Its done in the rain, and in the sun.
Throw in an occasional mosquito for good measure. Then there's the exposure to
the criminal element, an acutal concern in some regions. One's car is a means
of rapid escape, with the capability of being a deadly weapon if necessary.

I think people are too highly paranoid about safety in general. But
lets ignore that and concentrate on your other points. Of course
nobody likes to wait. I don't like to wait. That's why I spend more of
my time riding my bicycle for transportation than I do taking public
transportation. I can get out my door and go, not walk to a stop and
wait and wait. Without adequate funding transit can't hope to come up
with efficient schedules.

When its snowing and you want to drive, you have to shovel your
driveway to get your car out, spend a few minutes waiting for the car
to warm up and get the ice and snow off the vehicle. If the roads
haven't been plowed yet its not fun trying to drive through either.
While many people have the luxury of a garage and space heater at home
these aren't often available at the other end - where they've parked.
When its snowing and I want to take transit, I dress appropriately
including boots, I walk, and its not so cold by dressing properly and
walking to the transit stop. If its a subway I'm waiting indoors. If
its a bus I'm waiting for there's usually a bus shelter where I can
stay out of the wind and not get snowed on.

If its raining I carry an umbrella. Really I think people are far too
spoiled somehow that they think getting a little wet or slightly
chilled is going to kill them.

But how about my upcoming shopping trip? I have to get to several outdoor
stores to do my shopping, then to a haircut, probably to Radio Shack, and
almost certianly a movie before or after. I can barely get that done in a car.
If there is a 10 - 15 minute wait for a bus to show up each leg of the trip,
it'll take 2 trips, minimum. Plus - I'm on my way to a movie as soon a I
finish this - 10:05 PM movie. Find me a train - or bus - at that hour. Ain't

I'm assuming these stores aren't in different cities. What I would do?
Bring my bike and a backpack and/or panniers depending on how much
stuff I had to buy. I also can bungee things to the rear rack - like
when I bought a heavy wooden stool. I attached a large crate to the
rack when I went shopping for a flat of pansies for my garden, and
didn't obviously want them to get squished in a backpack. (If I was
buying a whole carful of stuff it would be a rare rare shopping trip
and likely an excuse to need to rent one) Ride to each store, lock up
my bike right at the door (no looking for parking spots, or feeding
meters!) - though its a bit of a pain to take the panniers off each
time to make sure the stuff doesn't get stolen in the meantime. Where
I live a 10:05 movie or when it gets out would not be a problem on
transit, but I enjoy biking at night in the summer - there is a nice
breeze. If I had time I'd go home and dump my stuff first, then go
back on my bike with some lights. Lock it up well, enjoy the movie,
come back out, and enjoy the peacefulness of coming home when traffic
has really gotten light.


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