Re: AltInst: Road tolls would centralize cities

From: Robert E. Lewis <>
Date: Fri Sep 04 1998 - 17:53:22 PDT

Karl R. Peters wrote:

> On Thu, 3 Sep 1998 wrote:
> > Hong Kong has opted for modern transportation, buses, subways, some taxis, and
> > elevated people movers (really nice). Nobody needs to ride a bike in Hong

> > Kong. Hong Kong is the best solution, the cleanest air, and the fastest way to
> > get around. It is a thoroughly modern city. For developed cities with a high
> > population density, the best alternative is a variety of mass transit
> > solutions. There is no freedom like not having to own a car. The buses burn
> > kerosene so they do not pollute as much as in China.
> Yes, expanding mass transit probably is the best solution. How did Hong
> Kong develop its mass transportation system? Here in the US, it seems
> impossible for municipalities to obtain adequate funding for mass
> transportation solutions. Why is this?
> Karl
> <marX>

Hong Kong's solution sounds like a very good one, for
"developed cities with a high population density." Many
US cities, especially those that grew up during an era
of cheap gasoline, are so dispersed that moving "masses"
of people from point "A" to point "B" isn't isn't much of
a solution, because so many people also need to get from
point "C" to point "D".

For example, I grew up in Houston, Texas. Houston has,
in addition to downtown, at least four other major office
centers: Greenway Plaza, the Texas Medical Center, etc..
It's always been reasonably easy to take a bus from an
outlying residential area to downtown -- that's how the
transit system is oriented. But if you want to get from
Greenway to the Med Center [located nt too far apart,
roughly south and southwest of downtown], you either
have to plan your schedule around one of the occasional
direct routes, or travel all the way downtown, then back

Houston continually ponders commuter rail lines, even
though studies indicate that most people want rail so
that everybody else will take it, and leave the freeways
clear for their own convenient commute. And even then,
the plans sem to consist of carting rail-loads of people
from the suburbs into dowtown and dumping them there,
where they will still require transport within the neighbor-
hood of downtown.

This has always seemed a backward approach, to me.
It doesn't help to build long-distance commuter rail,
or to encourage people to live centrally [or near one
of the outlying workcenters], if the people are still
going to need an automobile to get around their new,
albeit smaller, community [a half-hour wait at a bus
stop is a long time, if it's 90 degrees and you're carrying
several bags full of frozen food].

Building small-scale personal rapid transit [PRT] systems
in business areas, to facilitate both local residents and
people who commute in via commuter rail or bus systems,
seems to me th logical first step to liberating cities from
the automobile.

is a starting point for PRT. -- Damien ]]

-- Robert E. Lewis

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Received on Sat Sep 5 01:01:59 1998

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