Sunday, August 9, 2009

More Thoughts on Yesterday's Post

I left something out of yesterday's entry on High Speed Rail and its possibilities in the state of Kentucky. Our Transportation Cabinet planners and the ones from Wisconsin must have attended the same classes.

The Wisconsin Transportation people are advocating an airport location for the site of a HSR extension/enhancement strictly on the basis of the amount of available parking. Yes, that's right automobile parking. Can these people get an auto-centric society out of their heads?

The beauty of the European mass transportation "system" is that it is seamless. Home to downtown, downtown to downtown, downtown to business/recreation and back again, all without using a personal automobile. Why does it work so well?

Frequency and speed. Multiple trips a day between cities at high speed(+110) and from downtown to downtown would make a personal auto for out-of-town travel unnecessary. It would remove the need for gas, parking and the inevitable traffic jam delays that we now see on our inter-city trips via Interstates.

Central location of stations. Transportation from where the people are to where they want to be. Why do we go out to the airport, park the car, fly to a destination, rent a car/hire a taxi, go into town and do business? And then repeat in reverse to come back home. Why not just cut out a few of those expense laden steps? You may also notice that I left out the time waster of TSA screenings.

Integration of systems. The European model is a co-ordination of multiple systems(or sub-systems) that are coordinated into one well functioning transportation system. We, as Americans, should not try to implement just one or two of these. We will doom ourselves to failure by leaving out, what may appears to be a small element, which binds the whole together.

Granted, the planning for this AMTRAK station in Wisconsin started in 2000, about the same time as the Kentucky study, but conditions do change and their(and our) thinking must change with them.

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