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NormalgeNyus Sep 6, 2007 5:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3044677)
Dear NormalGenyus:

How about familiarizing yourself with the issue first?

The commuter rail line uses a critical part of the ONLY FEASIBLE ROUTE FOR LIGHT RAIL. Once commuter rail is there, light rail can't go there; and commuter rail can't be expanded to go where light rail would have gone (the vehicles aren't capable).

And the 1/4 mile walk rule is from national research on transit in all sorts of conditions and is iron-clad. Anything else is wishful thinking.

ok if i get this straight your saying commuter rail can't be expanded but light rail can? if this is correct then i agree with jam and have Austin do it its self. start with a basic route through Austin only then if that is successful then if the other cities want it and want to help pay for it expand it to those cities.

DTAustin Sep 24, 2007 5:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3071693)
That's a complete myth. The city tried not to "build it", but TXDOT built it anyways, and the state legislature wrote unconstitutional laws preventing Austin from implementing growth management (later overturned by the courts, but too late), and the powers of counties to control growth are non-existent.

So, yes, Austin did what it could, was stopped by the state, and then they came. But it wasn't just a stupid "der, don't build roads" plan - as is often alleged by the forces of suburban sprawl.

Please elaborate on how this is not a "don't build roads plan." By saying, "The city tried not to build it...," I think you are describing a don't build roads plan.

M1EK Sep 24, 2007 8:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DTAustin (Post 3071823)
Please elaborate on how this is not a "don't build roads plan." By saying, "The city tried not to build it...," I think you are describing a don't build roads plan.

The city tried not to build a FEW of the roads (actually built most of the ones that were actually, you know, not just real-estate inducements and even some of those kind as well) AND do a bunch of other stuff.

The state built the roads anyways AND stopped all the other stuff.

The "we didn't build it (roads) and they came anyways" makes it sound like the only thing Austin did was petulantly decide not to build a few sorely needed roadways, which is the farthest thing from the truth.

Austin added more freeway lane-miles in the 1990s, I hear, than any other city of its size in the country. Those decisions were made in the 1980s.

arbeiter Sep 24, 2007 11:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3072172)
Austin added more freeway lane-miles in the 1990s, I hear, than any other city of its size in the country. Those decisions were made in the 1980s.

Really? I am curious to know where that statistic comes from. Because the only major highways that were built at the time were the extension of 183, a small sliver of Mopac, and part of Ben White...

I think the major difference between the first generation and the second generation of highway building is that the 2nd generation is more speculative - building roads in the middle of farmland, connecting dots where dots were previously unconnected. At least with the 1980's and 90's freeways, it was mostly upgrading existing road...

M1EK Sep 25, 2007 3:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arbeiter (Post 3072482)
Really? I am curious to know where that statistic comes from. Because the only major highways that were built at the time were the extension of 183, a small sliver of Mopac, and part of Ben White...

http://monkeymuse.blogspot.com/2005/...lie-texas.html

I'm unable to come up with the right set of terms to google the exact claim, but it was being made during the light-rail election of 2000. The link above is close, though.

austlar1 Sep 26, 2007 10:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3073693)
http://monkeymuse.blogspot.com/2005/...lie-texas.html

I'm unable to come up with the right set of terms to google the exact claim, but it was being made during the light-rail election of 2000. The link above is close, though.

Phoenix easily built 3 or 4 times the freeway miles that Austin built in the 90's.

M1EK Sep 26, 2007 1:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by austlar1 (Post 3075851)
Phoenix easily built 3 or 4 times the freeway miles that Austin built in the 90's.

http://www.letsgetmoving.org/pdfs/mobility.pdf

Page 20.

Seems unlikely that Phoenix built "3 to 4 times the freeway" (lane-miles) that Austin did in the 1990s if they're still so far behind. Possibly you confused arterial lane-miles, for which Phoenix is always recognized as one of the leaders?

austlar1 Sep 27, 2007 10:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3075986)
http://www.letsgetmoving.org/pdfs/mobility.pdf

Page 20.

Seems unlikely that Phoenix built "3 to 4 times the freeway" (lane-miles) that Austin did in the 1990s if they're still so far behind. Possibly you confused arterial lane-miles, for which Phoenix is always recognized as one of the leaders?

Well, maybe not Phoenix proper, but all over Maricopa County freeways (real freeways with no tolls) were being built. To name a few The Pima Freeway, was built between IH10 past Tempe and all the way up along the eastern side of Scottsdale, where it loops around to the west and goes on past IH17 and continues over to the Glendale areaand then turns south and returns to IH10 and beyond. Then there was the new freeway constructed from from central Phx north over the something (can't recall name) Peak adjacent to Paradise Valley that now goes all the way out to the Pima Fwy. That is a whole bunch of freeway miles, and there was more being built south in the southern part of the metro also. The PHX area was a lot like Austin in that it did not get around to building freeways until rather late in the game. I lived there during a lot of this construction, so I am pretty sure of my facts. I was amazed that they were able to fund so much freeway construction so rapidly, especially after moving back to Texas and seeing how hard it is to come by funds to build roads in this state.

austlar1 Sep 27, 2007 10:20 PM

I just checked the map and the freeways in question are the 101 loop road, AKA Pima Fwy, and the 51 Freeway. That's a lot of miles. Also the 202 FWyin the southern part of the Valley of the Sun, aka greater Phx.

austlar1 Sep 28, 2007 12:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by austlar1 (Post 3079468)
I just checked the map and the freeways in question are the 101 loop road, AKA Pima Fwy, and the 51 Freeway. That's a lot of miles. Also the 202 FWyin the southern part of the Valley of the Sun, aka greater Phx.

M1EK- I suspect you and I are the only ones interested in this little debate, but this is what I uncovered in my online search. In 1990 Austin had 430 freeway lane miles; Phoenix had 580. In 2000 Austin had 575 freeway lane miles; Phoenix had 1030. In 2005 Austin had 585 freeway lane miles; Phoenix had 1405. Phoenix is still building FREEWAYS because they passed a special tax back in the late 80's or early 90's to fund the construction. The tax is set to expire soon and will likely be renewed.


http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/congestion_data/tables/phoenix.pdf[/url]

JAM Sep 28, 2007 3:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by austlar1 (Post 3079735)
M1EK- I suspect you and I are the only ones interested in this little debate, but this is what I uncovered in my online search. In 1990 Austin had 430 freeway lane miles; Phoenix had 580. In 2000 Austin had 575 freeway lane miles; Phoenix had 1030. In 2005 Austin had 585 freeway lane miles; Phoenix had 1405.

Intuition tells me to look at the population stats of Phoenix back in 1985-1990 time frame. They were probably experiencing congestion problems similar to what Austin had in 2001 and took action. It would make sense for them to build more freeways, because they have more people. At that time, toll roads may not have prevailed, so they passed a special tax. Fast forward to 2001 and Austin is now at approximately same population as Phoenix circa 1985-1990. However, in the state of Texas, the city of Houston has now had tremendous success with its toll road model, and Austin follows Houston, rather than the Phoenix model to get the needed roads built.

M1EK Sep 28, 2007 2:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by austlar1 (Post 3079735)
M1EK- I suspect you and I are the only ones interested in this little debate, but this is what I uncovered in my online search. In 1990 Austin had 430 freeway lane miles; Phoenix had 580. In 2000 Austin had 575 freeway lane miles; Phoenix had 1030. In 2005 Austin had 585 freeway lane miles; Phoenix had 1405. Phoenix is still building FREEWAYS because they passed a special tax back in the late 80's or early 90's to fund the construction. The tax is set to expire soon and will likely be renewed.


http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/congestion_data/tables/phoenix.pdf[/url]

I'd need to see the definitions of the metropolitan areas to understand this - it flies in the face of the scatterplot in the other report - if Phoenix had really built that many freeway miles in a statically sized metro area, then you'd have expected their congestion to have decreased far below Austin's, would you not? It's also possible that they weren't including Phoenix in the "cities Austin's size" list back then, for either reason (too small or too big).

I wish I could remember the exact language of the claim - it would make it much simpler to settle this. Sorry; it's been way too long since then.

Mikey711MN Sep 28, 2007 4:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3080609)
if Phoenix had really built that many freeway miles in a statically sized metro area, then you'd have expected their congestion to have decreased far below Austin's, would you not?

If anything, M1EK, this observation substantiates the invalidity of the argument that a city can build their way out of congestion. IIRC, the majority of roads built in that area per the passed Proposition were loops and spurs that facilitated growth in the far flung regions (that are now being developed).

To that end, I-10 and I-17 (if I've got those numbers right) were and are the main arteries in Phoenix, and they have not been substantially developed in the last few decades, ergo my suspicion is that the strain on those roads has increased. This is, of course, my interpretation of the situation.

Jdawgboy Sep 28, 2007 5:36 PM

I would rather have Austin use a special tax to build freeways rather than Toll Roads any day... Why can't the government here do what Phoenix did?

M1EK Sep 28, 2007 7:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 3081039)
I would rather have Austin use a special tax to build freeways rather than Toll Roads any day... Why can't the government here do what Phoenix did?

The Phoenix tax was basically non-drivers and urban drivers subsidizing suburban sprawl - just like what we do here, except a bit worse. Toll roads, on the other hand, actually make the people who cause all the congestion pay the bills (well, at least more of the bills than they pay today).

The gas tax would be OK IF there was a minimum funding mechanism in place like the federal gas tax has (i.e. Austin guaranteed to receive no less than 90% in spending for the taxes their drivers pay). But there isn't - urban drivers' gas taxes go to places like Round Rock and the like.

If you want sustainable urban development, tolls are a great start - they're like bus fares in that the connection is immediate to the facility/service in a way that gas taxes, and especially the non-user-fees like property and sales taxes aren't.

austlar1 Sep 28, 2007 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3080609)
I'd need to see the definitions of the metropolitan areas to understand this - it flies in the face of the scatterplot in the other report - if Phoenix had really built that many freeway miles in a statically sized metro area, then you'd have expected their congestion to have decreased far below Austin's, would you not? It's also possible that they weren't including Phoenix in the "cities Austin's size" list back then, for either reason (too small or too big).

I wish I could remember the exact language of the claim - it would make it much simpler to settle this. Sorry; it's been way too long since then.

Dude- you are just wrong, and it would be refreshing for you to admit it for once. The Phx metro is about the same size in sq. miles as the Georgetown/Austin/San Marcos metro, maybe a bit larger. The population there has almost doubled in the past 15 years; that is why there is still so much congestion. Phx. had a long running debate leading up to the decision to go for broke and build all these freeways. The theme of that debate was that many in Phx did not want the freeways for fear of Phx becoming too much like LA. This debate raged on for years until the sprawl just overwhelmed the place and the wide fast arterials that laced valley became overloaded with traffic. This is when the Arizona legislature let Maricopa County voters have their say in creating a special tax for road construction. Maricopa County is the only county really in the Phx. metro. The result has been massive road building that has taken place along with massive population growth. C'mon, M1EK, just this once be wrong about something.

austlar1 Sep 28, 2007 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikey711MN (Post 3080916)
If anything, M1EK, this observation substantiates the invalidity of the argument that a city can build their way out of congestion. IIRC, the majority of roads built in that area per the passed Proposition were loops and spurs that facilitated growth in the far flung regions (that are now being developed).

To that end, I-10 and I-17 (if I've got those numbers right) were and are the main arteries in Phoenix, and they have not been substantially developed in the last few decades, ergo my suspicion is that the strain on those roads has increased. This is, of course, my interpretation of the situation.

IH10 has had a lot of upgrades including new lanes, a tunnel through central Phoenix, and HOV lanes. I think IH17 is getting a lot of upgrades now. You are correct that most of the new roads with the exception of the 51 connected newer areas of the region. 51 relieved a lot of pressure on N/S traffic in the valley. Yes, traffic on IH10 and IH17 is, well, a lot like traffic in LA, but Phx is really a lot more like LA than it is Austin.

austlar1 Sep 28, 2007 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1EK (Post 3081230)
The Phoenix tax was basically non-drivers and urban drivers subsidizing suburban sprawl - just like what we do here, except a bit worse. Toll roads, on the other hand, actually make the people who cause all the congestion pay the bills (well, at least more of the bills than they pay today).

The gas tax would be OK IF there was a minimum funding mechanism in place like the federal gas tax has (i.e. Austin guaranteed to receive no less than 90% in spending for the taxes their drivers pay). But there isn't - urban drivers' gas taxes go to places like Round Rock and the like.

If you want sustainable urban development, tolls are a great start - they're like bus fares in that the connection is immediate to the facility/service in a way that gas taxes, and especially the non-user-fees like property and sales taxes aren't.



I betcha anything that if voters were given a choice, especially if they understood that the alternative was toll roads, they would vote overwhelmingly for the special tax. We have never been given that choice.

JAM Sep 29, 2007 3:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by austlar1 (Post 3081653)
I betcha anything that if voters were given a choice, especially if they understood that the alternative was toll roads, they would vote overwhelmingly for the special tax. We have never been given that choice.

I've said it before, and I'll continue to say it until I hear a better argument, but I like toll roads. He who uses it, pays for it - I don't see what is wrong with that. People still have a choice, they can move somewhere that there is not a toll road in their way to work. Or they can also take mass transit. They can also take the side arteries that travel along side the tolls. No one is forcing them to pay the toll.

Plus it seems to keep the roads in better condition and better flowing than traditional "free" roads. I've seen the model work in Houston - it works, and it works well. You pop on a toll road, and it is amazing the condition of the vehicles on the road. In general, the vehicles seem to be reasonably maintained. So I would also argue that toll roads are safer due to better maintained vehicles on them and less congestion.

NormalgeNyus Sep 29, 2007 4:21 PM

i do agree that there is no need for tolls austin can pay for the roads other ways. i have seen studies where just one extra lane on a highway can decrease traffic a good percentage. no i do not have all the number or the link but i am sure i can find one. the roads down here do not need to be maintained that much due to the fact that there are not many big temp shift like up north. up north we had to repair or replace roads every few year and we still had money to build new roads and improve existing roads. phoenix should not be compared to Austin its more like Dallas or Houston. and trying to say that tolls are a good way to pay for roads cause only the people that use them pay for the roads? that maybe somewhat true but its also true that the toll roads force you to pay for them no matter if you want to or not cause there are and will not be alternatives to taking them if watson and his cronies get their way. and have you driven on the frontage roads to the toll raods? every few miles SURPRISE you are forced on the toll road and have to pay the toll


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