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bunt_q Jan 28, 2012 3:51 AM

We don't want to pay for good design anymore, it's that simple. Stuff costs money, and we hate taxes. And when we do allow limited taxes, they are still constrained by things like TABOR, which makes good planning impossible, because there are too many variable outside our control, and no flexibility on the dollars side of the equation. We're just not politically courageous enough to do good design, because it's not a priority. Things that are priorities? Health care. We get the best results in the world there (for the people who are part of the system). The military. Yeah, if RTD had the kind of money and flexibility that I had in Iraq... well, things would go a lot smoother. But we don't give infrastructure a blank check the way we do some things.

DenverInfill Jan 28, 2012 4:23 PM

To add to what bunt said:

One point that needs to be made is that all of those fabulous transit systems WV talks about in Japan and China and Europe were built with massive federal subsidies if not 100% federal funds by governments with either totalitarian control or federal governments viewing these systems as critical due to massive populations, staggering densities, and poor roadway infrastructure and/or serving the nation's capital that also serves as a demonstration of the country's worthiness to the rest of the planet.

I mean really, to compare Denver, a relatively lowly populated/low density city (by world standards) in a nation with toxic politics centered around anti-progress, to the capital cities which rank as some of the largest on Earth of some of the most densely populated countries with federal governments that plan and build infrastructure at will... is quite ridiculous.

Frankly, given the situation, the political climate, and the fact that we're paying for much of our transit system with local funds, what we're getting isn't too shabby. I'd love for the State of Colorado and/or the federal government to just go "Denver, here's a free $10 billion and a 'eminent domain with no political repercussions' card. Do it up right!"... but it ain't gonna happen. Therefore, to bitch about how the locals in Denver don't know design or are not big thinkers and whatnot is ignoring the reality we live it.

TakeFive Jan 29, 2012 5:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5560621)
I'm the "Local commenter" he refers to in the third paragraph: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/...ulles-airport/

BTW, upon first click look, I missed the cleverness of your Title. :tup:

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q (Post 5562982)
Sorry double posts. I'm on the iPhone. Apparently much more convenient than Cirrus' netbook, but still not ideal! I would say we need a forum app, but I have the skycrapercity app, and it's total garbage.

Speaking of cleverness... I caught that.... or was it just a typo?

TakeFive Jan 29, 2012 9:26 PM

Pretty Cool Stuff....
 
Ah, Our first car... Check this out:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rtd-den...57111385/show/

Let April Zesbaugh be your guide:

Video Link


All compliments of Fastracks: http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/main_1

The Dirt Jan 29, 2012 11:55 PM

Never mind.

CPVLIVE Feb 3, 2012 5:49 PM

OK - So I rode in one of the new mall shuttles yesterday. My impressions -

Positives

Quiet - Eerily quiet in fact, you can't hear the city outside like the old shuttles. Felt like a library - if someone coughed you noticed.

Smooth and fast - massive improvement over the old beasts.

Skylights - Nice view of the stars :) - Feels open.

Negatives

Size - The new vehicles actually appear to be a little shorter than the old ones. These vehicles have less passenger capacity for sure. A lot of wasted space - basically a reconfigured bus.

Doors - There are three sets of doors on the new busses, however the two near the rear are placed so close together they function more like one. Egress is severly restricted for those in the middle (especially on a crowded bus). We missed a light because it took so long to offload passengers.

Width - I swear they are narrower than the old busses as well. This makes movement more difficult in a crowded vehicle.

Windows - Only appear to open at the top - couldn't see any heat or a/c sources?

Overall I think I prefer the old vehicles - especially when crowded.

Warning! - Expectations and results are not typical - users may experience differential results based upon individual preferences.:)

awholeparade Feb 3, 2012 7:00 PM

I don't think the old Mall Ride buses had heat. There have been many times that I've been able to see my breath while riding the Mall Ride.

glowrock Feb 3, 2012 7:21 PM

Kinda hard to keep a bus heated when the doors are always opening and closing, especially three doors every block like the MallRide.

Aaron (Glowrock)

bunt_q Feb 3, 2012 7:30 PM

Heat's not the problem. A mass of humanity takes care of that. Cooling is the problem. If those windows don't open, those new shuttles could be mighty unpleasant in the summer.

wong21fr Feb 3, 2012 7:46 PM

^They are supposed to have A/C and heating. I know that A/C would be a god-send in the summers when the Mall Shuttles smell like a sock that's been worn for two weeks straight. Though it could end up encouraging loitering on the Shuttles by those seeking to escape the heat.

Wizened Variations Feb 17, 2012 3:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q (Post 5567407)
We don't want to pay for good design anymore, it's that simple. Stuff costs money, and we hate taxes. And when we do allow limited taxes, they are still constrained by things like TABOR, which makes good planning impossible, because there are too many variable outside our control, and no flexibility on the dollars side of the equation. We're just not politically courageous enough to do good design, because it's not a priority. Things that are priorities? Health care. We get the best results in the world there (for the people who are part of the system). The military. Yeah, if RTD had the kind of money and flexibility that I had in Iraq... well, things would go a lot smoother. But we don't give infrastructure a blank check the way we do some things.

I think some of the problem(s) too relate to our having forgotten so much of the good transportation planning and design built by private enterprise here from about 1890 to 1930.

Simple stuff: like train stations with express through tracks. High speed tolerant switches, level platforms, etc.

Besides, we in Denver, until very recently, had wide open spaces between the old Gates complex and Commerce City via rail yards.

So our problem was not just lack of bucks, but, also, IMO, a lot of 'Cowtown' hucksterism, something our fair city has been known for, for generations. A kind of provincial ignorance of how the rest of the world works, seems to pervade too many of those of us who actually make the decisions, pick the designers, and, reward our sponsors.

My point is that such design is not complex. Go to Criagslist or EBay and buy a couple of hundred dollars worth of HO rail track (including switches) and play with layout etc.

What the Japanese did, IMO, was put in rail ROW that had priority over road right-of-way. The transportion vehicles themselves in the 20s and 30s were simple, cheap, driven by engineers, and, switches were thrown by hand. After the 'urban renewal' from 1942 to 1945, corrections could be made etc., but, the vast majority of the ROW had already been laid out. Solutions into the middle '60s were simple, low cost, and, efficient.

We, on the other hand, have so much 'graft' that building transportation systems like Fastracks concerns not how efficient the build out should be, but, really, whether anything is built at all. The practiced ability on the part of any small sample of affluent property owners to stop a government (described generically) transportation project dead in it's tracks is both remarkable, and, rather tragic.

I believe that had the money been available in constant dollars to build the entire project out, that the same problems we see today in the SE line, in Union Station, in the Union Station Light Rail line, in the DIA line would still have occurred. The answer to the mediocrity of the transportation package here is not the lack of money, IMO, but that the layout was so awesomely influenced by short sighted money who keenly understood amortization, but, had no real concept of what steel rails transportation can do (like millions of riders on one 4 track line per day and cross town express transport averaging 40 mph or so.)

I have hope however. All that has to happen is for auto transportation cost to exceed a threshold of some kind and public demand will lead to the government (used generically) seizing land and putting in the type of metro transportation system that should have been built in the first place. Of course, IMO, this would require that RTD be disbanded (it is SO INSTITUTIONALIZED and dogmatic), a job corps put into action working 24/7 with both bulldozers and wheelbarrows, etc. Sooner or later (if the population of the metro area continues to both grow and become poorer) working solutions will be built.*

*1,000,000 rail rides per day and 2,000,000 bus rides as a ball park. Maybe 20-25% of the urban traffic. Add another 1,000,000 illegal bus riders and a 500,000 vehicles and you have a Denver with a Metro of 5,000,000 with 2,000,000 or so below the poverty line.

No joke, I am an optimist.

bunt_q Feb 17, 2012 3:12 AM

If Denver's future is Delhi then, by God, I'm at least moving someplace warmer.

glowrock Feb 17, 2012 12:42 PM

Every time Wizened Variation posts one of his diatribes, a kitten dies. Please don't post these comments anymore, WV. Think of the kittens! :eek:

Aaron (Glowrock)

Brainpathology Feb 17, 2012 3:11 PM

I didn't find that one so bad.. We WILL need better transport options in the future even if we are still rich and just continue to expand population. RTD does seem to make decisions that need to be questioned in hindsight. Boulder? That's going to be a solid lead albatross around Frastrak's neck until/if it's ever finished - and that's just one example that EVERYONE seems to agree on. We've effectively made Boulder the Tea-Party of the metro area. They make up a tiny proportion of the population but no decision seems to be able to be made without at least making their whining low enough as to not distract the rest of the metro area.

We're still thinking of giving 1 BILLION to Pueblo to make it easier to drive through that city (a worthy effort no one can deny but certainly not a priority). IF RTD were dissolved and the state could actually, honestly, change the mandate of CDOT some of these decisions could be changed. That would also free Denver to make their own transit agency. Pretty impossible to imagine a Denver authority while RTD exists but it's easy to imagine one if it's the only sub-state level agency in the metro area.

Obviously Fastracks wouldn't have passed if we had to include COS, Douglas county, etc in the voting though. I think we will have to wait until COS turns into a ghost town because of their decisions or the repeal or succesful (1 in a million?) court challenge to TABOR for any of what I'm talking about to be remotely workable.

seventwenty Feb 17, 2012 5:49 PM

Quote:

Downtown Denver supports a multitude of transportation options with approximately 46% of Downtown Denver commuters traveling into Downtown via active transportation modes (biking, walking and transit).18 This compares to just 12% in the City and County of Denver and 8% in the nation.19 Active transportation involves some sort of activity and can contribute to meeting or exceeding the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation to achieve 30 minutes of physical activity every day.20 This active living contributes to the quality of life and health of a place, both of which are appealing to the future workforce.
http://303cycling.com/active-transportation-denver, which itself is citing: http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/pd...port021512.pdf

seventwenty Feb 20, 2012 6:22 AM

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7169/6...1de0e6a4_b.jpg
Link
Quote:

Paths through Denver

Routing 30,000 randomly-chosen trips through the paths suggested by 10,000 randomly-chosen geotags. These are perhaps the most interesting routes between the endpoints of the trips, even if not necessarily the most likely.

Data from the Twitter streaming API, August, 2011. Base map from OpenStreetMap, CC-BY-SA.

Story:
Quote:

“If you just draw lines from the beginning to the ending of each trip, you get a big mess, so the challenge is to come up with more plausible routes in between,” Fischer told Mashable. “That is where the 10,000 individual geotags come in, the most plausible routes are ones that pass closely through places that other people have been known to go.”

Fischer used Dijkstra’s Algorithm to calculate what exactly to map out. For those of who haven’t thought about math since high school algebra, that’s an equation that maps out the shortest path between two points on a graph. For this project, the equation pointed to the relevant paths to map out a city’s most dense corridors.
It's amusing that the algorithm doesn't make I-70 and I-25 the big black lines that they probably should be, but it's a neat, if inaccurate map of Denver. Hopefully the project developers will refine their techniques in the future.

Wizened Variations Feb 21, 2012 8:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glowrock (Post 5594375)
Every time Wizened Variation posts one of his diatribes, a kitten dies. Please don't post these comments anymore, WV. Think of the kittens! :eek:

Aaron (Glowrock)

Could not resist: Remember the pet explosion. Neuter your cats.

Wizened Variations Feb 21, 2012 8:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q (Post 5594021)
If Denver's future is Delhi then, by God, I'm at least moving someplace warmer.


I suspect that Delhi in 2030, with it's 35,000,000 people will have incredibly packed, very modern, domestically designed and built rapid transit of all kinds.

The city will be a uniquely Indian meld of the most modern and old; have huge income differences; and, be a huge patchwork of almost unimaginable complexity. I think the people lving there largely will be optimistic: most families will have the statistical 1.6 kids, and the quality of life, particularly when viewed in the perspective of improvements over the previous 25 years, will be pretty darned good.

The Denver of 2030, IMO, will be struggling with accepting the continuing real decline in living quality that will have plagued them for more than a generation. The metro area will have shed transportation poor suburbs (a good thing), but, will have large areas that are not safe (a local power issue) that are as poor as lower contemporaneous blue collar sections of huge cities like Mumbai.

I have absolutely no doubt that assuming Denver exists (no doomsday scenarios) that the new realities of bulldozing ROW and two week evictions will be the norm. Debate about the horrible mistakes of Denver's transportation past will be replaced by a humbler, more practical oriented generation's view about public need.

Denverites will have (finally) seriously studied what other great nations have done- from the rail network of China to the practical station design of the Japanese (in 2030, the first Japanese bullet train will be almost 70 years old....) I think too that Denverites will implement transportation 'retrofit' and improve what has been built earlier in the 21st Century. The DUS mess will be fixed with selective demolition of buildings that block right of way so that through trains will be able to travel from DIA to Castle Rock without deboarding. Downtown will be surrounded by passenger railroad ring that will connect the spokes of the ill conceived, highly Lodo Centric, hub and spoke design. Rail stations will have raised platforms as well as express through tracks. Small radius curves will largely be eliminated. Elevated track will bypass bottle necks.

So for all of us that might have the good fortune to be alive in '30s, we will be able to watch those in their 30s and 40s spending the 100s of billions of inflated dollars fixing our decisions (of course, the 'I told you so's will interest only historians.)
Old codgers, like WV, will then sit at Java bars and discuss how much cheaper the new changes would have been if a few people had been a bit more alturistic and more knowledgable.

LMAO.

wong21fr Feb 21, 2012 9:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wizened Variations (Post 5599648)
I suspect that Delhi in 2030, with it's 35,000,000 people will have incredibly packed, very modern, domestically designed and built rapid transit of all kinds.

The city will be a uniquely Indian meld of the most modern and old; have huge income differences; and, be a huge patchwork of almost unimaginable complexity. I think the people lving there largely will be optimistic: most families will have the statistical 1.6 kids, and the quality of life, particularly when viewed in the perspective of improvements over the previous 25 years, will be pretty darned good.

Or Dehli is a festering slum, perhaps trying to rebuild after the Paki's finally lost control of their nuclear arsenal to the Islamic fundamentalists that they used as a proxy force projector for fifty years.

Oh, and the backlash of the younger generations against the Baby Boomer's for screwing up so much due to their selfishness, arrogance and lack of any kind of social responsibility due to their ingrained sense of entitlement results in the mass geronticide of the US population.

Us young-un's are a brutal bunch.

SnyderBock Feb 22, 2012 12:23 AM

Oh yeah, I'm sure RTD/Denver will be razzing the CPV like Glass House, the future B and A Block buildings and even the Pepsi Center, by the year 2030.

Honestly, 2030 isn't that far off into the future. The changes from today, will not be as dramatic as Wizend is portraying. Think 1994, how different was it from today? Not really significantly different. That's the same time frame from today to 2030. There is no point in getting into alarmist, doomsday senarios, over and over again, because it is irrational to suggest that humanity won't continue to work through our problems, issues, wars or also continue to advance technology and innovation at a rate which outpaces the development of new, unforseen problems.

There certainly won't be any significant changes between now and 2030. Look out to something more like 2050 or 2075, if you want to make such wild speculatiion and irrational predictions.


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