Author Topic: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs  (Read 10129 times)

yuka

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The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« on: August 31, 2016, 10:22:08 AM »
http://gazette.com/editorial-progress-begins-on-i-25-wormhole/article/1583254

Quote
The constant traffic jams and slow-downs have a direct and negative effect on the economy of the metropolitan area. People who might live in Colorado Springs and commute to Denver think otherwise after experiencing traffic delays. When they do so, it weakens the local housing market.

Holy shit, I certainly hope they're thinking otherwise. What kind of an insane person, when moving for a new job, would choose to live 70 miles from work?? Worse yet, who are these  politicians who believe we ought to be supporting this lunacy?

Quote
We could go on, but the benefits of easing inducing more traffic between Colorado's two largest metros should be self-evident.
Oh boy; enjoy construction phase, induced demand, and expensive infrastructure, Colorado.

MgoSam

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2016, 10:23:48 AM »
I've read that among the hottest real estate in the world is land between two major cities. I can imagine that these suburbs have become a boon for developers.

MoneyCat

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2016, 10:26:14 AM »
70 miles? That's nucking futs. I hate when I have to drive even ten miles to go somewhere. Do people just love sitting in their car for hours every day that much?

solon

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2016, 10:54:09 AM »
I agree it's silly to live 70 miles from work. But the fact is... traffic between those two cities is really bad. There are lots of non-silly reasons to travel from city to city, and horrible traffic is still horrible.

Thinkum

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2016, 10:58:40 AM »
Crazy stupid commutes are really nothing new to me. I used to work with people who lived about 70 miles from work and it wasn't just a few either. It was the majority of clowns who worked there. If there was an accident on the one and only freeway, then fogetaboutit. I remember talking with a work buddy who lived about 47 miles away and drove a big V8 Silverado back and forth. When he would comment about how much he paid in gas I would almost choke. So I asked him, why not get a beater to go back and forth? At least save some cash. He said, nah, he liked his truck. Yeah. The absolute most insane was this cat who lived like 100 miles from work, but that's not even the worst part! He would then climb in a truck and go drive for another 8-10 hours and god knows how many miles doing deliveries. Perhaps some people just like being behind the wheel? Yeeesh!
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 11:47:32 AM by Thinkum »

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2016, 11:11:32 AM »
I agree it's silly to live 70 miles from work. But the fact is... traffic between those two cities is really bad. There are lots of non-silly reasons to travel from city to city, and horrible traffic is still horrible.

I buy that traffic is bad, but it's been shown time after time that demand will grow [1] to match the new space on the highway. As long as driving at rush hour remains very cheap, slow traffic is the only cost that most people see. So if you improve capacity, you'll just see more people putting themselves in situations that necessitate rush-hour use of the road. If the goal is to improve the speed of traffic and we want to do it without building things closer together (so we can use transit), then the way to do that is with high tolls, even more so at rush hour. Of course, that's a funny political cause: to be effective, it has to be high enough to dissuade large numbers of people from driving, but those same would-be-dissuaded people are going to put up fierce resistance to the tolls before they can ever get off the ground.

I'd rather avoid tolls to a greater extent, and keep things working by building in higher-density patterns. Unfortunately, infrastructure funding methods and disincentives to human-scale land use both encourage this development pattern.

[1] Source: I've lived just off the DC beltway (and spent a lot of time on 95), near San Francisco, and between NYC and Boston; it's always the same. There are also plenty of studies that I encourage you to find and read.

Making Cookies

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2016, 01:50:16 PM »
A new highway but money is tight when considering a new 6 ft wide bike path separated from traffic....

Jrr85

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2016, 09:54:18 AM »

I buy that traffic is bad, but it's been shown time after time that demand will grow [1] to match the new space on the highway.

That's true, but I don't know that it's such a bad thing.  Taken as a given that we're paying for roads with taxes and gov't decides where to put them (I would be very open to private, toll based roads but I doubt many people would), if there is an area of high demand (e.g., heavy traffic) and they expand capacity, it makes sense that more people would now find the route attractive, until traffic again gets bad enough that people avoid it and that seems like a relatively successful operation for government.  It's not a bridge to nowhere, it's a road that will actually serve unmet demand.  Sure, some of that demand will be created by the road, but that's demand that is presumably moving from another area, meaning it's still opening up capacity somewhere. 

pbkmaine

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2016, 10:01:34 AM »
Bullet train needed.

Justin1911

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2016, 10:37:16 AM »
I live in Colorado Springs and I absolutely hate driving to Denver. I avoid it like the plague. When my mother in law decided to fly into Denver Airport instead of Colorado Springs Airport to save about $100, my wife and I refused to pick her up. We ended up paying $39 for her to take a shuttle instead. Granted she was a little upset that her ride down took over 3 hours and that her "rich" son in law was "too selfish" to pick her up. May have been the best $39 purchase of my life.

On another note, I would argue that the terrain between Denver and Colorado Springs make any plans for expanded roads an exceedingly expensive prospect. Colorado Springs also has the honor of having some of the worst quality roads of any medium sized city in the US. A smart car could seriously disappear in some of these potholes.

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2016, 11:24:43 AM »

I buy that traffic is bad, but it's been shown time after time that demand will grow [1] to match the new space on the highway.

That's true, but I don't know that it's such a bad thing.  Taken as a given that we're paying for roads with taxes and gov't decides where to put them (I would be very open to private, toll based roads but I doubt many people would), if there is an area of high demand (e.g., heavy traffic) and they expand capacity, it makes sense that more people would now find the route attractive, until traffic again gets bad enough that people avoid it and that seems like a relatively successful operation for government.  It's not a bridge to nowhere, it's a road that will actually serve unmet demand.  Sure, some of that demand will be created by the road, but that's demand that is presumably moving from another area, meaning it's still opening up capacity somewhere.

First of all, I don't know that that's a sensible policy perspective, because at scale, having that much pavement to maintain will bankrupt a government or lead to it providing fewer useful services. You could say that's a slippery slope argument, but given that it's happening all around the country, I think it's hard to call that line of thinking a logical fallacy.

I would also argue that the road is primarily not serving unmet demand. The unmet demand isn't that people aren't able to get on the road, or that they demand to be with more like-minded people hanging out in traffic. The demand is that they be able to make the drive at a speed closer to interstate speeds. That demand, in all likelihood, will not be met. In all but a few situations, the roads will fill right back up.

I take as a given that we will have public tax-funded roads, but I don't take as a given that we need to allow the roads' portion of tax revenue to grow unchecked. Furthermore, if this infrastructure project is undertaken by the state, what do they gain? I don't imagine CO benefits from Denver workers living in CO Springs. CO Springs is the beneficiary, but there's no way that they would pay for this on their own. Denver will pay for it right after DT finishes convincing the Mexicans to pay for his wall. I admit that, for situations where NIMBY bullshit approaches infinity, it will start to appear logical to Denver to have these people live far away. I'd argue that catering to any NIMBY stuff should be a red flag that what you're doing doesn't make much sense.

attackgnome

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2016, 11:28:19 AM »
Just take the RTD light rail and put a station in Castle Rock, Monument, and a couple in CO Springs.

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2016, 11:31:08 AM »
Bullet train needed.

I very much agree with this, but I'd also say that it wouldn't work in the current development patterns because people are too spread out. When it's too much of a hassle to get to the station, and then you can't get anywhere once you've reached (approximately) your destination, you'll favor your car more. If you don't have a car, you'll be more inclined to skip the trip.

It would be interesting to consider how you'd achieve a smarter development pattern in a major city where the growth is in neighboring jurisdictions. I guess you could just tell everyone that you, as Denver, are not going to add any more road capacity. Even then, the strong disincentives to density may prevent that plan from working out.

Just take the RTD light rail and put a station in Castle Rock, Monument, and a couple in CO Springs.

As I looked at Castle Rock (Google maps sat.) it was clear that it has little/no density. There is 1 block that could be called dense, but even that is actually mistaking walkability for density; few of those buildings have even a second floor. I doubt there would be sufficient ridership for a light rail stop to be added, even if a line already existed. Upon looking at Monument, I was a little upset that you even suggested it. They only have 5000 people!!!!! And there's no density. Given the pattern of development, I think 'town' is a misleading term for Monument, which might better be described as 'mcmansion cluster'.

« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 11:52:50 AM by yuka »

TexasRunner

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2016, 11:58:21 AM »
Bullet train needed.

THIS.  Public transportation is shit.

I've been to England (London specifically).  The whole time we were there, we used a bus ONCE.  We traveled across the country to Edinburgh. Still no car usage.  The US is absolute crap for efficiently moving people around.



Edit:
Quote
People who might live in Colorado Springs and commute to Denver think otherwise after experiencing traffic delays. When they do so, it weakens the local housing market.

Ya. Thats called basic economics that keep things efficient in our little blue ball.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 12:00:57 PM by PriestTheRunner »

attackgnome

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2016, 12:07:10 PM »
Bullet train needed.

I very much agree with this, but I'd also say that it wouldn't work in the current development patterns because people are too spread out. When it's too much of a hassle to get to the station, and then you can't get anywhere once you've reached (approximately) your destination, you'll favor your car more. If you don't have a car, you'll be more inclined to skip the trip.

It would be interesting to consider how you'd achieve a smarter development pattern in a major city where the growth is in neighboring jurisdictions. I guess you could just tell everyone that you, as Denver, are not going to add any more road capacity. Even then, the strong disincentives to density may prevent that plan from working out.

Just take the RTD light rail and put a station in Castle Rock, Monument, and a couple in CO Springs.

As I looked at Castle Rock (Google maps sat.) it was clear that it has little/no density. There is 1 block that could be called dense, but even that is actually mistaking walkability for density; few of those buildings have even a second floor. I doubt there would be sufficient ridership for a light rail stop to be added, even if a line already existed. Upon looking at Monument, I was a little upset that you even suggested it. They only have 5000 people!!!!! And there's no density. Given the pattern of development, I think 'town' is a misleading term for Monument, which might better be described as 'mcmansion cluster'.

Typically the way most people use the light rail in the Denver area is they drive to a station then park their car while they traverse to their desired destination using the light rail.

The real goal would be to connect CO springs and Denver, but since any line is most likely going to trace 1-25, I don't see the downside of adding in 1 or 2 additional stops. Monument might only have 5k people at the moment, but given the rate of population growth on the front range and the never ending sprawlification, you might as well get ahead of the curve.

Jrr85

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2016, 12:14:56 PM »

I buy that traffic is bad, but it's been shown time after time that demand will grow [1] to match the new space on the highway.

That's true, but I don't know that it's such a bad thing.  Taken as a given that we're paying for roads with taxes and gov't decides where to put them (I would be very open to private, toll based roads but I doubt many people would), if there is an area of high demand (e.g., heavy traffic) and they expand capacity, it makes sense that more people would now find the route attractive, until traffic again gets bad enough that people avoid it and that seems like a relatively successful operation for government.  It's not a bridge to nowhere, it's a road that will actually serve unmet demand.  Sure, some of that demand will be created by the road, but that's demand that is presumably moving from another area, meaning it's still opening up capacity somewhere.

First of all, I don't know that that's a sensible policy perspective, because at scale, having that much pavement to maintain will bankrupt a government or lead to it providing fewer useful services. You could say that's a slippery slope argument, but given that it's happening all around the country, I think it's hard to call that line of thinking a logical fallacy.
  I don't necessarily disagree, but that's a funding issue.  Ideally you would fund stuff like roads by use taxes, so funding wouldn't be an issue.  But aside from that, I would say what is a cost burden are the lightly traveled roads in lightly populated areas more so than highly trafficked interstates.   

I would also argue that the road is primarily not serving unmet demand. The unmet demand isn't that people aren't able to get on the road, or that they demand to be with more like-minded people hanging out in traffic. The demand is that they be able to make the drive at a speed closer to interstate speeds. That demand, in all likelihood, will not be met. In all but a few situations, the roads will fill right back up.
   I would say the demand is to get from certain point A's to certain point B's along the path, and the cost if the amount of time taken.  There may be, for example, 20,000 people that would like to travel a portion of that road, but the expected time is to great.  You expand the supply, the expected time drops, and more travelers use the road until the expected time ends up back at equilibrium, which would presumably be slightly less congested than before, although possibly by an insignificant or even imperceptible amount. 

I take as a given that we will have public tax-funded roads, but I don't take as a given that we need to allow the roads' portion of tax revenue to grow unchecked. Furthermore, if this infrastructure project is undertaken by the state, what do they gain? I don't imagine CO benefits from Denver workers living in CO Springs. CO Springs is the beneficiary, but there's no way that they would pay for this on their own. Denver will pay for it right after DT finishes convincing the Mexicans to pay for his wall. I admit that, for situations where NIMBY bullshit approaches infinity, it will start to appear logical to Denver to have these people live far away. I'd argue that catering to any NIMBY stuff should be a red flag that what you're doing doesn't make much sense.
  Why would the State need to benefit from it?  In theory, they are taking taxpayer money and using it in ways that are beneficial to and desired by the taxpayers.  I have no clue, but I would guess that if it's as congested as everyone says, this would probably be fairly beneficial compared to other road options. 

aperture

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2016, 12:25:36 PM »
Holy shit, I certainly hope they're thinking otherwise. What kind of an insane person, when moving for a new job, would choose to live 70 miles from work?? Worse yet, who are these  politicians who believe we ought to be supporting this lunacy?

Quote

My work partner does this daily. Her husband works in the Springs and she is in Highlands Ranch. She drives from near the AF Academy and back every day. I could not do it, and I don't understand why she doesn't get a new job. -ap

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2016, 04:50:15 PM »
Holy shit, I certainly hope they're thinking otherwise. What kind of an insane person, when moving for a new job, would choose to live 70 miles from work?? Worse yet, who are these  politicians who believe we ought to be supporting this lunacy?


My work partner does this daily. Her husband works in the Springs and she is in Highlands Ranch. She drives from near the AF Academy and back every day. I could not do it, and I don't understand why she doesn't get a new job. -ap

I don't have the mental fortitude for 60-70 mile commutes. nopeNopeNope! I originally found MMM because I was doing a month-long internship that had me driving 35 miles between DC and Baltimore. I probably searched, "who are all these insane people and why are they here every day? and please make it stop."

I would pool with one other guy. My rule was, if he wasn't at my car at exactly 7 AM, I was going back to my room, and we'd try again at 0930. If we stayed out of those rush hours, it was about 35 minutes. One time, it rained. And I should have skipped work that day. It took TWO HOURS to go one way.

« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 05:07:04 PM by yuka »

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2016, 05:51:04 PM »

I buy that traffic is bad, but it's been shown time after time that demand will grow [1] to match the new space on the highway.

That's true, but I don't know that it's such a bad thing.  Taken as a given that we're paying for roads with taxes and gov't decides where to put them (I would be very open to private, toll based roads but I doubt many people would), if there is an area of high demand (e.g., heavy traffic) and they expand capacity, it makes sense that more people would now find the route attractive, until traffic again gets bad enough that people avoid it and that seems like a relatively successful operation for government.  It's not a bridge to nowhere, it's a road that will actually serve unmet demand.  Sure, some of that demand will be created by the road, but that's demand that is presumably moving from another area, meaning it's still opening up capacity somewhere.

First of all, I don't know that that's a sensible policy perspective, because at scale, having that much pavement to maintain will bankrupt a government or lead to it providing fewer useful services. You could say that's a slippery slope argument, but given that it's happening all around the country, I think it's hard to call that line of thinking a logical fallacy.

 I don't necessarily disagree, but that's a funding issue.  Ideally you would fund stuff like roads by use taxes, so funding wouldn't be an issue.   

As long as the interstate system exists, we'll probably have to accept that the funding issue is a very real part of life. And if we did transition to use fee funding, we would substantially reduce the demand for these roads. Hell, even if we increased gas tax to cover ongoing costs for the infrastructure we already have (75-80 cents/mile instead of the current 18.4 cents/mile), we'd reduce demand substantially. In any case where automobile traffic was being held accountable for itself, driving would decrease. And if we're going to distort the market, I'd hope we might find a more noble pursuit than low-occupancy vehicles.

Quote
But aside from that, I would say what is a cost burden are the lightly traveled roads in lightly populated areas more so than highly trafficked interstates.

Are you referring to rural roads or residential streets when you say 'lightly traveled roads'? If it's the former, I'd tend to agree that most states are overzealous in paving and over-engineering every rut and cart-path they see. If it's the latter, I'm going to point out that interstates and residentials serve completely different purposes, the one being to move people quickly, and the other to facilitate social and economic activity. However, I'd still agree that most municipalities over-build street networks. I'd love to see land-value taxation become more widely used, which I think would lessen that problem.

I would also argue that the road is primarily not serving unmet demand. The unmet demand isn't that people aren't able to get on the road, or that they demand to be with more like-minded people hanging out in traffic. The demand is that they be able to make the drive at a speed closer to interstate speeds. That demand, in all likelihood, will not be met. In all but a few situations, the roads will fill right back up.
   
I would say the demand is to get from certain point A's to certain point B's along the path, and the cost if the amount of time taken.  There may be, for example, 20,000 people that would like to travel a portion of that road, but the expected time is too great.  You expand the supply, the expected time drops, and more travelers use the road until the expected time ends up back at equilibrium, which would presumably be slightly less congested than before, although possibly by an insignificant or even imperceptible amount.    [/quote]

It's possible that you get slightly less congestion than before (as much as a 4% reduction for each 10% expansion), but it seems that even that small reduction wears off after a decade (http://www.dot.ca.gov/newtech/researchreports/reports/2015/10-12-2015-NCST_Brief_InducedTravel_CS6_v3.pdf). Still, all you've done in the mean time is encourage more people to live in a way that is expensive, unhealthy, high-pollution, and non-resilient. And the state has incurred huge costs (and higher ongoing maintenance) to achieve those effects.


I take as a given that we will have public tax-funded roads, but I don't take as a given that we need to allow the roads' portion of tax revenue to grow unchecked. Furthermore, if this infrastructure project is undertaken by the state, what do they gain? I don't imagine CO benefits from Denver workers living in CO Springs. CO Springs is the beneficiary, but there's no way that they would pay for this on their own. Denver will pay for it right after DT finishes convincing the Mexicans to pay for his wall. I admit that, for situations where NIMBY bullshit approaches infinity, it will start to appear logical to Denver to have these people live far away. I'd argue that catering to any NIMBY stuff should be a red flag that what you're doing doesn't make much sense.
  Why would the State need to benefit from it?  In theory, they are taking taxpayer money and using it in ways that are beneficial to and desired by the taxpayers.  I have no clue, but I would guess that if it's as congested as everyone says, this would probably be fairly beneficial compared to other road options.
[/quote]

The state has some finite amount of money that they get each year from tax revenue. Putting aside questions of where the peak belongs on a Laffer curve, I think we can agree on that. They should be spending that money on projects that do the most good. So long as there is not catastrophic failure on I-25, I'm suggesting that the place where that money can do the most good is somewhere else. If you just keep the same size of I-25 and maintain it, roughly the same number of trips will continue to occur. Maybe that means fewer people commuting between CO Springs and Denver, which doesn't seem like a disaster to me. Or maybe it means that people would do more car-pooling and bus transportation, which would increase throughput with the same road. It might even encourage further mass transit development, which could be great too.

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2016, 06:24:53 PM »
Bullet train needed.

I very much agree with this, but I'd also say that it wouldn't work in the current development patterns because people are too spread out. When it's too much of a hassle to get to the station, and then you can't get anywhere once you've reached (approximately) your destination, you'll favor your car more. If you don't have a car, you'll be more inclined to skip the trip.

It would be interesting to consider how you'd achieve a smarter development pattern in a major city where the growth is in neighboring jurisdictions. I guess you could just tell everyone that you, as Denver, are not going to add any more road capacity. Even then, the strong disincentives to density may prevent that plan from working out.

Just take the RTD light rail and put a station in Castle Rock, Monument, and a couple in CO Springs.

As I looked at Castle Rock (Google maps sat.) it was clear that it has little/no density. There is 1 block that could be called dense, but even that is actually mistaking walkability for density; few of those buildings have even a second floor. I doubt there would be sufficient ridership for a light rail stop to be added, even if a line already existed. Upon looking at Monument, I was a little upset that you even suggested it. They only have 5000 people!!!!! And there's no density. Given the pattern of development, I think 'town' is a misleading term for Monument, which might better be described as 'mcmansion cluster'.

Typically the way most people use the light rail in the Denver area is they drive to a station then park their car while they traverse to their desired destination using the light rail.

The real goal would be to connect CO springs and Denver, but since any line is most likely going to trace 1-25, I don't see the downside of adding in 1 or 2 additional stops. Monument might only have 5k people at the moment, but given the rate of population growth on the front range and the never ending sprawlification, you might as well get ahead of the curve.

Ahhh, I believe I misunderstood the problem because I was considering Denver and Colorado Springs to be destinations of equal weight, which I see is not true. If the destination is just Denver, and you can get around Denver without a car, then I agree that it could be quite worthwhile to connect the two cities with transit. Not quite as good as if you could walk to the CO Springs station, but still exciting!
 
Some downsides of adding the intermediate stops are that they can be very expensive, they have to be staffed, and they slow down the CO Springs <--> Denver trip that is actually the reason for the project. Adding stops is a common death sentence for transit projects that could otherwise be quite good; a politically necessary step to get support, but a death sentence nonetheless. Each of those stops is a huge time commitment and increases timing variation; add enough of them and you've killed the appeal. For a trip as short as CO Springs <--> Denver, a single hop between central points could work brilliantly, but even one or two stops in the middle could push people back to their cars. 

Also, building infrastructure to spur economic development just doesn't work, despite how much we try to make it happen in this country. 'Build it and they will come' is a far better movie plot than a growth strategy. We're better served waiting for Monument to merit its own station.

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2016, 02:25:32 PM »
70 miles? That's nucking futs. I hate when I have to drive even ten miles to go somewhere. Do people just love sitting in their car for hours every day that much?

What is that commute like when it snows? Are people driving at 50+ mph on snow covered highways for 70 miles?

bobechs

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2016, 02:32:13 PM »
I've read that among the hottest real estate in the world is land between two major cities. I can imagine that these suburbs have become a boon for developers.

That gotta make Kansas golden: ~halfway between NYC and LA and smack between Greater Seattle and the Miami Metro.

Come to think of it it is pretty goddamn hot, every year from May to late September...

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2016, 06:49:09 PM »
I've read that among the hottest real estate in the world is land between two major cities. I can imagine that these suburbs have become a boon for developers.

That gotta make Kansas golden: ~halfway between NYC and LA and smack between Greater Seattle and the Miami Metro.

Come to think of it it is pretty goddamn hot, every year from May to late September...

Kansas is torture. Even driving across Southern Wisconsin and Minnesota can't compare to a day driving across the Eastern part of CO, all of Kansas, and half of Missouri. 

human

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2016, 07:13:31 PM »
70 miles? That's nucking futs. I hate when I have to drive even ten miles to go somewhere. Do people just love sitting in their car for hours every day that much?

What is that commute like when it snows? Are people driving at 50+ mph on snow covered highways for 70 miles?

I don't live in Denver, but I do live in Canada with snowy winters, highways are constantly plowed and smart people use snow tires. It shouldn't be much of a problem. I've driven between Montreal and Ottawa with snow and it's just a normal part of life. A blizzard could be a problem though.

kimmarg

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2016, 06:32:57 AM »
I live in Colorado Springs and I absolutely hate driving to Denver. I avoid it like the plague. When my mother in law decided to fly into Denver Airport instead of Colorado Springs Airport to save about $100, my wife and I refused to pick her up. We ended up paying $39 for her to take a shuttle instead. Granted she was a little upset that her ride down took over 3 hours and that her "rich" son in law was "too selfish" to pick her up. May have been the best $39 purchase of my life.

On another note, I would argue that the terrain between Denver and Colorado Springs make any plans for expanded roads an exceedingly expensive prospect. Colorado Springs also has the honor of having some of the worst quality roads of any medium sized city in the US. A smart car could seriously disappear in some of these potholes.

I fly into Denver to see my inlaws in Colorado Springs all the time. I'd happily pay $100 to go to the Springs, but it's usually more like $300 and involves 2 connections. What's the shuttle? I didn't know it existed or I'd be happy to take it. Sure with they'd put more flights into COS!

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2016, 06:41:38 AM »
70 miles? That's nucking futs. I hate when I have to drive even ten miles to go somewhere. Do people just love sitting in their car for hours every day that much?

What is that commute like when it snows? Are people driving at 50+ mph on snow covered highways for 70 miles?

I don't live in Denver, but I do live in Canada with snowy winters, highways are constantly plowed and smart people use snow tires. It shouldn't be much of a problem. I've driven between Montreal and Ottawa with snow and it's just a normal part of life. A blizzard could be a problem though.
I think areas that regularly get lots of snow cope better - obviously, we have the equipment to keep the roads clear and the assumption that winter tires are not optional and we adjust our driving (well, most do, the others end up in the median).  Bad visibility is more of a problem than the actual snow on the road, as long as speeds are not excessive.

JR

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2016, 06:45:30 AM »
There are a lot of people that live in south central PA and drive to Baltimore (some even drive to DC) everyday because they can get s lot more house for the money here. It amazes me that people willingly do commutes like this (50ish miles from York PA to Baltimore) every single day just so they can live in a bigger house.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2016, 06:47:13 AM by JR »

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2016, 10:04:01 AM »
There are a lot of people that live in south central PA and drive to Baltimore (some even drive to DC) everyday because they can get s lot more house for the money here. It amazes me that people willingly do commutes like this (50ish miles from York PA to Baltimore) every single day just so they can live in a bigger house.

Central PA itself is also a disaster. My family left a town in the immediate vicinity of Harrisburg 12 years ago when I was still in grade school. It was for a collection of good reasons, but one of the biggest was the insufferable traffic in the area. It has only gotten worse since then (all my extended family's there, so we visit) and I appreciate my parents' good decision more and more each year.

RosieTR

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2016, 10:06:38 PM »
70 miles? That's nucking futs. I hate when I have to drive even ten miles to go somewhere. Do people just love sitting in their car for hours every day that much?

What is that commute like when it snows? Are people driving at 50+ mph on snow covered highways for 70 miles?

If I extrapolate from other areas of CO, a shit show. No they are not driving 50 mph unless they're stupid, but inevitably someone does something idiotic and the whole thing jams up. And I'm not talking about something serious, like a foot (30 cm) of snow, even if it's a couple of inches it will mess things up.

And this is where trains really shine. They get through a lot more snow and don't have their schedules nearly as jammed up with traffic or weather considerations. I once rode a train in Boston when literally nothing else was moving: airport and all major highways were shut down due to snow.

As for stops on mass transit-it's less about stops and more about frequency, I think. If the bus/train comes every 10 or so minutes, people use it because they don't have to plan that much. Every thirty minutes? Then most people drive unless they can't. This then leads to a low denominator prevailing on the transit...and who wants to ride next to the stinky, crazy people or the weirdo who gave all his money away to be a bus preacher? If you have a few of these characters now and again well, everyone just deals. If you have mostly these characters, suddenly an hour and a half of your favorite obnoxious DJ becomes way more tolerable.

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2016, 12:46:26 AM »
70 miles? That's nucking futs. I hate when I have to drive even ten miles to go somewhere. Do people just love sitting in their car for hours every day that much?

What is that commute like when it snows? Are people driving at 50+ mph on snow covered highways for 70 miles?

If I extrapolate from other areas of CO, a shit show. No they are not driving 50 mph unless they're stupid, but inevitably someone does something idiotic and the whole thing jams up. And I'm not talking about something serious, like a foot (30 cm) of snow, even if it's a couple of inches it will mess things up.

And this is where trains really shine. They get through a lot more snow and don't have their schedules nearly as jammed up with traffic or weather considerations. I once rode a train in Boston when literally nothing else was moving: airport and all major highways were shut down due to snow.

As for stops on mass transit-it's less about stops and more about frequency, I think. If the bus/train comes every 10 or so minutes, people use it because they don't have to plan that much. Every thirty minutes? Then most people drive unless they can't. This then leads to a low denominator prevailing on the transit...and who wants to ride next to the stinky, crazy people or the weirdo who gave all his money away to be a bus preacher? If you have a few of these characters now and again well, everyone just deals. If you have mostly these characters, suddenly an hour and a half of your favorite obnoxious DJ becomes way more tolerable.

You bring up some great points, and I guess I'm just going to relate to some of them as things come to mind.

For anyone not familiar with snow and wondering what 'do something idiotic' looks like, it's fast lane changes. You cross over that big slushy pile between lanes, lose grip, spin off, hit things, ruin everyone else's next 6 hours as they wait for things to clear. All good things.

On your point about sufficient frequency, that's why I'd argue it's better to have one or two corridors of strong transit support than it is to have a full network of occasional trips. If you give predictability and frequent trips, people can choose to live where that service exists or otherwise find ways to get to those places. The coverage isn't as important because transit's mission isn't to save poor people from the horrors of walking. The goal should really be to expand the effective reach of people who choose not to drive (or who lack the resources to do so.) Unfortunately, this can be politically disadvantageous, especially on regional projects, because people not in the service areas will be grumpy about it. In reality, though, those people are also likely benefitting from the reduced car load on the whole system.

On the lowest common denominator: my fiancee lives in Savannah, GA, and her parents live in Richmond, VA. Her parents sometimes travel North up the 95 corridor for business, and they'll sometimes go by train. So when they saw that my fiancee could take the train into Richmond, they were very excited and encouraged it.

Now, anyone here who knows about the rail system on the East coast (not just me, right?) knows where this is going. In the Northeast corridor (including Richmond is slightly generous, but it's definitely solid down to DC), you have what I believe are separate tracks for the passenger rail, and you have frequent trains. You don't have to figure out if there's going to be an evening train; you figure out when the next one is, and you hop on, because there's frequent service. It functions like you'd hope: a lower-cost, skip-the-groping version of flying, so business travelers will use it. By the way, with our miserable airport experience and the disdain towards flying it creates, how are we not world leaders in high-speed rail?

Down South (and most of the rest of the country) things are different. Passenger trains share rails with freight, and freight has priority. The distances are longer and the trains are ungodly slow, largely because of sitting on tracks waiting for freight to pass. Business travelers fly. So the trains are for people who would've taken a plane had it been cheaper. They're not business travelers; they're the loud passengers who get out for smoke breaks while you wait to start moving again and drink from brown bags for the whole trip.

As a side-note, my future mother-in-law is taking that train down to Savannah next week after having only experienced functioning Northeast rail, and my fiancee is getting ready to be vindicated in all her complaints about the Southern Amtrak experience.

Rural

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2016, 05:38:15 AM »
^Yuka, you forgot to mention that Amtrak cost 3x plane fare or more.

kayvent

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2016, 06:06:19 AM »
Now, anyone here who knows about the rail system on the East coast (not just me, right?) knows where this is going. In the Northeast corridor (including Richmond is slightly generous, but it's definitely solid down to DC), you have what I believe are separate tracks for the passenger rail, and you have frequent trains. You don't have to figure out if there's going to be an evening train; you figure out when the next one is, and you hop on, because there's frequent service. It functions like you'd hope: a lower-cost, skip-the-groping version of flying, so business travelers will use it. By the way, with our miserable airport experience and the disdain towards flying it creates, how are we not world leaders in high-speed rail?
Because it is hard to make it profitable in low-density areas and we in North America are pretty sparse?

The USA is nine square megametres with a population of 330,000,000. The European Union is a bit over four square megametres with a population of 510,000,000. Canada is ten square megametres with a population of 36,000,000. China is ten square megametres with a population of 1,400,000,000. Japan is 0.378 megametres with a population of 127,000,000.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 06:08:20 AM by kayvent »

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2016, 11:17:27 AM »
^Yuka, you forgot to mention that Amtrak cost 3x plane fare or more.

That hasn't been my experience, though maybe that's because I've only used the train in the Northeast.

Now, anyone here who knows about the rail system on the East coast (not just me, right?) knows where this is going. In the Northeast corridor (including Richmond is slightly generous, but it's definitely solid down to DC), you have what I believe are separate tracks for the passenger rail, and you have frequent trains. You don't have to figure out if there's going to be an evening train; you figure out when the next one is, and you hop on, because there's frequent service. It functions like you'd hope: a lower-cost, skip-the-groping version of flying, so business travelers will use it. By the way, with our miserable airport experience and the disdain towards flying it creates, how are we not world leaders in high-speed rail?
Because it is hard to make it profitable in low-density areas and we in North America are pretty sparse?

The USA is nine square megametres with a population of 330,000,000. The European Union is a bit over four square megametres with a population of 510,000,000. Canada is ten square megametres with a population of 36,000,000. China is ten square megametres with a population of 1,400,000,000. Japan is 0.378 megametres with a population of 127,000,000.

I revisited my post this morning, and it's sort of funny what I said because I don't typically picture planes and trains as serving the same transportation need because I would never fly somewhere that could reasonably be reached by train.

Putting that aside, quoting just people per area gives very unrealistic pictures of density. Most of the Chinese population lives along the coast, and very few people live in the west. The area around Chengdu and Chongqing is anomalous for its density that far West, but it's still on the eastern half. In Canada, the vast majority of people are within 100 miles of the southern border.  In the US, despite the terrible way we develop places, we still have significant areas that are mostly empty. Between Dallas and the West coast, you'd be crazy to try to connect the population centers, but it's viable pretty much everywhere else, and some places could definitely benefit if the cities themselves were accessible without cars. The cities in NC would probably work well, as would Miami <--> Jacksonville, Dallas <--> Houston (which I believe is being built), and a whole lot of places I know even less about. I'm not suggesting that it's feasible to put rail next to every rural highway in the country and give access to every tiny town, but it's severely underutilized right now.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 11:20:13 AM by yuka »

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2016, 04:30:44 PM »

I buy that traffic is bad, but it's been shown time after time that demand will grow [1] to match the new space on the highway.

That's true, but I don't know that it's such a bad thing.  Taken as a given that we're paying for roads with taxes and gov't decides where to put them (I would be very open to private, toll based roads but I doubt many people would), if there is an area of high demand (e.g., heavy traffic) and they expand capacity, it makes sense that more people would now find the route attractive, until traffic again gets bad enough that people avoid it and that seems like a relatively successful operation for government.  It's not a bridge to nowhere, it's a road that will actually serve unmet demand.  Sure, some of that demand will be created by the road, but that's demand that is presumably moving from another area, meaning it's still opening up capacity somewhere.

I'm curious when autonomous driving becomes a real conversation (if it hasn't already) with city and state developers.  Increases to throughput due to autonomous driving (faster speeds, no slowdowns due to reaction times, etc) could very well make highway expansions frivolous.  At which point on the horizon of your road plans do you scrap a highway expansion because you know in x years autonomous driving cause the new lanes to be unnecessary.

Could be an interesting equation...GDP gain for increased traffic (loss of congestion) vs cost of construction

kayvent

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #34 on: September 05, 2016, 05:18:43 PM »

I buy that traffic is bad, but it's been shown time after time that demand will grow [1] to match the new space on the highway.

That's true, but I don't know that it's such a bad thing.  Taken as a given that we're paying for roads with taxes and gov't decides where to put them (I would be very open to private, toll based roads but I doubt many people would), if there is an area of high demand (e.g., heavy traffic) and they expand capacity, it makes sense that more people would now find the route attractive, until traffic again gets bad enough that people avoid it and that seems like a relatively successful operation for government.  It's not a bridge to nowhere, it's a road that will actually serve unmet demand.  Sure, some of that demand will be created by the road, but that's demand that is presumably moving from another area, meaning it's still opening up capacity somewhere.

I'm curious when autonomous driving becomes a real conversation (if it hasn't already) with city and state developers.  Increases to throughput due to autonomous driving (faster speeds, no slowdowns due to reaction times, etc) could very well make highway expansions frivolous.  At which point on the horizon of your road plans do you scrap a highway expansion because you know in x years autonomous driving cause the new lanes to be unnecessary.

Could be an interesting equation...GDP gain for increased traffic (loss of congestion) vs cost of construction

My theory is that with automated cars we'll easily get automated commute sharing and automated 'your car is a taxi while you are at work'. Tesla recently announced plans for the latter. With those two things I could & hope that we'll see less cars, less of our cities dedicated to housing and parking cars, and because of the lowered traffic, less roads.

Edit:

For your `Could be an interesting equation...GDP gain for increased traffic (loss of congestion) vs cost of construction` comment, I believe you are committing a broken window fallacy. Construction for roads is to fix something broken (i.e. we live too far, we don't carpool, and our work is centralized but we live distributed). If the thing isn't broken or doesn't need as big of a fix, that 'adds' to the economy, not subtracts. Being overly optimistic: cities could lower taxes or spend more on public goods with the new surplus.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 05:22:24 PM by kayvent »

Rural

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #35 on: September 05, 2016, 08:23:59 PM »
^Yuka, you forgot to mention that Amtrak cost 3x plane fare or more.

That hasn't been my experience, though maybe that's because I've only used the train in the Northeast.



Likely so - I definitely meant the Southern Amtrak. I've been on a train in the northeast, but not in the last couple of decades, and I keep pricing southern trains every time I have to travel for work in the vain hope they'll be in the same price ballpark as flying - so far to no avail.


zolotiyeruki

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #36 on: September 05, 2016, 11:21:00 PM »
I'm curious when autonomous driving becomes a real conversation (if it hasn't already) with city and state developers.  Increases to throughput due to autonomous driving (faster speeds, no slowdowns due to reaction times, etc) could very well make highway expansions frivolous.  At which point on the horizon of your road plans do you scrap a highway expansion because you know in x years autonomous driving cause the new lanes to be unnecessary.

Could be an interesting equation...GDP gain for increased traffic (loss of congestion) vs cost of construction
The problem is that such planning would 1) result in people living further away, since hands-free driving will reduce their "cost" of commuting, and 2) increased traffic, while it would fit on existing roads, would also result in heavier wear on the highways, which would result in higher maintenance costs.

Not meaning to poo-poo the idea--in fact, I love it--just pointing out that it's not a panacea.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2016, 08:36:28 AM »
Yes, the drive sucks no matter how you put it. Yes, people actually live in COS and commute to Denver. They are also crazy. However, you can't get a 3500 sqft home in Denver for 350k, so some folks want to make that sacrifice.

For the folks complaining about Monument/Castle Rock and the lack of population/density to make light rail stops there: there are existing park-n-ride areas there that would make great parking lots for light rail stations.

Another thought to alleviate the suckiness: If you need to travel between the two cities, use Google Maps if possible. If I have to pick up my wife from the Denver airport, it will put me on the best way to get down to the Springs, and if that happens to be during rush hour times, it sends me to various two lane highways that run semi-parallel to I25. In the worst case, I'm home in 90 minutes instead of the usual 75 minutes from the Denver airport. I never use the 470 toll road either.

mm1970

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #38 on: September 06, 2016, 09:00:55 AM »
Hm well the drive looks like slightly longer than the drive from SB to Los Angeles.  So, when we fly somewhere, we almost always fly out of LAX (cheaper).  My MIL almost always flies into LAX, and then takes a shuttle ($60 RT).

But LA traffic is horrible.

So, if you build it, it will get worse?  I guess that depends.  And 70 miles depends on the miles.  Because of the density in the LA area, traffic is terrible in that direction. Some people do the 50-70 miles in each day.  Going North, it's much faster and lighter, so you can do a 70 mile (approx) commute from Santa Maria, and it's not as painful.

Density is the key to decent public transportation - and time.

We've taken Amtrak before (I find it's cheaper than flying and equal to renting a car - this for four people!)  We've amtrak'd from SB to New Mexico, and we amtrak'd a few times from Erie, PA to Albany, NY.

We've never attempted to amtrak to San Diego.   Mostly because - what to do when you get there?

When we picked up our tickets to NM, the person in front of us was buying an Amtrak BUS ticket to San Francisco.  Because the BUS always gets there on time.  The train could be on time, could be 5 hours delayed.

The other aspect is *time*.  Often, public transit takes more time.  Now, that's fine...when I was 22 and living in DC, it was no biggie to walk a mile to the metro station at either end, and take the train in-between with a connection.  I think it took about 45 minutes.  Wait!  Google!  Wow, my memory isn't as bad as I thought:
- 5 miles.  Takes 15 minutes to drive.  Takes 44 minutes to metro (walk/ orange line/ blue line/ walk).  Not so bad really, when you are young and single. (Plus parking back then was $75/ month, early 90s).
- When you are married with a couple of kids, then you are contending with 1.5 hours a day, vs 30 minutes, is a big deal.  And then the need to pick the kid up from school if sick.

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #39 on: September 06, 2016, 10:03:54 AM »

I'm curious when autonomous driving becomes a real conversation (if it hasn't already) with city and state developers.  Increases to throughput due to autonomous driving (faster speeds, no slowdowns due to reaction times, etc) could very well make highway expansions frivolous.  At which point on the horizon of your road plans do you scrap a highway expansion because you know in x years autonomous driving cause the new lanes to be unnecessary.

Could be an interesting equation...GDP gain for increased traffic (loss of congestion) vs cost of construction

The problem with using autonomous cars to address the problem is that it won't deal with the underlying problems of unsustainable infrastructure build-out and too much driving. They just allow us to bury our heads in the sand by doing something else; but in the end we're still sitting in cars, not spending time with family and friends. Furthermore, it's likely that autonomous cars will improve the auto experience so much that people will be willing to take much longer trips. Then national VMT goes up, and we'll have eroded all the effects of the better driving by putting more cars on the road. Granted, this will slow the decline of the suburbs, so the slide into poverty isn't as fast as it would otherwise be there.


^Yuka, you forgot to mention that Amtrak cost 3x plane fare or more.

That hasn't been my experience, though maybe that's because I've only used the train in the Northeast.



Likely so - I definitely meant the Southern Amtrak. I've been on a train in the northeast, but not in the last couple of decades, and I keep pricing southern trains every time I have to travel for work in the vain hope they'll be in the same price ballpark as flying - so far to no avail.

You're probably moving between larger cities too. Looking at Richmond <--> Savannah, the train is 100, vs no less than 300 for a plane.

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #40 on: September 06, 2016, 10:14:05 AM »
Hm well the drive looks like slightly longer than the drive from SB to Los Angeles.  So, when we fly somewhere, we almost always fly out of LAX (cheaper).  My MIL almost always flies into LAX, and then takes a shuttle ($60 RT).

But LA traffic is horrible.

So, if you build it, it will get worse?  I guess that depends.  And 70 miles depends on the miles.  Because of the density in the LA area, traffic is terrible in that direction. Some people do the 50-70 miles in each day.  Going North, it's much faster and lighter, so you can do a 70 mile (approx) commute from Santa Maria, and it's not as painful.

Density is the key to decent public transportation - and time.


It depends how you measure 'worse', but for most definitions, yes. If you're measuring commute time, then actually it will probably stay the same. In terms of VMT, road maintenance costs, and other views of the larger system, things will be worse. I'm not aware of any areas where this is not true for general highway expansion. Having said that, my hometown is at the foot of a mountain, and I could see how adding a third lane for climbing would allow cars to flow more smoothly around the trucks driving 25mph up the mountain.

The other aspect is *time*.  Often, public transit takes more time.  Now, that's fine...when I was 22 and living in DC, it was no biggie to walk a mile to the metro station at either end, and take the train in-between with a connection.  I think it took about 45 minutes.  Wait!  Google!  Wow, my memory isn't as bad as I thought:
- 5 miles.  Takes 15 minutes to drive.  Takes 44 minutes to metro (walk/ orange line/ blue line/ walk).  Not so bad really, when you are young and single. (Plus parking back then was $75/ month, early 90s).
- When you are married with a couple of kids, then you are contending with 1.5 hours a day, vs 30 minutes, is a big deal.  And then the need to pick the kid up from school if sick.

One thing I'd like to point out about this way of thinking: you're holding the layout of the town constant, which is perfectly logical from an individual point of view, but when you look at the wider system and with a longer outlook, you shorten non-car trip times significantly by building things closer together. DC infrastructure makes it very easy to drive  and fairly inconvenient to take the metro, even before wondering whether the metro is on fire at the moment. But that prioritization can be removed or even reversed, leading to much better outcomes for non-driving. In most cases you may not reach driving speed, but you can definitely get to the point where people find it worthwhile to stick to transit because the costs of car ownership are not worth the time savings of the occasional longer trip.

Encouraging less driving and more human-scale development can also lead to a greater ability to live in the mile around your home.

gliderpilot567

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #41 on: September 06, 2016, 10:48:24 AM »
I'm starting to see this phenomenon between Phoenix and Tucson now. I think it's a common situation between any pair of cities, especially where one is large and expensive and the other is medium sized and more affordable. Although they have widened I-10 to 3 lanes in each direction for most of the way, it still jams up sometimes.
Many PHX people are beginning to live in or near Tucson because the cost of living and real estate prices are so damn cheap by comparison. McMansions are sprouting like mushrooms in northwestern Tucson, giant bedroom communities for all the PHX people. There is a community called Red Rock 30 miles northwest of Tucson, way out in the desert. A large oasis of huge new houses, with no amenities except for a school, a post office, and of course the Pulte real estate studio. Nearest grocery store is 21 miles away! I suppose people will put up with this to get a half hour head start on their commute to Phoenix. Insane.

But, the drive TUS to PHX at 100 miles is quite a bit worse than the 70 miles between COS and DEN. Also not nearly as scenic, and far more likely to kill you (from overheat/dehydration) in event of a breakdown. Still plenty of open desert in between before the cities grow together, but I bet they will in 50-100 years (I assume that the continuing and worsening water shortages won't stop greedy developers from overbuilding).

I used to live near Colorado Springs for several years, but this was back in the early 2000's. I-25 was still 2 lanes each way most of the way, and the land north of the city (across the highway from the air force academy) was wide open and undeveloped. Now it's McMansions as far as the eye can see, which I lament every time I go back there.

Can't understand how people can commute like that. I think like so many other things, it becomes an "accepted part of life", kind of like debt.... it's so ingrained in society's mindset that people don't even imagine there can be an alternative.

And I bet Tucson potholes will give Colorado Springs a run for their money. The roads in both places are horribly bad.

I love living 9 miles from work. Have gotten strong enough over the past few months that I can bike this quickly and easily, even in the desert heat. Soon I'll be moving to a place 2 miles from work, and will then lament that my bike commute is too short!

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #42 on: September 06, 2016, 08:49:52 PM »
I found a counterpoint to my argument that the cars will always fill it back up. Look at this highway in Moscow (also, high speed head-on collision alert). They have on-street parking too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaVmdWa0z2Q

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #43 on: September 07, 2016, 08:35:47 AM »
Down South (and most of the rest of the country) things are different. Passenger trains share rails with freight, and freight has priority. The distances are longer and the trains are ungodly slow, largely because of sitting on tracks waiting for freight to pass. Business travelers fly. So the trains are for people who would've taken a plane had it been cheaper. They're not business travelers; they're the loud passengers who get out for smoke breaks while you wait to start moving again and drink from brown bags for the whole trip.

As a side-note, my future mother-in-law is taking that train down to Savannah next week after having only experienced functioning Northeast rail, and my fiancee is getting ready to be vindicated in all her complaints about the Southern Amtrak experience.

Interesting opinion. My wife and I took Amtrak from Hattiesburg to Atlanta on several occasions when we lived in Mississippi. It was always a pleasant experience. The time it took was on par with driving or flying, but the seats were way more comfortable and the trains were never very crowded. It was especially nice when my wife was traveling solo with our infant daughter. She could feed any time she wanted without stopping. My biggest complaint was the fact that the destinations were so limited.

^Yuka, you forgot to mention that Amtrak cost 3x plane fare or more.

That's not even remotely true if there's a direct route. One-way fare from Hattiesburg to Atlanta is about $75. Good luck finding a plane ticket for that price. The biggest problem is the lack of connectivity. If you want a destination where there isn't a direct link, price and travel time increase to a ridiculous level.

yuka

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #44 on: September 07, 2016, 10:07:05 AM »
Down South (and most of the rest of the country) things are different. Passenger trains share rails with freight, and freight has priority. The distances are longer and the trains are ungodly slow, largely because of sitting on tracks waiting for freight to pass. Business travelers fly. So the trains are for people who would've taken a plane had it been cheaper. They're not business travelers; they're the loud passengers who get out for smoke breaks while you wait to start moving again and drink from brown bags for the whole trip.

As a side-note, my future mother-in-law is taking that train down to Savannah next week after having only experienced functioning Northeast rail, and my fiancee is getting ready to be vindicated in all her complaints about the Southern Amtrak experience.

Interesting opinion. My wife and I took Amtrak from Hattiesburg to Atlanta on several occasions when we lived in Mississippi. It was always a pleasant experience. The time it took was on par with driving or flying, but the seats were way more comfortable and the trains were never very crowded. It was especially nice when my wife was traveling solo with our infant daughter. She could feed any time she wanted without stopping. My biggest complaint was the fact that the destinations were so limited.


Interesting, I guess was extrapolating inappropriately then. Perhaps my fiancee was traveling at the wrong times, or her route is particularly bad. Thanks for the insight!

mm1970

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #45 on: September 07, 2016, 10:15:17 AM »
I'm starting to see this phenomenon between Phoenix and Tucson now. I think it's a common situation between any pair of cities, especially where one is large and expensive and the other is medium sized and more affordable. Although they have widened I-10 to 3 lanes in each direction for most of the way, it still jams up sometimes.
Many PHX people are beginning to live in or near Tucson because the cost of living and real estate prices are so damn cheap by comparison. McMansions are sprouting like mushrooms in northwestern Tucson, giant bedroom communities for all the PHX people. There is a community called Red Rock 30 miles northwest of Tucson, way out in the desert. A large oasis of huge new houses, with no amenities except for a school, a post office, and of course the Pulte real estate studio. Nearest grocery store is 21 miles away! I suppose people will put up with this to get a half hour head start on their commute to Phoenix. Insane.

But, the drive TUS to PHX at 100 miles is quite a bit worse than the 70 miles between COS and DEN. Also not nearly as scenic, and far more likely to kill you (from overheat/dehydration) in event of a breakdown. Still plenty of open desert in between before the cities grow together, but I bet they will in 50-100 years (I assume that the continuing and worsening water shortages won't stop greedy developers from overbuilding).

I used to live near Colorado Springs for several years, but this was back in the early 2000's. I-25 was still 2 lanes each way most of the way, and the land north of the city (across the highway from the air force academy) was wide open and undeveloped. Now it's McMansions as far as the eye can see, which I lament every time I go back there.

Can't understand how people can commute like that. I think like so many other things, it becomes an "accepted part of life", kind of like debt.... it's so ingrained in society's mindset that people don't even imagine there can be an alternative.

And I bet Tucson potholes will give Colorado Springs a run for their money. The roads in both places are horribly bad.

I love living 9 miles from work. Have gotten strong enough over the past few months that I can bike this quickly and easily, even in the desert heat. Soon I'll be moving to a place 2 miles from work, and will then lament that my bike commute is too short!
Decades ago, when I graduated from college, one of my classmates moved to Tucson (I think).  She got a job in Phoenix.  They lived in Tucson because her boyfriend had a job in Tucson.  I, the naive East Coaster, said "just live in the middle!"  A different friend, from Tucson, said "there's nothing between Phoenix and Tucson".  I said "Just look at the map, there are towns!"

Then my husband moved to CA, and we drove west.  We've been to/ through the area many times.  Now I know what they mean!  If there's a town on the map on the East coast, there's something there, if small.

dougules

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #46 on: September 07, 2016, 11:19:37 AM »
If we're going to go crazy with lanes, why not put in BRT lanes?

A new highway but money is tight when considering a new 6 ft wide bike path separated from traffic....

The city I live in recently bumped sales tax up from 8% to 9% to fund new lanes on roads that mostly only help people living outside the city proper that don't pay it.  Of course sidewalks and bike infrastructure are too expensive, though.   


Bullet train needed.

THIS.  Public transportation is shit.

I've been to England (London specifically).  The whole time we were there, we used a bus ONCE.  We traveled across the country to Edinburgh. Still no car usage.  The US is absolute crap for efficiently moving people around.

The US is full of people that want to live on 50 acres in the country but still have high-paying office jobs that mostly exist in urban areas.  Nobody wants to drop the denial that that doesn't really work. 

Plus, the mean city streets are full of danger.  You don't want to go out if you're not protected by your big metal box. 


70 miles? That's nucking futs. I hate when I have to drive even ten miles to go somewhere. Do people just love sitting in their car for hours every day that much?

What is that commute like when it snows? Are people driving at 50+ mph on snow covered highways for 70 miles?

If I extrapolate from other areas of CO, a shit show. No they are not driving 50 mph unless they're stupid, but inevitably someone does something idiotic and the whole thing jams up. And I'm not talking about something serious, like a foot (30 cm) of snow, even if it's a couple of inches it will mess things up.

And this is where trains really shine. They get through a lot more snow and don't have their schedules nearly as jammed up with traffic or weather considerations. I once rode a train in Boston when literally nothing else was moving: airport and all major highways were shut down due to snow.

As for stops on mass transit-it's less about stops and more about frequency, I think. If the bus/train comes every 10 or so minutes, people use it because they don't have to plan that much. Every thirty minutes? Then most people drive unless they can't. This then leads to a low denominator prevailing on the transit...and who wants to ride next to the stinky, crazy people or the weirdo who gave all his money away to be a bus preacher? If you have a few of these characters now and again well, everyone just deals. If you have mostly these characters, suddenly an hour and a half of your favorite obnoxious DJ becomes way more tolerable.

Stops really are a problem in slowing mass transit way down.  The problem can be solved pretty easy by having both express and local, though.

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Re: The 'Wormhole' between Denver and Colorado Springs
« Reply #47 on: September 07, 2016, 08:23:09 PM »
Down South (and most of the rest of the country) things are different. Passenger trains share rails with freight, and freight has priority. The distances are longer and the trains are ungodly slow, largely because of sitting on tracks waiting for freight to pass. Business travelers fly. So the trains are for people who would've taken a plane had it been cheaper. They're not business travelers; they're the loud passengers who get out for smoke breaks while you wait to start moving again and drink from brown bags for the whole trip.

As a side-note, my future mother-in-law is taking that train down to Savannah next week after having only experienced functioning Northeast rail, and my fiancee is getting ready to be vindicated in all her complaints about the Southern Amtrak experience.

Interesting opinion. My wife and I took Amtrak from Hattiesburg to Atlanta on several occasions when we lived in Mississippi. It was always a pleasant experience. The time it took was on par with driving or flying, but the seats were way more comfortable and the trains were never very crowded. It was especially nice when my wife was traveling solo with our infant daughter. She could feed any time she wanted without stopping. My biggest complaint was the fact that the destinations were so limited.

^Yuka, you forgot to mention that Amtrak cost 3x plane fare or more.

That's not even remotely true if there's a direct route. One-way fare from Hattiesburg to Atlanta is about $75. Good luck finding a plane ticket for that price. The biggest problem is the lack of connectivity. If you want a destination where there isn't a direct link, price and travel time increase to a ridiculous level.


Well, I've never had the option of considering one of the three direct routes in the Deep South, so yeah. :-) That interesting to know, though, and I'll check again if I'm ever in a situation to travel somewhere there might be direct routes.