Things to read whilst transiting: “Welcome to the post-text future” in the NYT. Excerpt:
Still, we have only just begun to glimpse the deeper, more kinetic possibilities of an online culture in which text recedes to the background, and sounds and images become the universal language.
Oh goody. Can’t wait.
The op-ed by Pepperdine economics professor Gary Galles does not pull any punches. Excerpt:
…cars are vastly superior to alternatives for the vast majority of individuals and circumstances.
Automobiles have far greater and more flexible passenger- and cargo-carrying capacities than transit. They allow direct, point-to-point service, unlike transit. They allow self-scheduling rather than requiring advance planning. They save time, especially time spent waiting, which surveys find transit riders find far more onerous. They have far better multi-stop trip capability. They offer a safer, more comfortable, more controllable environment, from the seats to the temperature to the music to the company.
Those massive advantages explain why even substantial new restrictions on automobiles or improvements in alternatives leave driving the vastly dominant choice.
Attentive Source readers know the media has been having a field day with the recent UCLA study showing that car ownership rates — especially among lower-income residents — have soared in So Cal in recent years. Which is likely one reason transit ridership has declined, although some big steps are being taken to reverse that (rail and bus rapid transit expansion and bus restructuring are two big parts of that).
Here’s the thing: It’s hard to argue with Galles about the popularity of cars. I personally think the majority of people who own cars find them to be beneficial; I’m one of them. To put it another way: I think a lot of people like driving. It’s the traffic they hate, even though they’re contributing to it.
Here’s what Galles gets wrong: “In all, attempting to force people out of cars and onto transit recycles earlier failures and harms the vast majority of citizens,” he writes.
Ummm, who exactly is being forced out of their car? Sure, parking fees have taken an upturn in recent years and there have been a few road diets that have received a lot of publicity. Otherwise, what policies have been put in place to get people to stop driving? I know that when I’m sitting on the Orange Line bus or Expo Line train waiting at a red light, I’m not exactly witnessing Persecution of the Motorists.
And this: so what if driving remains popular? Not everyone can drive, wants to drive and not every part of town can accommodate an unlimited number of cars. To put all our Mobility Eggs in just the driving basket strikes me as dumb, shortsighted and not smart economics.
“We asked the students to come up with something attention grabbing, engaging, honest and playful,” said Alicia Trost, BART Spokesperson. “We also wanted to embrace ideas and campaigns that younger generations would relate to and connect with.”
Some of the results are above. The posters belong in the pantheon of transit agency campaigns to improve rider etiquette. Metro’s latest entry, as you likely know, is the Superkind campaign that launched last fall.
Quasi-related: the burritos in the first poster can be had at Taqueria El Farolito and they are every bit as good as advertised. The joint is on Mission Street, a few feet north of the station entrance.
Categories: Transportation Headlines