Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 18, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

LOOKING FOR THE SILVER LINING....Yes, yes, Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the United States according to the 2007 Urban Mobility Report released today. By way of example, the 7-mile stretch of the 405 that goes from my house to my mother's house is a one-hour trip at rush hour. I can't really figure out why, either, since it goes from nowhere to nowhere and clears up significantly within a mile or two of each end. Why that one special stretch? Beats me. But that's the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana SMSA for you.

Anyway, our national media, always reporting the bad news instead of the good, is naturally focusing on the most congested areas. But I say, how about congratulating the winners instead?

  • Congratulations Philadelphia, least congested among Very Large urban areas!

  • Congratulations Buffalo, least congested among Large urban areas!

  • Congratulations Akron and Rochester, least congested among Medium urban areas!

  • Congratulations Brownsville and Spokane, least congested among Small urban areas!

And that's your cheerful news for the day. If you happen to be planning to move to one of these cities, that is.

Kevin Drum 8:11 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (68)

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Comments

ummm
Dont all of those areas (maybe with the exception of Philly, but I am not sure) have horribly depressed economies?

If everyone is leaving a city, doesnt that make it very easy for the roads to be relatively clear?

Posted by: yep on September 18, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

How old am I if I remember when that stretch of the I-405 was called the San Diego Freeway and was hardly ever congested?

But I have the final laugh -- I live 2.5 miles from work along a surface street. 10 minutes with traffic. Of course Kev has no commute as a blogger. Wise man.

Posted by: troglodyte on September 18, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

the rochester metropolitan area has over a million people. how does that rate "medium"?

Posted by: supersaurus on September 18, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Trog,

How old am I if I remember before the 405, either in OC or in LA?

Yikes!

Posted by: Tigershark on September 18, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin -

At the risk of sounding elitist -

When you have a question on a complex issue, it's useful to consult a professional on that subject.

Not that it will bring you satisfaction; only that it will likely get you some real information and advice.


There are clear answers to your questions, but there are no easy solutions to the problem you describe.

The first step in solving problems is understanding them. Unless we make the first step, the second will never occur.

Email me if you'd like some professional response.

Posted by: wileycat on September 18, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Good ole Kevin -- always looking on the bright side...

Posted by: pol on September 18, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

When I lived at 36th and Market near downtown Philadelphia, the area was very unpopulated. For miles in every direction, nearly every other house was empty.

...(boarded-up, collapsing, squatted by crackheads.)

Posted by: absent observer on September 18, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK


Followup -

All transportation operates within transportation systems. The traffic congention you describe is a systemic problem manifested in a local eposodic condition. Most public perception of "traffic problems" is based on these local conditions, and most public effort toward mitigation is aimed at them.

Systemic solutions are the only ones that willultimately work, but neither the public (and, sadly, many professionals working for the public) recognize this.

Be prepared to experience more and more congestion and delay. Perhaps, in your lifetime, solutions will be avaiable but realistically (based on my > 50 years in this business) I'm not optimistic.

Posted by: wileycat on September 18, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

wileycat,

Please feel free to expound in the comments. No need for private email. All but the occasional troll will appreciate serious insight.
When oil costs a lot more than today, we will need answers to more than just traffic congestion.

Posted by: troglodyte on September 18, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

The secret of cause of traffic congestion: too many people driving too many vehicles too much.

Posted by: Ross Best on September 18, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks to Democratic opposition to Ted Stevens' bridge, traffic congestion on Ketchikan and Gravina Islands in Alaska will persist well into the 21st century.

Just think what all those cars stalled on downtown Ketchikan streets during rush hour will do to speed global warming!

When it comes to the environment Democrats are simply hypocrites.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 18, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

"yep" makes a good point. Sometimes light traffic on the roads just means the local economy isn't doing that well.

Posted by: harry on September 18, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Trog --

You live 2.5 miles from work and you DRIVE!? Jesus, no wonder LA is so f*cked. I mean thats not a bad walk. And a really easy bike ride.

Posted by: DC1974 on September 18, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

I lived in Brownsville for two years. Traffic sucked and was getting worse. It would take me 20 minutes to go to a store 2-3 miles away at the wrong, which included weekend afternoons. That was 2003-2004. It's been worse since with never ending highway construction. I don't buy it.

Posted by: Matt on September 18, 2007 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

DC1974--
I lived four blocks from the office twice. The first time around I walked, even if it meant walking home at 4 am. The second time I decided, after a few months of walking, that I just didn't like the late night strolls. Even though I did not feel unsafe, I just wanted to get home in 5 minutes, not 30, at that time of night. And then there's the problem of those days when you can't take that much time to walk there--not all of us are disciplined enough, I'm afraid.

And yes, traffic in LA sucks. There is no time between 7 am and 9 pm that you can be sure you won't run into a traffic jam, for reasons that are just as mysterious to me as they are to Kevin. [Scientific American did a piece on this a decade ago or so: you need chaos theory to explain some traffic jams and more lanes won't help. The German engineers understood this; the Americans didn't]

Posted by: Henry on September 18, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

I just left Los Angeles to move up the the San Juan Islands. I couldn't take the traffic anymore, and I lived on the beach in Malibu. Our perceptions were that the traffic has gotten significantly worse in just the past 3-4 years. What used to be a 45-minute drive to downtown L.A. turned into a 2-1/2 hour nightmare.

Having finally figured out after 56 years that I'm not going to live forever (boy, that was a shock), I decided those hours were too precious to be spent looking at concrete and other cars.

All of L.A. is essentially broken in one way or the other. I don't like being in New York City, either, but at least you can jump in a cab or on a train and get somewhere in relative ease.

It's even easier to get around in Shanghai, though at times...okay...most of the time...you can't see the sky.

I really don't see things easing up in SoCal. I see it only getting worse. Mass transit won't work because people are too spread out.

Tearing it all down and starting over is probably unrealistic.

It is basically FUBAR. And I didn't want to be there when the final traffic jam occurs, and no one can move at all forever...

Posted by: Charles on September 18, 2007 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

2.5 miles takes a hour to walk.

You don't expect anyone to walk 1 hour to and from work. Especially, to work (unless he works in a gym or for deodorant research.)

DC1974, you gotta admit you take the Metro whenever you go 2 miles from home.

Posted by: absent observer on September 18, 2007 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Um, Buffalo is a ghost town. I'm not sure the lack of congestion is a good thing.

Posted by: Poéthique on September 18, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

If you don't like congestion, move to the location with the lowest per capita income and the fewest people. Making a living there may be quite difficult. Good luck.

Posted by: slanted tom on September 18, 2007 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Charles,
You just traded types of congestion. Road congestion for ferry congestion. They even cancel ferrys for low tide conditions. Weather can be a factor in winter when you just might get some winds in excess of 60 mph. Winds of that strength are rare but do happen and can go higher.
I love your area and wish I was rich enough to afford a house there and one down here in Palo Alto.
I spent a week, this August, with my daughter and grand daughter sailing, AKA motoring, in the San Juans. Started adventuring up there in my 12 foot yacht in 1977 and return as often as possible. Next year maybe we will use the Boston Whaler and see more islands.
You are a lucky man, ferry congestion or not.

Posted by: DILBERT DOGBERT on September 18, 2007 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Having grown up in Buffalo, and having many relatives in Rochester, let me assure you that the reason why there's no traffic is that no one would want to live there. I now live in midtown Manhattan.

Posted by: eCAHNomics on September 18, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

My sister moved to the San Juans 30 years ago. Back then it was paradise, but then a whole bunch of people moved there from LA.

Posted by: gummitch on September 18, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

2.5 miles sure doesn't take me an hour to walk. And on a bike it would be a zip. If you wanted to go fast you could get there in like 15 min. easy.

Posted by: Swan on September 18, 2007 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, when are you going to do a post on "Is sweaty attractive?" We need it as a follow-up to the discussion on biking/walking.

Posted by: Swan on September 18, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

1 hour 7 miles, find a bike route, you can beat that.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O/F in 08! on September 18, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Two ways to reduce traffic congestion:

1) Incentivize employers to allow more people to work from home. With the creations of modern technologies such as conference calls and videoconferencing, there are now quite a few people out there who are forced by their employers to drive to an office even though they could do their job just as effectively from home.

2) Incentivize employers with multiple locations (banks, chain stores, fast food restuarants, Starbucks, etc.) to move workers to the locations nearest to where they live.

Most driving (although I don't know exactly how much) is done to get to and from work....get more people working from home and you will significantly reduce driving.

Posted by: mfw13 on September 18, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, as someone who grew up in Brownsville, I'm just really proud that the city got into the news without anyone dying this time.

Posted by: R. Scott Buchanan on September 18, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

When I lived at 36th and Market near downtown Philadelphia, the area was very unpopulated. For miles in every direction, nearly every other house was empty.

...(boarded-up, collapsing, squatted by crackheads.)

How long ago was that? Cause, now, 36th and Market is office buildings (the Science Center complex, specifically), and Penn is two blocks south. The old Divine Tracy hotel is now fancy private student housing. The university has been gentrifying the area pretty aggressively for a while now, and encouraging staff and faculty to move to West Philly.

Posted by: phleabo on September 18, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

All --

Please see my earlier post @ 8:15 p.m.

The laments you post in your reports are fully understandable in a systems context.

However, there are no solutions on the horizon.

The United States has locked itelf into a single-mode transportation system for trips under 300 miles, and another single-mode system for trips longer than that.

Neither system is adequate to meet normal travel needs. But no reasonable alternatives are availabe here.

Other places in the civilized world haven't boxed themselves in so tightly (for example, France and other European nations -- just for openers).

We have made our transporttion bed here in the U.S. (with the assistance of Stndard Oil and General Motors during the 1930s-1950s) , and are sleeping uncomfortably in it.

Get used to it -- it'll get a lot worse before it gets any better.

Think multi-modal sytems if you want positive change.

Posted by: wileycat on September 18, 2007 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

correction -

earlier post at 8:51 p.m.

Posted by: wileycat on September 18, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

It's God's punishment for libs who like lots of immigration and illegal infiltration.

Posted by: Luther on September 18, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

It's God's punishment for libs who like lots of immigration and illegal infiltration.

Where I live, the illegal immigrants all either ride bicycles, or pile in 7 to a car. Of course, it's Philly, so maybe we just get the considerate ones.

Posted by: phleabo on September 18, 2007 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Phleabo

36th and market has been a fairly nice block for a long time -- when I went to penn in the early 90s it wasn't much different than today except the bookstore complex a block and half away wasn't there -- it was a parking lot for Penn.

Posted by: pj on September 18, 2007 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

The only real problems about living in Philadelphia, Buffalo or Akron is that they are in Philidelphia, Buffalo and Akron.

Spokane is nice, but I suspect the lack of automobile traffic is because everyone really needs boats due to the rain that falls 363 days of the year.

I'm just saying....

Posted by: Joshua Norton on September 19, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

yeah, get bike.

you're body will thank you.

Posted by: Disputo on September 19, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

But be sure to wear a helmet.

Your skull will thank you. Mine did.

Posted by: shortstop on September 19, 2007 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

And yes, traffic in LA sucks. There is no time between 7 am and 9 pm that you can be sure you won't run into a traffic jam, for reasons that are just as mysterious to me as they are to Kevin. [Scientific American did a piece on this a decade ago or so: you need chaos theory to explain some traffic jams and more lanes won't help. The German engineers understood this; the Americans didn't]
Posted by: Henry on September 18, 2007 at 9:25 PM
----
I think that it has something to do with the failure to understand "swarm intelligence". I was reading an article about that in a National Geographic issue at the doctor's office today.

Here's a link on "Swarm Intelligence in Collective Systems: Distributed Sensing, Action, and Networking
http://www.cnse.caltech.edu/Industry/Conferences/2001/7thAIC/martinoli.pdf

Check out Page 4/22, Titled "Ant Colony Optimization", it's a hoot.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 19, 2007 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

No, no, no:

Spokane is nice, but I suspect the lack of automobile traffic is because everyone really needs boats due to the rain that falls 363 days of the year.

Spokane is on the east side of the Cascades, and thus is almost high desert. It's not wet (but it gets a lot of snow and ice in the winter). Stupid stereotypes about the Pacific Northwest are so very passe, thank you very much.

On the other hand, I'm shocked to hear that Spokane ranks so low on the traffic-nastiness scale. The economy isn't as robust as Seattle, sure, but it's not too bad -- and the city has been resolutely ignoring the major north-south commute problem that's been on the front burner since Expo '74. North Division is still a mess, just as it's been since forever, and for that matter with all the growth out in the Valley, the east-west corridor along I-90 is no picnic, either.

Posted by: stickler on September 19, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Aren't they shooting lots of people in Philly? That would explain the lack of traffic; people are too dead to drive.

Posted by: KathyF on September 19, 2007 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

In my particular locale (Jersey City, NJ), I have easy access to:

*deap breath*

PATH train

3 NJ transit train terminals (NYC Penn, Newark Penn, Hoboken)

Metro North trains to NY and CT

Amtrak

city buses of at least 3 different lines

longer range commuter buses of at least 3 different lines

and now, light rail in Newark and a longer stretch going from Bayonne at least as far as Weehauken, probably longer soon

traffic? what traffic? Cars are for suckers. I haven't driven for my commute since 1999.

Posted by: jonathan on September 19, 2007 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

Understand that Paul Allen has no problem commuting to and from the San Juans.

Don't ever expect to see him waiting and waiting trying to get back to Annacortes in the summer.

Nor ever being stuck in the Mercer mess.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 19, 2007 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

In my particular locale (outskirts of Indianapolis, IN), I have easy access to:

*deap breath*

No mass transit of any kind.

Posted by: Curt M on September 19, 2007 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Philly has the least traffic because it has an integrated public transit system that serves the region, not just the city. SEPTA, the south eastern pennsylvania transit authority, is much criticized in Philly (as the Eagles know, its a tough town), but grading on a curve, its an outstanding system compared to what most other cities have.

I've read a few times that Philly has the highest number of mass transit commuters.

Posted by: pjhttp://www.septa.org/disclaimer.html on September 19, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Congratulations Brownsville and Spokane, least congested among Small urban areas! —Kevin Drum

Whoa! Spokane has hideous traffic. Not sure what the criterion is but, adjusted for size, rush hour on I-90, Sprague or Division is as bad as anything in Seattle of Bellevue.

Posted by: JeffII on September 19, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

I just left Los Angeles to move up the the San Juan Islands. Posted by: Charles

Dude, you can't reveal that kind of personal information with so many Seattle area posters at PA. You're likely to find a dead toy poodle nailed to your front door. You are a tangible manifestation of the apocryphal storys of Californians (first) buying up all the choice real estate around Lake Washington in the '80s and now invading places like the San Juans. What was wrong with Santa Catalina? You don't like goats? Sun shines there too much?

Posted by: JeffII on September 19, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Don't forget about Bainbridge, to boot.

For a wonderful new transit system, try riding the new trolley in Seattle - Was going to be called the South Lake Union Transit - All aboard the SLUT.

Oops, name change is in the mix.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 19, 2007 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

My sister moved to the San Juans 30 years ago. Back then it was paradise, but then a whole bunch of people moved there from LA. Posted by: gummitch

It still is paradise. We spent four days on San Juan last summer. Its relative remoteness and the need to use the ferry to get back to the mainland will assure that it will never gets crowded, unlike Bainbridge or Vashon, which are essentially suburbs of Seattle.

Posted by: JeffII on September 19, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

I guess I have to be the first New Yorker to weigh in and mention that we live in transit heaven. I gave up my car back when I lived in New Haven, and it wasn't tough. I rented one once in a great while -- or borrowed one -- and did all my errands that required a car in one day. It makes you pretty efficient on that day, too.

But back to the point, I live in Manhattan and walk 15 minutes to work. And I can take a train anywhere I need to go on a given day. I knew I was destined to stay a New Yorker when I moved back recently and actually liked the scent of the subway when walking over a grate.

I know it's easy for me to say, since NYC has the infrastructure even for suburbanites to commute by mass transit, but why don't people live closer to where they work or to mass transit? I used to live in DC, and everyone was clamoring to get a longer and longer driving commute so that they could live in a McMansion in exurban Northern Virginia. Why not a smaller place in Arlington or DC, with mass transit options or a walk to work?

Envision your life without a car. What would you have to change about your habits, where you live, etc.? Then make those changes! I also have lived in rural areas, and I know this is not feasible for all, but it is easily achievable for so many more of us that actually do it.

Posted by: Grand Central Terminal on September 19, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Philly has the least traffic because it has an integrated public transit system that serves the region, not just the city. SEPTA, the south eastern pennsylvania transit authority, is much criticized in Philly (as the Eagles know, its a tough town), but grading on a curve, its an outstanding system compared to what most other cities have.

Clearly, you either don't live around Philly, or you don't really use SEPTA (or not beyond the regional rail, which is scads nicer than everything else in the system).

Posted by: phleabo on September 19, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Spokane is nice, but I suspect the lack of automobile traffic is because everyone really needs boats due to the rain that falls 363 days of the year. I'm just saying.... Posted by: Joshua Norton

You must be confusing Spokane, WA with Jesuit Mission in the highlands of Guatemala. It only rains about 20" a year in Spokane, thought they get 50" of snow. You've never actually been to Spokane have you? (Not that you've missed all that much.)

(I'll let you in on a dirty little secret - it actually rains more in Chicago, NYC, Philly, Dallas, St. Louis, Houston and Boston than it does in Seattle. Just don't tell anyone. Too many have figured it out already.)

Posted by: JeffII on September 19, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

It actually rains more around PDX in Portland than Sea-Tac - Of course, don't ever remind the parochial Stump Towners of the fact.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 19, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, when Bush attacks Iran, and all the oil is irradiated, and the straights of Hormuz are blocked with sunken ships, and oil is $120/bbl, ALL American cities' traffic problems will vanish - POOF! just like that.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on September 19, 2007 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Having grown up in Buffalo, and having many relatives in Rochester, let me assure you that the reason why there's no traffic is that no one would want to live there. I now live in midtown Manhattan."

Good, stay there. :-) We moved to Buffalo from Orlando and I can definitely say that Buffalo/Western New York is one of the best kept secrets in terms of a nice place for raising a family. Also, if you haven't been back recently, then you might not have the best idea of what it is all like now. Things are progressing very nicely - huge numbers of new bike paths, parks, new development, summer concerts, restaurants, on and on.

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on September 19, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

For people who know traffic: Tallahassee, Fl.

Modest-sized town. Insane traffic.

Spider-web road plan. Protected live oak trees (for the ambiance) keep all the arteries two lane. "where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth"

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 19, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

I know it's easy for me to say, since NYC has the infrastructure even for suburbanites to commute by mass transit, but why don't people live closer to where they work or to mass transit? Posted by: Grand Central Terminal

That's not even the issue. NYC is unique in the U.S. and you know it. There isn't another metropolitan area in the country with the concentration of transit that "greater" NYC has.

As far as people living "closer to where they work" you need to define your terms - 15 blocks? A couple miles? 15 miles? You can still get to downtown Seattle in 20 minutes 15 miles outside of the city core in off peak hours. The real congestion isn't so much the freeways (520 bridge excluded) but the surface traffic once you are inside the city.

Don't get me wrong. I've lived in Japan for a total of seven years and NYC for three, so I'm a huge proponent of mass transit.

And unless you haven't been following the housing market, a family of three or four probably can't afford housing within the city core (or even cities limits) if that's where everyone's jobs happen to be and they wanted to live there. (Unless it's Detroit, I suppose.)

Finally, greater NYC is primarily a paper pushing economy - no significant manufacturing. The days are mostly gone where you might have a large manufacturing facility inside a city center. Since this is the case, we've tended towards the creation of suburban or even exurban economic zones. Microsoft here is a perfect example (as is Boeing).

Lots of you may think it's in Seattle. Never has been, save for a few smaller offices. It has an enormous "campus" across Lake Washington and the long ago antiquated 520 floating bridge (the Albert D. Roselini/Evergreen Point Bridge if you must, the main East-West access to it (will leave 405 aside for now).

The city of Redmond, where MS is located, had a population of less than 20K before MS moved in. There are now more Microsofties working at headquarters than that. Redmond now has a population of just under 50K. However, that's misleading as the whole "Eastside" (which includes Bellevue, 117K) has grown more than 400% over the last 20 years or so. No so long ago it all used to be truck farms and horse acreage over there.

So, yes. I think the overwhelming majority of folks posting here would be happy to take nice shiny and fast trains and subways to work if they could, even if they lived in somewhat distant suburbs. However, right thinkers like us are in the minority with regard to this and have been for a couple decades now (and before that we all enjoyed gas at .75 cents a gallon), and I see no indicators that the majority of Americans, who have lived in cities and suburbs now for about a century, are inclined to make the political changes necessary to fix the mess.

Posted by: JeffII on September 19, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII...most of Seattle's traffic problems could be solved if Microsoft simply started encouraging telecommuting. My wife worked for Microsoft a few years back and her boss insisted she drive to Redmond every day even though she could have done her job just a effectively telecommuting 3-4 days a week.

And this is not just true of Seattle...there are thousands of people in cities everywhere who are forced by their employers to drive in to the office every day despite the fact that they could work just as effectively from home. This is espcially true given modern communications technology, which makes physical meetings a lot less necessary.

Posted by: mfw13 on September 19, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

My wife worked for Microsoft a few years back and her boss insisted she drive to Redmond every day Posted by: mfw13

I really doubt your wife's boss "insisted she drive." I bet she could have taken the bus.

Telecommuting is fine for a lot of jobs, and maybe it would have worked for your wife. But it's not quite the panacea touted by so many people.

As with any area of the nation with traffic problems, the largest contributing factor to the problem here is people driving themselves to work. Probably close to 99% of us in the greater Seattle lives near a bus stop or transit center. Then there is van pooling. Only a moron chooses to drive to work when other options exist. It still comes down to people refusing to sacrifice an iota of their personal "convenience" for the greater good.

Posted by: JeffII on September 19, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Try living close as possible to work, in Seattle it seems that if you work north, you live south. If you work south you live north. All those people need to switch jobs or spouses. I live at work, and work at home.

One thing is clear thou, as long as there is relatively low fuel costs traffic jams will continue. Cost is everything.

Posted by: artemiscal on September 19, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

(I'll let you in on a dirty little secret - it actually rains more in Chicago, NYC, Philly, Dallas, St. Louis, Houston and Boston than it does in Seattle. Just don't tell anyone. Too many have figured it out already.)
Posted by: JeffII on September 19, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it does rain more in Chicago, but half the year, that rain tends to freeze on contact with the ground.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on September 19, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it does rain more in Chicago, but half the year, that rain tends to freeze on contact with the ground.

Mmmhmmm. Sob.

Posted by: shortstop on September 19, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

"the rochester metropolitan area has over a million people. how does that rate "medium"?"

Nashville's SMSA has over a million as well, and we're also classified as "medium." The reason evidently is that they're using a designation called "urban area," which is that portion of the SMSA where population density is at least 1000/sq. mi. By that definition we're about 900,000 in population.

Posted by: David on September 19, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

All of those other cities also have really crummy climates.

Posted by: Katherine on September 19, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Had it only poured and poured before the 5th last night in Chicago.

JeffII,

Yes, Seattle has a fine bus transit system and their trains down the Kent Valley to Tacoma are fine. However, one of the problems with transportation in the Seattle area is it's unique topography - Does not lend itself to a grid system, in the way of the San Francisco area.

In Seattle, the bus system is set up on a hub system, with downtown Seattle being the center - So express buses in and out are set up for prime morning and evening rush hours during the regular work week - Weekends and evenings are completely different - Also, there has never been a decent system set up, either on the Eastside, where Redmond is, or going down and including the valley from Boeing at Renton to Auburn in the south - Therefore, if one works anything other than a regular 8-4:30 or a 9-5 schedule, problems develop. - Just love to get stuck at the Bellevue transit center, after missing the last evening bus - Must wait for the Night Owl.

Try commuting from West Seattle to Kent - One of the reasons, Boeing pulled their national headquarters, despite not getting a sweetheart tax deal, was the lack of a decent transportation system, either for their employees, and/or their supplys - Of course, I just loved the dig they shot across the bow of the U of W. Mediocre education in the Pacific Northwest, not like that of Chicago. Yeah, hard shooting a dig, but, they moved.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 19, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

In Seattle, the bus system is set up on a hub system, with downtown Seattle being the center - So express buses in and out are set up for prime morning and evening rush hours during the regular work week - Weekends and evenings are completely different - Also, there has never been a decent system set up, either on the Eastside, where Redmond is, or going down and including the valley from Boeing at Renton to Auburn in the south - Therefore, if one works anything other than a regular 8-4:30 or a 9-5 schedule, problems develop. - Just love to get stuck at the Bellevue transit center, after missing the last evening bus - Must wait for the Night Owl. Posted by: thethirdPaul

Oh, paulthethird our once-removed cousin to the rainier clime to the Land of Ports.

I'll conceded that one doesn't have a wide variety of bus options after 8PM in the evening outside the city core (you're wrong about before 8AM however - rush hour is well underway by 6:30AM). But auto traffic (other than the pollution is generates) is not a problem throughout the region after that time of the evening - the exceptions being evening sporting events at Husky Stadium, Safeco Field, Quest Field and Key Arena. But, again, the traffic problems are on surface streets as opposed to the freeways and bridges.

Then again, just how easy is it to get to Long Island from NYC or to Beaverton from DT Portland after a dinner and movie? Because it's about the same as asking how do you get from Seattle to Woodinville "after hours."

Try commuting from West Seattle to Kent - One of the reasons, Boeing pulled their national headquarters, despite not getting a sweetheart tax deal, was the lack of a decent transportation system,

As a matter of fact, the only reason they did pull their national headquarters out of Seattle (never in Kent) was because of a tax break. They did use as one laughable excuse that Chicago gave them better air connections for their business. Odd since O'Hare has probably 15 weather delays to every one at Sea-Tac, and because Boeing's primary market has been Asia for about two decades, including Japanese and Australian companies providing parts for the new 787 and parts for other legacy jets. The only place Chicago is more convenient for Boeing, if you don't have a blizzard closing O'Hare and Midway, is Wichita.

Please give us money because we're a poor transnational

either for their employees,

Also not really an issue as Boeing's primary production facility has been in Everett for about 40 years. So people actually building the planes, which is, of course, the bulk of Boeing's work force, have lived in the north end for decades. The Renton facility is gone, and Kent employs fewer people than they do in Seattle.

and/or their supplys

They have rail (in fact, I watch 737 fuselages pass by my office en route to Paine Field a couple times a week) and air links directly to the facility, and the port of Everett is less than an thirty minutes from Paine Field.

- Of course, I just loved the dig they shot across the bow of the U of W.

Fucking nonsense, of course, as about half of everybody that works in engineering at Boeing graduated from the program at the U-Dub, with many getting their first practical experience at the Lazy-B's wind tunnel.

Mediocre education in the Pacific Northwest, not like that of Chicago.

Highest concentration of college educated in the U.S. (take that Boston!).

Posted by: JeffII on September 19, 2007 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII,

Yeah, but.......

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 20, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

"For people who know traffic: Tallahassee, Fl.
Modest-sized town. Insane traffic. Spider-web road plan. Protected live oak trees (for the ambiance) keep all the arteries two lane." (Jeffrey Davis, upthread).

This comment is a good example of what's going on in most of the posts on this thread. The perception of a "traffic problem" varies widely depending on one's direct perception of it and its relative severity in terms of one's experience.

I'm a transportation professional with 50 years experience, and am a fairly objective observer of transportation conditions. I've also lived for the past year in Tallahassee, after 30 years in Miami.

"Insane" is not a word I'd use to characterize traffic in Tallahassee. Normal conditions here exhibit a moderate congestion level on major thoroughfares, lasting about 40 minutes in the weekday p.m. peak hour. Significantly, horn-blowing (a common response to severe congestion) is almost entirely absent. So is "road rage" (another indicator).

A "spider web" road plan, overlaid on a grid, is actually very efficient when properly designed and engineered. Finally, the traffic-calming effect of the storied "canopy roads" reduces the overall stress associated with traffic.

This is not to say that there's no "traffic problem" in Tallahassee. It just isn't comparable in any meaningful way with truly severe congestion experienced in most major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

A few days in Miami or Orlando might be a useful way to gain some persepctive.

Posted by: wileycat on September 20, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Boeing moved their headquarters because the then-CEO had a boat he kept in Lake Michigan. 90% of all reasons given for companies moving is bullshit. It's usually for CEO convenience.

Posted by: walt on September 20, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Hello everyone. To believe in God or in a guiding force because someone tells you to is the height of stupidity. We are given senses to receive our information within. With our own eyes we see, and with our own skin we feel. With our intelligence, it is intended that we understand. But each person must puzzle it out for himself or herself. Help me! I can not find sites on the: Ventolin maximum. I found only this - dose of ventolin. As histogram has used, family has joined ends from the snails of business in homemade hundreds, ventolin. Ever before you memorize determining your stage for the steam, you must have to get many economy in your field, ventolin. Thank you very much :confused:. Varun from Latvia.

Posted by: Varun on March 12, 2010 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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