Welcoming the BRT Bogeyman

January 19, 2010

One of the elements missing thus far from our recent relaunch is Mass Transit coverage. Frankly, this is mostly because I’m significantly under-qualified; no matter what my enthusiasm for urban mass transport, I just can’t comment about it with any expertise. I’m really just a dilettante (in the modern sense; not the “Silly, Very Cultured Club”).

But I can provide links (Take that, Crummles!) to important articles and this article on “Integrating Bus Rapid Transit Into the Streetscape” is as important as they come. If BRT is going to be a part of our urban transport network, it might as well be done right. Meaning: not at all like we’ve done in Boston where slow speeds abound even in dedicated tunnels. Silver Line buses should come with a “People Hate us on Yelp” sticker. (Oddly, the Porter Square station has a 4 star rating, with one reviewer likening its endless stairs to an ascent into Heaven. I prefer to think of the station as the depths of Hell. More likely: Porter station scores highly because everything else is so terrible.)

The Transport Politic article shows the importance of road design to BRT success. This should be the equivalent of stating the obvious, but attractive, affective design is the exception with BRT systems in this country where the norm is just to put up a bigger bus shelter and run larger buses. A well designed BRT system could actually help alleviate traffic and make a city more legible for its inhabitants–something few do.

And if you live in Mass: Go Vote!

Greetings, Foreign Friends!

August 12, 2008

Dash was recently excited to learn that almost 30% of Yesterday’s Salad readers come to us from India. Lo, what divine providence! I can only assume that this is because people from India love reading about developments in global mass transit. To wit, I refer them to the recent news that the inventor of hotmail wants to play a real-life version of Sim City in their fair country, replete with Bus Rapid Transit. My advice to our Indian friends: demand a monorail and/or light rail.

This reminds me of SaladGlobalMedia’s efforts to make a real-life version of monopoly. The pitch: convince a bunch of real-life tycoons to buy and sell properties in Atlantic City whilst being filmed (maybe our use of “whilst” led to all our Indian readers?). Dramatic conflict would ensue as entire neighborhoods would be torn down to build green houses and red hotels. The only parts we haven’t figured out are how to keep large amounts of money in the middle of town without people just grabbing it, and how we can convince our capitalist competitors to spend nights in prison. This idea may only work in Russia.

Things to Do on Doomsday

November 2, 2007

Given that a good many of our correspondents 362033461_4a2b699dee.jpgare patriots of and partisans for Chicago, that Somber city, and given our penchant for providing transport tips in all corners of the developed and developing world (when in Shonan try the awesome Safege style monorail, but it might be best to delay your trip to India for a few years, until that country finally takes part in the monorail revolution), it really is quite surprising that we’ve spoken so little about the horrible state of the CTA (excepting their vigilant pursuit of Dr. …butwithawhimper). As I mentioned the other day, new CTA chief Ron Huberman has shifted priorities, and significant progress has been made on the slow-zone problems (things are certainly better than they were back in March). Whilst track conditions may be improving, the CTA funding crisis goes from bad to worse. The CTA decided to accept the state’s bailout money earlier this year, removing the sense of urgency that had lawmakers on the verge of passing legislation. Or not passing legislation. Since no elected representative in Illinois can be called a leader, and no one can agree on anything (yes, that article is from May, but it’s not like anything has changed). With doomsday scheduled for Sunday, the CTA once again decided to spare their riders and take state cash, this time pushing Doomsday off until New Year’s Eve, giving law-makers two more months to do nothing. Two thoughts: where is Joe Biden when you need him, and whither penny rides?

But since everyone has New Year’s off anyway, and no-one, therefore, has to worry about missing the job or class they won’t be able to get to, YS is here to humbly suggest that shut-in former commuters kick back and relax with the two best TV shows of the season: Kitchen Nightmares and Dirty Sexy Money.

Before you, o wise and humble reader, rush in to say “Nay! Those two shows are practically the same program!” please allow me a brief defense as to why I have decided to name these sister programs the best shows on TV. Unlike last year, when Studio 60 and 30 Rock battled things out, any and all resemblances between KN and DSM are purely coincidental, rather than a nefarious network plot to advertise SNL an additional 90 minutes a week. As such, they probably deserve to be taken on their own merits, like dueling volcano or Capote movies, but for purposes of this review, they won’t be.

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Pro Transico

October 22, 2007

With a new rhetorician on board, one would expect that Dash’s-nay, all of our argumentive (obs. argumentative) abilities would increase, that all the saladeers would embrace the new order of panegyrics and symbolic language, that all saladeers would rise to the level of our classically trained brother and enter into a new bond with the readers, self-adjuring (to bind under the penalty of a curse. Obs.) to a higher level of discourse. Sadly, this will not be the case. Dash will continue to hoot ( intr. To behave in a loutish or irresponsible way; spec. to drive fast or recklessly–specifically irresponsible for Dash as he has no Driver’s License) and wade into the waters of discourse beyond his depth and breadth.

But even in subjects where Dash has a passing familiarity (c’est a dire, decolonialization, scholarly editing, post-colonial feminist thought, and basket weaving) the limits of knowledge are sometimes strained. For example, Dash cannot account for the continued intellectual cock-blocking of Communist regimes (lehavdil). Everyone knows about Pyongyang’s secret metro system, but pictures and videos are hard to come by. And while it was announced that Beijing will concurrently build 6 new metro lines for completion by 2012, no other information is really known about the expansion. Will the lines continue to be the cheapest in the world, for example? Or, much more importantly, where will they run? Will the right of way be exclusive, or will it be shared?

With space at a premium the world around, perhaps China should consider placing their new railways in the middle of a market, like the good folks in Bangkok.

Personally, I’d like to see such innovative right-of-way sharing practiced in the U.S. Maybe Houston, which just pulled the transit upset of the century and announced plans to build five new light rail lines by 2012 instead of unlikely-t0-be-efficient-BRT, could experiment with such a right-of-way arrangement. Or better yet, perhaps Mr. Drew Carey can convince his private enterprise friends to finance such a scheme, helping private enterprise get customers directly to the markets and the world.