Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Technology

A Maglev Train System for Florida? 298

Posted by timothy
from the whooosh dept.
Artifice_Eternity writes "For 20 years, citizens of Florida have been pushing for high-speed rail, as an alternative to the state's ever-growing, yet ever-crowded highways. A previous plan, the Florida Overland eXpress (FOX), was killed by governor Jeb Bush in 1998. The voters responded by passing a referendum to require the building of a "bullet train," starting by November 2003. The new Florida High Speed Rail Authority is focusing first on the busy Miami-Orlando and Tampa-Orlando corridors, but eventually hopes to serve the whole state. And they are seriously considering maglev technology! If the Florida HSR system did use maglev, it would be the largest one in the world. (Right now, maglev is in use on test tracks in Germany and Japan, with a 30-kilometer system under construction in Shanghai.) However, I like this humorous proposal best: it takes the idea of a "bullet train" literally, using the Jules Verne approach to propulsion."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

A Maglev Train System for Florida?

Comments Filter:
  • I4 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) on Saturday August 10, 2002 @08:44PM (#4048292)
    Would be nice if they would run it along I4 (which they probably will, since it's the main artery from Tampa to Orlando)... traffic there is horrible.

    Assuming it's not too expensive to ride, I would see it getting alot of business from us college students in Orlando who have family along the routes... gas isn't exactly cheap for a 400 mile drive one way

    • Re:I4 (Score:2, Informative)

      by bwalling (195998)
      400 miles? If you are in Orlando, you'll be unable to find a 400 mile trip along I4. Tampa is only 75 miles away, and the other end of I4 (Daytona) is even less. It's not even 400 miles from Orlando to Miami (it's only 200).

      400 miles would take you almost to Atlanta, which won't be participating in our little High Speed Rail fiasco.

      Take a Greyhound. That's what I did when I was going to school in Gainesville. It doesn't take very long on trips like Orlando to Tampa, or Orlando to Miami. It's cheap ($20), and it's not going to cause the taxpayers to be ripped off beyond their wildest imaginations. This rail thing is a huge waste.
  • The logistics of supplying power to such a maglev system would be slightly insane. Florida has daily rain, coupled with the heat, that will corrode coils and short stuff out. Not to mention the hurricanes.

    Oh yeah, let's not forget the couple 'o fusion reactors that'll be needed to power the sucker.
    • Why would coils be exposed to the elements? I know NOTHING about maglev, so treat this as a newbie question...
    • It's called superconductors (for electromagnets)... along with very powerful permanent magnets (neodymium anyone?)....

      Florida has daily rain, coupled with the heat, that will corrode coils and short stuff out. Not to mention the hurricanes.

      Why would they expose the coils directly to the weather?? Don't you think there could be some sort of a coating on the coils?

      ya know those high voltage lines arent exactly covered by anything..... they survive the weather... Since the potential difference within the superconducting electromagnets will be very small to obtain the most current, there really won't be that much of an "urge" for the power to short out like in those uncovered high voltage lines that we seem not to have a problem with...
  • Bleh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hage (581704)
    I voted against this in 2000.

    Simply put: Florida doesn't have the money. I'm not sure if the old rail route between Miami and Tampa is still operational (I took it a couple of times, years ago), but it was more than adequate. It wasn't very popular, though, IIRC.

    The reason the referendum passed? It was vaguely worded and there was virtually no publicity given to it. I remember seeing it on the ballot, thinking "Hmm.. that would be pretty neat," and damn near punching it. And then I realized that it would be simply another bloated fund for our local politicos to exploit -- another holy grail for South Florida's thriving embezzlement industry. No thanks.

    I hope Jeb lays the smack down again.
  • One more link.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dizco (20340) on Saturday August 10, 2002 @09:09PM (#4048384)
    "Off-duty troopers, hired at $30 an hour, picked motorists at random and directed them to pull off the interstate into a rest stop, where Palm Pilot- toting interviewers waited. "

    That's how florida's high-speed rail authority recently choose to gauge public interest [tampatrib.com] in riding the high speed train.
    • Hmm. One wonders what their point was. Either they made some Florida drivers mad at the train system, or drove home the point that no one can pointlessly pull you over when you're riding the train.

      Seriously, can off-duty cops accept bribes to pull people over? I'll have to try that, I have a few friends who could use a good scare :-)
      • ding ding ding!

        Seriously, can off-duty cops accept bribes to pull people over?

        Apparently! I hope one from CT responds to this, because i've got 90 bux i'd drop for an hour each of 3 cops fucking with friends of mine on vaious CT highway. Maybe a little extra for a k9 unit.

        Weird ethics, this.
      • Re:One more link.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BitGeek (19506)


        When exactly was it that cops stopped being responsible for public safety and became agents of the state?

        Have you noticed that people don't even expect cops to do things relating to public safety anymore? ITs just a foregone conclusion that they are the state's bullies-- there to harass drivers, or bust drugs (which has nothing to do with public safety) or provide protection, or run interference for politicos and corporations (such as blocking traffic, or providing "security" which is really just armed enforcement, without the checks or balances of the law.)

        When was the last time a cop shot an innocent person and went to jail for it? I can't think of any... seems they do that once a month here in Seattle and are never brought up on charges, let alone serve time.

        Hell on TV they don't even try to portray cops as working for any kind of objectivity-- they are always working for the prosecution. Notice that? It wouldn't be so bad if they were genreally trustworthy, but its been widely reported the hundreds of cases where the state forensice expert cooked the evidence (Where was that? Missouri? Maryland?) For decade he was doing this.

        Its time to get rid of the police part of the police state-- let private security agencies represent us and defend us-- and make everyone equal under the law. (And no more agents of the state getting first crack at the evidence so they can tamper with it. Completely lacks objectivity that.)

        Thanks for listening to my rant. while I was born in the south, I left after I realized just how corrupt the states are.. Florida, LA, Miss, Texas-- hell cops were drowning people in Brayes Bayou and shooting them, while drunk, on the freeway when I left Texas (and of course, no charges are filed.)

        • Re:One more link.. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Planesdragon (210349)
          When was the last time a cop shot an innocent person and went to jail for it? I can't think of any... seems they do that once a month here in Seattle and are never brought up on charges, let alone serve time.

          Police officers are not part of the general populace when they've got their badge on, and are held to a different standard of accountability, not unlike the code that soliders have to follow.

          Here in NY state, there was a spark a while back about a black man named Diallo who got shot down by officers. After a trial (that got moved upstate to right here in Albany), the officers were absolved of their charges--the jury found that they really did think that this was their man, and they really did think that he was pulling a gun.

          'course, they all probably got written up internally for "excessive use of force," and each and every one of those cops has to live with the knowledge that they killed an innocent... I would be surprised if none of the officers took some psychiatric aid, and if they're all still working at NYPD.

          (A google search, btw, lists over 54k results for "Cop goes to jail".)

          For the most part, police officers who go to trial go quietly, and I suspect that many of them plead guilty--who the hell wants to life with "bad cop" floating around in the general conciousness attached to their face?

          Its time to get rid of the police part of the police state-- let private security agencies represent us and defend us-- and make everyone equal under the law. (And no more agents of the state getting first crack at the evidence so they can tamper with it. Completely lacks objectivity that.)

          That's wrong on so many levels...
          1. Placing security into "private" hands means security only for the rich. I can barely afford health insurance and keep a car on the road--how the hell am I going to find money to pay for a security service?
          2. There's a cliche about people paying for "security." And it's attached to the mob. It doesn't seem that far a step from "everyone pays someone to protect them" to "everyone pays someone not to beat them up."
          3. What makes you think that private agents would be any *MORE* trustworthy than state agents? Most forensic units are looking for the truth, not a conviction, mostly because reductions in crime make their neighborhoods safer and their jobs easier.


          Thanks for listening to my rant. while I was born in the south, I left after I realized just how corrupt the states are.. Florida, LA, Miss, Texas-- hell cops were drowning people in Brayes Bayou and shooting them, while drunk, on the freeway when I left Texas (and of course, no charges are filed.)

          So, you're a witness to police getting drunk and murdering someone? Call the local DA right now--there's no statute of limiations on murder. Oh, that DA's corrupt? Then call them first, and then the FBI. Oh, you didn't see it firsthand? Then have your friend who did call.

          Oh, wait--you mean you didn't actually see it, and you don't know anyone who did? Then it's heresay, gossip, and not enough to build any kind of case whatsoever. It probably didn't happen, or if it did it was resolved internally and no one bothered to tell you because it's none of your damn business.

          Sorry about the counter-rant; knee-jerk antiestablishmentism irks me greatly, especially coming from people who don't get out and do anything about it.


          • The cops who shot people, while drunk, on the freeway, were witnessed by dozens of people, if not hundreds. These people were interviewed and thier statements went into the papers, and I'm sure court records somewhere. Same thing with the drownings. And the white cop, who'd been brought up on chrages 4 times in the prior 5 years for excessive use of force against black men, who shot an unarmed black man in the back 5 times as the man crawled away from him--- he was never charged either (and all the previous incidents were dropped).

            There was plenty of evidence to prosecute. Yes, the DAs are corrupt. And if you think the FBI actually cares, you're a fool. Who do you think it IS protecting cops? OTHER COPS. What do you think the FBI IS?

            You don't like private security agencies (answerable under the law) because you prefer the public one (not answerable under the law)-- you trade liberty for the illusion of security.

            And, by the way, a cop with a badge is no different than any other person. They have no moral special rights. The law treats them different, but then, the law isn't moral.

            But I remain amazed at sheeps willingness and eagerness to have a corrupt police force. Point out corruption and they don't care. They just don't want to have to "pay" for their police.

            By the way, are you really that poor at math that you think you couldn't afford a private security agency? Who's paying for the police who don't protect you now? YOU ARE. And you're paying more than you would if your providers had incentive to provide a good deal. And you'd get better service because they'd work for you, rather than for the state.

            Well, you want this police state. Eventually it will kill you, one way or another. You asked for it. Personally, I'm working to change things.

            (Ironic that you talked about being irked at people who don't do anything about it, when the status quo is what you advocate... sheesh, irked with yourself?)
            • The cops who shot people, while drunk, on the freeway, were witnessed by dozens of people, if not hundreds. These people were interviewed and thier statements went into the papers, and I'm sure court records somewhere. Same thing with the drownings. And the white cop, who'd been brought up on chrages 4 times in the prior 5 years for excessive use of force against black men, who shot an unarmed black man in the back 5 times as the man crawled away from him--- he was never charged either (and all the previous incidents were dropped).

              There was plenty of evidence to prosecute. Yes, the DAs are corrupt. And if you think the FBI actually cares, you're a fool. Who do you think it IS protecting cops? OTHER COPS. What do you think the FBI IS?


              Got a date? Or a name? If you supply the facts, I'll start a letter-writing campaign and see what I can do.

              You don't like private security agencies (answerable under the law) because you prefer the public one (not answerable under the law)-- you trade liberty for the illusion of security.

              So, you'd prefer private COPS to public COPS? The law allready holds them all acountable--what makes you think that a private agency would be any different in that respect.

              And, by the way, a cop with a badge is no different than any other person. They have no moral special rights. The law treats them different, but then, the law isn't moral.

              Law isn't *always* moral, but in this case it is. A police officer puts his own life in the way of danger to uphold the safety of others; morally, he SHOULD be held to a different standard. Tighter in some ways, looser in others.

              The positions and relationships we assume in society give us different moral rights and responsibilities. If I know you as a friend, you have the moral right to call on me; if you don't know me, you don't have that "moral right."

              But I remain amazed at sheeps willingness and eagerness to have a corrupt police force. Point out corruption and they don't care. They just don't want to have to "pay" for their police.

              I don't trust private security agencies to do the job of cops as well as cops do. Take a look at real world examples, and realize that they will be abused by those in power. When it's possible to simply pay more to get better service, the rich will pay more and abuse the system to get what they want. (IIRC, private secuirity firms went out of favor after being used to break strikes.)

              By the way, are you really that poor at math that you think you couldn't afford a private security agency? Who's paying for the police who don't protect you now? YOU ARE. And you're paying more than you would if your providers had incentive to provide a good deal. And you'd get better service because they'd work for you, rather than for the state.

              Actually, I'm not. I pay only sales taxes and income taxes because I rent my aparment. My landlord pays the property taxes that pay for the city cops, the businesses I shop at pay the sales taxes for county cops.

              A private security agency, with this exact same ammount of funds, would focus on those that pay, and not those that don't. I would get only the protection that my landlord and the businesses I frequent feel is necessary for them to pay for.

              OTOH, if you're advocating for-profit nongovernmental police organizations that buy contracts from governments, they'd wind up just the same as the state cops, but less well paid (and thus less loyal / skilled.)

              Think about it--do you REALLY want the chance of a Microsoft with police powers? THAT would unarguably be a corrupt "police state".

              Well, you want this police state. Eventually it will kill you, one way or another. You asked for it. Personally, I'm working to change things.

              If you just change it to privitization, you wind up right back where you started. The place to focus is on accountability and transparancy. Make sure every person killed by a cop goes before a judge, even if just for a cursory hearing. If a cop's off duty, hide the fact that they're cops from the judges and the DAs.

              (Ironic that you talked about being irked at people who don't do anything about it, when the status quo is what you advocate... sheesh, irked with yourself?)

              Nope. I believe in the system we have, I just want to make it work. Give me some better details than "man killed in texas by drunk cops", and I'll see what I can do to find out what happened; if the urban legend holds up, I'll do what I can to help bring those cops to justice.


              • Yeah right. Just look in the Houston Papers in the early to mid 90s. Hell, you can go look now and you'll see it.

                Jsut a couple weeks ago we saw cops slamming some kids head on the trunk of a car repeatedly, on national television. You gonna work to bring him to justice?

                Or the guys who beat rodney king?

                I love that you say private agencies would be abused but you don't think that public ones are-- when the public ones are not held accountable AT ALL under the law. sheesh.

                You refuse to see, and so you pretend it doesn't exist.

                But how long can you do this when video keeps coming out of this stuff? How about the cop that shot the guy who was threatening to commit suicide a few years ago? or the Cop Riot in Seattle we had for WTO? Was your TV broken that week? The cops frikking RIOTED.

                Sheesh.

                And not one of those WTO cops has even had a hearing, a grand jury brought up or anything. Know why? all of them had their badges covered, making it impossible to identify them. Now why would they go and do something like that, upstanding, law abiding people that they were. That's not premeditation, is it? Gee.

                BTW, I was here, I talked to people first hand, I saw what went on during WTO first hand. I wasn't involved, but anyone who went to the window of their office building in the right parts of town could see it with their own eyes. Not to mention the video tape that was broadcast nationally-- for instance the one where the cop stopped the art students car, made them roll down the window, and then PEPPER SPRAYED THEM. They were just going home from a night college class, but he was pissed so he took it out on a couple young girls. Yeah, great police force we have here.

                Denial aint just a river in egypt.

  • lets hope the trains handle crowds better than the website.
  • Get a Maglev PLEASE!!. Florida is one the absolute worst states for riding a bicycle [maricopa.gov].

    Hordes of cyclists may actually ride in your state and you might actually have fewer blind older folks killing them.

    Now if you could only convince the young 'uns that riding a Maglev would be kool.
  • Florida's population is exploding; contrary to the popular image, it's less a state of retirees than it is a state of immigrants (from within the US and from abroad) and of young families.

    The traffic problems have gotten awful, and not for lack of highways and 6-lane through roads. The bigger problem is much of Florida's other defining characteristic: fifty years of unregulated sprawl. South Florida has the same problems Los Angeles is finally starting to address. Office space, commerce and residential areas are kept separate, spread out and decentralized, and both coasts are hemmed in by the Everglades. Once the rather limited 20-miles strips of land along the coasts are built on, it just gets denser and denser, and that's what's happening. But unlike New York, San Francisco, Paris, London, Chicago, Moscow, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong or [insert viable city here], the "downtowns" aren't as dominant as they should be, and even in the cities, many neighborhoods are car-oriented.

    As in L.A., this makes intercity train service a lot less useful. What good is it if only one in four business travelers can get off a train within a quick local transit or cab ride of their destination? Is a commuter train system going to get a lot of passengers if most people have to drive a half hour in gridlock just to get to a station--and there's no end station near their workplace? (Ask Southeast Florida commuters: the current north-south-only Tri-Rail is enthusiastically embraced by people who live close to one station and work close to another, but shunned by everyone else.)

    There are a lot of people in the Palm Beach-Miami corridor, but they're relatively spread out and they commute in every possible direction. Intercity rail is an important part of what the state's metro areas need, but it's just not going to make real inroads as an alternative to crowded highways until the "last mile" solutions are also in place. More mixed-use planning and zoning will help by letting people live and work with less need for cars, as it's been helping LA and Atlanta, but that will be a long time in coming. In the meantime, workplaces are so scattered and decentralized that buses take too long to get anyone anywhere useful, and extensive commuter and light rail would have to be practically everywhere, with lots of parallel east-west and north-south lines and express tracks in order to work.

    On its own, this high-speed rail network may well only do what its detractors think it will do: ferry families from Florida's coastal cities to Disney World for weekend trips.
    • First you say:

      bigger problem is much of Florida's other defining characteristic: fifty years of unregulated sprawl.

      Then you say:

      Office space, commerce and residential areas are kept separate, spread out and decentralized,

      The decisions about where residential areas will be and where commerial areas will be are more often determined by zoning boards -- regulation.

      Various governments decide how the land will be used. There is plenty of regulation.

      Sprawl comes because governments subsidize road-building among other things. People who live far away from cities are not made to bare the true costs of their dicisions.
      • Ah, you see the apparent contradiction between the comprehensive planning that creates unlivable sprawl and the fact that the planning itself comes from government.

        Once you look at the history of postwar new-suburban development as it really happened, the two reconcile pretty well. Yep, the zoning plans that created decentralized, traffic-clogged suburbs came from municipal governments--but the municipal governments literally came from the developers. Putting aside the charming histories of the big cities "founded" by railroad moguls and land speculators, the most extreme examples come in the suburbs built out of nothing in the last forty years: a developer would devise a master plan for a town-sized piece of property in an unincorporated area, they'd have six of their employees move into houses built on the land, and those six people and their families would vote to incorporate a city made up entirely of people tied to the development.

        Six employees, literally. No exaggeration.
    • The traffic problems have gotten awful, and not for lack of highways and 6-lane through roads. The bigger problem is much of Florida's other defining characteristic: fifty years of unregulated sprawl.
      I agree... SimCity 101. Don't complately isolate your industrial, commercial and residential zones, or you'll get HellTraffic(TM).

      I don't know if this train is the right idea; it certianly sounds nifty. And I doubt it'll take away any more from the state than it gives back. I'd certianly enjoy using it to get to orlando without a 3 hour drive, but I do respect the opinions of the people who live in the north part of the state who will get practically nothing from it.

      I really wish Tri-Rail had a station near me. I would love to save the money on gas and the frustration of driving during the peak hour of the rat-race. Irritatingly enough, I live within 100 yards of the tri-rail track, and I work within 200-250 yards of the same track, 10 miles north of where I live.

      On its own, this high-speed rail network may well only do what its detractors think it will do: ferry families from Florida's coastal cities to Disney World for weekend trips.
      While I agree with most of what you said, I don't see why tourists visiting Orlando wouldn't want to come and see the beaches. I often see Disney busses on the turnpike and 95 south of west palm, so I assume there must be some interest in Orlando visitors coming down here.
    • workplaces are so scattered and decentralized that buses take too long to get anyone anywhere useful, and extensive commuter and light rail would have to be practically everywhere, with lots of parallel east-west and north-south lines and express tracks in order to work.
      Then maybe SkyTrans [skytran.net] would be more appropriate. Fast maglev transportation, point-to-point -- kind of what you describe, only scaled differently.

      The big downside being that it's not even reached prototype. But if it panned out like they think it will, it would be cheaper than one big train line even with R&D included. More conventional PRT designs could address the last-mile issue, but probably wouldn't be appropriate for the long-haul, and a maglev-like fat pipe might be necessary. (Though there might be enough rooms on the highway if shorter trips were redirected)

  • I have a theory, and the theory is mine.

    Public transportation is a wonderful thing.

    Everyone will use it.

    The number of cars on roads will decrease.

    The amount of air pollution will decrease.

    Then I can drive my car in peace.

    -- Terry
    • Public transportation is a wonderful thing.

      The benefits of public transportation are generally functions of population density. 1000 lbs of air pollution from coal generators (where most US energy still comes from), is probably worse than 1000 lbs of air pollution from cars -- but I am speculating there. The problem comes when the density is low enough that the cost of deploying public devices on service routes on equitable and fair schedules costs (in terms of both $ and pollution) more to operate than personal vehicles.

      In say Singapore, where the population density is mostly crammed into high-rises due to their limited land mass and political boundaries, public transportation is not only good, but necessary. In contrast, suburbs really kill the benefits of public transportation, by adding more-than a squared area to the service route.

      If you really want high availability and quality public transportation, and with the benefit of better air quality, people have to live in closer proximity. Personally, I like the outdoors and the country, but I can also see the benefits of having a close-knit city like Singapore, in terms of the environment. If everyone lived like so many New Hampshire people do :), there wouldn't be much room left on the planet, and public transportation would cost more than the benefits it provides.

      • Your theory of public transportation is a game of statistics. I am supposed to be convinced that, at a particular population density, people will start using it.

        The problem with this theory is that when I want to go home at 9:37 PM, I want to *go home* at 9:37 PM, not walk 4 blocks, wait 15 minutes for a bus, ride for a while, get off, wait another 15 minutes to transfer to another bus, ride for another while, get off, and walk another 4 blocks.

        Public transportation is always a great idea *for other people, not for you*.

        I've discussed this in letters with Governor Gray Davis of California. The only real way to get a lot of people onto public transportation is to make it fully subsidized.

        The only way to get people to take public transportation is to make the marginal cost of taking it less than the marginal cost of not taking it. Making it free would drastically increase ridership. But there will still be people who will not take it, even if you were to pay them.

        -- Terry
        • In Singapore, you rarely wait more than 5 minutes. The high population density requires bus circuits with a 5-15 minute interval. (Probability dictates that you will wait half-or-less-than that, most of the time). As well, in Singapore, the cost of cars is several magnitudes higher than America; a $20,000 car can cost over $120,000 with taxes in. If everyone over there had a car, the city would be nothing but a huge parking lot, and you would have no choice but to walk anyway. :)

          In America, I have spent more time waiting at stop lights than I ever have waited standing around for a bus. I am burning gas (and generating pollution), increasing traffic flow, and living in a personal bubble when in my own vehicle. Public transportation is less so, of these; the inconvenience of waiting is merely relegated to stop lights, rather than bus stops. As well, I have spent over an hour looking for good parking spots in more than one downtown metro, a problem of environment, convenience, and availability that does not exist with public transportation.

          Timing convenience and high availability are functions of dense public transportation circuits. This does not happen with suburbs, or even any American-ish Cities, given their tradition of exploiting vast amounts of relatively cheap land versus dense vertical buildup and subsidization.

          Traffic engineering is fluid dynamics, water works the same way as traffic. The question of whether people will use it is a social engineering question, not traffic engineering, and is subject to a much more inaccurate statistical model. But availability, lack of cost effective alternatives (like Singapore), and convenience, certainly will lead to greater usage. Even in Singapore, though, there isn't ubiquitous usage. But it makes sense to use public transportation, so people do.
  • A monorail for Springfield!!!!
  • In Portland they seem to have a very hard time building rail systems. The opposition say its no good, under-used, and they have the right to drive their car anyhow - without paying the high taxes (doesn't anyone think about how these roads were built or maintained?).

    Anyhoo - every time I've been on their local (and short) train lines they have around here its always very crowded - especially when I had a job and commuted to work in it. Usually standing room only. I've found in my travels all over this world that there's one constant - in the bigger cities cars are a major problem. I've never seen any big city where everyone can drive downtown, park their car, go to work and drive home. In Tokyo for instance if you buy a car you need to have a note from a police officer that says you have a place to park it overnight (I wish they'd do that here too). I'm not talking about people who have to drive - but I'd be willing to bet well over 75% of everyone who does could use an alternative, simply because they had the opportunity to reduce highway load if they did use some alternative form of transport - but its just easier (sometimes) to drive.

    For the most part the only reason you could drive (in the case of convience) is because someone else did take the bus or ride the train.

    I don't like the way this Florida referendum was handled (I mean the only reason they wrote it into the constitution was because its much harder to recall), but sooner or later most cities in the US are going to have to take transit seriously.
    • I've never seen any big city where everyone can drive downtown, park their car, go to work and drive home.

      Columbus has a metropolitan area essentially equal to Portland, and the city proper is about a fifth larger. Essentially everyone drives downtown, parks their car, goes to work, and drives home.

      People complain about traffic and parking here, but an abundance of downtown parking, plus admittedly laudable highway planning, has made Columbus an automobile city that actually works.
      • I'm sure they do, but I'd bet a lot of people ride the bus to work too. Traffic is rarely bad here, but like I said - I think traffic works here pretty well because a lot of people ride bikes, ride the bus and ride the train to work. You might investigate how many rides your local bus company does per day in Columbus - you might be suprised. Seriously though - I've never studied a major city (I had to for a survey of urban planning classes at PSU) that is set up so that everyone who wants to can drive their car to work. Even in Columbus I'm sure the highway system would fail if everyone woke up one morning and decided to drive the car into work.

        And we have a bus system that is pretty efficent - most anywhere the most you'll have to walk is two-three blocks to catch one. And the train system is set up that at most stations there are busses and taxi's that can take you wherever.
    • In Tokyo for instance if you buy a car you need to have a note from a police officer that says you have a place to park it overnight (I wish they'd do that here too).

      There are pleanty of big cities you can still do that in in America. Here in Phoenix, it's pretty dang easy.

      We've had great traffic planning for the most part, and even when it's crowded it's still pretty nice (having lived in a number of other metro areas, I'm impressed). It really shocked me when I was in Nothern AZ listining to a Las Vegas radio talk show with a bunch of callers saying they wish they had Phoenix traffic planners take over the LV roads.

      That having been said, I wish we would stop using their cars. In live in a subrurb called Tempe, and I recently discovered that I can walk two blocks, catch a bus that shows up every 15 minutes and get to the airport in about 8 minutes and be down town Phoenix in about 18 minutes. Needless to say, I use this now every time I fly or want to go to a baseball game (It's safe, clean, well air conditionined, and I can drink like a madman at the game and not worry about getting home).

      I work from home, and most of our clients are out of the city, so I'm stuck with driving on the hiways for a good portion of work (small town clients), but in the metro area, despite having good traffic I'd still rather take the bus... not because I'm some high nosed snooty envrionmentalist, but because it's just that much easier. I wish more people shared that.
      • I'm not saying it doesn't happen - all I'm saying is that in some cities cars work as well as they do because people are using alternative forms of transport.

        I used to take the bus to work all the time too (I haven't had a steady job for a while) - it has advantages :) - for instance about a year ago my car was parked downtown in a garage and someone broke into it (broke out the rear quater glass). Not to mention downtown parking is expensive.
  • "The voters responded by passing a referendum to require the building of a "bullet train," starting by November 2003. The new Florida High Speed Rail Authority is focusing first on the busy Miami-Orlando and Tampa-Orlando corridors, but eventually hopes to serve the whole state."

    The voters didn't respond. The people of the five largest cities voted to make everyone pay for their bullet train.

    And the referendum was not about serving the whole state -- it was about serving the five largest metro areas.

    I live in a town less than 5 minutes from I4 where this train is going to be. It won't stop in my town (over 40,000 people), but I'll be paying for it anyway.

    This is about one group of people voting themselves everyone's money. Hurray. Democracy at work.
  • Choice 1 was for Maglev.
    Choice 2 was against.

    Still, someone managed to vote for Pat Buchanon.

  • by jyang (86770)
    In order for trains (high speed or maglev) to work, they'd better build a parking lot put walmart, target lot to shame.

    I'm wondering how much distance a 150 mph train achieves its top speed. It's safe to assume we only have one station in every major cities, which are miles and miles of sprawl. Take a taxi from my place to airport cost me $50, and that's only one way.

    I love trains, I do, but billions of dollars are better spent on some good city planning first. And like a famous quote from a Florida legislator: "We should pay every teacher in this state at least $60,000". I'll vote for that.
  • I live in Tampa, FL and many residents believe this train referendum was rammed through by special interests. This would be a huge and useless boondoggle like Boston's Big Dig.

    Sure there's major congestion on the highways. The problem is that there is piss-poor mass transport in the cities. Take the train from Tampa to Orlando, and then rent a car or pay big $$$ for a taxi?

    High probable of fraud and tax money waste.

    - Andrew in Tampa
  • Mag-lev! Wow! Neato! Yeah, but shouldn't we shore up our existing commuting rail system before spending this kinda cash? You know, for once, I'd like to see a clean, well kept light rail system, not one that looks like it's about ready to fall apart like the ones here in Chicago. Or New York. And such a joy it is to wait down in those pits too. My first experience with light rail was in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. I got back here to the US and my first thought was "What a joke! This sucks!" and "Damn, it feels like the car is going to derail at anytime!" Let's bring what we have at least up into the 80's before waste more money on these toys.
    • for once, I'd like to see a clean, well kept light rail system

      Try going to D.C. The subway system (goes above ground outside the city) is very nice, and the stations are particulary well designed. When I'd go sight seeing in the city, I'd park in College Park and take the train in, and was always impressed.

      I wish more cities would follow suit. I was very disapointed with L.A. light rail, which seems cheap and clunky, even when riding on brand new lines.

  • Objection 1: "It will only serve a few cities." Actually, Fla. HSR WILL serve the whole state when the system is built out. It makes sense to build lines to serve the 5 largest metro areas first -- they contain the most potential riders. But if you read my story, you'll see a link to a map that basically includes rail lines covering the whole state, following the paths of the major interstate highways (I-10, I-4, I-95, I-75) and the Fla. Turnpike. This means stations in Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Ocala, Daytona, St. Augustine, Titusville, Fort Myers, Naples, and elsewhere.

    Objection 2 seems to be the cost of the system. Well, the Florida HSR site says they are exploring a "DBMF" option, which stands for Design, Build, Maintain and Finance. In other words, a public-private partnership would build and run (and pay for) the system. You let private firms finance a major part of the system, and then let them make their money back by running it for profit. For an example, look at NYC: many people don't realize that 2/3 of its subway lines were actually built and run by private companies (tho they are now owned by the gov't.). A privately run train service would probably be more efficient anyway (look at how bad Amtrak service is... it's a gov't. monopoly, so they don't have to try).

    Objection 3: not enough public transit WITHIN cities. This, sadly, is true. Florida needs to rectify this. I know there are serious efforts being made in southeast Florida (Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Palm Beach), but they've got a long way to go. Still, trains are very long-term investments (think decades and even centuries). Eventually Fla.'s major population centers will HAVE to offer better local transit systems, even if it doesn't happen for 15 or 20 years. And then the intercity HSR service will fully come into its own. Also, people and businesses will start to view locations near the HSR stations as desirable, and development patterns will change. You have to think long-term, something Americans seem to be bad at (and Floridians worst of all).

    In any case, the status quo -- more and more roads, which just promote more and more traffic -- is unacceptable. Someone needs to have the vision to change this. Those who fear such a change are, wittingly or unwittingly, choosing the path that will lead to paving the entire state with asphalt and concrete. It's time to realize this is not working.

    If you build it, they WILL come.
    • In my opinion, an HSR line between Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami would actually have much more riders than people anticipate.

      If the line has trains capable of running at 233 mph maximum and have at least trains passing by 4 times an hour, it could make it possible for tourists who land at any airport in Florida capable of visiting everything along the HSR line pretty quickly. Imagine your flight lands in Miami, but you can take the HSR to visit Orlando and Jacksonville in 1-2 hours of transit time. Disney World folks would love it because many more local Floridians would visit Disney World due to the fact it'll be a short train ride from Jacksonville and Miami to the literal front step of Disney World.
  • In my opinion, if they are going to build a high-speed rail system in Florida, I would do the following:

    1. Build it with the fastest trainsets available and make it capable of topping out at 375 km/h (233 mph). The technology is there to build such a train using conventional steel rail systems.

    2. The first line should be Jacksonville south to Orlando and then south to Miami. The second line is from Jacksonville west to Pensacola.

    3. The service has to be frequent--that means at least 15 minutes between trains.

    4. Establish train stations near airports. This means the line has to go near the main airports of Jacksonville, Orlando, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. In the Orlando area, you want a station that is very close or on Disney World property.
  • an interconnected rickshaw system, but all I got was this lousy Maglev train. That's right, I'M a Florida voter!
  • The stupid voters of Florida (where I reside) passed an amendment to the Florida Constitution to REQUIRE a Maglev be built. This is complete stupidity, now the people building the Mag train have bascially unlimited budget. If the Maglev train was economically feasible private industry would have built one or would have plans to build one.

    I have no problems with having a maglev, but I do not want one required by law, it just means that there is gonna be wayt too much money spent.

    -- Tim

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

Working...