Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Downtown and the geometry of cities

While mass transit technology has improved (though not nearly as much as it would have had we not regulated the private companies out of existence and replaced them with sclerotic publicly-managed shitholes), I doubt it will ever get to the point where extra density downtown is not the market equilibrium. For example, in DC, even when the Silver and Purple Lines are completely built out, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for someone living in Maryland on the Purple Line to commute to work every day in Tysons Corner. The trip, like one to the already built-up Orange Line corridor, would involve transferring to the overcrowded Red Line, which you’d then have to taken into the city and change at Metro Center for the Silver or Orange Line, and then ride that a few stops into Virginia. Without even counting the time it would take to walk to the station from your house or to work from the station, the travel time could easily reach an hour each way – and that’s for peak trips when the trains are running with short headways. For those of you outside the DC bubble, imagine commuting by rail from Bryn Mawr to Cherry Hill in the Philly region, or from North Jersey to Long Island City in the NYC metro area, or from Oakland to San Jose in the Bay Area (California geography isn’t my strong suit – maybe that one’s more doable?).

Downtown New York, by sramses177

more posts about New York:

How Skyscrapers Can Save the City

Transforming Public Places: Grand Army Plaza

Do We Really All Have To Live Like New Yorkers? Does Density Matter?

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