r/interestingasfuck Jun 30 '22 Silver 2 Wholesome Seal of Approval 1

1979 advertisement for London transit showing how the city would look if built by American planners. /r/ALL

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38.7k Upvotes

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1.9k

u/chop-diggity Jun 30 '22 Wholesome

Shit…that looks like BAton Rouge traffic.

333

u/avz16 Jun 30 '22

10/12 split? Crossing the bridge? Take your pick

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u/MCSS_Coalmine_Canary Jun 30 '22

And why is there an accident on the bridge EVERY DAY?!

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u/King_Of_Uranus Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

One driver is texting, one is updating their facebook status and tweeting, one is livestreaming on twitch, one is looking into a burger king bag for those last loose fries, one is steering with their knees to take a hit from a bowl, one is scrolling through their spotify playlist, one is paying attention to the road, one is trying to smack the kids fighting in the backseat, one is putting on makeup...

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u/pukem0n Jun 30 '22

One is eating cereal with milk out of a bowl while driving

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u/cmaster6 Jun 30 '22

MERGE YOU GOD DAMN BITCH!!!!

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u/Dezinator98 Jun 30 '22

Calm down Dennis

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u/Punklet2203 Jul 01 '22

MIND THE GAP!

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u/Felonious_Quail Jun 30 '22

Well that's clearly not a problem so long as some other asshole doesn't rear end them.

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u/KoolAidMilkIsGood Jun 30 '22

It's not their fault. There is well known precedent in this case in Philadelphia, as I remember it.

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u/limited_means Jun 30 '22

Donkey brained.

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u/AlbaMcAlba Jun 30 '22

And everybody is driving up each other’s arse even when the road is virtually empty. Why?

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u/ThirdeyeReddit Jun 30 '22

And some just eating hot chip and charging they phones

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u/abhii2686 Jun 30 '22

Don’t forget one solving crossword, I have seen one while driving from Mke to chicago years ago

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u/cyanocittaetprocyon Jun 30 '22

Hey now, those last fries are important!

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u/peabody624 Jun 30 '22

driving straight line hard

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u/chop-diggity Jun 30 '22

Aye… all of it.

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u/Has_Recipes Jun 30 '22

Not enough 18 wheelers driving past the city with no better alternate route to Houston.

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u/chop-diggity Jun 30 '22

You right ‘bout that!

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u/Rumplenutskn Jun 30 '22

I remember driving home my first semester. Made the mistake of trying to get to the interstate from College drive. Took two hours to get from the start of the street to the interstate. This was not the worst traffic in baton rouge I suffered from.

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u/KAANCEPTS Jun 30 '22

Lol yup! I'm over here at moolah on bluebonnet. Traffic always sucks here

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u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22 edited Jul 10 '22

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u/baloochington Jun 30 '22

Looks like Toronto

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u/CT-96 Jun 30 '22

I was just thinking it kind of reminds me of the Turcotte Interchange in Montreal.

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u/leif777 Jun 30 '22

Remember the monstrosity at Pine and Park Ave? Thank god they took it down.

Found it: https://www.claudecormier.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/echangeur-du-parc-des-pins-3.jpg

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u/appealprocessislong Jun 30 '22

Holy fuck, I’d never seen that and am so glad thats gone. The park is so nice, and was an absolute lifeline for the student population during the pandemic, giving us somewhere to be social in relative safety. I couldnt imagine Montreal without that one specific park of the park, which used to be pavement? So glad that was changed

19

u/CT-96 Jun 30 '22

I was 17 in 2013 so I wasn't really driving. Still don't have my license actually. Public transit in Montreal is good enough for all of my needs.

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u/leif777 Jun 30 '22

I walk 10 km a day once the snow melts. I live in ville Marie and work Mile end. Rain or shine, it's a lovely walk.

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u/CT-96 Jun 30 '22

Sounds awesome. I used to walk from my parents place in Ile-Perrot to St. Anne's so I could get the bus everyday. I live closer to downtown now so not as much walking for me.

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u/Nestramutat- Jun 30 '22

it only took me 3 years of driving through that daily to move to the city and become strictly anti car

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u/leif777 Jun 30 '22

Montreal is awesome... Unless you have to drive.

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u/Dragonasaur Jun 30 '22

Lived there my entire life, moved to Toronto

Toronto kicks Montreal's nightmare in the ass, it's horrendous

When a Montrealer says Toronto drivers don't know how to drive, you know Toronto has a problem

25

u/leif777 Jun 30 '22

Yeah. I lived in Toronto for 5 years and it was bullshit to get around. Drivers are horrible in town. The difference between Montreal and Toronto is assertiveness. Toronto is overly defensive and Montrealers can be overly aggressive... Except on weekends. Driving up St Laurent on a Sunday morning is madness. Every time without fail I see the craziness shit. It's like some sort of Bermuda Triangle that takes away a driver's reason, respect for the law, and compassion for fellow man.

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u/Dragonasaur Jun 30 '22

Toronto is overly defensive

For no reason, they'd save like 5 seconds overall if they actually think about it, for risk of harming themselves and another driver

I'm always scared of walking past downtown University of Toronto campus because I always see drivers swerve into another lane without looking, and I know they're not looking because there's another car right there that has to stop immediately

Also Toronto to an outsider is the whole of GTA, so I'm including the drivers in Sauga/Brampton

3

u/dirtydingusmcgeeee Jun 30 '22

Ottawa chiming in.

I've spent time in Toronto over the last 25 years, lived in Montreal two winters (early aughts, bike messenger).

I commute now (pre/post? Covid) 25k km a year as my gig is physical and I need to be on site (no significant crashes in my +/- 500k behind the wheel)

I like driving generally and I'm 44 years old.

I've always considered Montreal driving culture skilled but fearless bordering on reckless. Toronto driving culture was careless and unskilled bordering on the absurd.

That was then though. I need a dash cam

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u/san_murezzan Jun 30 '22

If I had to move anywhere in North America it would be Montreal but I certainly wouldn’t drive

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u/KorgX3 Jun 30 '22

I was going to say Hartford, CT. I've been all over the US, but that place sticks out in my mind as looking like a Hot Wheels track that some kid devised for maximum crash potential.

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u/triplec787 Jun 30 '22

Literally San Francisco pre-earthquake.

The ‘89 earthquake knocked out portions of the Embarcadero freeway and made other sections dangerous. They tore it all down, rerouted the road through downtown, and opened up the embarcadero to its now amazing scenery.

Another image

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u/DANNYonPC Jun 30 '22

Help, i'm celebrating an earthquake

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u/triplec787 Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

I mean… it really is kind of crazy. A lot of the best parts of SF were (or would’ve been if they’d finished it) covered by the highway. There’d be no beautiful bayside walk along the embarcadero, the ferry building wouldn’t have amazing restaurants and markets, no SoMa, no Oracle Park, no Marina Green, no redone Presidio area…

480 was a fucking abomination and Loma Prieta ironically resurrected the city, by knocking some of it down, in a major way.

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u/Lance_E_T_Compte Jun 30 '22

Portland did the same thing (but no earthquake, just forward thinking).

Waterfront park is lovely. Businesses there are thriving. It absolutely revitalized downtown.

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u/Enlight1Oment Jun 30 '22

same with seattle with their double stacked freeway along the waterfront, not sure if there were any clock towers along the way tho.

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u/mannequinlolita Jun 30 '22

To me this is the huge British version of what Richmond VA did. They literally have a highway passing next the main street train station clock tower.

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Main_Street_Station_in_Richmond,_Virginia,_in_1972.jpg

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u/AgreeableLime7737 Jun 30 '22

A couple things:

  • This photo predates the Downtown Express merge lane being added, so the highway is now less than one lane's width from the tower.
  • I have been in the room in the tower at the level of the highway. The noise is unbelievable but semi trucks barreling by just outside the window at 75 mph is more distracting.
  • It seems like the highway should not have been routed through downtown, but I assume the placement has something to do with the issue of bridging the James below the falls.

5

u/JollyRancher29 Jun 30 '22

As someone who’s only traveled through RVA a couple times, Being in that rightmost lane the first time through was wild.

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u/jwillsrva Jun 30 '22

Greetings fellow richmonder!

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u/trichomeking94 Jun 30 '22

right this is literally the Gardener

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u/ATLUTD_741 Jun 30 '22

I’m from Atlanta and our traffic is definitely terrible. But when I visited Toronto last month I was SHOCKED at how bad it was

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u/pretendstoknow Jun 30 '22

Yeah it’s like the gardener passing royal york hotel

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u/Mythril_Zombie Jun 30 '22

Look kids! Parliament! Big Ben!

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u/curiusgorge Jun 30 '22

How did they make this image? Was this a physical model with toy cars? Or did they piece together a couple different images?

427

u/Mythril_Zombie Jun 30 '22

Looks like miniature.

97

u/BelowAverage_Elitist Jun 30 '22

It's just a model

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u/lesser_panjandrum Jun 30 '22

Shh!

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u/gadonah Jun 30 '22

On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. 'Tis a silly place.

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u/world_of_cakes Jun 30 '22 edited Jul 01 '22

Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster were carefully disassembled and then re-assembled in Los Angeles temporarily in order to take this photo

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u/M-Tyson Jun 30 '22

They built the highway, kept it up for a month and then demolished it.

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u/drunk98 Jun 30 '22

Michael Bay Urban Planner

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u/Agk3los Jun 30 '22

I will say this, the UK and Europe 100% got it right when they put train tracks everywhere and made that the main form of long range transport. I know that would have been a much larger and harder under taking in US but maaaaaaaaan would it ever be nice to just jump on a train to go visit family and such instead of the options being drive for 12 hours or pay for over priced plane tickets.

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u/Wadawoodo Jun 30 '22

The US had and has a lot of rail infrastructure. Much of it was ripped out in favor of highways. You had one of the most expansive rail networks in the world. But money won out.

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u/Richard_Gere_Museum Jun 30 '22

A neighborhood a bit out of the city from where I grew up literally sold houses with the point that you could get from your office downtown back home to have lunch and return after. Via the streetcar. Of course now the streetcar tracks have been ripped up. I don't even particularly care about intercity rail, but intracity not existing anymore is just pathetic.

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u/Mason_Storm_LAPD Jun 30 '22

Aren't cities much more spread out in the US then Europe making travel by train much less efficient?

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u/melikesreddit Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22 Helpful

Oftentimes people will look at the structure of US cities as a natural constant and then see cars as an obvious solution to that but really it’s the opposite. US cities were never spread out at all and suburbs as we know them now never existed until we decided that our vision of the future involved everyone getting around like the Jetsons in American made cars.

After the 1940s most cities sprawled out into unwalkable car suburbs and many beautiful American cities were unfortunately gutted to make room for highways, road widening, and the insane amount of space that parked cars take up. Most cities public transit networks were dismantled in the mid-20th century because more people were driving (and in some cases blatantly to reduce competition for automobile manufacturers) and they’ve never recovered.

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u/Rascouri Jun 30 '22

You could say the exact same thing about the interstate highway system. How do you think people travelled before the automobile? Modern America was built on the back of the rail network.

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u/suninabox Jun 30 '22

Aren't cities much more spread out in the US then Europe making travel by train much less efficient?

They're no more spread out than in China, which has more high speed rail than anyone else.

Also most car journeys are commutes.

Trains only really become inadequate when you want to travel over 1,000 miles in a day, and when that's the problem, the solution is jet flight, not a car.

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u/nogaesallowed Jun 30 '22

I used to think that way but I soon realized that rails are just two pieces of metal on some rock or wood and are much easier to maintain compared to roads. Also no need gas stations/rest areas in the middle of nowhere which also require maintenance, staff, security, power etc because the train itself is a restroom. Yeah the road may give more development along junctions but tbh who's starting new towns now?

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u/Zaros262 Jun 30 '22

If you mean cities are far away from each other, then no, rails between cities are much more efficient

If you mean a single city is spread out into far reaching suburbs, then still not really. They just need investment into more infrastructure for people to see it as a viable alternative, but many people don't want to make that investment unless they already see it as viable

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u/AboveAverageMMAFan Jun 30 '22

Rail wouldn't be suitable for all interstate travel for that reason, but there are situations where it would be useful and it isn't used, for whatever reason

For example, Manchester to London are about 260km apart as the crow flies, and it takes 2 hours and 5 minutes to travel by train from one to the other. It's worth noting that the UK is generally considered to have some of the worst train infrastructure in Northern/Western Europe, and there is currently lots of investment into high speed rail, with one of the objectives to be cut this particular journey to under 70 minutes.

A comparable journey in the US is travelling between Boston and NYC. The distance between the two cities is under 310km, so around 20% longer, but train travel between the two cities takes around 4 hours (if Google Maps is accurate), nearly twice as long.

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u/Dooniel Jun 30 '22

Only partially correct. The highest speed rail line in the Northeast is called Acela, and between Boston and New York the fastest I’m seeing is about 3h 30m. The route it takes is longer than the straightest shot possible so that it can connect some smaller cities along the way (Providence RI, New Haven CT) so the actual distance the train travels is more like 370km. That makes it pretty comparable to Manchester to London per km.

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u/AboveAverageMMAFan Jun 30 '22

You're right on the times: the fastest journey takes 3h 32min

The route it takes is longer than the straightest shot possible so that it can connect some smaller cities along the way (Providence RI, New Haven CT) so the actual distance the train travels is more like 370km.

This is also true for the Manchester to London journey I believe

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u/Alaric- Jun 30 '22

Sprawl is caused by cars, rail limits it’s spread

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u/DeeJayGeezus Jun 30 '22

The US had and has a lot of rail infrastructure. Much of it was ripped out in favor of highways.

Not entirely true. We didn't rip up any track, we just use it mostly for freight transport. The US actually has almost double the miles of rail line as the next closest single country, China, and I believe the US also has close to as many rail line miles as the continental Europe combined.

The real mistake the US made was letting those rail lines be owned by private citizens instead of the government.

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u/Titanicman2016 Jun 30 '22

Most of it was ripped out because competing highways made a bunch of lines unprofitable, and so were abandoned

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u/Irradiatedspoon Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

Well we put trains everywhere in London, then we sorta just got a bit lazy...

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u/iceixia Jun 30 '22

We did have train tracks all over the country, then the government let Dr. Beeching take the axe to most of them.

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u/Stormaen Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

They’re reversing some of those cuts near where I am.

(Edit: this sounds far more dismissive / trivial than I intended! It’s a good thing they’re being reversed but it only took the local community 50 years to get it done!)

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u/Sir_Marchbank Jun 30 '22

I'll let you know when that reaches my part of the country in 100 years

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u/matmac199 Jun 30 '22

100 years

That's generous I was more thinking 500

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u/Stormaen Jun 30 '22

That soon?! Wow! But seriously I hope they continue to reverse the cuts in as many places as possible. I can commute into work for 40 minutes by car or 20 minutes by train. If the government are serious about net zero that’s a way to help it happen.

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u/CT-96 Jun 30 '22

At least you still have to walk to the train station. In HS, one of my friends would get his parents to drive him to another friend's place when they wanted to hang out. They lived a 10 minute walk apart from each other. Cars breed laziness.

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u/NoNameJackson Jun 30 '22

Not sure what a HS is but aren't most streets in America incredibly dangerous to walk beside?

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u/echief Jun 30 '22

You wouldn’t want to walk alongside a highway but a 10 minute walk through the suburbs would be extremely safe even if there are no sidewalks because the speed limits in residential areas are so slow. I grew up in the suburbs and would regularly bike several miles away with my friends at a pretty young age.

The real problem in the US is how spread out everything is. You might have two kids at the same school that are best friends but they live 20+ minute drive away from each other. Your sibling can take a job in another large city in your same state and now it’s a 4 hour drive to visit them.

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u/araldor1 Jun 30 '22

Compared to the US traversing the UK by rail is very easy.

There are only tiny slithers of land in the UK that are not within 30km of a station.

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u/IAMANiceishGuy Jun 30 '22

That's not the point though, I live in Leicester and commute to Coventry, 45 minute drive or a train to Sheffield then change to Coventry then a bus to the office

The problem is connections in the Midlands and north, small journey's end up being really expensive and much longer than they need to be because you have to go via other cities

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u/araldor1 Jun 30 '22

How can you say that's not the point? It's literally the whole point of the post...

If you lived in a random Coventry sized city in the US train just wouldn't exist most likely. It'd be car (possibly a bus) or nothing.

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u/Cappy2020 Jun 30 '22

Even in London trains (and public transport) aren’t ubiquitous.

People on Reddit always confuse the entirety of London to Zone 1-2 London, where there is readily available public transport. Head out past Zone 3, particularly to Zone 5-6, and public transport ceases to be an accessible option. Certainly not as bad as the rest of the country for sure though, but that’s an indictment on our public transport system as a whole.

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u/PanningForSalt Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

We were just lucky to do it before there was the option of cars. As soon as cars became affordable, we began tearing up railways.

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u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22 edited Jul 10 '22

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u/crisiks Jun 30 '22

Not to rain on your parade, but international train tickets in Europe are also kind of overpriced. Annoyingly, it's usually cheaper to fly by plane.

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u/jrwn Jun 30 '22

The us does have a passenger train line currently. It sucks though. It doesn't even stop in sioux falls, sd. We have to drive 3 hours to get to a depot.

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u/hawkish25 Jun 30 '22

I’m going to throw in China too. Having an authoritarian government that will throw you in jail for ‘nuisances’ has its drawbacks, but damn they make some good infrastructure with their high speed rail.

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u/8to24 Jun 30 '22

This advertisement is spot on. Sadly in the U.S. car dependency is so deeply entrenched that rail systems are viewed as unsustainable blights that breed crime and govt corruption.

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u/maxhinator123 Jun 30 '22

It's crazy, they tried to expand amtrak from Boston to some NH cities, makes SO MUCH SENSE. the commuter traffic is horrible and the rail and infrastructure is literally already there. Just needs some refurbishment and new stations. The comments in the posts for it were insane. People think trains are poison to their freedoms.. that the tax payer money is better spent on more highways (the tax money eventually went to literally adding a third lane to the highway) which the rail would have more than fixed... It's generation after generation of brainwashing from big oil. Oddly enough too is that republicans HATE trains for some reason too. So sad I'd love to be able to travel or commute more realistically

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u/mutnik Jun 30 '22

We are having a discussion in Charlotte around street cars. The $15 million they requested for a study to expand the existing street cars was met with uproar but the $95 million requested to add a new lane to the road the streetcar would run parallel to was greeted with open arms.

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u/BigT54 Jun 30 '22

As someone who doesn't live in Charlotte, it's such a nightmare to navigate your city. If I didn't have gps I would never be able to find my way around. Raleigh might be even worse though and the roads are in horrible condition. I was there a few weeks ago and I can't believe the state of 440.

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u/MaelstromRH Jun 30 '22

As someone who has lived in both Raleigh and Charlotte I find your comment pretty interesting, particularly as I want to go into Urban Planning.

What roads in Raleigh are bad, I drive around the city quite a bit and the roads seem relatively fine to me? Not saying they can’t be better but I wouldn’t call them horrible

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u/BigT54 Jun 30 '22

The road in particular I'm thinking of that's in horrible shape was 440 around North Hills. I went to NC State so the area I'm familiar with was the area around campus North of Hillsboro street, which really isn't that bad to navigate once you're familiar with the street names.

I lived in South Florida for 6 years and got so used to a grid system that going back to the winding roads that aren't numbered took some getting used to again. I think it's more of an issue of being familiar with the roads and getting your bearings, whereas with a grid system you can find your way anywhere without a map easily.

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u/fr1stp0st Jul 01 '22

Raleigh's problem right now is suburban sprawl. Thousands of people moving there every year, and each wants to live in a one family dwelling in the burbs. You can really tell during rush hour that there's a disconnect between where people live and where people work. From 4:30 to 7pm, you can expect your commute time to double in uneventful traffic. If there's any sort of accident you may as well stay at work and leave later.

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u/EaterOfFood Jun 30 '22

As someone from Phoenix, which has a rectilinear grid system, every east coast city is a nightmare to navigate.

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u/DHFranklin Jun 30 '22

Our towns were built around humans and horses. Phoenix is a slur against God.

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u/EaterOfFood Jun 30 '22

No argument from me. But it is sure damn easy to get around in the anti-god slur.

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u/Rhaedas Jun 30 '22

Anyone here in Raleigh knows what part of the 440 loop you were probably on. It's slated to get fixed eventually (maybe correctly this time), but it's not a good representation of the majority of the highways. Not to say they are perfect, but that one stretch around North Hills/Glenwood is infamous for being that way for a while now (due to improper construction historically).

As for navigation, honestly I think that's just being in a different place. I've had that same sense before of many new places I've visited, but after being there a few times you figure it out and it doesn't seem as bad. I've had some people from up north say before that Raleigh with its loops makes no sense, and a proper city has a highway through it. I've seen those as well, and while it's definitely faster to get right into downtown, I think you pay for it by having that traffic dump into it. And as another smaller example, I can't imagine trying to get through the town of Cary had the loops of Maynard and Cary Parkway not been built in planning for the population/traffic increase.

I'll end with the topic of the thread though, the transit services for the area are not the greatest. If you can make them connect and work they're fine, but that's just it, that option is limited to where the routes are, and there aren't that many routes. I would have loved it if the area could have grown up around various mass transit areas rather than suburbia and cars. But that wasn't the American way.

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u/SonOfZaknafein Jun 30 '22

At least you have a decent bus network. Asheville's sucks. I would love to have trains interconnecting our cities though.

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u/mutnik Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

Our bus network is a hub and spoke network. It's great to get you to uptown but to navigate around the neighborhoods around uptown is hard. I think there are plans in the works to break it up but not sure where they stand. I would LOVE to have trains connecting us. A quick easy trip to Asheville would be awesome!!

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u/fluffybunny645 Jun 30 '22

Yeah I would kill for a train from Rock Hill to Asheville, would make trips a lot more reasonable.

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u/rmorrin Jun 30 '22

Which makes me really sad cause I love trains. Riding trains is relaxing imo.

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u/ebonit15 Jun 30 '22

Railways --> Communism

Roads --> Capitalism

This is based on how rails need a bigger investment and public use, while roads encourage individual vehicles.

Trains are very good long term investments by state, roads on the other hand built fast, and often, over and over again. So contractors get paid fast and continuously, with little investment in equipment.

Anything that has the word "public" is a bad thing in the US anyway haha.

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u/_the_CacKaLacKy_Kid_ Jun 30 '22

But you see in the US it’s pretty much the opposite in real life. The railways are owned by private companies that profit from their use whereas the roadways are publicly owned and funded by taxpayer dollars.

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u/carhelpplz69 Jun 30 '22

Amtrak is a government corporation.

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u/_the_CacKaLacKy_Kid_ Jun 30 '22

That operates as a for profit entity

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u/carhelpplz69 Jun 30 '22

And loses money every year requiring federal and state money to oerate.

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u/paultbiz Jun 30 '22

I think it's a bit more complicated than just that. Big rail projects in the u.s. often end up as either needlessly large money holes or as breeding grounds for crime due to the disrepair they fall into.

California, for instance, is a great example of this. For the last 2 decades we've been promised high speed rails that would connect most major cities from San Francisco to LA. $10 billion later and not a single rail has been placed. Now they're saying that they actually need $100 billion to get it done.

Now look at the BART in San Francisco. This subway system carries thousands of people every day to and from different areas in the bay area. Busses carry passengers the rest of the way. The BART is absolutely filthy and runs catastrophically late at least once a week despite being smaller and charging more than, say, the lines in Tokyo. It's not a capitalism vs communism issue so much as it is a public distrust. And I'm not sure you can blame this incompetence solely on big oil, either, as some have suggested.

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u/Gingervald Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

Its a more complex than just "public distrust". I wouldn't blame anyone for side eyeing American incompetency when it comes to public transit. It seems very similar to the public healthcare issue where it's framed as a horrid, inefficient and unbelievably complicated system yet plenty of other developed countries have already figured it out.

Also while saying it's just "big oil" is reductive the idea that it's fueled by people who have a vested interest is seeing public transit fail rings very true.

Where I live in a county within the Bay Area there's been a push for repairing and expanding old unused railways to connect cities within the counties. In response we got a massive misinformation campaign claiming railways would make an environmental disaster and "ruin the character of the town" (there's a high Latino population neighboring city) leading to a bill on our last ballot that would instead have the old railways removed and turned into hiking trails.

Meanwhile the effort to expand public transit it going nowhere because landowners put a lot of money into getting a conservative democrat city council majority and mayor.

Yeah its more complex than "big oil" but failure of US public transit and public distrust is a result of an active agenda.

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u/snugglezone Jun 30 '22

California high speed rail is fucked due to NIMBYs (as most things are). The government needs to start eminent domaining the land they need and get shit done. It's insane. I remember in the early 2000s they ED'd some houses near me for freeway expansion which was very controversial but they still did it anyways!!

Public rail in the US also suffers from funding problems. It's a chicken and the egg problem. they need money to improve service and marketing to combat historical indoctrination and stigma.

Instead we're going to keep spending billions in California on road expansion and repair every year.

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u/Stretchy_Labia Jun 30 '22

I loved taking the ferry into the City. Such a relaxing way to commute.

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u/Karmanoid Jun 30 '22

California was supposed to build high speed rail between northern and southern California but the project has been completely bungled and I feel like it's intentional sabotage.

Meanwhile I'm sitting here wishing I could take a train to Disneyland for a couple days and a train back with my family so I don't have to spend 6 hours each way in a car with 3 kids hearing "are we there yet? How much longer? He's looking at me."

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u/Brendanlendan Jun 30 '22

Yeah cause those damn Republicans control NH and Boston, some of the bluest areas in the country and have been for decades. At least be kind of honest that both parties are married to big money and have been for decades.

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u/ARobertNotABob Jun 30 '22

republicans HATE trains for some reason too

Because big oil, still.

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u/riskybiscuit Jun 30 '22

also, minorities ride public transportation

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u/smithismund Jun 30 '22

I was staying with a family in the suburbs of Fort Worth many years ago. I felt somewhat stranded but was told there was no public transportation in the area. Eventually I got desperate and rang the bus company and found that a service ran from the end of their street across to Dallas. It was cheap, clean and I was the only white person on the bus. It told me everything I needed to know about white Texans' attitude to public transport.

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u/Richard_Gere_Museum Jun 30 '22

lol every time I get on the bus in Houston I can feel the eyes on me, people asking "wtf is a white boy doing on the bus?"

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u/Weak_Ring6846 Jun 30 '22

That’s why the Republican politicians hate it. The Republican voters hate it because they’re easily duped morons.

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u/These_Big6328 Jun 30 '22

I'm not getting this. I always see the republicans as the cobservative party. But what could be more conservative than trains? When they were established, cars did not exist...

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u/Admiral_Dildozer Jun 30 '22

The parties have changed the language so much these words don’t even match their original definitions. Liberal and Conservative are just secondary words for Dem and Rep. and they’ve both grown into super parties that have no interest in serving the American people, only to push agendas so elites can keep their jobs.

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u/SlowRollingBoil Jun 30 '22

It's entirely the opposite. Progressive vs. Conservative hasn't changed but the parties have. You don't generally mean "progressive" when you say "democrat". Most Democrats are just less conservative Republicans that believe government should serve the people.

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u/townforum17 Jun 30 '22

Republicans like relying on oil. More trains means less cars, less cars means less demand for oil and plummeting stock price for those invested. It’s all about the lobbies

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u/Butterbuddha Jun 30 '22

It totally is. If Elon and somebody said look man I’m going to install rail all over the country and pay for it myself, a dozen people backed by everything oil and automotive would be trying to throw every roadblock up they could.

It’s really hard to beat old money, cause they have lots of it and aren’t in any hurry to turn off the faucet.

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u/RatherNerdy Jun 30 '22

GM killed the electric trolley (which people loved) in many cities to replace with their buses (which people didn't use as much). And the Detroit lobby and power players reduced rail and other options to promote individualism in cars and highways.

It's a great example of why the free market doesn't work when some participants have enough money or power to shift the markets to their whims.

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u/TheDonutPug Jun 30 '22

the free market works if you don't give a fuck about what the actual correct decision is. Not killing the planet is very obviously the correct decision, but we keep fucking doing it because of the "free market" because it's the cheapest and easiest option.

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u/VollzeitSchwabe Jun 30 '22

While this is an issue I think the bigger problem is American city design. Most of America lives in suburbs which have a very low population density compared to European suburbs, causing the installation of most remotely appealing transit systems to be financially unsustainable.

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u/RatherNerdy Jun 30 '22

Suburbs were developed as part of the car focused transportation changes from Detroit. The suburbs didn't come first.

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u/upboatsallaround Jun 30 '22

lol now I'm imagining people living in the suburbs for decades until cars/highways come along thinking, "finally our living situation makes sense!"

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u/Negran Jun 30 '22

Lol. When you reverse it or think about it that way, it really is silly.

Also a shame, cause it would be so hard to reverse it, and these super roads are just so gross.

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u/ericsaoleopoldo Jun 30 '22

Here in New Jersey we still have lots of commuter trains. In South Jersey there used to be many more commuter rail lines, including trolleys, that came from Philadelphia or Camden and they were all removed in favor of cars.

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u/nolander Jun 30 '22

Those changes also probably lined up really nicely with the timeline of white flight, so its a twofer of shityness

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u/jtinz Jun 30 '22

Not Just Bikes has a video about the missing middle. It looks like almost all people in the US live either in a freestanding house or in a high rise building.

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u/baldrlugh Jun 30 '22

You're missing the order of events here. Railcars were torn out in the late 40s, then cities were designed for cars and the suburban spread of the 50s-60s occurred.

American cities were designed for cars because the transportation was removed by corporations who wanted people to buy cars.

Even spread out cities and metropolitan areas with lower population density can work well with transit systems (also, the fact that our communities are spread out and split up by the road itself is part of the reason our communities arent as dense, roads use a lot of acreage while adding more cost than value). The argument that roads are more financially responsible is a myth. They chew up valuable land while contributing little to the local community that couldn't be better achieved through less space-intensive transportation options. When communities can't even get to the store less than a quarter mile away without getting in the car, we have a problem, not a solution.

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u/Solid_Waste Jun 30 '22

If anything it's incredibly optimistic. Big Ben should be a parking lot.

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u/eeo11 Jun 30 '22

Well for me it takes 12 minutes to drive to the closest train station for a train that runs every hour or every two hours depending on the time of day. You then have to sit on it for like 40 minutes and transfer in Secaucus, which can take another 20 or so, then sit on that one for another 10-15 minutes to get to NYPenn. Then from there it’s the subway. It takes like 2 hours to get to where I’m going in the city if I use public transportation. It’s a lot easier for me to drive across the bridge and get to my destination in Manhatten in a 40 minute drive. And I can go whenever I want and don’t need to time it with the often infrequent trains in NJ.

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u/SometimesaGirl- Jun 30 '22

This is only highlighting that you need a better rail network.
By European standards - rail travel in the UK isnt that wonderful. No bullet trains here - but the Intercity hits 125mph which isnt bad.
When I lived in Essex I could take the train into Central London (Liverpool Street) and be right in the heart of the underground in Zone 1 in about 40 minutes. I doubt you could do it in 4 hours by car - not to mention the various congestion fee's that you would rack up.
Its all about infrastructure. The US has neglected rail travel decade after decade.

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u/teenagesadist Jun 30 '22

Now imagine if, instead of having to do all that bullshit, we had instead designed cities so that you could easily walk to a nearby train that would quickly whisk you away to where you need to be.

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u/PiXLANIMATIONS Jun 30 '22

Unless you have a time machine, we need solutions which don’t involve going back and bitch slapping Mr Ford

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u/Impressive_Spring139 Jun 30 '22

I know they fucked it up, but that’s what I was excited for scooters to be. I live in Miami where scooters (the sit down ones) are everywhere and used instead of cars. But I loved when there were scooters (the stand up ones) that you could just pick up off the ground and use like Uber. “The last mile” was the goal of its use, so you could take a train and then spend a couple bucks on the scooter.

People are so hyper focused on using cars but there’s soooooo many other options.

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u/LaconicLacedaemonian Jun 30 '22

Thanks captain hindsight! But do you have any useful suggestions on ehat to do now?

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u/PussySmasher42069420 Jun 30 '22

We can stop repeating the same problem over and over.

That might be a start.

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u/Pete_Iredale Jun 30 '22

Spend the money right now to build that system. It will literally never be cheaper than right now.

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u/RadicalDog Jun 30 '22

It took less than 40 years to get this shitty, it can be world class in another 40 years of good decisions. You'll live long enough to see the benefits if you're an average Redditor and can help support the progress.

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u/da_puginto Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

I agree with your sentiment on the ad, but the rest of your comment is just untrue, and incredibly sheltered/ignorant.

The Dept of Transportation is heavily investing now in developing light rail systems in some states including Virginia/Maryland, and Texas. On top of expanding existing systems to increase coverage in on the east coast, Honolulu, and the west coast.

Nobody thinks of them as "unsustainable blights" like holy hyperbole, have you, lived in any major US city ever? Idk who you are even talking to that would think that, and I worked for the polls on this "issue" so I have first hand experience talking to many Americans about this. Biden literally signed the BIPARTISAN Infrastructure Bill, do yall just not know or care because it's not outrageous news?

Sources:

This is why many international users think the United States is some crazy place its because you kids on this app are so fuckin extra about everything, and are experiencing some faux reality through social media in your suburban home out in butfuck nowhere.

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u/TimebombChimp Jun 30 '22

Backbone of the nation until it was sold off.

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u/glypo Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

The rail network has for the most part been in public hands (was privatised in 1994 and re-nationalised in 2002). Of course the train operator franchise is a different thing. I can remember British Rail, it was shockingly bad. I don't think the current system works, but the fact is trains are more punctual, reliable, passenger numbers are up (2.5x since privatisation) and the trains are far safer too.

Our biggest failure has been the expense. Though we have a much better service than before it is far too expensive compared with our European neighbours. Too many people have rose tinted spectacles (or weren't alive) to appreciate how awful the state operated trains used to be.

I hope the new re-nationalised operators will bring about the best of both worlds, I'm not holding my breath though!

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u/RiggzBoson Jun 30 '22

"British Rail - The Backbone of the Nation"

Or at least it was, until the Conservatives privatised it. Now it's cheaper to fly domestically than get the train. And even with sky-high prices, they still pay their staff pennies.

Thanks again, Tories.

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u/zoomba2378 Jun 30 '22

Conservatives: Stunting beneficial initiatives since the beginning of time

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u/arkeeos Jul 01 '22 edited Jul 01 '22

The rail way companies being private are not responsible for high prices, the government sets the prices, and their profits are capped.

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u/havebeans5678 Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

Just a reminder that a ton of American cities used to be dense before the mid 20th century. We tore down most of our urban cores and outlying dense residential areas to make room for parking lots and highways.

Kansas City in the 1940s

Same area today.

Cincinnati comparison from 1950s to today.

Indianapolis 1930s

Same area in Indianapolis today

Detroit in the 1940s

Detroit today

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u/dovetc Jun 30 '22

To be fair, in the Detroit image it isn't a ton of arterial roads where the houses used to be. It's fields and empty blocks because everyone left and the city eventually had to come in and bulldoze the abandoned and blighted areas.

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u/brandnewtyres Jun 30 '22

some say they still are if you ask the right questions

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u/Sleep-system Jun 30 '22

This looks exactly like the freeway in Oakland.

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u/gooberzilla2 Jun 30 '22

I wish Seattle would have passed that public transit bill in the 70s. Only now they're kind of catching up

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u/dexterthekilla Jun 30 '22

Looks like Dubai

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u/laserunfocused143 Jun 30 '22

I was thinking Egypt with the ridiculous traffic patterns they've got going on there.

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u/Gingevere Jun 30 '22

Obligatory Fuck you Robert Moses!!

Our infrastructure isn't just bad and inefficient accidentally. In many cases it was made terrible intentionally to make getting from one specific area to another intentionally difficult.

@SegByDesign on twitter has a lot of before & after comparisons of "urban renewal" and the effects of it.

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u/GorgyShmorgy Jun 30 '22

Kinda looks like Rt 5. And 190 in Buffalo NY.

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u/RenaKunisaki Jun 30 '22

Hey look, it's any game where I get to build roads.

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u/canada_is_best_ Jun 30 '22

So, Toronto.

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u/Lion787 Jun 30 '22

Doug Ford might want to look at this….

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u/GypsyCamel12 Jun 30 '22

As an American living in Chicago, who's lived in 6 major cities in 4 of the 5 major regions: yes, this exactly.

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u/TrickBedroom Jun 30 '22

Looks a little crowded. Better knock down that outdated tower and add some additional lanes.

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u/sgreadly Jun 30 '22

Funny. That’s how Auckland looks like :(

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u/ScoPham Jul 01 '22

This is outrageous, and purely stereotypical. We wouldnt keep a clock tower over 3 extra lanes!

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u/PopeHonkersVII Jun 30 '22 edited Jun 30 '22

Don’t blame the Americans for such ideas. The British in the 50s-70s were crazy about cars. They had plans to radically transform London with huge mega highways everywhere. The only things that stopped them was a lack of space and money.

Edit: I like everyone downvoting as if what I said isn’t 100% true

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u/Macksimoose Jun 30 '22

The car-centric model of American infrastructure started in the interwar period, with companies like GM lobbying for car friendly laws and participating in stuff like the streetcar conspiracy. America's newly built interstate system as well as the start of widespread car-reliant suburban development following the war meant that the sorta ideas the brits were considering from the 60s to the 70s were ones which had already been implemented in the states.

Also in part because of British tarmac companies with ties to politicians pushing for greater car reliance

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u/Puzzleheaded_Duck107 Jun 30 '22

I can take a train from Rotterdam to London. It takes 3,5 hours. So glad we have high quality rail systems in Europe!

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u/Drmo6 Jun 30 '22

I love having my own car and not dealing with others. If people here behaved more like they do in Japan, I’d love using public transportation. Hell, I didn’t even own a car the whole time I lived in Japan

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u/Whitey90 Jun 30 '22

Behavior on public transport in Japan includes creepy men fondling women on the train tho

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u/Drmo6 Jun 30 '22

That’s a world wide thing. Not a Japan thing.

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u/hdcs Jun 30 '22

Some areas in India have women's only train cars to deal with it.

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u/I_Am_A_Pumpkin Jun 30 '22

japan has that too

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u/Trekiros Jun 30 '22

It's a vicious circle... Because folks in the US have that option to just ignore trashy behaviors rather than deal with them, it's never going to change. Meanwhile in Japan (and a lot of other places with important public transportation networks), whenever someone acts out of line in a public space, they call that shit out immediately, because they have no other choice - they rely on those public spaces being safe. Fast forward a couple decades and you have entire generations of people who've been taught to respect those public spaces.

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u/Backseat_boss Jun 30 '22

I would love the train if they had more direct options, no homeless ppl masturbating in the cars, crime oh and if I didn’t have to bring my tools to n from job site 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️

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u/Richard_Gere_Museum Jun 30 '22

I see IBEW electricians every day on the subway. Tool bags and all. And while they seldom masturbate, they certainly put in work on some 6 packs on the way home.

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u/lichking786 Jun 30 '22

your fears are overblown. While i do see the typical homeless person twice a week when i commute in Toronto, 99% of people are just keeping to themselves on the subway.

In my humble opinion thou, a daily dose of seeing homeless people and blight is healthy for the nation. If our policy makers and elite would see day to day how miserable people in their city can be, they would push more humane agendas in their parlaments.

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u/PCB4lyfe Jun 30 '22

Yea seems like a lot of people here have never used the trains in america.

rail systems are viewed as unsustainable blights that breed crime

Maybe they're viewed that way because the people that need to take them see first hand how much crime happens around train stations. Homeless always hang out there, drug dealers, people who are bored and want something to do etc...

I've seen way too much shit at train stations to feel safe using them.

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u/Hegemon1984 Jun 30 '22

I've seen way too much shit at train stations to feel safe using them.

Chicago Red Line user here... I can feel your pain

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u/gyrowze Jun 30 '22

Something about red lines... In Boston I had to split up a fight between a homeless guy and teenager at one of our red line stops.

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u/kurburux Jun 30 '22

Yea seems like a lot of people here have never used the trains in america.

It's a vicious cycle. Trains aren't comfortable -> fewer people are using them -> there's no money to improve things.

Ofc there are other problems as well but that's one part of it.

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u/Pierogchen Jun 30 '22

Most British cities rely on cars too. So maybe just London got lucky.

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u/[deleted] Jun 30 '22

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u/TinyBreeze987 Jun 30 '22

Looks like <my city>

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u/GreatBigBagOfNope Jun 30 '22

Trains based cars cringe