« a social-conservative case for transit? | Main | brisbane: a tour of the south east busway »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Your graphic with the cul-de-sacs reminds me of Long Beach's "Passport" downtown circulators--small 30-foot buses whose main function is to connect LB's business district with some rather far-flung tourist destinations like the Aquarium and the Queen Mary. What the city ended up with was a bus that took a circuitous route all over the place, with cul-de-sac stops to try desperately to bring transit to locations quite far from any pre-existing bus route or arterial street. Often, these cul-de-sacs required left turns at long signal-controlled intersections. In one case the bus would actually detour nearly half a mile in the wrong direction to serve a little-used stop before returning to the rest of its route. The buses are often full, but I think the sizable free-fare zone has a lot to do with that, as they are a true pain in the @$$ to ride.


I'm sorry this post has not received more attention because I think it is likely the single most important idea you've presented here. The development potential of streetcars seems very small minded when compared to the greater question of how to improve the mobility of communities at large. I have been impressed that some of the strongest transit corridors in Seattle are not those that strike me as particularly Transit Oriented. Rainier and Aurora Ave for example are full of linear, strip mall like developments that we love to hate. Granted there is not a lot of parking between the roadway and the shops but it is also true that the pedestrian amenities are not particularly good. I've also been impressed with the number of automotive shops and dealerships, at least on Aurora. I think we could do a lot more good for transit if we worried less about specific densities, or TOD design and more on simply being on the way...placement of parking, whether between the roadway and store entrance is really the same issue - being separated by a large parking is not being on the way.
Keep pushing this common sense approach.


Absolutely crucial point. (And I'm swearing about the way in which my local university has chosen to close bits and pieces of roads -- somehow they broke all the through routes, so that any line running through has to make crazy turns....)

David M

Fully with you Jarrett on this. In British Columbia we see examples as you described. The problem is a real disconnect between location and transit. It's not so bad now, but look at where universities are located in BC. UBC is at the end of a Point of land requiring long trips through leafy expensive and low density neighbourhoods to reach campus; SFU is located on top of a mountain and buses have a hard time getting up it, crawling up loaded down with students commuting up from the SKyTrain station at the bottom; Capilano College on the North Shore - in a canyon on the side of a mountain on the way to nowhere; UNBC in Prince George, on a hill outside the city and away from where students want to be, so now BC Transit has to run buses to campus until 3:00am (if they'd built it downtown, students could stagger home and the city centre would have some life); and Kelowna - the university is somewhere north of the city again, on the way to nowhere.

And where I live, schools are located on farmland surrounded by farmland, and one wonders why there's no or poor bus service to the school.

It seems to me in my part of the world, the government is the worst offender. And considering governments also approve land use changes, they're also responsible for poor planning in this area.


I live in Staten Island, NY, and there is a nearby college with a fairly large campus that is well-served by public transportation. The reason is that there are 2 components to their transit system-local buses that go to the main entrance of the college and shuttle buses that go from the main entrance to the different buildings.


Great post! One of the worst examples I've seen of transit agencies not paying attention to this is the practice of spending millions of dollars on fancy transit centers with lots of bus bays and shelters, yet forget the be-on-the-way principle when designing and locating it.

The result is a situation where buses that serve the facility have to take circuitous detours and endure long waits at traffic signals to get in and out of the bus bays in a way that accomplishes nothing except to make everybody's trip slower and waste taxpayer money to pay for the facility and the extra service-hours of maneuvering buses in and out of it.

Mike Lindblom

Stephen is making lots of sense.

While he cites Rainier and Aurora as poorly built corridors, they also are the two highest (!) bus-ridership routes in Seattle. That tells me people will work hard to use public transit, and the onus/blame is on the governments that it's not easier.

Seattle is, in fact, doing some of this at 130th/Aurora with dense senior and social housing, along with sidewalk and greenery improvements. But the progress is too sporadic to keep up with latent demand.

Mike Lindblom
Seattle Times transportation writer

S M Sabri Ismail (sabre23t)

This may be a worse example of "not being on the way", from my neck of the woods. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klang_Sentral bus terminal.

Closing a bus terminal in the town centre, and moving it out 9km to the north of the town. Whereas the main bus routes are actually towards east of the town.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

the firm

Jarrett is now in ...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...