New version of Toledo Talk

    May 27, 2007

Municipal Light Rail System for Toledo? - At first glance I really liked the idea. I can see the energy-saving benefits, the reduced costs to me(Average Citizen), the creation of jobs and the business opportunities that would potentially feed off of the stations. I like the idea of hopping on the train to go to work every day instead of battling expressway traffic, (The fact that I'm driving less would lower my insurance costs, too. Wouldn't it?).
I've never lived in one of the bigger cities with rail transit. Can any of you enlighten me as to the pros and cons?

posted by Catharsis to news at 7:45 A.M. EST     (38 Comments)

Comments ...

Interesting that the article today talking about this didn't include any of the estimated costs and how they would be covered.

According to this website from TMACOG, which details the implementation plan for the LPA - local preferred alternative:

"Total LPA costs are $57.5 million, plus $1.2 million in annual operating costs. Anticipated federal and state funds could cover approximately 82% of total capital costs, leaving 18%, or $10.1 million, for local and private sources to fund. It is estimated that a half-cent local sales tax would generate the necessary local capital and operating funds and also replace the current property tax that funds TARTA operations."

posted by MaggieThurber at 08:13 A.M. EST on Sun May 27, 2007     #

For me, I have been "pro" public transit. I have always felt with better public transit Toledo would draw more business, thus...residents.

During Highschool and 2 years after I was employed in downtown Toledo for the Credit Bureau of Toledo. Tarta transported me to and from work as it was less costly than paying for parking. I loved it! And would love to see public transportation grow as car insurance, gasoline...Actually, cars themselves have become too costly for the average middle class gal/guy.

sidenote: My mother grew up in Berlin and she said she was sho shocked to see in the USA so many auto's owned by each household that in Berlin she always used the "streetcar" for transportation, a bike or her feet...that for the most part the wealthy owned vehicles!

posted by MARIELORA at 11:11 A.M. EST on Sun May 27, 2007     #

I grew up in Morgantown, WV where WVU was one of the first places to have a rapid transit system (at least their kind). Not fast like a light rail, but a autonomous electronic train of sorts. We called it the PRT.

Anyway, it was built mostly and paid for by the university. Since the campus is literally spread across many many miles it allows students to easily get from one campus to the other and is open to the public.

Anyway it is a great system. I would love to see that kind of system in any large city. It would cut down on pollution, car accidents, less stress on the road systems. Just a lot of benefits.

Just when people see the price tag it can be shocking since they're expensive. But if you look at the big picture it saves and can be self-funding. Besides if a university can build/maintain it, why couldn't a large city like Toledo?

posted by jshriver at 11:34 A.M. EST on Sun May 27, 2007     #

I was out with friends just Thursday night discussing the need for rail transit in NWO, my more traveled friends recalling the ease of moving from place to place on the European Rail system. Personally, I'd just be happy to read a book rather than listen to bad radio on my way to and from work. Bring it on.
posted by thetoledowire_com at 05:10 P.M. EST on Sun May 27, 2007     #

I have enjoyed every city that offers public rail transportation.

Maggie brings up an important point about finances, and I doubt that $57.5 million would buy us even the Monroe Street/ downtown loop / TMA loop discussed in the TMACOG proposal.

If Toledo is going to invest in a comprehensive light rail system, it makes more sense to build a system that will service the entire region, not just a handful of commuters.

posted by historymike at 05:11 P.M. EST on Sun May 27, 2007     #

I grew up in Morgantown, WV

I grew up down the road in Fairmont. I don't meet many people from that area. I've ridden the PRT while bar hopping a long time ago.

posted by rickreed at 05:27 P.M. EST on Sun May 27, 2007     #

I guess I'm just puzzled why Toledo thinks they need this system, given that you can get most anywhere in Toledo in 20 minutes anyway, and there's plenty of bus stops probably closer than a train pick up station would be - unless you had to take a bus or drive & park to catch the train, which seems a bit redundant to me as far as saving time & money. My main concern though, is where would the money come from? I keep reading & hearing how broke Toledo is, and yet they're speculating on building a highly expensive elevated railway? Sure, they're fun to ride - but doesn't sound practical for Toledo.
posted by starling02 at 10:15 P.M. EST on Sun May 27, 2007     #

I lived in Chicago for several years, working in the Loop and residing in the area around Wrigley Field. I did not own a car and took public transportation everywhere. The main reason was that parking in many places in the city are either a) non-existent or b) very expensive. Plus I could walk to the grocery store, carryout, bars, restaurants, etc.

But since no one lives within walking distance of anything in Toledo and you can park within 20 yards of the door for free, why would they take public transportation? For better or worse, most Americans will not take public transportation unless they have to. And I can think of a lot of better ways to spend that money here in T Town.

posted by Ace_Face at 10:49 P.M. EST on Sun May 27, 2007     #

I love mass transit (but not all public transportation) funded by the government or private businesses. I would love it if Toledo had a type of mass transit.

The key is to make it useable for people. A single line would be a failure. There are very few people that live within walking distance of Monroe street and need to travel downtown, so a single line running the length of Monroe street would be a failure. However, if you linked a monroe street line with another line that connected the three University of Toledo campuses you've squared the number of potential users/destinations. If you added a third line that ran down the Anthony Wayne Trail and connected Maumee/Arrowhead Park/St Lukes Hospital to downtown and also to the line connecting the UT campuses then you've just sqaured the possibilities again.

Bottom line is a single line won't be successful. However, if we tripled or quadrupled our investment then I think it would thrive because of all the potential connections.

I was looking at a map of Toledo and realized that a good policy might be to connect all the hospitals to the system. First off the hospitals are pretty evenly spread around Toledo and would provide a good network for other travel. St Vs and Toledo Hospital centrally with Flower and St Anne's to the northwest, St. Lukes and UT medical center to the south, and St. Charles and Baypark to the east. Secondly, hospitals collectively employ probably 30,000 people and provide hundreds of thousands of visits per year (millions if you include doctors appointments on the hospital campus). That's a lot of demand.

I'll draw up a rough map and post it and see what you guys think. This would obviously be extremely expensive, but I think it would put Toledo on the map and spur development.

posted by HeyHey at 11:28 P.M. EST on Sun May 27, 2007     #

So I drew up a map of my ideas to post on here.....and then I realized I don't know how to post pictures. I've never done it before. If someone knows how can you give directions?
posted by HeyHey at 12:47 A.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

You open the snippet of code with the "less than" sign, which is located above the comma on most keyboards.

Then type the following code:

img src="URL of the image"

Then type the "greater than" sign, which is located above the period key. Using this code I posted my ugly mug:

Looking forward to seeing your plan, HeyHey.

posted by historymike at 07:43 A.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

HeyHey - your idea actually makes the most sense of any I've seen in a long time...coupled with the 'technology corridor' that UT is discussing....

I can see that there may be a demand for such a service.

But Ace_Face said it well: But since no one lives within walking distance of anything in Toledo and you can park within 20 yards of the door for free, why would they take public transportation? For better or worse, most Americans will not take public transportation unless they have to. And I can think of a lot of better ways to spend that money here in T Town. <

posted by MaggieThurber at 07:45 A.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

rickreed: hi and nifty. I was actually born in Fairmont, moved to Morgantown when I was 8. Never thought I'd meet another person from my hometown in Toledo :)
posted by jshriver at 07:51 A.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

I was just the other day talking about the potential for a rapid transit system in Toledo, and I really do think the city (or county/region) should include it in any "serious" future plans for development and attracting new businesses and residents to the area.

Granted, it is a good point that currently parking is not at a premium but a) gas IS, or shortly will be depending on your perspective; and b) any successful development and growth of the region will require new ways of approaching infrastructure including transportation issues (roads, parking lots, mass transit).

It does require a certain amount of optimism about future growth of our region to think a light rail system would be a good idea -- optimism which is hard to conjure up, I admit.

I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the Bay from the city. Nearly EVERY time I wanted to go to the city, I took their rapid transit. It didn't really save much in time -- I'd drive about 10 minutes to the nearest BART lot and then take a 10-minute train, when in the same 20 minutes I could've been in the city -- but it was tons more convenient and also cheaper than having to pay my bridge toll and then wander aimlessly around the city looking for a parking spot, and that's even without factoring in the cost of gasoline. The best part was that the stops were really well planned out, and I could disembark right in the "thick" of things with very little (if any) additional walking or biking needed. I agree with Hey Hey that a single line would be a failure -- what commuters/students/people seeking recreation would utilize is a network of lines.

My last point is that much has been made of city residents moving out to the suburbs so Toledo is losing its residential tax base ... well, if Toledo is successful in attracting and retaining new businesses, you'll have those folks commuting into the city for work. Might as well sell them rail passes and single trip tickets and earn that revenue rather than letting those transportation dollars go directly to Sunocco and BP, eh?

posted by jmleong at 10:24 A.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

I think buses are more flexible. Seem to be effective for cattling the kids to prison school.

I'm on the fence on this one. Public transit sounds great in concept, but seems impractical. I think clean renewable energy is a more worthy enterprise.

Toledo was built as a commuter city as opposed to NY or Chicago which were built as human corrals.

If you ride down Auburn around Bancroft the rails from the old trolley are coming through. I rode my bike and almost ate sh*t when they were wet. Oh the irony.

Here's a light history of the trolley.

And this pic says it all

posted by charlatan at 12:46 P.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

Past the early 1900s, rail-based public transit in America is largely a phenomenon relying upon great local prosperity to cover the huge losses and wastes in such a system. When unionized labor is married to intensive political involvement in such large projects of civil engineering, rail projects in the late 1900s were simply unable to fulfill any goals whatsoever. This is why we've ended up with railed transportation systems only in the largest cities (at least, after GM and Goodyear conspired to destroy America's trolley systems). Smaller cities and towns were given over to bus systems, and automobiles and aircraft became the carriers of intercity routes.

Toledo has two big problems with public transit. One, the system is based upon a downtown hub that has never served real Toledoan needs. Two, no replacement will ever work.

I say a replacement will never work since the likely replacements will have one of two problems:

1. It will continue to be downtown-centric.

2. If distributed to actual Toledoan needs, Toledoans will continue to rely upon the automobile anyway.

As supporting evidence (a hidden, third reason why a replacement will never work), I offer a prediction of how a "light rail project" will run its course in Toledo:

01. Proposals will fly for years, if not decades.

02. The costs of "environmental assessment" and other bullshit studies will consume millions of dollars -- perhaps as much as $5M. (This will be true even if present rail rights-of-way are used.)

03. Once actual ground is bit by a backhoe, a full $10M will already be spent, and the cost estimate will already be revised upward by 20%. (There is a real chance that the project will collapse at this point.)

04. Once actual rails are laid for miles, with stations under construction, citizen groups will bring lawsuits forcing re-studies and re-assessments, and costs will balloon at least another 10%.

05. Once trains are being tested on the miles of rails, union delays will cause costs to increase another 20%. A vocal minority of project managers will note publicly that if the unions had their way, the project would NEVER be completed. (The managers will be fired.)

06. The work will enter a LOOOOONG testing phase due to the unionized reluctance to ever complete the project (since, mercy! -- that would mean workers become unemployed!), and more and more political accusations will fly.

07. Federal funds will suddenly drop, at some time in the project. This is true since (1) the funds were "free money" and created an environment of fiscal irresponsibility, and (2) federal money isn't really free since it has strings attached, and finally (3) project funding becomes more fickle as the pervasive waste drags upon it.

08. The railroad companies will drop their own litigation bomb sometime during the project, purely as a means of diverting more federal funds to themselves. Work on the rail lines might actually STOP, for weeks to months at a time, to satisfy legal challenges.

09. FINALLY, the Toledo Light Rail Line will open ... 5 years late, 100% to 200% over budget, with misplaced station sites, uncomfortable and failure-prone cars, and with such a dearth of riders that it will go onto public subsidy immediately.

10. As the operational years drag on, the TLRL subsidy will grow and produce a drag on property taxes that will be 3 to 5 times the size of TARTA's (which will continue to exist and employ nearly the same number of buses and drivers -- naturally!). Ridership will never attain any of the previous projections. ENJOY IT, TOLEDO!

posted by GuestZero at 05:36 P.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #


Here we go. I put in five lines, three that originate downtown and one that serves as the UT connector (but I extended it a little).

The dark blue line runs down the Trail using existing lines mainly. Once it gets south of Glendale the rail line starts to move a little away from the Trail, but for convenience sake I just marked it as if it were on the road the entire time. Although my drawing doesn't show it, this line actually butts up against the fairgrounds, which means land there could be used for parking and stations. The line connected Arrowhead Park, St. Luke's Hospital, Maumee, South Toledo, the Zoo, and Downtown. It would run approxiamately 8 miles.

The Red line would start at Lourdes College in Sylvania and end downtown. It would connect Lourdes College, Flower Hospital, Franklin Park area, St Anne's Hospital, Toledo Hospital/Toledo Children's, and the Art Museum. It would have to use the Monroe St. right of way in some way. It would be about 6.5 miles long.

The Green line would run from downtown to Point Place. It would use Cherry Street and Detroit Street right of ways in addition to some existing lines. It would connect downtown with St. V's/Mercy Children's, the old Jeep plant (this could be used to spur development), the new supplier park and assembly plant, and Point Place. I would be approxiamately 5.5 miles long.

The light blue line would begin downtown and run through the East Side and into Oregon. It would connect downtown with East Toledo, the refinery, St. Charles Hospital, and Bay Park Hospital. It would use the Craig Bridge to cross the Maumee River since it will continue to stand, and it would use the I-280 right of way and existing rail lines for most of the time elsewhere. One interesting possibility is extending the line about 2.5 more miles, connecting it to Metcalf Field, and transitioning commercial air travel back to Metcalf Field instead of Toledo Express which is horribly inconvenient for most Toledoans (hence the declining ridership and exidus north to DTW). Direct rail service to a Toledo airport would be tremendous. Without the Metcalf field extension the total line would run about 3.5 miles. With the extension it would be around 6 miles.

Lastly, the Yellow Line is the connector for the University of Toledo campuses. It would also serve as a connector line between the Red, Blue, and Green lines allowing faster travel times by allowing people to skip the downtown connections. It would almost exclusively use existing rail lines for its entire lenght. It would connect to the supplier park and assembly plant area, UT's main campus, and UT's Health Science Campus as well as the numerous neighborhoods it runs through. It would be approxiamately 7.5 miles long.

Obviously this is just a dream, but if it were to happen I think it would transform Toledo. Because it connects downtown to all parts of the area I think downtown would once again become a hub of activity. The costs would be significant. Using the $25-50 million amount cited in the paper (how something like this costs 5000-10,000 per foot I don't know) the cost of the total system (33.5 miles) would be in the $800 million to $1.7 billion range. This might be decreased significantly by using existing right-of-ways and rails, however. This isn't necessarily insurmountable since this would be a multi-year project (10 years?). Federal funds would cover half with state and local spending less than $1 billion. When you consider that the I-280 crossing has cost around $300 million this total doesn't seem all that out of proportion for what we would be getting.

I really question that $25-50 million estimate too. I can guarentee that heavy rail doesn't even come close to touching that amount, so I don't see how light rail would either. Memphis recently opened a 2.5 mile extension to their current system connecting the medical district to downtown, and it cost $55 million total ($22 million/mile).

Tell me what you think.

posted by HeyHey at 08:41 P.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

-HeyHey- I love it! Especially the idea of transit to the airport as I am one of those that use DTW as it is more convenient than...actually with your connections one could seriously forfeit owning a vehicle!

GREAT JOB! You are totally amazing!

posted by MARIELORA at 08:54 P.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

I have been a proponent of this idea for a while. I think UT could get the state funding for at least one line which could raise interest for the city, county, or port authority to head this project.

I definitely am a proponent of the line going to the airport. Make it an express line heading from spring meadows to the airport which could cut down on those pesky drives to Det. Metro and keep parking costs down.

Where it goes through urban areas I'd try to build over existing railroads to avoid a negative impact on property values. Such a line could easily extend from spring meadows to downtown and intersect the line heading over the rail line from UT.

Not only does this mean less traffic, better roads, less pollution, and easier travel it also could be a selling point for big businesses. Why not a stop at the Jeep plant? I'm sure the workers wouldn't mind less of a drive.

I'm glad jshriver brought up WVU. They have about the same number of students as UT and were able to get this done. There's no reason why the state shouldn't antiup for one of it's biggest universities.

posted by MikeyA at 09:21 P.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

Also I am reminded of my days in Virginia. I lived outside of the light rail area but the big train line was used by many commuters in my area.

On those days where an accident or construction would tie up traffic and delay commuters the trains and light rails only experienced more passengers. No delay.

While the riders were a little less comfortable because of being crowded they still made it to home and work on time.

posted by MikeyA at 09:33 P.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

As a rough gauge for transit construction, highways run about $1M/mi, rail lines $10M/mi, and subways $100M/mi. Hence, each mile you want to add to a rail line in Toledo is yet another $10M ... which Toledo doesn't have and which the state is never happy about sending to Toledo. This leaves federal funding, which as I indicated before, can be rather finicky. Out of curiosity, how long did it take to obtain the federal-majority funding for the 280 bridge? That should tell you the least lead time for a "commuter rail" system in Toledo.

I'm too much of a practiced cynic to believe that largely using existing rail rights of way in Toledo will produce significant savings for a commuter rail line. Even if you avoid significant citizen lawsuits (which are certain to occur when you run anything so noisy near where the yuppies live -- NIMBY ALERT!), you still run the risk of a railroad lawsuit. For some reason, rail systems across the nation really have no assured "go" point. Even with a project fully funded and with "all" the permits and plans in place, lawsuits have still either stalled or halted these projects.

The thing about HeyHey's proposal is that I don't know enough about areas and biases in Toledo to decide what a real proposal would look like. I think that we'd all agree that no more than 2 rail lines will ever be built. That being said, which areas will be served? The downtown-centric mentality continues to pollute Toledoan thinking about public transit, so we certainly know where ONE of the lines will be based (downtown). Will that one run down the AWT to Maumee? To UT and Ottawa Hills? I'm really at a loss to predict. However, I *do* know where the lines will NOT run ... they won't be built for the poor, that's for damned sure. The poor will need them the most, but it's not like a line will run down the middle of Collingwood or Summit.

Another sad truth to public transit in Toledo is that a radical redesign of the TARTA system would fulfill so many needs that a rail system would be unnecessary (consider the vast expense). The system could convert to smaller, more responsive buses which could react to a call system based upon the numerous present stops; at each stop, there's a device that a prospective passenger clicks with a pre-paid token that queues her into the system. But what are the chances of that? TARTA is so set in its ways that it's essentially a publicly-subsidized fossil. Surrounded by economic collapse, TARTA's drivers and managers are only looking out for their paychecks and retirement packages -- not passenger needs and not the larger public good.

posted by GuestZero at 10:29 P.M. EST on Mon May 28, 2007     #

HeyHey - I think you've done a really nice job of thinking through your idea and making reasonable've seemed to cover many aspects.

But I think GZ is correct. TARTA could do a 'radical redesign' and meet many of the NEEDS of people who either must or want to use public transportation. And it wouldn't cost so much money to do.

The problem with the current ideas for monorail, trolley systems, that so many who are in the 'decision-making' realm think they sound 'cool' and that these ideas would be 'attractive' for stimulating use. They fail to recognize that any transportation system must be a response to NEED and user demand - not a response to 'what's a hip thing we can do in the area?' Otherwise, it becomes a fiscal burden.

I'd suggest that the next step in HeyHey's plan would be to guestimate (using the numbers in previous posts) how much such a system must charge in order to be self-sustaining. This would tell us whether or not it's feasible to OPERATE. Then we could consider potential funding sources for construction.

ps. I don't hold out a lot of hope for transportation funds from the Feds. I read an interesting article the other day that some in congress are considering an increase in the gasoline tax. It appears that increased prices result in decreased usage, resulting in less taxes being collected. That, coupled with the cost of current and planned projects means that they would not have enough income to cover planned projects 3-5 years out. Of course, I never underestimate the ability of congress to buy votes with special projects in their districts...

posted by MaggieThurber at 06:09 A.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

As a rough gauge for transit construction, highways run about $1M/mi, rail lines $10M/mi, and subways $100M/mi.

Yeah, for building them out. On the other hand, I would point out that rails (light or heavy) don't develop potholes. You might want to check your maintenance costs. Rt. 2 between the Edison Bridge and Port Clinton's gonna cost $7 million to repave. Monroe between Talmadge and US23 is $2.65 million. The state's planning on spending $90 million on state roads in all of District 2 this year.

posted by anonymouscoward at 06:39 A.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

GZ I think your idea on the reconfiguration of TARTA is good but I doubt that will even save it.

The problem is TARTA in the area has developed a stigma about it that people aren't inclined to shed with a reconstructuring. P-burg isn't pulling out just because their residents don't use it. It has a lot to do with TARTA's image.

AC brings up some good points on maintenance costs.

I believe any NIMBY problems can be solved by building over existing rail lines or through a median highway (i.e. AW Trail).

Plus I proposed UT as starting the venture on money from the state. Once they develop the interest then it's easier for the city to justify needing and spending the funds.

posted by MikeyA at 09:40 A.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

Subcomandante Bob, who has no previous experience with public transportantion beyond passing out on local TARTA busses, offers this map he created of how the light rail transit lines might look (apologies to HeyHey's hard work):

posted by Subcomandante_bob at 10:12 A.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

If metro Toledo can't figure out making TARTA fiscally effective and passenger convenient, what makes you think they can handle light rail?

Strapping more burden on property tax owners to finance this thing will only shift more residents to move to the suburbs.

Same thing to increasing county sales tax will shift more businesses to neighboring counties, i.e. Why buy a car or major purchase in Lucas County when you can get the same item cheaper in a neighboring county?

posted by brassmonkey at 11:14 A.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

More biker friendly laws, trails, and support might be another route to check. Probably for pennies on the dollar with a lot of positive externalities like better health/well-being and heightened awareness of the cityscape.

Some cities like Denver have 1000's of miles of trails where you can avoid traffic commuting to wherever whenever and not relying on other human beings to get you there.

For the lazy/unfit, electric bikes could be used to supplement their commute.

Since we think it prudent to accept a lower standard of living in the name of what we laughingly called "free markets" and "competition" with slave-like economies, let's adopt the 3rd world's preferred method of transportation: clean, renewable peddle power.


posted by charlatan at 01:00 P.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

I agree with -charlatan- on "Bike Trails", I would love to see Toledo build walking/bike trails throughout the city.

I had mentioned in an earlier post on this topic matter "Bike Trails" that in Florida the "Pinnelis Trail" is very much well travelled by young and old alike with using an old Railway that extends from St. Petersburg to the Dunnedin Causeay.

With that...I STILL would like to see public transit expanded...whether it be a "rail" or with our current "Tarta" is...I can drive to say Jeep Plant in 12 minutes with traffic, if I were to take "Tarta" it would take me well over 21/2 hours with all bus transfers entailed.

We have Lake Erie, we have Maumme River, we should grow on this not only in an Industry sense but as a means to attract white collar business with good public transportation whether it be expanding Tarta or a Rail System and in a recreational/fitness sense with a Bike/Walk Trail.

posted by MARIELORA at 03:12 P.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

I think bike trails are a generally a good thing and the one going through Ottawa park should be extended however I don't think people who live in Sylvania and work Downtown will bike to work in their suits.

Additionally this is only a solution that works at best April-October. Not including days when it rain.

Also bikes can be subject to delays as a car would if there's construction. I know I've biked to school every day this semister.

posted by MikeyA at 03:35 P.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

How many miles of bike lanes exist in Toledo? Not bike paths nor bike trails but lanes. A bike lane exists along Sylvania Ave in Sylvania. Any others?

Over the past few years, a lot of new, major road construction has occurred in Toledo and is still taking place like what's happening now along Cherry St by the hospital and along Airport Highway east of Reynolds.

This new road construction is not simply throwing down some asphalt over a couple days. The roads have been widened in some places. New curbs and sidewalks have been built. But no bike lanes.

posted by jr at 05:46 P.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

What's the first major purchase people make when they have disposable income?

A car.

public transportation doesn't attract businesses...ease of transportation does - and in Lucas County, you can get just about anywhere in 20 minutes.

I'm not opposed to a rail system for transportation - I just want people to understand that it doesn't bring economic development, it will cost a lot of money and it will have to continue to be subsidized either through grants or taxes because it won't be self-sustaining. To make it self-sustaining, we'd have to charge more than what most people will pay - or be able to pay. If we want to build something like this anyway, at least we will have done so with full knowledge of the impact of the decision.

posted by MaggieThurber at 06:41 P.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

Subcomandante Bob, I bestow upon you the title of Toledo Treasure. Never change. After all, I'm pretty sure I wiped off my boots on you last year on a TARTA ride, so I may have need of your services once again.

Have you ever considered running for city council? I can see it now ... after a proposal by Carty, Councilman Subcomandante Bob howls, strips to the waist, and does an interpretive dance in response. Carty would go catatonic. Now THAT is government.

posted by GuestZero at 10:56 P.M. EST on Tue May 29, 2007     #

however I don't think people who live in Sylvania and work Downtown will bike to work in their suits.

Agreed. I'd also assume that the person who had to get children to daycare on the way to work would be unlikely to do it all on a bike.

As far as public transportation goes - I'd probably use it, if it were conveniently located for me. Would depend upon what was going on with my kids though.

I live around the corner from the TARTA Park and Ride at Centennial Quarry, but I'll admit I've never used it. If I were still commuting to work, I'd be half tempted to do so w/gas prices being what they are. But, it would still come down to the kid issue - if I were going to have to drop my children off somewhere and then proceed to work, using public transportation would be a huge pain in the ass.

posted by mom2 at 12:09 A.M. EST on Wed May 30, 2007     #

I was able to bike to work in another northern state (yes, even during winter -- I'm motivated) by relying upon a set of showers in the building. Carty knows how important having a shower at work really is (at least for washing the blood out, or something). To really start engaging the public in using manual transportation, we have to provide accommodation in the workplace and street ... namely, a place to lock up bikes, a shower and place to dress, and of course bike lanes where they're needed (alas, almost everywhere).

Mom2 makes a great point. Now more than ever, parents are relying upon their cars for family use. I confess I never understood that. Parents routinely drive their kids to school. When I was growing up, I either hopped on a bus, or walked, or rode my bicycle. Most of the other kids did the same. I've discussed the matter with modern parents, and I can only conclude they're disturbingly afraid of something out there ... like pedophiliac ninjas who will spring out of the bushes and capture their kids, or something. It's weird. What was optional before, is now considered mandatory ... like cellphones.

posted by GuestZero at 03:01 A.M. EST on Wed May 30, 2007     #

Mom2 makes a great point. Now more than ever, parents are relying upon their cars for family use. I confess I never understood that. Parents routinely drive their kids to school.

In my initial comment, I was referring more to children who aren't school aged. (My own are 3 and 2, so if I were still working downtown I'd need to get them to childcare somehow.)

But, I do agree with you on the point you're trying to make about school. Try getting anywhere near an elementary or middle school for the AM or PM rush...traffic is crazy w/parents picking up/dropping off kids. (Wasn't there a story recently about 2 parents who beat down a grandmother in a school parking lot for taking a parking space? Yet another Toledo Springer

I never lived within walking/biking distance of school (grew up in a rural area), but I always took the school bus. Well, until I got old enough to drive myself, of course. But I took the bus up until that point. I expect that my own children will take the bus when they reach school age - seems like most of the kids in my neighborhood do.

Of course, once your kid starts getting involved in after school activities, the bus isn't an option. I suppose we'll have to do the carpool thing then - we don't live within walking/biking distance of the schools. Well actually, we do live within walking distance of Timberstone Jr High. (And now that the new nifty bike trail is open, kids wouldn't have to worry about cars.) But, curiously, that's not the school that my children will attend...unless the districts are realigned by that time.

posted by mom2 at 12:22 P.M. EST on Wed May 30, 2007     #

I've discussed the matter with modern parents, and I can only conclude they're disturbingly afraid of something out there ... like pedophiliac ninjas who will spring out of the bushes and capture their kids, or something.

I know a few parents who won't let their kids take the bus until buses are required to have seatbelts. Not saying I agree with it since I've heard pros and cons of each... but it's their logic, not mine.

My kids are grown now, but up until high school they either took the bus or walked, depending on which school they were attending at the time. When they started high school, I frequently took them for two reasons: 1) it was on the way to where I had to be and 2) none of the individuals in my household are morning people and taking the bus to the high school meant getting up at least 45 minutes earlier. We all appreciated the extra sleep.

posted by valbee at 05:48 P.M. EST on Wed May 30, 2007     #

I'm wondering now if the Parent Taxi™ got a boost from the rise of a 2-income family. That doubled the chance that school is "just on the way" for the parent making a commute.
posted by GuestZero at 12:02 A.M. EST on Thu May 31, 2007     #

Well, as a widowed parent, I can't really offer an opinion on that. I will say that my day ended before theirs did and I still made them take the bus home.
posted by valbee at 09:19 A.M. EST on Thu May 31, 2007     #

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