Friday, August 12, 2011

In the Pipeline

Just because I haven't been posting doesn't mean I haven't been working on stuff! Here are some projects I'm hoping to publish in the near future...

1. Continuing "Neighborhood Mystique"...actually, what I want is for somebody like Plan Philly or Naked Philly to pick it up and pay me to write it. Next stop's Belmont Village.
2. Analyzing SEPTA's route changes. This should be up early next week.
3. John had some good comments on the MARC proposal. In light of these ideas, and other connections that need to be made, I'd like to work on the structure of the system some more.
4. I walked up to the Cynwyd* Trail last week and boy was I amazed. A linear park 30 feet wide and they're managing to fill all of it with trail! How is that even possible...? Criticism of excessive infrastructure, obviously, in the works.
5.Criticism of BRT. My general critique is that it's much too amorphous, it tends to be competitive with other modes more often than complimentary, and that it's often politicized by anti-rail factions who cite (illusory) cost reductions. This is spurred in large part due to Human Transit's recent BRT-love, and is not to say there isn't a place for it so much as to say it hasn't really found its place.
6. Talking about challenges and opportunities of the West Chester and Octoraro branches (the latter goes to Chadds Ford and eventually the Herr's plant down in Nottingham).
7. Talking about integrating the Reading and Quakertown proposals into a unified network. The current disunified way these proposals are being worked on undermines the considerable strength, via economies of scale, that unifying them together would offer.
8. A Center City frequent grid network. Developing a schematic has been troublesome for me. Well, coming (as I do) from an Illustrator background, Inkscape has been troublesome for me.
9. Improving service frequencies on crosstown buses that connect with the Broad Street Line.
10. Building a commuter bus network. One of my ideas is to turn some disused space near 30th Street Station into a commuter bus terminal for SEPTA and NJT. This would help cut down on the excessive number of bus routes along Market and consolidate service in such a way to make it easier to build on more.
11. The Lower East Falls, Wynnefield Heights, and Parkway plans are still in development. Actually, I haven't really worked on them (lazy...). I would really like to finish at least one soon.
12. Last, but not least, I want to ask the question, why is ridership so low at Bala station?
* KIN-wood.


  1. My thoughts on BRT are basically this: It is inherently technically inferior to rail (friction!), but it is much easier for incompetent governments to implement. In other words, it's a good idea for the third world and the US (which is basically the third world when it comes to transit), but probably not for Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.

  2. "It is inherently technically inferior to rail (friction!)"

    This is actually an advantage when going up steep hills in wet weather. That's why San Francisco and Seattle use trolley buses (electric buses powered by overhead wires) on some of their hillier routes.

    Surface rail (streetcars or at-grade light rail) can be inferior to a bus, if transit is not given its own right-of-way. Buses can go around a stalled or crashed car, while a streetcar can get stuck. The real advantage of rail is that you can have long trains, meaning more seats per driver and better capacity, and the ride is usually smoother for passengers. Energy use due to lower rolling resistance is a minor point.

    Jarrett Walker ( has some great posts on the true and false differences between buses and rail: