Sunday, April 17, 2016

Denver's A train; Union Station to D.I.A.

Twenty-three miles. Thirty-seven minutes. Nine dollars.That's the distance, the duration and the price of a one-way trip between Union Station and Denver International Airport on the A-Line.

Denver Post.  The snippet links to an article 10 things you should know about Denver's A-Line from DIA to downtown.

It's all so romantic! The ten things are not interesting. They're trite. Here they are summarized:

1. Denver's first commuter. They're heavier than light rail, 25,000 volts
2. Level with platform
3. Last one 1:26 AM
4. On cost. $9.00
5. Cheap RTD parking
6. Agents patrol turnstile jumping
7. Married Pair means two cars joined
8. Automatic system limits accidents
9. Has a plow for blizzards
10. Is a public and private combined project

See? Not so interesting as the thing left undiscussed, all that for a train that travels so achingly slowly. Total snoozefest. Why, oh why, oh why, given this undying obsession with trains, an early nineteenth century technology, do progressives not obsess for incredibly fast trains? Trains so fast they arrest the imagination and make you want to ride them.

Thirty-seven minutes to travel twenty-three miles. (It took 2 hours to drive 20 miles across Tokyo when we lived there and it made my parents insane. This is 1/4 that and still unacceptable) It is obscenely slow. That's crawling. Here, let's draw a picture of a modern commuter train hooked up to a giant snail with 25,000 volts. It's Flintstone.

23 miles in 37 minutes. There's more minutes than miles (.62 mpm)

23     37.29
37    60  

37.29 MPH. 

Why do we want a train that goes 37 MPH? Why is that not too slow for planners? Why is this not unacceptably slow for such a huge project in early 21st century? Again, why is this train not fast? It is a real question. And not just pleasantly fast, why is this train not mind-blowingly fast? I cannot comprehend why early 19th century solution is always insisted upon for 21st century commuting. 

And I mean insisted. Light rail was voted on directly twice twenty years ago, in series. Voters denied the light rail plans twice. Voters said quite clearly they do not want to revert to earlier models of transportation, think of something else. Be imaginative. And planners just keep returning to light rail, eventually doing what politicians obsessed and locked onto an idea and  in power do, they act against the directly stated public wishes and instituted a penny-ante nibble away through minute taxation applied in patchwork projects until over decades their obsession becomes real. Light rail trollies just like 1875. It's all so very romantic and without all those disgusting horses. 

The train could go 200 MPH, but no, not with progressive obsession. I recall the early discussions about what other cities do. What other cities did. How brilliant other and especially other European cities do with these things. Why can't we be like Europe? And never why can't we be better than Europe? Progressive Democrat planners have an obsession with being like Europe, and an obsession with trains. Two unshakable obsessions so that a very slow train from a refurbished fancy and expansive 19th century train station (where I broke my femur) crawls to a modern airport mere 20 miles distant and it takes well over half hour to get there. That is considered success. Instead of taking one breathtaking minute to be whisked there on an incredibly fast and modern train. A ride worth ten times regular cost for the thrill of it. Progressives keep us stuck in the past, and their obsessions frustratingly conservative.


edutcher said...

Funny how the East Coast has had such things for 100 years and they seem to work better.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I get if light rail is sharing public roads it has to be slow so as not to hit pedestrians and autos, but why not fast on its own dedicated track?

Of course, vagrants love to walk on train tracks so that might be part of it.

AprilApple said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AprilApple said...

I like how Denver media elites (idiot Kyle Clark(D)) rejoice at how Colorado democrats spend millions upon millions on endless road "studies". Meanwhile, I-70 is still a mess.

I think you nailed it Chip. It's all about the romance. Anyone who wants to get to DIA in a hurry, from that downtown location, is out of luck. But so what? Isn't it romantic?!

When I book travel, my first consideration is "how fast can I get there?"
I want to spend as little time in an airport or in-between stops -- as possible.

Rabel said...

Seventy-nine MPH cruising speed but with six stops along the way. The nice part is that all the riders will hit the TSA checkpoint at the airport at the same time. Advantage to the fastest walkers. Sorry Chip.

edutcher said...

Sounds like Duke Ellington's ran better.

Of course, Republicans ran Gotham back then.

Chip Ahoy said...

The thing that I don't understand psychologically, I know these people, they grew up on Star Trek and fancy themselves futurists. They identify progressive because they like the sound of the word with no idea at all it really refers to retrogressive antique policies. They want Flash Gordon. They want to bring the Jetsons. They buy computers that they cannot fully appreciate, they ALWAYS have the latest updated phone. They adore new devices. They love the future, the idea of bringing change, riding the wave of the future, being front of the cab, in pilots seat, in the engineer's seat, with the front view of what's coming next. Always.

And then trains, straight out of Atlas Shrugged.

Ayn Rand nailed their psychology, their substitute religion, their obsessions, their drives. That's the real reason they despise the book, Rand hammers obnoxiously over and over and over and over for thousands of pages the same central theme, exactly as they do in life. That's why they hate it not because it actually is rather poor literature.

I'm reliving the entire thing as I recall it from the initial idea of light rail, from the initial idea of a new hub airport, all that futuristic talk, reflections of BART that by then itself was quite old and now an antique.

I think the way it was pulled off was by a very high influx of new population. The massive influx and disruption allowed the established obsessions to work through. But not unnoticed. Every little step of inflicting the system was fought tooth and nail.

It's actually a fun ride. But hardly useful. I have used it and it's wholly impractical. And they never once checked for fares. That surprises me. So far my experience is nobody cares if I paid or not.

Also bicycles racks are everywhere now. I can have my choice of racks just half block away. Maybe that's the idea, ride the bike to the light rail. One line follows the highway, a retainer wall on one side the entire way south with I-25 on the other side and all the cars going much faster than you and you're all, "why did I do this?" Imagine going to my doctor that way. It's a multi stage thing.

As for the new A-Line, what good is 60MPH with 6 stops. 6 stops! C'mon! why not a very fast train directly there. No messing around. It's romance.

I have a new city plan that can make the city millions each year and be fun besides. A double service. One fast with no stops, super fast, mag lift fast and using the same appropriated land each ride $50.00 whatever for my new ride right next to the romantic la dee dah antique looking backward to the past, mind the cows, six stop service for an old fashioned meager very slow $9.00.

"Hey, did you try the new mag lift at DIA?"

"Naaaw, I can't wait to try it. It's totally ace!"

Rhythm and Balls said...

This appears to be another one of Chip's stock anti-progress rants lifted almost verbatim from the Limbaugh, etc., script that I can't decipher for the life of me. What's he saying - that anything that eases over-reliance on our very primitive airports and groping TSA is a bad thing? That technology is bad unless it was recently and very unrealistically portrayed in a sci-fi flick? That if Europe or Japan use mag-levitation at speeds approaching 300 mph it would be somehow degrading for us to use the same thing? (And does he really think that rail initiatives are ANTI-high speed? They're all about high speed). It's just another jumbled up mess of Europe-hatred, crypto-airport/TSA-glorifying, leisure-hatred, no-change-is-good-enough-for me-ism but everything-current-sucks-too, as far as I can tell. Everything is horrible unless it's made of construction paper or featured on a cooking show. There's no way Chip can really be this hateful of practicality, is there?

Chip Ahoy said...

Shut up, Stupid.

ricpic said...

Since Schmendrik mentions practicality my guess is that a project of this cost couldn't have been sold to the Colorado legislators who had to vote for the funding simply as a hip toy. My further guess is that The Denver International Airport is a very high traffic airport. Perhaps it was reasoned that there already was a need (or a potential need) for an alternative to renting a car at the airport and using that as transportation if you were going to make downtown Denver the focus of your trip. I could see both business travelers and tourists preferring to take rail downtown and then to get around by taxi or public transportation rather than deal with the hassle of a car in center city. And since Chip says there are six stops in Denver maybe flying Denverites might prefer to take the train to their neighborhood stop rather than leave their car in long term parking at the airport. In other words maybe there was a practical need or a need that would develop over time for this airport-city connector.

Titus said...

I think trains are great in certain parts of the country where they is tons of peeps in a small space. Bos-Wash region they are essential. Denver, not so much.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Pointless anger is a form of intelligence!

Go make me a sammich and a construction paper fold-out card to send to all your imaginary friends, bitch!


I'd say look up SkyTran but ricpic hates all Israeli technology, especially when it involves personalized transport at 10% of the cost of the alternative infrastructure.

Chippie, I would like to send you galoshes this year to stomp around in all those puddles that collect beneath the rain cloud that permanently follows your eternally despondent puss. Trains are immature but an autistic, emotionally stunted rejected photo from the 1987 Benneton catalog speaks with great frustration!

Grouchy grouchy Chippie! Chippie want a sippy cup and commuters poo-poo for having things to do! Bad people! Get rid of people and make grouchy grumpy Chippie feel nice-nice with warm food in tummy!

Seriously, a three-year old is pretending to have an opinion worth reading on mass transit.

Clearly this man-child was not allowed by mommy and daddy to act out his tantrums when it might have done his overburdened but still developing mind (and the rest of society) some good.

Meltdown as a form of policy advice. Hilarious.

Titus said...

What is Denver like? It looks so spread out and desolate, very different from a fab Northeastern city.

I watched the video-if that was in Boston you would of seen tons of people, high rises, and limited space.

Rabel said...

The Chip/Ritmo feud is not nearly as entertaining as the Ed/April feud. You guys need to step it up.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Lol. No feud. I'm just watching a child writhe on the floor while pounding his fists and kicking against it, and commenting descriptively.

ampersand said...

You must have a mirror on your ceiling.

Rhythm and Balls said...

You must have no mirror neurons.

Do I sound angry? All I expressed was bewilderment at Chippie's fury with both the status quo and alternatives to it, and then amusement at his rude implication that it's "stupid" to ask how exactly that makes sense.

Sometimes the echos in these rooms read like chambers in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, where one inmate "translates" the unintelligible mutterings of the other into English for the nurse, and it turns out they were both just speaking different and mutually exclusive versions of crazy-language.

Rabel said...

So who here is Nurse Ratched? I nominate the unnameable one.

chickelit said...

So who here is Nurse Ratched? I nominate the unnameable one.

I vote for inviting Inga back.

chickelit said...

Titus said...
I think trains are great in certain parts of the country where they is tons of peeps in a small space. Bos-Wash region they are essential. Denver, not so much.

Oceanside -- which is not fab according to Spinelli -- is a local commuter train hub. You can catch a commuter train to LA or to San Diego. Some of the scenery is seaside and very stunning. Amtrak also stops here. I am rather pro-train but use it less frequently than I used to do.

AprilApple said...

Titus - Denver and Colorado are horrible. Tell all your friends.

Rabel said...

Staying with the tax theme, Roger Kimball has a post at PJ Media explaining why he supports Ted Cruz. In his post he praises Cruz's simplified tax plan and his "postcard" tax form.

In doing so he inadvertently highlights one of the primary things I dislike about Cruz. While his plan does simplify taxes in many ways (many of them good ways) the "postcard" as part of the simplification is misleading to the point of fraudulence.

Take a look at the lines on the form. Unless you're in favor of totally voluntary and unverified income tax filing system (a nice thought but completely unworkable in practice), almost every one of them will require documentation and calculation.

For example, there's a line for "Itemized deduction amount." Outside of a fantasy world, you'll have to actually build a list of your itemized deductions (now done on Schedule A) and unless his trust in the American people is unlimited you'll have to retain or submit that list. The same holds true for almost every line on the form.

He also, in order to meet the "postcard sized," boast omits several lines from the 1040 that will necessarily have to be included in your tax submission - for example a spouses or tax preparer's signature, refund instructions, etc.

My problem isn't so much with his tax plan, it's with the attempt to mislead, to fool me into thinking that I can do my taxes on a postcard. It just won't be true even if his plan is adopted in full.

Cruz may get the nomination and I will probably vote for him if he does, but he needs to stop trying to pump me full of BS. Just be honest, Ted. Just tell the truth.

Also Kimball is a smart man and he knows these things, but he promotes the "postcard" lie without qualification. So, fuck him.

Darcy said...

I <3 Denver! It's one of the most beautiful places on earth to em.

This is good news for me, as a frequent traveler to Denver. Also good news for Uber drivers out there. Their job is still somewhat safe! :)

I love the light rail to the city. I biked to the city from the suburbs last summer and then took the train back (newbie to cycling).

Darcy said...

Er..."me", not "em".