Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Union Pacific Railroad is Handing out Traffic Tickets.

Union Pacific Railroad are Handing out Traffic Tickets

Two Weeks ago along Wetmore road, Union Pacific railroad in two locomotive units went back and forth down the track looking out for motorist who where running around down gates and sitting on railroad tracks waiting for the light to turn green.
For the most part, people are unaware of what railroad track belongs to whom and what, there are actually trains? Just go outside and go down to the nearest railroad track. Do you see a train? Probably not at all because freight rail doesn't run by a schedule at all, but when the train need to go. Since the formation of Amtrak, the general public has been separated by the trains that bring coal for electrical power, carries the grain we eat and the junk we by at Walmart. We don't even realize the significance of what happens when there's a traffic jam on a railroad track and the reason behind it. A car got hit by a train.
Union Pacific makes billions in profits per year and they intend to keep those billions coming in by reducing cost of delays. They are separated by the general public for the most part except when a train blocks traffic for a few minutes. This negative encounter usually outrages motorist because a train is blocking their path that the state transportation department gave them the right to go down and on average, adding an additional three minutes to their drive. Even a 15 second Amtrak train will infuriate motorist for blocking the road ahead. And guess what hits the idiot that decides that 3 minutes is just too much time?

When a train hits a car, it is found about a mile down the track and then the investigations starts. During that time, traffic backs up down the line. Cars can go around a car accident, but not trains. A train can't jump off the tracks and go around the down train and get back on. So Union Pacific goes out and informs the public on the local news and with a ticket or two.
Now Union Pacific does have a outreach program like it's steam train excursions that tries to connect to the general public. They even carried the Olympic Torch twice, but that don't really cut it if people are stopping on railroad tracks waiting for the light to turn green. Now Union Pacific use to have daily interaction with the public, it was called the passenger rail such as the City of Los Angeles. But now Amtrak takes that role eliminating the actual contact between the railroad and the public.

Taking look at two states, you see a difference between train and vehicle collisions. New Jersey had 387 highway-rail incidents during the last 10 years compared to Texas which had 2,498. Whats the difference other than size? Well its passenger rail. New Jersey has passenger rail mainly commuter rail operations all across the state operated by New Jersey Transit. Texas, well we have long freight trains that pass by with in 3 minutes on average. If the solution to reduce collisions is as simple as having a frequent rail passenger operations, then the occasional ticket issuing event that took place on February 3 or Steam Train excursions, then the railroad should really take this simple fact into account when trying reducing highway-rail collisions.
Now your probably asking yourself, what a minute Mr Day, Texas and New Jersey are completely different states. After all, Texas is way bigger. Yes that is true, so lets look at two counties in Texas. Dallas County which has miles of light rail, and Bexar County which has no light rail. Bexar County, the County that houses San Antonio, TX has had a total of 105 highway-rail incidents compared to Dallas County that has a total of 99. Dallas has had a change of 72.73 % in reduction compared with Bexar County of just 30.77% in reduction. Now what about Houston, after all there light rail is the most accident prone ever. Well Harris County has had a change of 61.9% in reduction over the past 10 years. In 2011, only 21 incidents were reported compared to 53 when the light rail started operations in 2002.
This is over a 10 year period and it shows that providing passenger rail services will reduce railway grade crossing accidents. This is because the public has for once a actual positive connection to the rails compared to a negative one when a freight train blocks traffic. If Union Pacific is really seriously about reducing highway-rail incidents, then they will make an effort and support the building of light rail or commuter rail in metro areas.


Monday, February 6, 2012

It Doesn't Matter, YOUR ANTI TRANSIT.

In San Antonio, the city I call home, somebody by the name of George Rodriguez of the SA Toll Party is threatening to sue the County against the Rail Streetcar Project in San Antonio, Texas. Apparently the majority of the funding comes from the Advance Transportation District (ATD), a district that was voted for by the public to raise the sales tax by 1/8 cent sales tax to pay not just for public transit, but for streets and highway improvements as well. According to them, we were told that this wasn't going to be used for light rail and well it ain't. But since these people are not keen on the definitions of different types of rail, they wouldn't know the difference in the first place. If ATD money was being used for a High Speed Rail station in San Antonio, they would still sue claiming that the money was being taken away from roads and being used for Light Rail.

For the most part, I've been against Toll Roads because they would be sold to foreign companies to began with. How unAmerican is that, selling your highway system to a corporation from overseas. But I'm willing to change my position in opposition of the SA Toll Party if they bring this law suit against the County. For the first time in living memory, VIA are committing funds to a transit route that will never be removed, that will not go away but be there for decades to come.

The people who are against the Light Rail to began with use every single tactic in their arsenal to halt a project from getting off the ground. They will point out how inefficient it is. How costly the rail vehicles are and most of all, they will point out the fact that more buses will do a better job. Well if that's the case, why are we as a nation, cutting the more efficient, cheaper bus lines?

In this video from ReasonTV titled, “17 Miles in Just 78 Minutes! Light Rail vs Reality in LA” he used the famed pop up video routine to point out all the faults with the Los Angeles transit System. 1St, he point out how there's no train to the Airport. Second, the point out how While The Train appears fuler during rush hour, it runs all day and night at much lower capacity. Third, he points out how buses are cheaper, flexable and better. (Remember that word FLEXABLE) And finally, he points to the false fact that it is not energy efficient.

Let me point out to why sir, you have a fuck up Los Angeles Public Transit System....

1. After WWII, the transit company tore up all the Light rail lines in the first place in favor of more cheaper efficient, flexible buses.

2. Using old data on how non Energy efficient rail lines are is like pointing to an airplane and telling me how it uses less gasoline than a family driving cross country. This old data which by the way comes from Galveston, TX Streetcar, doesn't even show the actual data on how fuel efficient it really is. Instead they point to the number of people it caries on average compared to a car. They use the fact that it ain't carrying maximum number of people against the amount of fuel it uses per weight. If this was a true, then the Major Freight Railroads of the North America could no longer be in business because I guarantee you, they wouldn't be able to compete against to more fuel efficient trucks. But we are lead to believe that because it doesn't carry as much people as it suppose to, it uses more energy to get around. I guess CSX and Norfolk Southern are lying out of there with there current commercials.

3. Guess What? While Buses “appears fuller during rush hour, it runs all day and night at much lower capacity”

3. Buses are flexible all right. They're so flexible that they're flexible to be permanently removed.

In City after City across the United States of America, bus lines have been cut all together from services forcing people like me to own cars to get around because buses might appears fuller during rush hour, it runs all day and night at much lower capacity. And when we can't afford cars to get around, well we don't find work.

A news story from 2010 from the Huffingtonpost had a story on a number of people who couldn't find jobs because they didn't have cars.
“Across Milwaukee County, workers want jobs, and businesses want workers. Eric Isbister is the chief executive of GenMet, a metal fabricator located one blocknorth of Milwaukee county. He needs new employees -- the expansion of his business depends on it -- but he can't get them. The nearest bus stop is more than two miles from his factory. He advertises in newspapers, and regularly interviews prospective employees, but he continually runs up against the same problem. Often, he said, he'll see an interviewee's friends or family waiting in a car outside, ready to give the person a ride home. When he sees that, he knows he won't be able to hire the worker.”

But what got me going was a professional woman was demanded that she get a car before get get a job for the Milwaukee transit system.
“"She said you have to be able to drive," Schulz recalled. "I was just so dumbfounded. This was, like, the job I was meant to have."”

All this in a state in where the newly elected governor touted more jobs in his campaign speech. Good luck on those jobs governor. Your going to have a lot of people who simply can't find work in the first place.

But there's another reason why people don't ride buses. Well, there not romantic at all to began with. They're bumpy, uncomfortable to ride let alone to get aboard. We all know the words to “Weird Al” Yankovic of Another One Rides the Bus. Maybe because they're perverts in the back riding the bus.

Trains have tons of songs about riding them. One of them is called the “The Red Line” by It's Casual. He didn't take the bus, he took the Subway. And then there's Thomas the Tank Engine. He beats the bus between destinations on that little island of his. Trains are simply smoother than automobiles to begin with and are more comfortable to ride.

So the next time you hear how it is more efficient, more FLEXIBLE to have buses instead of passenger rail. Always point to the fact that a bus service is FLEXIBLE enough to be permanently removed. Buses are simply not fun enough to ride. And in the end you are not being pro transit by being anti light rail, your just being anit good public transportation in general.

Out Of Service: Milwaukee Budget Cuts Hit Bus Lines -- And Keep Residents From Jobs

Foes threaten legal action to derail downtown streetcar project