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Author Topic: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way  (Read 2633 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« on: July 14, 2009, 06:00:33 AM »
Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way



The following article, published in the Winter of 1967 describes the planning and opinions of Alan W. Voorhees report on Transportation.  Voorhees plans were adopted by the city consequently, and this article gives insight into the DNA of transit planning for the past 50 years.

Sometimes keen, sometimes alarmingly thickheaded, the report was nonetheless the cornerstone of all our policy since then.

Join us as we parse this plan, its successes and failures, what parts we would have changed and kept, and how to go forward now.

These essays were commissioned by Eve Heaney, the brilliant and surprising female Editor of Jacksonville Magazine, which was, (and still is) the publication of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-jul-until-at-least-a-million-people-buses-are-the-only-way

lindab

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2009, 07:55:26 AM »
I really appreciate this article since I have wondered for years about the origins of that particular mantra about no transit until the magic density number is reached.

mtraininjax

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2009, 08:26:20 AM »
Wow, people inhabited downtown at one time....
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Dog Walker

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2009, 08:31:36 AM »
Well this area is now over the magic million mark so lets get started with the streetcars and commuter rail!  Hurray!  We've made it!
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cline

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2009, 08:32:42 AM »
Jacksonville Mag is not published by the CoC.

stephendare

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2009, 09:56:58 AM »
Quote
.Mass Transit Systems.

"Until we are at least 1,000,000 population (about 1990), " Voorhees says, "the bus system is the only way to move people at a reasonable cost.  Right now we must concentrate on improving this system of bus transportation service, extending routes, stepping up frequency and greatly expanding direct cross town routes.

"Meantime for the next 20 years we can be thinking about reserving right of way for future systems.  First we must crystallize planning.  A right of way that looks good now might not look so good in terms of tomorrow's growth.  A study now will result in better forecasting of traffic and a savings in rights of way acquisitions.

"Several needs are obvious, however.  When appropriate, we ought to get  a downtown to Beaches route and a connection to the new airport.  We'll also need them along expressways as they are developed.
This is exactly what we did.

Its amazing really, how we got exactly what we planned for.

As I noticed in all the Eve Heaney articles, on things stands out.  The really did plan what happened, they were just working in a new and developing field, and they had no way of seeing some of the outcomes.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2009, 09:59:25 AM by stephendare »
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Lunican

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2009, 10:01:12 AM »
The exact same things are being said today, which is discouraging because it has amounted to absolutely nothing being done to improve mass transit. We've been "thinking about" reserving right of way for 50 years now.

stjr

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2009, 12:36:48 PM »
This article appears to me to be a coded message for planting the seed for the Dames Point Bridge (servicing the "north and east" areas of town, which then were mostly swamp) and justifying the connecting I-295/9A Beltway which services the "needs" of the Beaches, Airport, port facilities, cross-town connections. etc. while totally missing the dreaded and "shrinking" downtown area.  " 'We're going to do something about this.'  says Voorhees."
And, so it was done.

Call me cynicial but I would suggest this article had some serious special interests and political motivations behind its publication.
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

stephendare

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2009, 12:42:27 PM »
Do tell, stjr.
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Ocklawaha

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2009, 12:50:46 PM »
Stjr, it was really a coded and secret message about massive SKYWAY expansion... How else to get to the Beaches from downtown since in the end we didn't save the rail or mass transit right-of-way's.

Smile


OCKLAWAHA

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2009, 02:13:33 PM »
"Until we are at least 1,000,000 population (about 1990), " Voorhees says, "the bus system is the only way to move people at a reasonable cost.  Right now we must concentrate on improving this system of bus transportation service, extending routes, stepping up frequency and greatly expanding direct cross town routes."

The bus transportation service is still very inefficient. See, my boyfriend had to move back in with his parents after getting laid off and having a hard time finding a new job. Plus his car just totally died on him and he has no $$ to even think about fixing it. Then he finds out the buses don't go *anywhere near* his parents house. (they live right next to I-95 on Old St Augustine Road) This has made it that much harder to find a new job in this screwed up economy. And this is not the only part of town that has no buses running through it. This city needs to actually fix the bus problems before we even think about building a bunch of fancy ways to get around

Ocklawaha

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2009, 03:07:35 PM »
"Until we are at least 1,000,000 population (about 1990), " Voorhees says, "the bus system is the only way to move people at a reasonable cost.  Right now we must concentrate on improving this system of bus transportation service, extending routes, stepping up frequency and greatly expanding direct cross town routes."

The bus transportation service is still very inefficient. See, my boyfriend had to move back in with his parents after getting laid off and having a hard time finding a new job. Plus his car just totally died on him and he has no $$ to even think about fixing it. Then he finds out the buses don't go *anywhere near* his parents house. (they live right next to I-95 on Old St Augustine Road) This has made it that much harder to find a new job in this screwed up economy. And this is not the only part of town that has no buses running through it. This city needs to actually fix the bus problems before we even think about building a bunch of fancy ways to get around

Voorhees, couldn't have been more wrong! Cities with balanced and mixed mode transit have been far ahead of the learning curve for years. This Mixed Transit theory has worked even in cities much smaller then Jacksonville. 

In real world experience, the mix of transit types always over produces the single mode choice. Currently we are stretching schedules to put buses on Beach to Cecil, and Orange Park to Airport, like routes. If we had a completed Skyway, Streetcars and Regional Rail, those same buses could cut their trip lengths in half or more. We could then redeploy our large bus fleet (3rd in FL behind MIA and FLL) as neighborhood transit. This new form of Community Transit sends the buses on a frequent schedule circuit around each community within the metro area. For example the bus that would then pass your home would also pass your bank, your department stores, your grocery and your Rapid Transit Station. The remaining routes that would still go into town could be made more efficient via a BRT/HOV lane concept. The way to get buses and get them more frequently is to get RAIL.

 
OCKLAWAHA

stephendare

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2012, 12:22:32 PM »
Quote
Planning authority Alan W. Voorhees whose transportation consultant firm is in McLean, Va., is assigned to this phase of planning.  Among his findings:

"All downtown areas in cities are shrinking.  With only 20 to 25 percent of all people working in downtown, its function is shifting from manufacturing wholesaling and retailing toward the economic activities of management and finance.

"Because the big population growth is coming in the suburbs, most of our service oriented industry is attracted to secondary centers which spring up to serve these people.

"All this change results in a new concept of road patterns and modes of transportation.  The highway into town has lost its importance.

"Today, Jacksonville people are making a total of a million trips a day in the area.  Only 3% of these trips utilize mass transportation systems.  A million more trips are made daily through the area.  Traffic concentrates in the city's center, although only about 10% is destined for downtown.  The rest is cross town traffic.  This traffic pattern wastes time.  We're going to do something about this."  says Voorhees.

"Gridirons of roads are the most effective means of providing road service to homes.  We'll see an interlinking of communities with cross town feeders to serve dispersed traffic patterns.  The result will be less roads ad more open spaces.

"We're planning expressway expansions now.  We're planning for several new expressways, both north and south to feed the potential development to the north and east of the downtown and we may provide two cross river systems as port and industrial expansion follows the river north and eastward.

"Also, we're suggesting an expressway just inside the Beaches development as a North South facility to prevent the number one problem which exists in the Broward Dade County areas and could develop at our shore.

"A by-pass rail system just outside of and to the west of I-295 to get big train movements outside the congested areas may be set up to serve the expected industrial development along our present system.

"As you can see, we are getting a marked change from today's traffic patterns.

This was the man and set of decisions that cost us our downtown, ultimately.

Removing all the rail from the downtown and designing the city to utilize these expressways around downtown----specifically in order to promote the suburbs.

wonder if he is still alive?
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stephendare

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2012, 12:32:36 PM »
Here is the answer to the question of whether or not he is still alive:  Very smart fellow btw, with an interesting life.  Sadly he apparently was fundamentally wrong in his ideas on city design.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Voorhees

Quote
Alan Manners Voorhees (December 17, 1922 – December 18, 2005) was a transportation engineer and urban planner who designed many large public works in the United States. Voorhees was born in Highland Park, New Jersey.

During World War II, he left his studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to join the United States Navy as an officer in what was called the "Underwater Demolition Team 11" (UDT-11), a precursor to the U.S. Navy SEALs. He spent much of the war mapping shoreline defenses in the Pacific. After the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Voorhees' unit was sent in to inspect the city, making him one of the first Americans to see the bomb's aftermath. For his military service he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

After the war, Voorhees continued his education, graduating from RPI in 1947 and then earning his master's degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1949.
[
Transportation planning

In 1952, Voorhees came to Washington, D.C. to work for the nonprofit Automobile Safety Foundation. While studying traffic in Baltimore, Voorhees developed a mathematical formula to predict traffic patterns based on land use. This formula has been instrumental in the design of numerous transportation and public works projects around the world. He wrote "A General Theory of Traffic Movement" (1956), which applied the gravity model to trip distribution, which translates trips generated in an area to a matrix that identifies the number of trips from each origin to each destination, which can then be loaded onto the network.

In 1961, he began his own engineering firm (Alan M. Voorhees & Associates) which eventually grew to have branches in ten U.S. cities. He was involved in the design of many subway systems including those in São Paulo, Hong Kong, Caracas, and Washington, D.C..

Voorhees sold his firm in 1967 and became the dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Urban Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle in 1971. The firm went on to be project manager of the Boston Transportation Planning Review. Voorhees invested in Micros Corporation and its electronic cash register in the late 1960s.

Voorhees designed the street grid for land that was reclaimed in lower Manhattan in New York City, connecting new streets to centuries-old already existing roads and to the Brooklyn Bridge.

and here is the answer to his opinions on rail vs highways:

Quote
He was also one of the early designers of the United States' Interstate Highway System and helped determine how the highways would cut through or bypass urban areas.
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stephendare

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Re: Until at least a million people, Buses are the only way
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2012, 12:36:01 PM »
Here is his obituary in the Washington Post:  Truly a fascinating fellow

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/23/AR2005122301694.html

By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Alan M. Voorhees, who made important contributions to fields as varied as mapping, urban planning, the interstate highway system, airlines, collecting and philanthropy, died Dec. 18 of an apparent stroke at the Berkeley Hotel, a small hotel that he built and owned in Richmond.

The Alexandria resident had just attended the annual Christmas party of his family investment firm and celebrated his 83rd birthday, which was Dec. 17.

Early in his career, Voorhees, an engineer who specialized in transportation projects, devised a mathematical model to predict traffic patterns. This formula has helped planners build highways, subway systems, shopping centers, apartment buildings and office complexes throughout the world.

Voorhees was instrumental in designing the roads and transportation systems in at least four national capitals, including Washington. When land was reclaimed at the southern tip of Manhattan, he helped connect the new street grid to existing roads and the Brooklyn Bridge.



"It's not too much to say he was a legend in the field," said Thomas B. Deen, a former business partner who later was executive director of Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. "He was very intuitive. He was a genius in his ability to sense what was going to work and what wouldn't."

In the late 1950s, before a single mile of the interstate highway system had been built, Voorhees was one of its early planners, particularly in determining how the highways should go through and around cities. Later, he helped plan subway systems around the world, including Washington's Metro.

His curiosity led him to other fields, and he funded entrepreneurs who developed the electronic cash register and a bar-code system. He established a popular berry farm and nature preserve in Virginia's Northern Neck; collected historic maps that he later donated to the Library of Congress and other institutions; and funded buildings and programs on the campuses of at least four colleges.

"He liked ideas, progress, productivity," said his daughter, Nancy Voorhees. "He never really retired."

His work quietly affected the lives of countless people, yet Voorhees maintained such a low public profile that he was all but unknown in Washington, where he had lived since 1952. He moved below the Beltway radar, staying out of politics and the local party scene.

His name made the headlines only when he donated 729 acres on the Rappahannock River to the Nature Conservancy in 1994; when Rutgers University in New Jersey dedicated the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, a research institute on transportation policy, in 1998; and when he gave priceless historical maps to the Library of Virginia in 1999.

"Al made a huge difference in the way our society is today, and he did it behind the scenes," said Gary L. Fitzpatrick, former senior specialist for digital programs at the Library of Congress, who knew Voorhees as a map collector.

Alan Manners Voorhees was born Dec. 17, 1922, in Highland Park, N.J. He was in his early teens when his father, a stockbroker, died.

He made his first major contribution during World War II, when he left his civil engineering studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., to become an officer with an elite Navy unit called UDT-11, Underwater Demolition Team 11, a forerunner of the Navy Seals. (His unit is featured in an exhibit at the Navy UDT-Seal Museum in Fort Pierce, Fla.) Voorhees was in the advance units of several Allied invasions in the Pacific islands during World War II, swimming ashore to scout enemy positions and, under heavy fire, map shoreline defenses. His maps helped guide the Allied invasions of Okinawa and in Borneo.

After the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, Voorhees's unit inspected the city's harbor, and he was among the first Americans to see the destruction of Nagasaki. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Voorhees returned to Rensselaer, graduating in 1947, and then received a master's degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1949. He did further study of highway transportation at Yale University and took his first professional job as a city planning engineer in Colorado Springs. While there, he was on a committee that put together a proposal that eventually led to the location of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.



In 1952, Voorhees came to Washington as a planning engineer with the Automobile Safety Foundation, a nonprofit corporation. He lived in a house in Bethesda that he built with his own hands.

While studying traffic patterns in Baltimore, he applied a principle from marketing to measure housing, congestion and other urban uses to assess future transportation needs. He was present at the launch of the interstate highway movement in the 1950s. He also worked to help Boston, Washington and other cities convert their bus systems from private to public ownership.

In 1961, he formed Alan M. Voorhees and Associates, which grew to have 10 branches throughout the country and six offices abroad. During the 1960s, Voorhees helped in the initial design of Metro's underground stations and contributed to plans for subway systems in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Hong Kong and Caracas, Venezuela. He drew up transportation plans for the national capitals of Australia, Nigeria and Yugoslavia.

In 1967, his firm was bought by Planning Research Corp., but it remained an independent subsidiary until Mr. Voorhees left in 1977 to become dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Urban Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle. While there, he established a neighborhood planning center at the university in his wife's name.

He returned to the Washington area in 1979, settling in a historic house in Alexandria. He had become a wealthy man when he sold his company, and he began to invest in promising ventures.

In 1979, after the deregulation of the airline industry, Voorhees helped found Atlantic Southeast Airlines and remained its chairman until it was bought by Delta Airlines. He and a partner expanded a small mapping and satellite reconnaissance firm, Autometric Inc., into a $100 million concern that conducted top-secret intelligence work.

He also turned to development, building Hamilton Court, a mixed-use development in Georgetown, and properties in a historic district in Richmond. He bought a farm in Westmoreland County, on Virginia's Northern Neck, that is now a popular fruit and berry farm, and turned 1,000 nearby acres into a nature preserve.

He was a member of the board of Voorhees College, a historically black institution in Denmark, S.C., and paid for buildings there and at Rensselaer and Rutgers.

In later life, Voorhees amassed about 300 maps that document the development of Virginia since the 16th century, which Fitzpatrick of the Library of Congress called "the best collection that was in private hands."

Once, when an important map came up for sale in London, Voorhees flew over on the Concorde, without telling his wife where he was going. He bought the map and returned the same day.

He divided his collection, worth several million dollars, among the Library of Congress, the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Historical Society. He organized a campaign to have the map collection of the Library of Congress photographed and digitally preserved.

Voorhees was a member of the steering committee of Jamestown 2007, a group planning the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown. He was a former chairman of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences and the first chairman of the Center for Geographic Information at the Library of Congress. He served on several boards devoted to Virginia history.

His wife of 51 years, Nathalie P. Voorhees, died in 2000.

In addition to his daughter, Nancy, of Bethesda, survivors include two other children, Susan V. Hunt of McLean and Scott Voorhees of London; two brothers; and six grandchildren.

Voorhees was preparing for a trip to Antarctica in January. It was the only continent he had not visited.
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