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Comments made by mm

Should California Move Forward With Plan To Build High-Speed Rail System?

Since "These Days" typically provides the pros and cons, I was really surprised to hear today's segment slanted against high speed rail; including Tom Fudge's non-objective personal opinions against it and a short recording by a libertarian speaker who espoused that as San Diegans, we have the wrong population density for it. (though he failed to acknowledge that population density is changing at an exponential rate, particularly in the southwestern US) Here are some issues I feel were not addressed:

Commuters:How many passengers commute to LA regularly who would switch if given the choice? Why is he comparing it to the San Diego "trolley!?" (The LA-SD commuting population is not the same user!)
As someone who has had to commute to LA regularly for work, often 2x a week, I have found, like others on the full train, that taking the train + subway is on some occasions faster, much greener, less dangerous and much less stressful than driving. Others on the train, like me, are working and using their laptops and taking advantage of losing the opportunity costs of driving. Once you arrive, union station is linked to a metro-rail system heavily in use (The 3rd largest ridership in the US). What about the zip cars/ electric rental car companies who want to partner with trains so riders have a solution when they get there? It is a much better experience than taking a plane!!! Plane riders (in the SD-SF case) will switch when ridership goes up and prices come down!

Job Creation:
What about describing the costs and interviewing the engineering firms who are designing the rail? How many jobs would be created with high speed rail versus widening our highway system?

The Future:
Our highway infrastructure is continuing to crumble (Have you seen the LA freeways lately? There are highways in developing nations that are in better shape.) What about food transportation when the oil prices sky rocket? The lack of affordable air travel when oil prices sky rocket? My understanding is that the Siemens train in Florida is electric and the high speed trains in Europe and Asia are diesel powered. (I don't know why Fudge started talking about coal?) The technology and speed is evolving quickly.

I highly recommend reading James Kunstler's "The Long Emergency" in order to expand the standard myopic view of train versus car or train versus plane in this debate. It places high speed rail within a larger context which forces us to consider taking a risk in our future infrastructure(s) and making choices out of necessity. While we argue about the politics, ten years down the road may already be too late for the infrastructure. Why shouldn't we try to think ahead looking at facts, rather than imagining that things will remain (and crumble) as they are?

January 19, 2011 at 11:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Stuttering Difficult For Kings, Commoners

Hi Maureen and Carol,
Thanks for the great show! I loved the "King's Speech" and left with many of the same questions you answered on the program!

I would like to become a Bilingual speech therapist, how does one go about this coming from another unrelated technical career? What sort of different career options are there? I loved volunteering to help bilingual immigrants learn English and would really enjoy a chance to turn this into a career.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

January 11, 2011 at 9:59 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Balboa Park Parking Plan Draws Fire

The rendering forgot to show the top half of all those vehicles which will be backed up on the bridge for hours.:-) Being relatively new to San Diego and living in the Balboa Park area, I have to say that the current design seems like a logistical circulation nightmare for BOTH pedestrians and vehicles.

This is why:

During every high traffic event day and even on a typical weekend day pedestrians, strollers and cyclists take over the ENTIRE bridge especially, where the current design shows shows where traffic would need to turn. On event days, I can already see this being a total traffic nightmare for both the pedestrians and maybe even more painful for those backed up on the ramp waiting for pedestrians to clear, driving about 5 mph.

I much prefer the intelligent tram solution by Bruce Coons, which if done properly, could benefit local vendors at night by providing night traffic parking, and therefore doubling its utility.

Also what about the tourists visiting? The typical tourist struggles to get around the city, why not facilitate access for people who are visiting San Diego, again providing more income for the city for the tram tickets? (look at the Coronado ferry)

Have Irwin Jacobs' designers researched/visited other heritage and/or tourist destination around the world which resolved these issues, in some cases more elegantly? i.e.; Versailles? San Francisco's Presidio? There is a better solution out there!

January 6, 2011 at 10:17 a.m. ( | suggest removal )