NIMBYS - Your Thoughts?

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Bob Dylan

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At RTD we used to joke about whether we would have to set up free transfers with the Wichita bus system. On the other side of NIMBYism was a faction that argued that because Stapleton airport was in the Local flat-rate fare zone, so should be the new airport. After all, it was only 19½ miles further from downtown.
You mean the Kansas International Airport???!!!! 🤣
 

bms

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That's so true. When Denver built its new airport, it selected a vast site so far from town, that wag's said it was "out in Kansas". I wonder how long it will be before developers will built new housing tracts nearby, and how long before its residents complain about flights over them?
Probably not long. I love the Tower Road area just because it's so unique, a strip of 20 hotels in the middle of nowhere with nothing around but a couple of dispensaries and restaurants. But numerous condos are being built in the area now.
 

railiner

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Probably not long. I love the Tower Road area just because it's so unique, a strip of 20 hotels in the middle of nowhere with nothing around but a couple of dispensaries and restaurants. But numerous condos are being built in the area now.
I used to love going out that way to Emilene’s Sirloin House🥩, when it was “way out in the boonies”...but alas, it is gone now...😕
 

bms

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Yeah, there was nothing like
I used to love going out that way to Emilene’s Sirloin House🥩, when it was “way out in the boonies”...but alas, it is gone now...😕
I think that place was there even before the airport. I hate that I won't see Denver in 2021, but I need to ration my vacation days to see so many friends and family who I couldn't visit in 2020.
 

Ziv

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If you are talking about a tunnel project, it is hard to imagine not talking about The Boring Company, at least a bit. (If you were talking about HyperLoop, you can quit reading this entry. 😄) When Linestorm actually delivered fairly fast and cheap tunnels, I really hoped that the next borer, Prufrock, would be even better. Linestorm was a modernized traditional borer with a 14' diameter initial bore that finishes down to a 12' diameter tunnel. You can just barely squeeze in a London Underground car from one of the older London subway lines. Maybe. No other railcars/subway cars in current production would fit. I was hoping Prufrock would have a finished diameter of at least 13' so that other, more roomy, rail cars would fit. Unfortunately, it looks like Prufrock is 12' finished diameter as well. :(
After his breakout successes at SpaceX and Tesla, I was really hoping that The Boring Company would go mainstream, but given the small finished tube diameter, it will be hard for them to do so, even if they build miles of tunnels faster and cheaper than conventional boring machines.
Can you imagine taking a train from Portland to Vancouver with 1/3 of the trip underground at high speed (very few curves and those could be gentle ones) and 2/3 of the trip aboveground (the less populated & more scenic part) at nearly the same speed?
Ok, so this too may be a pipe dream... 😄

There has been recent talk of making a high speed (over 100MPH) tube train system from Portland OR through Seattle and ending in Vancouver BC. Money in nearly equal terms to be supplied by Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Microsoft. I fear that this is just a "pipe dream" but we'll see.
 
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sttom

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NIMBYs are a problem, but the tend to only be a problem when it comes to changing zoning laws or local transit improvements. They might kill a subway, light rail or streetcar line because it will irreparably damage the immeasurably valuable character of the neighborhood, but they don't seem to care if Amtrak or a commuter rail system gets expanded so long as its "over there". One thing I have thought about is adding a "character of the neighborhood" surcharge on property taxes for ZIP codes that don't want to add housing or transit to fund those projects elsewhere. Cause if the value of the neighborhood is so high, the government should be taxing it to pay for things and 1% of an "immeasurable amount" has go to be enough to build a streetcar line.

What really kills Amtrak and regional rail funding is that they aren't viewed as worthy of federal funding. Hell even here there are people who support the 750 mile rule and think that rail should continue to get next to $0 in funding from the federal government while roads and airports are kept open at federal expense. Why is it that a state owned and planned highway system gets at least 40% of its maintenance funds from the feds, but states have to squabble and beg for 10% of a transit project's capital funding? Cause its always been that way and things can never and should never change. We've accepted that roads and airports are how we should handle 95% of trips and a generation either doesn't care to change that or doesn't want to.

Part of this is why I say people advocating for federally funding transit in general and Amtrak specifically cite economic impacts first before environmental ones. Most people know that trains are better for the environment on some level, but most people assume Amtrak has no redeeming value economically speaking. Studies have shown that increased highway funding does nothing to deal with traffic which is becoming an increasing burden on our economy and trains not only save the government money, but they reduce traffic and enrich local economies. Taking cars off the road and reducing air pollution is a bonus. Most people could be convinced if there was a coherent plan and the benefits beyond the environment were highlighted. I managed to convince someone who is fairly conservative that passenger rail on a statewide level would be a good idea just citing how our existing paltry system already generates more economic value that it costs to subsidize it.
 

Qapla

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Yes, money is a large part of the problem - and that is one impacts NIMBYS create - their law suits and public outcries lead to additional costs in legal fights and additional, often unneeded, expensive "studies" ... all of theses things delay projects and increase overall costs.
 

MARC Rider

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NIMBYs are a problem, but the tend to only be a problem when it comes to changing zoning laws or local transit improvements. They might kill a subway, light rail or streetcar line because it will irreparably damage the immeasurably valuable character of the neighborhood,
"Ah, yes, the "character of the neighborhood." A lot of times, that's code for keeping certain kinds of people away, especially since transit is seen as something that's used only by the riff-raff who can't afford a car. Back in the early 1990s there was a Usenet (remember that) troll who used to scream in all-caps about the evils of what he called "LOOT RAIL...", that if you built one of these infernal systems the "thugs" from the inner city would be able to come into your neighborhood, and who knows what kind of increases in burglaries, robberies and other nasty stuff would happen. There was, in fact, one planned station on the Baltimore Light Rail that was eliminated because of these kind of neighborhood concerns. Of course, the whole time, plenty of buses were running every day from these same "bad" neighborhoods with no particular bad effect on the suburban havens.
 
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tgstubbs1

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Why is it that a state owned and planned highway system gets at least 40% of its maintenance funds from the feds, but states have to squabble and beg for 10% of a transit project's capital funding?
A very good question. I wonder if it has to do with the heritage of railroads, which began before our country had a big tax fund and so was privately funded. It seems like being the oldest and becoming well established and unionized works against railroads.
 

MARC Rider

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A very good question. I wonder if it has to do with the heritage of railroads, which began before our country had a big tax fund and so was privately funded. It seems like being the oldest and becoming well established and unionized works against railroads.
Well, the first publicly funded transportation infrastructure in the US was the National Road that connected Baltimore to Ohio. Then the State of New York funded, built, and maintained the Erie Canal. Also the Pennsylvania Main Line of Public Works, which was a combination of canals and railroads. At some point, the Feds started funding, building and maintaining inland waterways and also port facilities. In the early days of the Republic public funding of such "internal improvements" was politically controversial, as there were many wealthy and powerful interests that didn't see the point of using tax dollars to fund stuff that might provide competition to their vested interests. Perhaps after losing the political fights over the National Road and the canals, the vested interests were able to prevent significant public funding of the newly emerging railway technology and forced it to be developed with private capital.
 

me_little_me

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I remember back in the '90s when Atlanta's MARTA was being extended to within a mile of my home. My neighbor, a Southern gentleman (read bigot), was against it because inner city people would use it to commit theft in the neighborhood. Actually, they wanted to get to the still low (but better) paying jobs providing service to people like him at stores, restaurants, etc. But he didn't want rail in "his backyard".
Funny, in the years later when I used MARTA after it was bextended to go to the central city and to the airport, I never saw a single minority carrying a stolen TV on the train.
 

Deni

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I remember back in the '90s when Atlanta's MARTA was being extended to within a mile of my home. My neighbor, a Southern gentleman (read bigot), was against it because inner city people would use it to commit theft in the neighborhood. Actually, they wanted to get to the still low (but better) paying jobs providing service to people like him at stores, restaurants, etc. But he didn't want rail in "his backyard".
Funny, in the years later when I used MARTA after it was bextended to go to the central city and to the airport, I never saw a single minority carrying a stolen TV on the train.
Getaway trains never caught on for some reason.
 

jis

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I remember back in the '90s when Atlanta's MARTA was being extended to within a mile of my home. My neighbor, a Southern gentleman (read bigot), was against it because inner city people would use it to commit theft in the neighborhood. Actually, they wanted to get to the still low (but better) paying jobs providing service to people like him at stores, restaurants, etc. But he didn't want rail in "his backyard".
Funny, in the years later when I used MARTA after it was bextended to go to the central city and to the airport, I never saw a single minority carrying a stolen TV on the train.
This is not unique to Atlanta or the South. It is the most common argument tendered against the expansion of any Commuter lines in New Jersey. We in the advocacy community euphemistically call it the "Those people" argument.
 

Bob Dylan

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This is not unique to Atlanta or the South. It is the most common argument tendered against the expansion of any Commuter lines in New Jersey. We in the advocacy community euphemistically call it the "Those people" argument.
Yep, it's always " they" and "them" that stir up the bigots.
 

flitcraft

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My favorite NIMBY's are the ones who move in next to infrastructure of any kind (rail line, airport, hydro ROW) then complain that it's there.
In legal doctrine, this is described as "coming to the nuisance," and it deprives the party claiming injury from recovering. The idea is that allowing a successful lawsuit under those circumstances is a form of double-dipping--presumably the property is question was cheaper because of its location to the 'nuisance' property when purchased, so allowing such a buyer to win at law would let them have their cake and eat it too.
 

crescent-zephyr

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What really kills Amtrak and regional rail funding is that they aren't viewed as worthy of federal funding. Hell even here there are people who support the 750 mile rule and think that rail should continue to get next to $0 in funding from the federal government while roads and airports are kept open at federal expense.
I can only speak for myself but that’s not what I mean at all when I support the 750 mile rule.

Amtrak’s regular federal funding should only cover long distance trains. Corridors should be another funding source. Federal money can go to it, but it should be separate from the national fund.
 
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jiml

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In legal doctrine, this is described as "coming to the nuisance," and it deprives the party claiming injury from recovering. The idea is that allowing a successful lawsuit under those circumstances is a form of double-dipping--presumably the property is question was cheaper because of its location to the 'nuisance' property when purchased, so allowing such a buyer to win at law would let them have their cake and eat it too.
I hear you, but that doesn't stop the morons from whining. I live in a community built next to a century-old rail line and the #1 subject at our HOA meetings is not the golf course, the pools or snow removal, but train whistles at the two level crossings nearby. It consumes nearly 50% of every meeting and has gotten so bad we've stopped going.
 

MARC Rider

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I hear you, but that doesn't stop the morons from whining. I live in a community built next to a century-old rail line and the #1 subject at our HOA meetings is not the golf course, the pools or snow removal, but train whistles at the two level crossings nearby. It consumes nearly 50% of every meeting and has gotten so bad we've stopped going.
Yeah, in some cases, it doesn't matter who would win in court. I once attended a public meeting about an Army Corps of Engineers project that the locals thought would mess up the fishing in the local COE flood control lake. (It was also a bad idea environmentally. Of course, most flood control projects aren't the best thing for the environment.) Total and absolute local opposition to this project. Witness after witness made statements denouncing the Corps. I almost felt sorry for the poor colonel sitting there taking the verbal abuse.

Wouldn't you know, next day, in the paper, I read that the Army decided that this project really wasn't necessary, after all.
 

tgstubbs1

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I hear you, but that doesn't stop the morons from whining. I live in a community built next to a century-old rail line and the #1 subject at our HOA meetings is not the golf course, the pools or snow removal, but train whistles at the two level crossings nearby. It consumes nearly 50% of every meeting and has gotten so bad we've stopped going.
You know those whistles can be annoying at 2 AM.

Isn't there a way to petition the authorities to make them stop?
 

jiml

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You know those whistles can be annoying at 2 AM.

Isn't there a way to petition the authorities to make them stop?
With a 75% VIA reduction there's been less complaining lately, but the bulk of freight is in the middle of the night. I'm used to them, but I guess being a "train guy" makes that unfair.;) The community is fairly evenly divided along safety lines - there's dashcam footage of people running the gates, which doesn't help the cause of eliminating the horns. Improvements to the crossings in the order of $1-2 million are needed, with contributions from the municipality and CN. The lobbying has gone on for 20 years apparently and we've only been here for 4, so I may not see resolution in my lifetime.
 

jis

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From 1996 to 2014 I lived in a huge apartment 200 feet from NJTransit's second busiest line. There was no physical obstruction between the tracks and my bedroom window. There was a parking lot 20' below. But then it is an electrified route, though there were about a dozen diesel hauled trains that went by on weekdays. There was hardly ever a whistle/horn sound since it is a grade separated route there. I actually enjoyed being where I was, a railfan's dream apartment.

When the Kearney Connection made a one seat ride to Penn Station NY possible, property values along the M&E shot up like there was no tomorrow. All thos who had left fearing too much noise were left in the dust in terms of finaancial gains potentials that they gave up on.
 

tgstubbs1

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When I lived in a high rise the rumble of the trains didn't bother me. I think it reminded me of thunder.
 
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