General Infrastructure

Ruairi

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Again, please support that assertion with data.



Our inadequate transit is the problem, and taxing the car should be tied specifically to projects to improve transit transformatively. Otherwise, you're penalizing people for living.
I'm not going to dig up data. I've lived in Dublin Ireland, Freiburg Germany, and Melbourne Australia. I've traveled to some 40 countries, taking an interest in how their transit systems stack up.
From my personal experience it is far cheaper to drive here than in any other city I've lived in outside the US.

As to your second point. You're right, but an emphasis needs to be placed on reducing the number of private cars traveling in to the city center. To do this you fund public transit. It makes sense to fund public transit by taxing private cars in the city center. You're not penalizing people for living, you're penalizing people for living a certain way, an outdated and unsustainable way.
 

Equilibria

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As to your second point. You're right, but an emphasis needs to be placed on reducing the number of private cars traveling in to the city center. To do this you fund public transit. It makes sense to fund public transit by taxing private cars in the city center. You're not penalizing people for living, you're penalizing people for living a certain way, an outdated and unsustainable way.
... in a society that is built to force people to live that way, and without first giving them a viable alternative.
 

Ruairi

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Infact, Melbourne is a pretty good comparison city to Greater Boston. I found their transit system pretty good and they avoid the gridlock we suffer.
 

Ruairi

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... in a society that is built to force people to live that way, and without first giving them a viable alternative.
There's plenty of people who use their cars for convenience.
They'd rather sit in a warm car than stand on a cold platform.
 

Equilibria

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Infact, Melbourne is a pretty good comparison city to Greater Boston. I found their transit system pretty good and they avoid the gridlock we suffer.
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There's plenty of people who use their cars for convenience.
They'd rather sit in a warm car than stand on a cold platform.
Then heat the platform. The enthusiasm that some people have for making other peoples' lives shittier. Gosh.
 

Ruairi

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... in a society that is built to force people to live that way, and without first giving them a viable alternative.
Unless you're coming over the Tobin or on the pike, you can drive toll free while filling your car for $2.70 a gallon.
It's not like there are no other options, at the moment it's cheaper and more convenient to drive in most cases.
 

Ruairi

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View attachment 1411



Then heat the platform. The enthusiasm that some people have for making other peoples' lives shittier. Gosh.
Granted, I havent been there for 10 years and I cant click on that link for some reason but in my experience, the traffic was nowhere near as bad as what it is here, the trams. busses, and trains were of a far higher standard.
Any rate, I'm not changing your mind and I don't have the time to research it thoroughly, it's a fairly obvious solution to me.
 

FK4

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I only skimmed Part II and will read in depth later, but did it mention anything about how many city and state employees and contractors can seemingly cram their cars onto any sidewalk, plaza, pedestrian way, fire lane, "loading zone," bike lane, etc.? This is a very Boston thing, and it's certainly not helping those of us commuting on foot or by bike.
Nope. And as far as the city of Boston itself goes, traffic problems are definitely made worse by the total lack of law enforcement of traffic laws. I grew up in Brookline and in high school, I quickly learned that when you’re within the city of Boston, speed limits don’t apply and hazard lights = “park anywhere you want lights”. The Globe did do a story on this lack of enforcement in Boston (they had some laughable BPD quotes that tried to deny the sheer obvious different of tickets per driver when compared to other local towns), but I doubt anything has changed... and I don’t think it ever will, until we get someone who isn’t culturally cozy with the police unions in the mayor’s office.

A couple days ago, James Aloisi posted an interesting call on Twitter to ban all delivery vehicles after 6 AM in Boston. That sounds like a good suggestion to me, and I have also long wished the city would take some steps to reduce trucks on roads in Boston, as well implement some rigorous driver safety courses, since they’re the single biggest factor that scares the shit out of me when I bike.
 

Lrfox

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A couple days ago, James Aloisi posted an interesting call on Twitter to ban all delivery vehicles after 6 AM in Boston. That sounds like a good suggestion to me, and I have also long wished the city would take some steps to reduce trucks on roads in Boston, as well implement some rigorous driver safety courses, since they’re the single biggest factor that scares the shit out of me when I bike.
I've been wishing they'd do something along these lines for a long time. At least start in strategic locations like DTX along Washington/Winter/Summer St. It's infuriating to me that pedestrians along that corridor have to dodge delivery trucks (among other things) during the height of the day when all stores, restaurants, etc. are open. Cities like Dublin, Copenhagen, etc. with similar space constraints to Boston's seem to manage fine with a complete restriction of delivery vehicles during the middle of the day.
 

CSTH

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^yeah this drives me bonkers..among other things, I think it has a major 'broken windows' impact on street level urbanism in general
 

millerm277

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I've been wishing they'd do something along these lines for a long time. At least start in strategic locations like DTX along Washington/Winter/Summer St. It's infuriating to me that pedestrians along that corridor have to dodge delivery trucks (among other things) during the height of the day when all stores, restaurants, etc. are open. Cities like Dublin, Copenhagen, etc. with similar space constraints to Boston's seem to manage fine with a complete restriction of delivery vehicles during the middle of the day.
When talking about this as a thing in a widespread area of a city and not just a few specific streets/plazas, I'm curious as to how this actually works and all the impacts of it. As you mention, there's other cities in the world where I've heard of it being done.

-------

My initial reaction is:

- Night-time delivery operations are noisy and are going to disturb quality of life in any area with adjacent residential. If I'm the upstairs tenant, I don't want the restaurant on the ground floor of my building getting it's deliveries in the middle of the night even if that's optimal from a traffic/street flow perspective.

- Many small businesses are only open normal business hours and only receive deliveries during those times. Having to extend their staff hours substantially just to handle their deliveries seems like a significant burden, and product obviously can't just be piled up at the front door overnight.

- I'm not sure that it's societally optimal to make thousands of delivery drivers unnecessarily work in the middle of the night, and it seems likely it's going to lead to the dominant schedule being awful split shifts to maximize the edges of those delivery hours. Presumably few businesses beyond the largest want to receive their deliveries at 2:30AM, so you're going to have most deliveries packed into something like a 4-6AM window and a similar window on the PM side. Likely that means a 4 hour shift late in the evening and a 4 hour shift early in the morning, with dead time in the middle of the night.

Clearly other places have in some way answered those questions, and I'm wondering how and at what overhead costs.
 

Lrfox

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When talking about this as a thing in a widespread area of a city and not just a few specific streets/plazas, I'm curious as to how this actually works and all the impacts of it. As you mention, there's other cities in the world where I've heard of it being done.

-------

My initial reaction is:

- Night-time delivery operations are noisy and are going to disturb quality of life in any area with adjacent residential. If I'm the upstairs tenant, I don't want the restaurant on the ground floor of my building getting it's deliveries in the middle of the night even if that's optimal from a traffic/street flow perspective.

- Many small businesses are only open normal business hours and only receive deliveries during those times. Having to extend their staff hours substantially just to handle their deliveries seems like a significant burden, and product obviously can't just be piled up at the front door overnight.

- I'm not sure that it's societally optimal to make thousands of delivery drivers unnecessarily work in the middle of the night, and it seems likely it's going to lead to the dominant schedule being awful split shifts to maximize the edges of those delivery hours. Presumably few businesses beyond the largest want to receive their deliveries at 2:30AM, so you're going to have most deliveries packed into something like a 4-6AM window and a similar window on the PM side. Likely that means a 4 hour shift late in the evening and a 4 hour shift early in the morning, with dead time in the middle of the night.

Clearly other places have in some way answered those questions, and I'm wondering how and at what overhead costs.
I'm certainly not an expert, but I'm not sold on the 6am delivery cap either. I'd wager 8-9am may be more feasible. Here's why:
  • Retail hours don't directly parallel commute/rush hours. In DTX in particular, most stores don't open until 9-10am or later, don't get busy until lunch time or later, and don't close until 8-9ish. So while you have rush hour commuter traffic in the area, you still don't have peak foot traffic on Washington/Winter/Summer St. Anyone who's walked through the area at 9am, 12pm, and 5pm would tell you that 9am is the quietest (by far) of those hours and can probably handle the delivery vehicles. You see delivery vehicles even on the Stroget in Copenhagen during the morning rush and it doesn't really impact things as most stores are still closed. Start ticketing delivery trucks (heavily enough to have an impact on operations) after 9.
  • Non-retail buildings (office/hotel/residential. etc.) often already have staff on 24/7 and have loading dock staff available early AM at a minimum. An 8/9am cap should have minimal impact on them.
  • 8-9am is closer to opening time and shouldn't have the financial impact on business that earlier deliveries would. In most/many cases opening managers are in the stores well before opening hours.
  • 8-9am makes for an easier adjustment for delivery drivers. I used to do logistics for a distributor in Taunton. Delivery drivers were in the warehouse by 5 and expected to be loaded and on the road by 6 at the latest. 8-9am restriction would allow them to hit their downtown Boston stops first fairly easily. Honestly, for my old company anyway, this isn't a drastic departure. Anyone doing the downtown Boston/Cambridge routes was making sure they were the first stops of the day before branching outwards. We developed routes with this in mind. Given the car traffic increases downtown between 7-10am, and the increased pedestrian activity from 8am through the end of the workday, it just makes sense sense for drivers to hit the downtown stops early . Making specific restrictions and enforcing them shouldn't be a drastic change for many companies. Even companies like FedEx/UPS. 6am would be pretty tough though.
 

Arenacale

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This gets into "Crazy Infrastructure Pitch" territory, but what's needed are centralized delivery points that serve larger sections of the city. You can then have internal deliveries via widgets or smaller electric vehicles to distribute within those zones, rather than having huge delivery trucks come through. Loading dock logistics writ large, essentially. You'd need to do a deep dive to figure out what points would work best, how big the zones are, and I'd have no idea how you'd choose a contractor for the internal logistics of those zones, but it would get the biggest and most lethargic vehicles off city streets.
 

Lrfox

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Part 3:

Delivery drivers causing traffic and parking wherever they want - right on cue. When I did logistics, we told drivers in Boston to just bring their tickets back to us and we'd pay them. We never reached anything approaching UPS levels, but we paid a lot of tickets. It was an afterthought. It can't be an afterthought if there's going to be change.

The Uber/Lyft stuff we've seen before. There are too many, they're dangerous with their pickup/dropoffs, they spend a lot of time driving w/o passengers, and they're pulling riders from transit. While I knew that rideshare put a big dent in cab ridership, I didn't realize how much. 14+ million cab rides in 2012 to under 5 million in 2018. That's a precipitous drop. And rideshares accounted for 42 million rides in 2018.
 

Arlington

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What if we had an ongoing auction for curb space? Shouldn't the curb space go to the person who has the best and highest use for it at any given time? My guess is that the winner of such auctions would be TNCs, the MBTA, and Delivery who are doing valuable "transactions" at the curbs, as opposed to SOVs parking.

Straight up bans on uses is way too "command economy" for me and doesn't allow for any ongoing information exchange and negotiation between potential users over who can show the clearest need to be at a curb.
 

JeffDowntown

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What if we had an ongoing auction for curb space? Shouldn't the curb space go to the person who has the best and highest use for it at any given time? My guess is that the winner of such auctions would be TNCs, the MBTA, and Delivery who are doing valuable "transactions" at the curbs, as opposed to SOVs parking.

Straight up bans on uses is way too "command economy" for me and doesn't allow for any ongoing information exchange and negotiation between potential users over who can show the clearest need to be at a curb.
But to have any meaningful impact, there would need to be enforcement of the curb space usage (which there is essentially none today). Who would bother to pay an auction price for the curb, when you can be a scofflaw and stop for free by double parking, blocking the bike lane, blocking the T stop, etc.?

I am also assuming you are excluding bike lanes, bus lanes, T stops from your "command economy" usage restrictions. Or should bikes be real-time negotiating the price of their lane with an SUV who wants to run them over.
 

Arlington

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But to have any meaningful impact, there would need to be enforcement ...
I am also assuming you are excluding bike lanes, bus lanes, T stops from your "command economy" usage restrictions. Or should bikes be real-time negotiating the price of their lane with an SUV who wants to run them over.
1)Let's differentiate between stop and go.
Stop: curb lanes the ones that today host either parking or pickup/dropff (within 10 feet out from a physical curb)
Go: thru lanes used for travel (in the center of streets) bike lanes would be considered thru lanes wherever they're marked (regardless of the position of the curb)

2) Let's make the rules much much simpler and easier (i.e. not based on 3cm high lettering on 1ft-sq signs But rather:
Curb colors where the rules (and which market they'd participate in) are easily seen and known. Such as:
Red Curb: No parking, ever, at any price
Orange Curb: active freight loading (requires a commercial plate such as expire in Nov or Dec)
Purple Curb: active passenger loading (requires a Taxi, Uber, or Lyft sticker and a meter record of a passenger are)
Yellow Curb: MBTA a bus only

And whatever the rules for the curbs are they'd be the same across all zones (or have a special color--say blue--for oddball "read the sign" church/event parking thingies)

3) Some sort of plate-based permission and pricing that could be enforced with machine vision. You might even need to have an EZPass with an e-ink display that would say whether this vehicle was permitted in this zone.
 

jass

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1)Let's differentiate between stop and go.
Stop: curb lanes the ones that today host either parking or pickup/dropff (within 10 feet out from a physical curb)
Go: thru lanes used for travel (in the center of streets) bike lanes would be considered thru lanes wherever they're marked (regardless of the position of the curb)

2) Let's make the rules much much simpler and easier (i.e. not based on 3cm high lettering on 1ft-sq signs But rather:
Curb colors where the rules (and which market they'd participate in) are easily seen and known. Such as:
Red Curb: No parking, ever, at any price
Orange Curb: active freight loading (requires a commercial plate such as expire in Nov or Dec)
Purple Curb: active passenger loading (requires a Taxi, Uber, or Lyft sticker and a meter record of a passenger are)
Yellow Curb: MBTA a bus only

And whatever the rules for the curbs are they'd be the same across all zones (or have a special color--say blue--for oddball "read the sign" church/event parking thingies)

3) Some sort of plate-based permission and pricing that could be enforced with machine vision. You might even need to have an EZPass with an e-ink display that would say whether this vehicle was permitted in this zone.

 

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