What Ameican Commuter Trains Can Learn From Paris

Starting in the 1970s, Paris connected its suburban rail lines to form the RER network. Instead of ending in stubs in the central city, the RER runs as an express subway through the city proper. Using time-of-day trip data*, we can compare the RER to its American counterparts.
While the largest share of boardings in the Paris suburbs is in the morning peak, there is also substantial ridership in the afternoon and evening. In contrast, commuter rail in the U.S. is tilted much more heavily to peak hour ridership.”
U.S. commuter railroads are often full to seated capacity during peak hours but only carry a few people per car at other times. An entire off-peak MBTA train might have, at its fullest, 60 passengers. This is not the case in Paris, where midday RER trains routinely leave the city with every seat full.
There are two main reasons for this: service frequency and land use.
American commuter rail stations are typically surrounded by parking. The intent is for suburban commuters to drive to the park-and-ride and take the train to the central business district. Few middle-class workers would be willing to live car-free near such stations and take the train to the city: They’d need a car to run errands, and the stations themselves are too hostile to walking…

In contrast, there is ample development next to suburban train stations in Paris. In Bourg-la-Reine is high-rise housing projects — behind the buildings  there’s a supermarket. Many Parisian suburbs are poor, but Bourg-la-Reine is solidly middle-class, and even in rich suburbs, such as those on Transilien lines L, N, and U, there is high off-peak ridership. In those areas, people can live car-free near a train station, do most errands on foot, and take the train downtown for work.
claremontcalifornia
In California we are slowly making progress building new higher density housing near regional and transit rail stations. This is a recent photo at the Claremont Metrolink Station in Los Angeles County near the San Bernardino County border. Photo by Noel T. Braymer

A Look Inside Our Boutique

Oaks Jewelry Boutique

This week I wanted to give you a look inside our brick and mortar store that is located in sunny Gainesville, Florida. Our family owned business has been in operation for over 30 years. And, many of our clients have been shopping with us for those 30 years. It is always a joy to see the younger generations following in their families’ footsteps and come through our doors to seek out a special piece for a dear loved one. Oaks Boutique is known for our stellar customer service and gorgeous show room.

Not only do we have the most extensive jewelry selection in the city but our items range from vintage jewelry, designer handbags, stunning timepieces, and custom pieces.

We employ a wide range of talented individuals who eventually become like family. Our work place has a harmony about it that it quite tangible when entering. Quite a few of…

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The First Madness: Teams and Obligations

Wide Awake But Dreaming

Writing is a strange thing.  There’s so many times when you sit down to write when you don’t really feel like writing, that you wonder if you’re going to produce anything worthwhile.  Then you sit down and surprise yourself.  You might not write a lot, but what is written is satisfying.  And sometimes satisfying is the best thing that we, as writers, can produce.

I was sort of in that mood last night.  I was back from dinner and watching The Doors, which I hadn’t seen in a while, and didn’t think I’d get in much writing before hitting the sack.  So I started in on the scene and before I knew it I had close to seven hundred words written before going to sleep.  That’s how it goes sometimes:  you just start to writing and it comes to you.  And even though I’m not hitting a thousand words…

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The Bad News For Infrastructure And Extreme Weather

ntbraymer

By Noel T. Braymer

The bad news is weather is getting more extreme with each passing year. That’s not my opinion. The insurance companies which cover storm and wildfire damages have been seeing the number and amounts for claims going up every year in the last few years as weather has become more extreme. Extreme weather runs from extreme heat to extreme cold often at unseasonable times of the year. Just as extreme are long periods of drought turning into periods of heavy rains and snowfall. Extreme weather is taking an increasing toll on infrastructure such as dams, roads, pipelines, electrical grid and railroads. Recent rains in California has caused damage to railroads which has forced reductions of service this February.

With more stress on our infrastructure comes the other problem of years of deferring maintenance of our infrastructure. In the case of rail infrastructure, this is mostly privately owned…

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Walk & Talk

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

As the Tenth Anniversary of Barataria approaches, we will be featuring posts from long ago which contain themes which carry through to today.  Organizing in a changing world is probably the most critical concept all around.  The standard position of this blog is that everything good comes at a “strong half-step back” – far enough away to have some perspective but close enough to keep your hands dirty.  This is an example of that in practice from 2010.

Organizations that thrive in a changing world all have one thing in common – a strong strategic focus.  They know their objectives and strategy very well and communicate them effectively.  What is less obvious is that a good strategic plan comes from individual people.  It takes a lot of skill and a little planning to work it up into a real plan, but there is never any substitute for the old “walk…

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