Weekend traffic woes spread to ski country
94 posts
16 users
30k+ views
JimK - DCSki Columnist
July 1, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
DC isn't the only place with big traffic problems. Here's a recent story on the chronic traffic snarls facing many skiers in Colorado and the need for a possible expansion of I70 from Denver to the Eisenhower tunnel: http://www.jacksonholestartrib.com/artic...02a006ad168.txt
Maybe the DC area could use a few monorails too? Kind of funny that story printed in a Jackson Hole, WY paper. Trying to slam the competition?

A couple of years ago I happened to bump into Chip Bair who is quoted in the article as the owner of a local pizzeria chain called Beau Jo's. He was a stranger standing at the top of a chairlift at Loveland in Dec 03 when I asked him to take a picture of my kids and I. He took the shot for us and, quite the entrepreneur, gave me a business card while making a pitch to try one of his restaurants. Later in the week we did, the Beau Jo's of Evergreen, CO. Lots of good pizza and beer varieties.

Happy 4th of July, but watch out for the traffic.
Roy
July 2, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
The worst day to be on that road is a Sunday. I have a friend that grew up in Vail (parents bought a condo back in the 60's when it first opened). On Sunday, either leave first thing in the morning or wait until 7pm to leave. Other than that, it's stop and go the whole way.

I hope the mass transit solution comes into play as a 6 lane highway would not even fix today's current situation.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 5, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Agree on the mass transport. Poo-poo on highways. Imagine a monorail from the Peña Airport through downtown Denver, then up the mountain to Loveland, Breck, Vail and terminating in Aspen. Pollution-free, secure travel, no delays, no traffic jams and the transport is part of the vacation.
tromano
July 5, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Does Denver have an established and working public transportation rail system? If not busses would probably be a better bet... A point to point rail system is too closed off to really support its self. You need to give more access to make it workable.
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 5, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
A rail system for metropolitan use does not have to support itself nor it should be expected to. To say that the DC Metro or a proposal for a metro rail in Denver should be self-supportive is disengenuous.

Transportation is a basic government responsibility and roads are certainly non-supportive. Our gas taxes only pay for a third of the total cost of roads in the US. The rest comes out of massive federal spending and unbelievable amounts of pork. (How about that 250 million dollar bridge in Alaska that was just signed into law in the Fed Highway Bill that would serve all of 50 people?)

If roads for gas-powered vehicles are not required to be self-supportive, why should we require rail, bike and alternative transportation routes to be?

Especially once we add the hidden costs of a road through the Divide into Summit County: the permanent and adverse alteration of the environment, large quantities of toxic fumes and smog, sprawl, ad nauseam.

Check http://www.transalt.org/press/magazine/032Spring/02provocateur.html
tromano
July 6, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Ok so does denver have a "metro" or not? If there was a larger public rail grid with which it could be integrated... #1 It means that there is a history and experience among the locals in dealing with public transit and these exact issues. I can't imagine outside skier tourists and resort owners have enough clout to get the sort of public funding you are talking about. This is a state project not a local project. #2 Being able to attach a rail system to an existing grid opens up the ski areas to people from all over the city / region, not just people form the airport.

As a devils advocate: I agree that a large web like metro rail system for commuter use should be supported b the larger community. A point to point rail form the airport to the ski areas, ala carte doesn't really serve the public interest. It is not for Metropolitan use. It serves only the ski areas and their customers.
Roger Z
July 6, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
There's a train that runs from Denver to Winter Park Ski Resort. The problem is a matter of convenience and user preference. Most people prefer their private cars, it is easier to load and offload a family from your car than it is to go car-train-shuttle-ski area (eliminates one offloading, and with curbside drop-off sometimes two offloadings), and generally saves time.

Adding a monorail would probably be far more expensive than a new highway lane. Also, monorails aren't pollution free. They get their power from... a power plant, which produces... pollution. The question when it comes to things like monorails is whether the net increase in pollution from the additional energy required from power plants is greater than or less than the amount of reduced pollution from vehicle drivers who switch to the monorail.

One cost-effective solution would be for the city/state to work with the railroads that already exist to expand commuter rail options deeper into the mountains. Freight runs at a premium to passengers so it gets first bid on tracks- in order to counter that some kind of incentive would have to be offered to increase the speed and frequency of commercial service (and hence improve public perceptions of convenience). It'd be cheaper than building a brand new rail line and much quicker to implement... quicker even than building a new lane of traffic.

BTW I've driven the I-70 stretch on a Saturday morning. Picture the beltway at rush hour. It sucks somethin' fierce.
jimmy
July 6, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Yup, I like the train idea. For Moonshine Mountain we'll get a couple of shays, we can run em on grain alcohol or wood from the Mountain Mash Basin clearcut. Cancel planz for corridor H, I-74 and all that; we'll get some abandoned trolleys for passengers and mobeel homes to use for sleeper cars, maybe even a diner/lounge car, modified to pull behind the shays and run them from the shady grove metro station to MSM, maybe even run a spur down to winston salem to run cigarettes, guns and southerners up....we could sell lbotta a season pass so he could ride the amtrack to the metro and take the Mooonshien Mountain Express down to snowshoe......
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 6, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
RogerZ, I agree with you in much. However, consider that: The train system to Winter Park is, although heavily used and a perennial favorite for the last 60 years, an inconvenience to use. If it was convenient and traveled to more ski areas, many more people would ditch their vehicles and go on train. A monorail may be costlier than widening I-70, bit it is the right thing to do.

I noticed that in Zermatt, Switzerland, my ultimate fav ski resort, there are NO cars. No internal combustion engines altogether. You have to leave your car at Interlaken, if you choose to drive. And yet, is a convenient and healthy way to get to the resort, and let's put it this way, the hotels in Zermatt are packed. As a matter of fact, the lack of cars itself is an attraction.

The other thing is incentives. More traffic through the Continental Divide is not in anyones' interest. Making more interstate highways into toll roads could serve to promote the use of healthier alternatives, whether in Winter Park or anywhere else. As the gas prices continue to climb, that will also become another good incentive. That price climb is inexorable.

On tromano's comment regarding whether outsiders can influence the outcome, consider that skiing is the most important industry in Colorado, that together with the service industry they employ over 50 percent of the workforce (mining and manufacturing is now only 23% in CO) and just skiing contributes almost 2 billion to their coffers. Besides, every penny that is wasted building needless highways comes out of all of OUR pockets. Most certainly we have a stake in that, as OUR federal taxes will be spent on a new corporate welfare scheme to benefit the oil companies, as well as to promote a life style that is no longer sustainable.

The State of Vermont heavily subsidizes Amtrak's Vermonter as Vermont realizes that 55 thousand jobs depend on skiing and every little thing that they can do to attract skiers is more money in the state's coffers. Yes, outsiders do have an input. And finally, over 34 percent of Colorado, and virtually all the land on which ski resorts are built, is Federal Public Land. That means that it is not just the interest of the people of Colorado, but it belongs to all of us as American citizens. It is our patrimony. All of us have a say in the utilization of that land and the access to it.

And considering that the electric train consumes power and that has to be produced somewhere, how about non-fossil alternatives? One major windfarm can generate as much power as a coal fired plant. Power can be imported from HydroQuebec, which only sells a fraction of their power generating potential. The pollution argument is not a major one, sorry.

This discussion is sort of apropos, as just today, Prez Bush will be facing the other G-7s and together, they, the G8, and we, will have to somehow come up with a plan to develop a world where fossil fuels take a diminished role in our lives. That's if we want to live or have a life for our children.
Roger Z
July 6, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
I'd be interested in hearing what power line, exactly, Hydro Quebec will use to get electricity from Ottawa to Denver. Given the almost complete lack of interconnects into the WSCC, so would the FERC I'm sure.

Anyway, yeah, pollution can or cannot be an issue: if CO gets it's power from nukes and hydro then the net increase in pollution from a monorail is minimal, but if it gets it's power from coal then it is a serious issue.

Interesting observation:

"they, the G8, and we, will have to somehow come up with a plan to develop a world where fossil fuels take a diminished role in our lives."

On a per capita basis, use of fossil fuel has been declining for 30 years in this country and will continue to do so for the forseeable future (because of population growth, however, net fossil fuel use is increasing). Higher oil prices will certainly spur that shift, though it will take a while as energy inefficiency gets cycled out of the market rather slowly (very few people are going to trade in their two year old SUV for a hyrbid, but they will buy a more energy efficient car when they do sell in ten years).

I always thought it would be nice to emulate the Zermatt model somewhere in North America. Big Sky, Montana, was originally supposed to be accessed by train only, but the owner passed away before he could bring his vision to fruition. But Jimmy is right- we'll do it at Moonshine! Converted mobile homes, log tracks, and pure grain alcohol for fuel (it's only pollution is hangovers). I just heard a song last night called "Redneck Yacht Club." We could have a similar theme for our train- "Redneck Railroad"? "Mullet Express"?

Speaking of redneck- anyone going to the Jug Bay Jam Fest in Anne Arundel County on the 22nd and 23rd?
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 6, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
"I'd be interested in hearing what power line, exactly, Hydro Quebec will use to get electricity from Ottawa to Denver. Given the almost complete lack of interconnects into the WSCC, so would the FERC I'm sure"

The power grids in the US are integrated as part of our critical infrastructure and is overseen by the North American Electric Reliability Council, to which Congress has adjudicated increasing amounts of authority. Much of the electricity that powers New England and New York State, by the way, comes from Quebec. Hydro Quebec was the only supplier left online in the Northeast after the blackout of 2003... There are 17 crossing points from Hydro Quebeck into the US critical infrastructure system and HQ has the capacity to export 4,500 MW to us in a pinch. Wish we had that capability. Speaking of Colorado, the Denver area and its associated civil/military infrastructure is able to tap directly from the hydro-electric generating plants in the Columbia River without having to go through any other distribution center.

REdneck express?... Mmmmmm..... Would they serve Starbucks coffee? I don't care what you call it as long as I get my soy cappuccino.
powderpig
July 6, 2005
Member since 12/5/2003
63 posts
If I'm not mistaken, there is already a light rail system in place in the Denver metro area. How efficient and/or clean it is I do not know.

I have always said that the Vail valley would be a great place for a monorial of some sort. The entire valley could be covered by one single line running past points in East Vail, Vail, Avon, Edwards and beyond. Summit county would not be so easy and would probably require further buses to branch away from the rail line and shuttle skiers to the mountain. Loveland would be right on the line as well as Copper (considering the line follows the I70 path).

It seems that even an electric monorail would reduce pollution when compared to the constant car and truck traffic. The pollution could also be generated at plants outside of the mountains. This would help the air quality problems that the mountains suffer due to altitude and inversions. Of course this doesnt solve the pollution problem all together but it seems that it solves more problems than widening the road.
Roger Z
July 6, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
That's not how the lines work Ibotta. While their might be 4500 mw listed, you can't simply distribute power in one direction without causing a meltdown, consequently the net distribution into the U.S. from Quebec is significantly less than that. Moreover, there are constraints from New England to New York, New York into Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania into both the Southeast (via Virginia) and the midwest (via Ohio). By the time you reach Scranton, Quebec has a net impact of a couple hundred megawatts, tops.

The Western United States is its own headache in and of itself. Almost no power goes from the Columbia down to CO; they get theirs from fossil fuels or the Colorado River. The nature of power flows out west is toward demand sinks- LA, Portland, Seattle.

On top of that, the Canadian firms are still owned by the government and not subject to market power adjudication. There is nothing that HQ and PowerEx like more than withholding power during high demand periods in order to extract rents from us, and there's little the NERC can do about it. I've worked with several Canadian firms and all of them have utilized market power to their advantage at one time or another, free from regulatory oversight. They're like Enron, but without the ethics.

That said, either a new monorail in CO or a new lane of traffic would be a huge long-term investment. It'd take 5-10 years just to get the EIS submitted, plus another 5-10 years to build either project. Using the existing rail system would be cheaper from a public fuding perspective and possible to bring on line- with good negotiations- in less than 5 years.

Another simple and inexpensive approach is greater bus transit to the ski resorts. It's easier to make convenient for the population and can bring you straight to the lodge, just like a car. If a lane was added to I-70, the sensible compromise would be to make it an HOV lane for multipassenger and bus access only. It would also set a right-of-way for conversion to a train line if that eventually became a more popular and feasible form of transport.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 6, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Although I like your assessement of the power distribution system, I've got another read from the critical infrastructure guys in DC. So be it. And although I will disagree with my employer , there are numerous benefits to centralized control of the power grids in a country. Did Enron have any ethics?? I'd take hydro Quebec before anyone at Enron.

An EIS can be fastracked by the way. We do it all the time. The usual monkey wrench, however, is the enviro groups. Those could be persuaded if the new route is a non-polluting, sustainable rail or other means.

My point in all of this is simple: We just can't go on paving the entire country. Instead of looking at highways as default, we need to make highways the last resort.
Roger Z
July 6, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Oh, heck, what is the world coming to you... I agree with you Ibotta. I think we'd disagree about what it meant to "pave the entire country" though. I take a both/and approach as opposed to an either/or one: public transport and highways are needed to keep urban areas working. In my opinion. Plus, projects like the new Wilson Bridge are fun to watch, as there isn't much else to do when you're stuck in that traffic 30-40 minutes a day.
JohnL
July 6, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

Plus, projects like the new Wilson Bridge are fun to watch, as there isn't much else to do when you're stuck in that traffic 30-40 minutes a day.




You're heading in the wrong direction across the Wilson Bridge.

Personally, when skiing Vail/Summit County I'll take the convenience of a car, especially when checking out a variety of the 6+ local areas during a trip. Plus, I don't see fixed rail ever reaching A-Basin. Or even mass transit.

The combination of airport shuttles with a local bus system works well in more contained areas or areas with severe parking crunches. This would include Whistler/Blackcomb, Jackson Hole, Aspen, or Vail/Beaver Creek (if you're willing to blow off Summit County entirely.)
KevR
July 6, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
I have often wondered if ski lift systems could make it as mass transit, albeit with some modifications in the overall technology.

In terms of buses, I personally prefer NOT to drive while on travel and like the bus systems i have used - but i am in the minorty. I believe most folks would rather rent their own cars - for a variety of reason.

Still when I was at Beaver Creek they were talking about putting a gondola system down from the resort to the town at the bottom... not sure if this ever happend but it seemed like a good idea to me. Still the bus that did run was convenient and quick.

At Tahoe, they did just that with Heavenly which I thought was awesome... so a quick bus ride down to the hotel, then a short trip via local bus to the base gondola. easy as pie!

At Telluride they have a gondola that goes over the mtn to the town below -- which was great. NO need for a car that i could tell except to get there in the first place (i used a shuttle company)

At SLC the bus system and "metro" seems to be fairly good, however it doesn't go out to Park City that I am aware of which is unfortunate. FURTHER I have felt they could add a gondola or "seated" tram to running up and down little & big cottonwood canyons? Just an idea but WHY NOT?

Basically, I think in general if you solve that last mile issue of how to actually get where you want to go, then getting to that jump off point can be solved by other forms of mass transit over time with various transport technologies as they become available...

At least as a tourist, when the system is integrate enough like this -- I don't use a car and don't feel the need to. Of course living in this situation all the time, I'd probably eventually want to use a car and would probably still own one, I'd just use it a heck of alot less...
Roger Z
July 6, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Quote:

You're heading in the wrong direction across the Wilson Bridge.





Let's be serious: is there really a right way?

I'm enjoying my internship a lot this summer but it took about four days to confirm that there is no way in hell I'm coming back to DC. If I don't move to the Rockies, I'll find a way to take a couple ski trips out west every winter, somehow.

ps- on a ski trip, I prefer slopeside lodging and a nice base village! At Moonshine, we'll have only the finest slopeside lodging... Jimmy, fill us in on the wonderful amenities of the No-Tel Mo-Tel at Moonshine Mountain ("Our Chairlift is made entirely out of recycled beer cans!")...
fishnski
July 6, 2005
Member since 03/27/2005
3,530 posts
Professer Z, You never cease to amaze me!! I cannot help thinking of the Holiday Inn Express commercials when reading your posts....you are a young dude going to college..correct? How have you worked with a few firms in canada all ready?Any way, more power 2 ya!& thanks to you & the others for some interesting (allthough over my head at times) reads. PS...Could the Emminent Domain ruling come into play in west va & "Almost Heaven"...shhhh...keep it low I don't want to get the Teter family upset! (The Teters own the top of a mountain that could potentialy be developed into a major ski area in WV..For those with enqiring minds)
KevR
July 6, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
>> PS...Could the Emminent Domain ruling come into play in west va & "Almost Heaven"...shhhh

I'd like to think the land around the "horn" (270 & 495) would be right at the top of the list for most washingtonians...

think of the millions, perhaps billions in lost wages, etc... due to a few acres some folks seem to be able to hold onto...
Roger Z
July 7, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
I'm not that young anymore, unfortunately. Worked for eight years before going back to grad school- five years in the energy business. Consulted for one firm in Eastern Canada, had another company I worked for bought by a firm in western Canada, and worked with a trade floor who did business with a third Canadian firm on an almost hourly basis. Since there's only about four large power companies in Canada, I guess that doesn't leave much to the imagination.

Eminent domain- that would be pretty funny, since much of the land in question is owned by the feds. It would be a case of the state taking property from the state! Since I'm now in the realm of urban planning and economic development, eminent domain is another road I have wearily trod with numerous friends over the last couple weeks- suffice to say that short of public projects such as highways, it is not a big issue in rural areas. Primary economic development use of eminent domain is parcel assembly in big cities and condemnation of "blighted" housing, again in urban areas. Given the fact that most real estate development costs local governments money, and ski areas barely make any money, I think it'd be an extremely specious argument to say that prime agricultural land should be acquired to convert to one and/or both uses.

A nice, big coal factory with a fuel refinery attached, however...
tromano
July 7, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
I like the train idea, but a new train or an improved train , the probelm is convenience. There is a commuter rail line btween littleton and downtown Denver. web page One section terminates at the train station. However the train doesn't really go anywhere else.

IMO, public tansit really has to be a total system from door to door to be "convenient". Once a person get in the car and turns onthe the highway to head to the train station, they might as well jsut drive the whoel way. Transit has to exist in the community. As for the Ski train, the big problem is that DIA is way the hell out of town, so that needs to be connected. Any train solution will need to stop at both DIA and the train station in downtown, where it can connect with a commuter train. The other problem with convenience is that since the light rail system in denver is so limited, as a denver resident, you will need to drive a bit to get to the ski train this makes it bad for residents.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 7, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
I like this thread...


I agree with Z that there has got to be a universal approach to transportation. Right now, it is so lopsided towards fossil fuels that all we are doing is creating our own economic decay as our income is feeding unfriendly governments abroad, and we are becoming dependent on petulant nations and tinpot governments such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. The price for our self-largesse is going to be borne by our children as they will have to pay our national debt. Is that responsible? Why not become free of that ball and chain and tell the Saudis and the Venezuelans to drink their oil?

For the first time in my life, and thanks to some wise investments, I have the luxury of walking from my home to work all of five blocks. For me, that is worth an additional 500K in the price of a home, and is the most salient feature in my quality of life. I wish that more people would be able to enjoy this feature -- they would not want to get on another car and commute again. The car (or SUV in this case) is a leisure tool to go skiing and bicycling.

We are making strides in getting mass transport more convenient, even door-to-door. Every time I travel to Europe, I am marveled at the convenience of landing at an airport, going down two levels and taking the train to downtown, or even taking the train directly to a ski resort. Why not here? You should be able to land at DIA Peña airport, walk to the train, and in a couple of hours be swooshing down the mountain. Same as when I went to St Moritz two years ago. Gave my bags to Swiss Air, landed at Zurich at 0800, boarded a train at the airport, and by 1200 I was getting my rental skis fitted... I skied that afternoon, and when we returned to the hotel, the bags were in the room. Not even the hassle of a car.
JohnL
July 7, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

Let's be serious: is there really a right way?




Actually, living in Virginia and working in Maryland is not too bad. 3-4 mornings a week I cruise over the Wilson bridge at 60+ mph. With the exception of Friday afternoons, when all bets are off in the DC area, I generally experience only minimal backups during the other commuting trips. My current commute is surprisingly hassle-free for this area. Knock, knock.

Quote:

think of the millions, perhaps billions in lost wages, etc... due to a few acres some folks seem to be able to hold onto...




I think most of the framers of the Constitution would profoundly disagree with you.

Quote:

IMO, public tansit really has to be a total system from door to door to be "convenient".




Bingo! Plus the existing development needs to be dense and centralized like that found in an inner city or a European village (versus typical American sprawl.) As someone who has had several jobs in Tysons Corner, the attempts to make it more mass-transit and pedestrian friendly are almost laughable. I'd love for the metro and various "mini-city" plans to succeed, but I'm extremely sceptical that they will. Plus, I don't want to waste my tax dollars on poorly-conceived projects.
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 7, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
"I'd love for the metro and various "mini-city" plans to succeed, but I'm extremely sceptical that they will. Plus, I don't want to waste my tax dollars on poorly-conceived projects. "

I wonder what you'll say when the price of a gallon of gas gets to $5.00 a gallon, which it will likely become...
tromano
July 7, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Lou,

When gas hits $5 per gallon we will have "The Revolution". Lol.
Roger Z
July 7, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Well, that depends, doesn't it? If gas gets to five bucks a gallon in 75 years, we'll probably say "hey, gas prices are only five dollars a gallon, what a world!" If it gets there next year, however, we'd all scream "ay caramba!" and the economy would go into a tailspin... at which point oil demand would plummet and get reset back to a "normal" two bucks a barrel.

Oil is a fickle commodity. Remember back in the late 90s, when all the economists were predicting an oil glut well into the 21st Century? Now all the talk is about Hibbert's Peak (sp?). The underlying fundamentals don't justify 62 bucks a barrel, just like they didn't justify 10 bucks a barrel 5 years ago. The range it should be in right now is in the mid to high 40s, with your typical six-eight dollar spread on refined gas products. It should also be pointed out that every commodity is trading extremely high right now, including gold and other non-fuel based products (ok, not corn, but when has a farmer ever gotten a break?). So some of the underlying in the oil prices is based on a flight of capital into commodites, most likely the result of a) the saggy stock market and b) the weak dollar, as well as potentially c) the threat of inflation. I think interest rates should be at least a point higher right now. That would reduce the threat of inflation, strengthen the dollar, draw money off of commodities and improve the stock market. Net effect would result in reduced oil prices simply from having more competitive investment alternatives.

The longer oil prices are high, the more the market will respond, and it will respond on both the supply and demand side. On the supply side, new fields will be explored and drilled, new refineries opened (as needed- there's a glut of refineries in Europe). On the demand side, efficiencies will increase and alternatives to gas products will become more affordable, driving a larger portion of our population and GDP away from fossil fuel dependency.

Are we in a position to make a quantum leap away from oil? I doubt it, but then again, that's the nature of revolutions (technological, political, or otherwise): hardly anyone ever sees 'em coming. In 20 years we could all be driving fusion-powered mini jets for all I know.
JohnL
July 7, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

I wonder what you'll say when the price of a gallon of gas gets to $5.00 a gallon, which it will likely become...





If the price of gas ever reaches that level in today's dollars, then automakers will have a very large incentive to increase the fuel efficiency of cars. Thus, my expenses won't go up that much.

And I too have chosen wisely in my choice of home location. I am only a short car trip to a variety of possible employers. Gas at 5$ per gallon would have a much larger impact on my leisure travel (skiing) than it would on my commuting.

If you are going to tax me, spend the money wisely. I feel that devoted bus lanes are a much more cost effective form of mass transit expansion in DC than is expansion of fixed rail. Plus, the DC Metro organization is one of the most poorly managed (and inefficient) organizations around.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 7, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
"I feel that devoted bus lanes are a much more cost effective form of mass transit expansion in DC than is expansion of fixed rail".

We may have some harmony. The city of Bogota, Colombia, nearly 10 million and growing, just established a dedicated bus line and it works like a champ. As long as it is not a gas or diesel, it works.


"Plus, the DC Metro organization is one of the most poorly managed (and inefficient) organizations around"

Arent you trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater? Sounds like the oil association mantra against anything that does not throw money at Big Oil...
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 7, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
"When gas hits $5 per gallon we will have "The Revolution". Lol. "

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised...

I absolutely adhere to the Alvin Toffler's thesis in The Third Wave and Future Shock. We are in the midst of one revolution of the same kind as the Industrial Revolution. Things will change and it will upset many. Frankly, it it means ending fossil fuel as a source of energy, I'm all for it. We wouldn't have all the acid rain problems at Snowshoe...
Roger Z
July 7, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
I agree about buses, too. But the DC Metro is very poorly run. Many other cities- including LA- have better run metro transit systems. It's not a strike against *having* a metro system- it still has a very positive impact on traffic and transit in the region- but a recognition that the current management is not that great.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 7, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Quote:

Well, that depends, doesn't it? If gas gets to five bucks a gallon in 75 years, we'll probably say "hey, gas prices are only five dollars a gallon, what a world!" If it gets there next year, however, we'd all scream "ay caramba!" and the economy would go into a tailspin... at which point oil demand would plummet and get reset back to a "normal" two bucks a barrel.

Oil is a fickle commodity. Remember back in the late 90s, when all the economists were predicting an oil glut well into the 21st Century? Now all the talk is about Hibbert's Peak (sp?). The underlying fundamentals don't justify 62 bucks a barrel, just like they didn't justify 10 bucks a barrel 5 years ago. The range it should be in right now is in the mid to high 40s, with your typical six-eight dollar spread on refined gas products. It should also be pointed out that every commodity is trading extremely high right now, including gold and other non-fuel based products (ok, not corn, but when has a farmer ever gotten a break?). So some of the underlying in the oil prices is based on a flight of capital into commodites, most likely the result of a) the saggy stock market and b) the weak dollar, as well as potentially c) the threat of inflation. I think interest rates should be at least a point higher right now. That would reduce the threat of inflation, strengthen the dollar, draw money off of commodities and improve the stock market. Net effect would result in reduced oil prices simply from having more competitive investment alternatives.

The longer oil prices are high, the more the market will respond, and it will respond on both the supply and demand side. On the supply side, new fields will be explored and drilled, new refineries opened (as needed- there's a glut of refineries in Europe). On the demand side, efficiencies will increase and alternatives to gas products will become more affordable, driving a larger portion of our population and GDP away from fossil fuel dependency.




MMm.... Don't you think we're being a bit paroquial?

How about the national security hypothesis that our way of life and access to finite strategic resources is threatened by the rise of both India and China?

China has five times our population. India has three. Both countries have embarked on massive development programs that in the end, will bring rough parity to their standards of living with the US. That's their goal. To that effect, China surpassed us as the largest user of exported oil some time ago. India is a close second. We are no longer the largest users, China and Japan are...

As we are busy wasting oil and using it in everything but our swimming pools, other countries with much larger population, now using only a minute fraction of our per capita consumption, are rapidly increasing theirs. The result will not be a glut, but a dire scarcity. So much so that we have recognized it and consider it a national security problem. The rise of the Chinese Navy and its potential challenge to our strategic interests is about one of the biggest exponents of where the Chinese are headed.

The National Geographic issue of June 2004 has an excellent article titled "The End of Cheap Oil". A must read for all...

Instead of continuing as if there was no end of this finite resource, we should now be weening out of it and then we can thumb our noses at the world. And we'd maintain our independence.
KevR
July 7, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Rogerz, its Hubbert Peak and you can read an overview here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubbert_peak.

In essence it seemed to accurately model the depletion of our domestic oil reserves in the 70s. When this occurred the US began more extensive imports from the Middle East. During this time period, OPEC also reared its head and restricted exports precipitating the "oil crisis" in our country at that time.

A lot of folks recently have been speculating on the "peak" associated with the overall international oil reserves, but in particular the middle east, and SPECIFICALLY Saudi Arabia which has the worlds largest oil reserves.

Accurate data is not available from many of these countries although there is at least one book out that claims to have dug through papers and articles published by Saudi oil geologists, and found that the Saudi reserves wanting... (the book is titled something along the lines of "Twiligh in the Desert" (see amazon)

For fun, poke through the links as the end of the wiki article first...

then have a beer, you'll need it!
Roger Z
July 7, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Quote:

We are no longer the largest users, China and Japan are...




No longer the largest users of what? Oil? Not true, we're still the largest users at 40% of the global market (of which 60-70% is used for transportation).

The national security hypothesis is just that: a hypothesis. It's not a fundamental underlying the market right now, and like any hypothesis about sociology and economics it has more holes in it than a terrorist hideout in Fallujah.

For starters, China has one of the most rapidly aging populations on earth. All that economic growth is going to feed an imploding welfare system who's ramifications makes our debate about Social Security seem trivial by comparison. And is also threatening to completely undermine their military goals as well. Perhaps one reason- just a guess but hey, it's foreign affairs, the only field that makes weathermen look accurate- China is getting increasingly bellicose is because they have deduced that their military will begin weakening (either on an absolute basis or on a comparative basis to other regional strategic adversaries) in the next 20 years, such that if they fail to, say, recapture Taiwan soon they won't have the manpower in the military to do it.

In the late 1990s prestigious journals like Foreign Affairs were writing articles called "The Coming Oil Glut." After you've read enough of this crap you come to understand that no one really knows what's going on and the best way to figure things out is let the market take it's course. I stand by my assertion that sustained high oil prices will lead to changes in supply and demand that will result in a reduction in oil prices and further decline in dependency (our dependence on oil on a GDP per capita basis has been falling for 30 years. Far from wasting it, we are becoming much more efficient in its usage).

If Hubbert's Peak is correct, our dependency on oil will be coming to an end soon, anyway. If it's wrong, we'll keep on using it until or unless another technology replaces it on a cost basis. And don't be the least bit surprised to be reading articles in five or ten years about how the world is awash in oil because of 152 factors that no one knew about or considered in 2005, and the reverse article 5-10 years after that, and on and on, until the entire debate sinks into irrelevance for reasons beyond even the wildest fantasies of Robert Kaplan or Zbigniew Brzenski.
KevR
July 7, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Wait -- we did and still do have a "glut".. that's what the Hubbert Peak says ... you glut until your fields max out, and then they fall off rather rapidly.

anyway, the real point isn't that oil reserves are finite, the REAL POINT is energy will simply be more expensive in all its known forms than the CHEAP oil we have now..

And this factors into all facets of modern life ... we lived in an oil based world of air travel, cars, plastics, fertilizers, etc...

OH WAIT -- and SKIING! (plastics, waxes, travel, snow making, clothing)

All brought to you by cheap oil...
jimmy
July 8, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

ps- on a ski trip, I prefer slopeside lodging and a nice base village! At Moonshine, we'll have only the finest slopeside lodging... Jimmy, fill us in on the wonderful amenities of the No-Tel Mo-Tel at Moonshine Mountain ("Our Chairlift is made entirely out of recycled beer cans!")...




hhhmmmmm........ok, located at the bottom of Colonel Morgan's (i know it's capt. morgan, but our Morgan is a Colonel ) Spiced Run, a winding, twisting blue cruiser only a drunken sailor could enjoy, you'll find the Air Lines Inn. What we'll do is get sone of those surplus jet aircraft that are parked out in the desert......transport them to MSM, cut the wings and tails off and nest the fuselages in a pile, like a stack of big pipes. Adaptive re-use of an energy sucking transportation device, so cool. Then we'll take the wings, mount them vertically on a rotating base and convert the jet engines to snow blowers, cut the tails off and use them for rails in the tanquray terrain park. Amenities should include a staff of 44 year old cougars, serving "coffee (sorry lbotta, no soy capp @ Moonsine Mountain ), tea or me."
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 8, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
What's this? No soy cap? I bet you'll forbid wearing Brooks Brothers polo shirts, Abercrombie shorts or Tiva sandals... But the spiced rum is attractive, a good start...
jimmy
July 8, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
But our ski shop will have a huge inventory of abercrumbees "relative" tshirts. a really great WV souvenier.
jimmy
July 8, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

Speaking of redneck- anyone going to the Jug Bay Jam Fest in Anne Arundel County on the 22nd and 23rd?




Hey, Special Ed and the Short Bus, heard em at the Purple Fiddle, nothing PC about these guys. But if it's redneck ur lookin for redneck reunion
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 8, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Quote:

The national security hypothesis is just that: a hypothesis. It's not a fundamental underlying the market right now, and like any hypothesis about sociology and economics it has more holes in it than a terrorist hideout in Fallujah.
Quote:



So far it is 1800 dead in Iraq as we are fighting a war which among its main reasons stands that, all propaganda aside, we must ensure an uninterrupted supply of oil to ourselves and our allies... In this case, the market will follow the hypothesis, whether the market likes it or not.

Quote:

For starters, China has one of the most rapidly aging populations on earth. All that economic growth is going to feed an imploding welfare system who's ramifications makes our debate about Social Security seem trivial by comparison. And is also threatening to completely undermine their military goals as well. Perhaps one reason- just a guess but hey, it's foreign affairs, the only field that makes weathermen look accurate- China is getting increasingly bellicose is because they have deduced that their military will begin weakening (either on an absolute basis or on a comparative basis to other regional strategic adversaries) in the next 20 years, such that if they fail to, say, recapture Taiwan soon they won't have the manpower in the military to do it.
Quote:



If life was so simple, we'd be sitting pretty. However, national strategic goals are much more complex than just population or a sense of the welfare state, or whether they see their military weakening (which by the way is not true). Even relatively smaller countries with substantial amounts of critical resources which we consider vital, can change our foreign policy. Venezuela is one of them (oil)... South Africa is another (virtually every strategic mineral vital to our national security). In making our national strategic goals, markets are only one of the factors that go into its composition. China will no doubt become our number one hegemonic adversary in the next 20 years. Japan is now feeling the pinch of China's influence and their wishy-washiness with regard to Taiwan is a direct result of that influence. As a matter of fact, Russia is nowadays being bamboozled into supplying China with a pipeline. And we, the US, are courting India, previously one of the Nuclear Non-proliferation bad boys, as a counterweigh to the growing military clout of China.

I wish I could agree with you that China's impulsive thurst into world expansion will be short lived. I don't think so. With 10 years experience as a war planner in Fort Fumble on the Potomac, I can't agree with you at all. And every iteration of our national military strategy is in sync with that.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10714-2004Jun27.html
http://www.rense.com/general66/watches.htm
Roger Z
July 8, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Quote:

I wish I could agree with you that China's impulsive thurst into world expansion will be short lived.




I never said that Lou and I hope you read other documents more carefully than you read posts here. I said it might be a possibility, not that it was my opinion. It's also pleasant that you raise one objection (China and national security) and then when a person responds to that, you raise a second objection (South Africa, Venezuala, etc.). I have no doubt that if I or anyone else responded to that, you would have a third objection. What it comes down to is this: you want to see our country move away from oil dependency and you have no doubt a relatively endless supply of facts to support your vision. Have fun with them.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 8, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Z, you've shown you know your stuff and my quest is for a good exchange of ideas not to put anyone down. Actually I'd say I have learned tremendously from your arguments given that my outlook is politico-military as a result of my career and not market-oriented, I wish I had a little bit more of your market orientation...

The world is so interdependent nowadays that one self-ascribed tinpot Bolivarian dictator-wannabe like Chavez Frias can make a stupid decision and given the Ven's oil production, their decision will have an effect that transcends ther importance or real productivity. My analogy was given my personal experience, having attended War College in Venezuela as an exchange officer, and having the distaste of having met the present ruler of Venezuela before he began his quest as a coup plotter

No doubt I wish we lived in a world without internal combustion engines and I dream of the day I can get to Snowshoe on an electric or hydrogen-powered car. Right now, I have to accept the fact that we DO have an oil-based economy and if I want to drive there, I have to get on a car (in my case an SUV) and ski on oil-based skis... and oil based boots, and oil based poles, with synthetic oil-based ski jackets... Oy!
Roger Z
July 8, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Your statement about the crackpot dictators driving things is very true. Part of that problem arises (market insight here! ) from tight supply capacities. When there's no spare capacity in the supply chain and you're dealing with a fairly inelastic commodity, you wind up in situations where any dictator, any tropical storm, any bad seafood a trader has at lunch becomes market setting and rattles the price. Best solution in this case is to build cushions into the supply to reduce the magnitude of impact any of these things can have. The cushions come from additional supply or reductions in demand. Unfortunately, oil supply is constrained by politics and oil demand only decreases in global recessions. I'd like to see that change but it's not going to anytime soon, not at the macro level. At our level, it's important to keep working at the margins- drive or travel less when prices are high, turn the A/C down, get your windows resealed for the upcoming winter, etc. Most importantly, keep options open for getting to work if you can. Even carpooling helps if there's no public transport available, even finding some alternative to driving once a month is better than nothing.

I can't wait for a hybrid truck...
KevR
July 9, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Oil? Get rid of it? It's truly a wonderous material. Some plant based replacements are there - but not at the price point we've enjoyed all these yrs. Coal conversion is there too -- again, its not as cheap as digging a hole in the ground with a tube and collecting the stuff in barrels...
So ... be careful what you wish for!
I think we can live with oil but we've just got to get over the idea there's an endless free supply of it... or that when it "runs out" magic technology will come along and make it all better.
If we get over those humps then I feel that will provoke some more intelligent use decisions.

Be nice not to have to go it the hard way...

Anyway, next time you ski on man-made think to yourself -- "I am skiing on oil... fresh from saudi arabia..."
Roy
July 9, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Quote:

No doubt I wish we lived in a world without internal combustion engines and I dream of the day I can get to Snowshoe on an electric or hydrogen-powered car. Right now, I have to accept the fact that we DO have an oil-based economy and if I want to drive there, I have to get on a car (in my case an SUV) and ski on oil-based skis... and oil based boots, and oil based poles, with synthetic oil-based ski jackets... Oy!




These examples is what makes skiers one of the biggest hypocritical groups in this country (not pointing anyone out I include myself). While the majority of serious skiers (and I include most of us on this board), we do think about our enviroment quite a bit becuase we know how it affects our snow quality. Some of us are more extreme in our enviromental activities and some are supportive but unfortunately are subject to the perils of modern society.

I've never been to Europe but that society sounds like a dream (transportation wise) compared to us. But at what cost? What makes the transportation system of Europe work and why is it not feasible here? (I ask seriously as I look to improve my knowledge).

As far as our cars go, I predict a decline of 1990's vehicles (bigger combustible engine types) in the next 5-10 years. Many of the American car companies will begine to decline. They are all excited about the recent sales of GM vehicles and now Ford and Chysler are following suit (Employee discounts). Are they true discounts? How do they affect the bottom line? Sales are up but overall profits will be down. The two companies that are not offering the discounts are Toyota and Honda, maker's of hybrids. This one moment could be a big history shift. At least I hope so.
jimmy
July 9, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

I've never been to Europe but that society sounds like a dream (transportation wise) compared to us. But at what cost? What makes the transportation system of Europe work and why is it not feasible here? (I ask seriously as I look to improve my knowledge).................

The two companies that are not offering the discounts are Toyota and Honda, maker's of hybrids. This one moment could be a big history shift. At least I hope so.




Roy, roger and lou will probably laff at me but, Europe took the mass transit approach because, i think, it is such a densly populated area compared to the US. Their fuel taxes are high enough to encourage folks to use (or discourage them from using autos) their public transit. The US went in the direction of a highway system, to the detriment of the railroads. Many rail lines that served the upper ohio valley when coal and steel were king have been abandoned, torn up and sold for scrap. As i've not been to europe either, i don't know if their transportaiton system works as well as the enlightened would lead us to believe....maybe it does, i just don't know.

I do agree that we need to take a comprehensive look at not only our energy policy, but our transportation system and infrastructure. Could we have put the BILLIONS spent on the "Big Dig" in boston to better use? I'm sure. I'd support a moratorium on ALL new highway construction in this country.....As lou pointed out, the fuel taxes collected by the states and feds probably aren't enough to even maintain the roads we have now.

I Love the automobile, the internal combustion engine the freedom they give me. I'm sure Butch Cassidy loved his horse. Hybrids aren't the solution, but increased use of hybrids will buy us some time to get our sh$t together. Early hybrids weren't really mainstream autos, more for the enviro begely wackos . Look at an accord hybrid, or maybe the ford escape, now those are cars a person who loves autos could love. Maybe take the money we're going to blow on the next big dig or sam eig and incent people to purchase hybrids, actually get the price to a point where the reduced fuel cost isn't a trade off for the higher initial investment in a hybrid vehicle, you know, actually put some money back in regular folks pockets..........you know, at Moonshine Mountain, we'll have free valet parking and ski check service for anyone driving a hybrid, our ONLY gesture towards social responsibility .
KevR
July 9, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
well I have been to two cities in Europe, twice each, Paris and London and I can say their transportation system is simply better integrated than ours -- although I think in the DC area here and NYC also we are making some similiar inroads.
For example, fly into charles de gaul and a short walk out the door and you are at the train station. Buy a cheap ticket and you are in the city in a 40-60 minutes, and then hop to a subway -- within minutes you are within spitting distance of your paris location. Not bad, cheap, timely and efficient -- that i could tell. However, you can tell by the looks on the faces of Parisians that they do tire of the well used and often crowded subways.
London -- similiar but even better, at least in the sense of speed. Fly into Heathrow and hop on the hi-speed train to London -- 15 min later you are at a train station to points around the country OR run down some steps to the subway and make your way downtown ... (yes i have been to king cross as well... my heart goes out to them)
Taking the train OUT of the city is quite easy and you can then of course be within spitting distance of where you actually want to go...
And that's a bit of problem -- well I took a taxi to my destination but it wasn't clear to me what to do next if you needed a car .. surely there are rental agencies out in the stix but maybe not.
ANYWAY -- all very nice really, relatively cheap, timely and pleasant.

HOW DO THEY DO IT?

Easy -- first the have high gasoline taxes. Britain I believe has almost the highest gas taxes in the world, I think our < $2 gallon cost was over $5 per gallon when I was there and that was 2 yrs ago. No idea now but it hasn't gone down!

2nd, they plow that tax money into mass transit systems as best as I can tell.

3rd, I think its partially cultural too - in the states we had a LARGE DOMESTIC OIL supply until 1970 -- the "end" of domestic oil in the US. But Europe didn't have this (until the discovery of oil in the north sea area later) -- so I think up front they had less incentive to go the car route as much -- that's my opinion and i have no fact to back it up really.

Another issue -- much higher personal income taxes in general. This leads to less disposable income and less disposable income means you are likely NOT to buy a car that often...

So -- perhaps a "dream" is an overstatement but they have done well I think overall in their level of transportation integration.

In this country you have a few progressive cities that have done well but things very WIDELY by region.

On one extreme you have a city like Houston which has almost NO tax base and so they only build roads (which are heavily subsidized with federal money) and then you have a NYC or maybe a DC which has tried to go the mass transit more (NYC doing a much better job owing i think largely to thre realities of their highly concentrated city)

Personally I'd like to see a bit MORE metro here, that extends out farther, with some EXPRESS lines and some cross-cuts to actually go where you want instead of the way it is now where the trains have to go into a few central locations and then out again. that's annoying and SLOW.
I'd also like to see all the major airports interconnected...

My opinion is -- if they build it, we will come sort of thing, especially the YOUNGER folks who have less built-in prejudice to "well that's just not the way we do things, get in the car!"

BUT domestic politics make most of this an uphill battle I think..

Now back to skiing...

Roger Z
July 9, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Actually, Jimmy, that dense population analysis is pretty accurate, as well as the historical choice we made in favor of cars and their historical choice in favor of trains and such. No laughter here... but I am a bit concerned that Moonshine Mountain might be doing something socially conscious. I thought we were sticking solely to the socially unconscionable, like free seasons passes for the wet-t-shirt competition winner (hopefully a female) and a pork rind eating contest for the guys. If you keep this line of thought up, pretty soon you're gonna be offering soy cappucinos and the whole plan will be shot to heck.

I'm gonna check those numbers about the highway. A good friend of mine in the civil engineering department told me last fall that there is a 60 billion dollar surplus sitting in the highway trust fund that the federal government won't spend on road repair. I'm curious as to whether our roads are paying for themselves or not, and if not, how much they are missing the mark by.

For the record, I drive a truck and love it, but when I worked in the city (as opposed to this internship) I did mass transit almost every day. It took a little longer but was wonderfully stress free (usually) and I could read the whole way in, or stare out the window, or sleep, or converse with folks. I met some wonderful people on the train. I love my truck and the open road as much as the next person, but cities wouldn't function without public transport. The next step in DC is for metro to start catching up with commuting patterns- which means more transit around and less into the city. But that will take billions of dollars, and would have been a lot easier if they had thought of this in the first place.

Oh, btw- Houston is putting in a small light rail system and corresponding high density development with it. So if even Houston is doing it...
Roy
July 11, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Quote:

Look at an accord hybrid, or maybe the ford escape, now those are cars a person who loves autos could love.




Maybe so but purchasing one of these does not have any benefit. At least on the accord. I can't really say for the escape. The Honda Accord Hybrid costs approximately $6-9000 more and gets 1 more mile to the gallon (28 I believe). A big waste. My Civic Hybrid gets abour 40 miles. However, it's not the 48 they promised on the sticker.

I agree, the hybrids are not the solution but they do but us that time until we can get the fuel cell technology up to speed (which getting a lot of these solutions up to speed is the big problem, i.e. 75 MPH).
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 11, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
This is so interesting I had to put in my two cents...

The rise of the gas-guzzling, suburban, unattached semi-nomadic American of today is due to both market prices AND Government policy. Consider this:

After we reduced many European cities to ruin, firebombed Tokyo to the tune of 60 thousand dead, and dropped two nuclear bombs on Japanese population centers, many of our war planners and civil defense experts favored dispersing our population over vast expanses of cheap land. Oil was plentiful and cheap.

Let us remember that the initial reason for the expansive Interstate Highway System was the brainchild of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and it was initially conceived as a military measure. Many of the wealthy states in New England and the Great Lakes had built superhighways with no federal assistance (NY State Thruway, Mass Turnpike, Merritt Parkway, etc, and these were immeidately federalized upon war), and he realized that the rest of the country did not have the resources to commit locally, which meant that military convoys would have to take a long way to go accross the country. Prez Roosevelt had toyed with the idea, of having a national collection of toll roads. However, it was Eisenhower who brought it to reality. I may not have the correct terminology, but the initial legislation was called the National Defense Highway System Act or something... Then the Feds relaxed the rules, we came up with the concept of the freeway along with the concept of highways as massive pork, and it went downhill from there. (Frankly, IMHO, highways should have to be fully supportive by the users -- if they can't be fully supportive they should be abandoned... same as rail ).

The GI Bill, which brought zillions of American citizens the benefits of middle class standards, contained one disastrous clause, which was enacted with the honorable and good intention of energizing the economy but it killed the cities. As a part of the GI bill, veterans received mortage loans at a laughable interest, but only if they bought NEW construction. Existing houses were not covered by the GI bill until much later in history.

On top of that, oil companies saw the benefit of taking their new revenues, together with their huge government subsidies and dole, and began to buy entire mass transport systems and then eliminating them. Only a few cities, Boston, San Fran, Phila, maintained their trolleys.

I know I am oversymplifying, but it simply a brief sketch to point out the many variables, some filled with good intention, some the result of collusion, that brought us to what is frankly an unsustainable life style.

I admire Europe in their life style and principally because of one reason: the concept of community. We have lost ours. Suburbs are basically anonymous, unfriendly, vast spaces of sterility and intellectual emptiness. The concept of a community is based on the fact that we realize that each of us is responsible for a little bit of the common good. It is hard to do that when people flee to individual oasis just so we are not responsible for the common good. I know I'll make some people scream, but the advent of the box stores, chief among them Walmart, has accelerated our social decay because it also accelerated the death of the concept of community in our country. You can't have a community when you divorce yourself from it.

OK now, take your shots....
KevR
July 11, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
I can add one data point I think that dovetails. Are folks aware that GM bought up many regional train lines and replaced them with BUS lines through shell companies for many years -- even at a LOSS to themselves, just to push their business model? Yes this is true, I think actually they were brought to court eventually on this and fined a token amount on against anti-trust provisions -- and somewhere in that mess the somewhat famous phrase "What's good for GM is good for America" was heard...
Roger Z
July 11, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Dang, Lou, you might as well have taught my first year of planning courses. You've got the history down cold!

The only qualification- a minor one- that I'd add is that the flight out of cities didn't begin with the highways but rather culminated with them. In the United States, central cities have historically been the mainstay of industry, and during the industrial revolution that meant that the central business district was polluted, stinking, and mobbed with people and horses and all their attendant diseases (remember, hygiene wasn't as big of a deal back then).

People seem to have a tendency to want to live about 30 mintutes from where they work. When the trolley car was invented, it increased travel speeds from 6 mph to 12 mph on average (riding a horse in traffic to riding a trolley on a track), so people went from living within three miles of work to living about six miles away. Then with the advent of the automobile, they moved a little further. Then came the highway...

Ironically, highways were blasted into the middle of the cities with the idea that it would attract suburbanites back into the city center. No one conceived that it would a) encourage businesses to relocate outward and b) facilitate population migration. If there were planners that wanted to disperse the population in the 40s and 50s, they weren't on the civilian or transportation side of things. Though what you said about the military wanting a dispersed population after inventing the bomb makes a lot of sense.

The main lesson I've learned about the history of planning in our country is that it is fraught with unintended consequences...

Oh, one final note. Another reason European cities are more habitable is because when the industrial revolution began, there was no room in the city centers for a factory. Consequently their polluted, stinking companies were located in... the suburbs. The city centers remained very livable.

And, as far as your comment on lack of community goes... that's a major reason I left DC. But everyone has different values. When there's a tradeoff between careers and communities, most people choose the former (for good reasons as well as bad ones). That's their right, and that's fine. But it wasn't making me happy at all, so I've gone another direction.

And Crush has gone even further down the lifestyle direction!
jimmy
July 11, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

Quote:

Look at an accord hybrid, or maybe the ford escape, now those are cars a person who loves autos could love.




Maybe so but purchasing one of these does not have any benefit. At least on the accord. I can't really say for the escape. The Honda Accord Hybrid costs approximately $6-9000 more and gets 1 more mile to the gallon (28 I believe). A big waste. My Civic Hybrid gets abour 40 miles. However, it's not the 48 they promised on the sticker.




Hybrid Civic, 40 mpg, not too bad. Honda did take the lone road w/ the Accord Hybrid, using the hybrid technology to improve performance instead of gas milage. Seems the hybrid would save the most fuel in stop n go, urban traffic, probably runs on gas pretty much all the time on the highway?

Many folks who buy a hybrid do so not to save money, but because they feel it's worth the trade off of higher price of vehicle vs. good for the environment; until there is an actual cost savings, whether thru gov't subsidy, an income tax incentive for purchasing a hybrid or raising the CAFE standards, people who just want a car to get where they're going won't buy a hybrid.
jimmy
July 11, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

... but I am a bit concerned that Moonshine Mountain might be doing something socially conscious. I thought we were sticking solely to the socially unconscionable, like free seasons passes for the wet-t-shirt competition winner (hopefully a female) and a pork rind eating contest for the guys. If you keep this line of thought up, pretty soon you're gonna be offering soy cappucinos and the whole plan will be shot to heck..........




sorry, i just got caught up in the spirits
tromano
July 11, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
lbota,

Good post brutha. The sense of community is sorely lacking especially in DC area. I think it is becuase so many people in this region are transplants. In many cases DC is jsut a stop on journey somewhere else.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 11, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Z, as things become declassified from the war years, the concept of war planning and civil defense created headaches for our planners who wanted to avoid a Dresden or Tokyo. With the end of the war, the military planners' influence waned, and with good reason. Else we may have found the Pentagon in Picayunne, Mississippi...

I agree that until 1990, the overwhelming thought in the middle class was to get the hell out of the city. But if you look at the trend today, there is such an unmet and basic need for people to be in communities, that center cities in the coasts have become unaffordable due to the numbers of people who find city living very desirable.

Career AND community can coexist in a high quality atmosphere in which one can receive from the many and unique resources of an urban area while being able to contribute and become involved in the local life. I will re-state that for me, I can walk to work for the first time and that's the most significant improvement in quality of life since I've been alive. Actually, every conceivable need I have is within five walking blocks, from organic produce to five star restaurants (we would not think of a McDonald's in our neighborhood), and from art galleries to home improvement stores. For an increasing number of people, that is the optimum "lebensraum", attested by the fact that over 40 percent of the million-dollar properties are being bought by empty nesters who are interested in optimizing their quality of life.

The crux of the situation is that room in these areas is now so scarce that that's exactly why a condo in Woodley Park, Logan Circle, or for that matter, New York's Chelsea, Boston's Back Bay, or Philly's Olde City cost what they do, simple supply and demand. The challenge of urban planners is to replicate these communities so more people have the chance to live in an urban center with all of these wonderful resources, instead of having to move 75 miles away because that's the only affordable place...

I started thinking about US cities compared with cities in other places and you're totally correct. European cities have the center of the cities as their golden neighborhoods. Take Amsterdam for example... Same as in much of Latin America by the way. As a matter of fact, the word "suburbio" in Spanish is a sinonym with "slum".

There is a bright future for US cities as more people look inwards and cities become the new rage. Their success will depend on whether they can again recover their supremacy in education and thereby attract the middle middle class with school-age children.

That, and correcting some of the barbaric highway building of the 1960s and '70s. I-95 in Philadelphia is an eyesore that has up to now, kept the waterfront away from the people. The Whitehurst Freeway in DC serves no purpose other than to obstruct a beautiful river from the people. Boston is about the only city where they have endeavored to put the interstate highway where it belongs in an urban area, underground. Yes, it was frought with errors and corruption. But when one looks at the highway moneys wasted in Highways to Nowhere in Kansas, or 250 million for a bridge for 50 people in Alaska, or even the quotidian profligate spending of VDOT, the Big Dig sounds better and better. At least it has improved the quality of life for 5 million people...

I still dream of a ski train to Snowshoe...
jimmy
July 11, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
You're right, but it's not just DC, i think, it's everywhere. Wife and i, kids are growed up and gone, work 100-110 hours a week total (except during ski season, when i hardly work at all ). We're not home enough to.....aw that's just an excuse.....but really, to spend much time enjoying our neighbors. We're both active in our church and the community, been living in the same house for six years.......I don't know, life's just different than when i was growing up.

JimK, I don't know how we got here from where this thread started, but it's been fun?!
SCWVA
July 11, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
Quote:

Many folks who buy a hybrid do so not to save money, but because they feel it's worth the trade off of higher price of vehicle vs. good for the environment; until there is an actual cost savings, whether thru gov't subsidy, an income tax incentive for purchasing a hybrid or raising the CAFE standards, people who just want a car to get where they're going won't buy a hybrid.





The DC area has probably the largest quantity of hybrid cars in the nation. Are these people worried about the environment or the cost gas? Nope, the studies have shown that the people in DC buy hybrids so they can ride in the HOV lanes.
Roger Z
July 11, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
There's still substantial demand for suburban, single family homes and probably always will be, though it is very likely that the zoning code has created a shortage of urban environments for people to live in (read: traditional small town-type neighborhoods, with denser residential and local neighborhood retial facilities). Still, whatever is most in demand is always likely to command a premium to the market- think of luxury cars. Sure everyone wants them, but they'll never be "affordable." At least, not the latest and greatest model. It's kind of a truism to say there's a shortage of goods that are in high demand- there always will be.

I can't stand cities, so there's not much that could be done for guys like me in an urban environment. But I realize that, so I don't make any demands of cities to conform to my wishes. All I ask is you extend the same courtesy to a few places so guys like me can be happy, too.
JohnL
July 11, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Some random musings.

The 'Burbs have their advantages. For instance, we've got Terri Hatcher and Nicolette Sheridan, and we're keeping them out of the city! Or the country!

Community is what you make of it. Some of my neighbors are a lot of fun and are a destablizing influence on my life. We could probably stock Moonshine Mountain for the first year.

Since when is Church not a community? As Jimmy Buffet said, "There's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning."

I've never had any problems with McDonalds; in fact, I need a least one fast-food meal a week. I'm more suspicious of people who won't let a McDonalds into their town than I am of McDonalds Inc.

The Soviet Union was the master of planning and look what it got them.

Problem with centralized planning is that people have this real nasty habit of doing what they want to and living how they want to, not what/how you want them to.

Some good history on the formation of the Interstate Highway System and the post WWII move to the burbs. However, the system would not have been widely used were it not for the continued need of Americans to make or re-make themselves. Americans will never be Europeans and Europeans will never be Americans. De Tocqueville rises again.

If it weren't for the wanderlust of Americans and the Interstate Highway System, would we be today skiing such places as Snowbird, Snowbasin, Summit County and countless other places out West?

One thing worse than being a U.S. citizen in the transition from a petroleum-based economy is being a European citizen. Western Europe's reliance on Government and large companies for econonmic growth and innovation, a general lack of risk-taking in business, worse demographic trends than those in the U.S. and a reluctance to integrate the needed flow of immigrants into their societies doesn't bode well for maintaining the present living standards. Not that the U.S. doesn't have challenges, but I prefer our model.
Roy
July 12, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Quote:

Many folks who buy a hybrid do so not to save money, but because they feel it's worth the trade off of higher price of vehicle vs. good for the environment



Quote:

that the people in DC buy hybrids so they can ride in the HOV lanes.





You are both correct.I saw some semi-reality show on TV (I think the learning channel) and it was interviewing a couple in DC that wanted to buy a hybrid but did not have the money. (People living above their means, another thread, another time.) They wanted to buy the hybrid so the wife could take HOV. They never mentioned the enviromental part of the car.

As far as savings go, one has to look at the savings. In 2004, I got a $2000 tax credit because I had bought the hybrid, essentially that takes $2000 off the price of the car (The government is offering a tax credit this year but it is less and 2005 is the last year). My wife was spending $40/wk on gas to get to work (in my Neon that gets 32 MPG highway but stop n go traffic negates most of that). Now she spends $20 every 10 days or so. That's a savings of $100 a month. For me, it was like buying my first house. You don't understand how a higher monthly payment (as opposed to rent) saves you money in the long run. Of course, the government would need to extend the tax credit to really make this good going forward.

Someone else mentioned that the hybrid runs on all gas on the highway. It does for the most part. However, the battery is used to assist the car with acceleration (whether in town or not). If you're on the highway and you punch the gas pedal, the battery kicks in to give you that extra punch. Then the gas slowly takes over at that speed and the battery gradually stops helping. This is a big help in gas savings as you don't get that waste of dumping a whole lot of gas in the carbeurator.

The other big saving is the stop and go traffic. Many believe (as did I) that the car runs on electric in the city. Not true. The batter assists the motor just as on the highway, by giving it that extra juice for acceleration. But where the car really saves gas is when it comes to a stop. The engine will cut off. Once you take your foot off the brake, the engine starts again and you're ready to go. Even though it is a quiet engine, it's still eerie to pull up to a stoplight and not hear the noise of you're own engine.
Roger Z
July 12, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Quote:

Community is what you make of it.




Yup. If you asked 20 people what "community" meant, you'd get 21 answers. And yes, part of my "community" must include Waffle House and McD's and a good church to attend to ask for forgiveness for whatever it was you did the night before but can't remember that morning.

There needs to be a lot more humility in the planning profession. Most of my professors seem oblivious to the lessons of unintended consequences, and are constantly asking for more power and control. I'd be happy with less control but more positive impacts. And the Kelo case recently... while I don't have too many squabbles with the ruling as a matter of constitutional law, the discussions I've had with friends has led me to the conclusion that the planning profession is tone deaf to cultural trends. They are increasingly fighting rearguard battles to defend their perogatives against a growing hostile population. Very, very few planners are trying to come up with new, innovative and acceptable solutions to land use problems. Most of the ideas we study in planning school are 20 years old or more; zoning dates almost 100 years now and is virtually useless for the mixed use that many people claim to want.

The profession is going to write itself into extinction without some change in direction...
Murphy
July 12, 2005
Member since 09/13/2004
618 posts
Quote:

Someone else mentioned that the hybrid runs on all gas on the highway. It does for the most part. However, the battery is used to assist the car with acceleration (whether in town or not). If you're on the highway and you punch the gas pedal, the battery kicks in to give you that extra punch. Then the gas slowly takes over at that speed and the battery gradually stops helping. This is a big help in gas savings as you don't get that waste of dumping a whole lot of gas in the carbeurator.




As Roy was saying, one advantage to Hybrids, even if they are in all gas mode, is that the gas engine is substantially smaller than traditional cars. The sticker on your car's (non-hybrid) window may have said 250 hp but you rarely get that. Even at highway speeds you're only using a small fraction of the available horsepower and that is a very inefficient way to operate. Running a smaller engine closer to its peak power is far more efficient. And when you "need" the power, the electric motor is there for a boost.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 12, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Very good points throughout... However, is "total freedom" the ability to choose and pick among federal subsidies? Is Centralized Planning the demon some claim it to be when it has also been the panacea for non-urbanites? Mmmm....

Thinking that our transition to the highway civilization was the result of free enterprise is really not consistent with reality. Other than the Northeast, the Far West, and the Great Lakes, our highway culture is the product of massive governmental doleouts. The interstate highway system was social engineering and corporate welfare carried to its peak. That money came from the wealth of the cities because it couldn't come from anywhere else. Another one is electrification. In 1930, less than 10 percent of rural Virginia had electric power. It took a vast Government welfare program to bring us to where we are today. FDR's 1935 Executive Order 7037 not only called for the federal involvement in local affairs to electrify the country, but also gave massive federal subsidies to corporations. The first REA Administrator, Morris Cooke, ordered massive grant and loans to reticent corporations and utilities to entice them to electrify rural areas where electric utilities could not do it at a profit. Power generation was the other shoe... Imagine no TVA...

I am not against electrifying or building roads and infrastructure for the common benefit. But don't come waving the flag of free enterprise on issues where the road to progress has been paved with massive social welfare expenditures without precedent in human history. And if improving the rural american's way of life was a national priorities it follows that the same goes for urban america. If there is a need to transport tourists by rail from Denver to Summit County, and it benefits both the communities and the tourists, then I am all in favor of it.
JohnL
July 12, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

If you asked 20 people what "community" meant, you'd get 21 answers.




Good line!
JohnL
July 12, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

... However, is "total freedom" the ability to choose and pick among federal subsidies?

Thinking that our transition to the highway civilization was the result of free enterprise is really not consistent with reality....

... But don't come waving the flag of free enterprise on issues where the road to progress has been paved with massive social welfare expenditures without precedent in human history...




Lou,

Your last post was nothing but a Strawman argument. Where was it mentioned anywhere on this thread that that the construction of the Interstate Highway System was the result of "free enterprise"?

And if you're refering to the "total freedom" note in my tag line, it's simply a great quote from a Greg Stump ski movie. Nothing more, nothing less.
MadMonk
July 12, 2005
Member since 12/27/2004
235 posts
The Highway system's primary purpose was to provide a way for the rapid and efficient movement of troops and equipment throughout the U.S. Any other benefits to eiter rural or urban areas were seen as secondary.

As for electrifying rural America, a large part of that was also done via WPA during the depression. This provided employment to many who needed it as well as electricity to the rural corners of America. For that period of history it was definitely a win/win situation.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 12, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Quote:

As for electrifying rural America, a large part of that was also done via WPA during the depression. This provided employment to many who needed it as well as electricity to the rural corners of America. For that period of history it was definitely a win/win situation.




The total tab for WPA was 11 billion dollars in 1943 moneys, the year it went off existence. That also included the Federal Art Project, the Federal Writers' Project, and the Federal Theatre Project. That was money well spent I agree. And federal spending for this type of project was well spent then and should be today too... :-)
KevR
July 12, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Hold on there compadres... let us not forget that the interstate system championed by eisenhower had at the helm of the defense department the head of GM (Wilson) and as Federal Highway Administrator Mr Dupont with known financial ties to GM.
Surely their backgrounds would color their solution to the problem space?
Nah...

Free market system at work ... rather narrowly.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
July 12, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Whew, you guys have my head spinning trying to catch up on all the ground you've covered in this thread.
-I was an ultra-commuter from '86-99, 70 miles each way to work, mostly on I-95 (via vanpool). I sure hope that in the after-life I get credit for those I-95 trips as "Purgatory time". Do the women you sleep and yak with everyday a vanpool count as a community? Since '99 I've selfishly enjoyed an 18 minute commute by privately owned vehicle, but soon converting to a strictly mass transit commute (Metro) due to expensive parking situation in new office location coming this Fall.
-Also, my first real job was as a community planning technician for the Federal DOT in '77 and primary task was to tabulate data collected across the US by the Bureau of Census from individuals about frequency and length of their non-local highway travel trips. Amazing how much ground people in rural areas covered in their privately owned vehicles.
-I don't have anything deep to add to the discourse in this thread. I just hope to pay my dues and flee to a more peaceful and affordable place (with hopefully easy access to ski slopes) when my retirement time comes in 5 or 10 years. Sorry to end on a bummer note, but a line from Mr. Billy Corgan sort of sums up how I feel about the state of traffic in much of America: "despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage."
Roger Z
July 12, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
I just read this from an economic analyst who's work I like. A lot of folks (not on this board, but elsewhere) have been telling me that the markets haven't been tapping new oil supplies, even with soaring prices. Wrong. The supply side is working. Note that demand-side pressures are now a key factor for determining whether oil prices will fall or not:

Quote:

BP has begun to tap four giant fields off the coast of Louisiana and expects production to hit 500,000 barrels per day by around 2008.

Exxon Mobil expects some 27 of its new projects to flow some 1.2 million barrels per day onto world markets at about the same time. Caspian supplies have begun to hit the market, and the supply of oil being squeezed out of Canada's oil sands is rising.

All in all, Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), a well-regarded American consultancy, expects so many new fields to come online in the next several years in response to stepped-up exploration that supply will exceed demand--another way of saying that it expects prices to fall.

Until we can get a better view of the extent to which $60 oil will reduce demand by inducing a new wave of conservation, and increase supply by making exploration more attractive, we can't do more than guess whether $100 oil or $60 oil, or even $30 oil is in our future. (italics added)



lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 12, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Z, obviously you like this guy... Does the fact that his theories support your life style have anything do do with it?... I wonder how long would the 500K barrels in LA would last. Couple of years? How about the drying out of the North Sea oil fields? Ecuador, a founding member of OPEC, is drying out too, and Venezuela's head of Government is as stable as the Unabomber. Today as the price of a gallon of gas shot up seven cents overnight, is an interesting time to reflect on this commodity.

Why don't we just become independent from all of this incertitude?
jimmy
July 12, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

Why don't we just become independent from all of this incertitude?




Lou Lou Lou,
What should we do?
I'll ride a Horse,
How about you?

Naw, horses don't like me all that much. But what should we do. This isn't gonna happen just bcause you want it. Here's a suggestion. CAFE standards do not include "light trucks" in the average. Maybe if all "passenger vehicles", SUV's, minivans hummers were included in CAFE, we'd start seeing some new developments in fuel economy, the price of hybrids would come down so they'd be able to meet the target.
KevR
July 12, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
I think on the oil we've got our issues intertwined together, somewhat. On the one hand, sure there are folks bringing out some new sources of cheap oil - that is good because demand is rising...

On the other hand, you have the big aging fields of saudia arabia that SOME FOLKS say are near peak, or maybe past their peak. SA has the worlds largest proven reserves of oil by the way.

If this is true, replacing that oil is going to be hard at the PRICE POINT we are used to -- which is the key because so much of western society depends on the assumption of cheap energy.

SURE -- technological innovation will open up some reserves that were not there before - but *probably* not at the old price pt of $40 per barrel.

We do have some unknowns that make all this hard to pin down:

- what is the true size of saudi fields and output capabilities to meet coming demand?

- what is our ability to squeeze more oil out of pre-existing fields or hit the deep water oil about at the price pt we have now through technology innovation (and other types of reserves -- e.g. tar sands, etc...)?

- what kind of oil reserves does iraq really have and when will full production be available to the world's markets? ( iraq reserves are thought to be LARGE but POORLY managed, explored and EXPLOITED )
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 12, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy,
High oil prices make me shimmy
but if we all got off our duff
and started walking, biking and stuff,
Thank God, we'd all be a bit more skinny...

My grandparents had a farm with horses and although I love horses (and animals in general) I'd rather take a bike and spend a summer weekend at the Shoe, or take a train to Vermont.

And I do agree about SUVs should be included in CAFE, coffee or any other initiative to cut oil consumption. I am sort of at the beginning of a search for a replacement for my 1996 Jeep Cherokee, and I'm seriously considering a hybrid but need to do research. I could travel to Snowshoe without feeling guilty.
Roger Z
July 12, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Quote:

Z, obviously you like this guy... Does the fact that his theories support your life style have anything do do with it?...




Could you ask a more obnoxious and condescending question?
KevR
July 12, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
I really don't think you should feel guilty. Oil is... well its a wonderous thing really. It has given us our modern world -- virtually everything hinges on it: all forms of transportation, mass production of agriculture, industry -- the list goes on.
I'm just not sure it would make that much difference if we used half the oil we do, bring china only and india online, a massive demand for oil globally -- well the fields either have it or they don't, and then for how long? 5 more? 10? 50? 100? none of those are particularly reassuring!
PERHAPS if you drive an SUV you should feel guilty about pollution levels. We certainly could pay a bit more and get better pollution controls on transport across the board, and heavy industry -- the big polluters I think. There's really NO excuse there in my mind. We all would like to breath crystal clean air right?
But there's no turning back from oil -- there simply ISN'T a better energy source. if there was, we'd be using it.

What we can COLLECTIVELY feel guilty about is the stupor we are in thinking it will just go on and on on. It's tilted our broad national policies so far out of wack that history will probably judge us poorly.
jimmy
July 13, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

As far as savings go, one has to look at the savings. In 2004, I got a $2000 tax credit because I had bought the hybrid, essentially that takes $2000 off the price of the car (The government is offering a tax credit this year but it is less and 2005 is the last year). My wife was spending $40/wk on gas to get to work (in my Neon that gets 32 MPG highway but stop n go traffic negates most of that). Now she spends $20 every 10 days or so. That's a savings of $100 a month. For me, it was like buying my first house. You don't understand how a higher monthly payment (as opposed to rent) saves you money in the long run. Of course, the government would need to extend the tax credit to really make this good going forward.
The other big saving is the stop and go traffic.




Roy, It may be too soon for you to know, but are there any extraordinary maintenance costs w/hybrid and how does the resale value compare?
gatkinso
July 13, 2005
Member since 01/25/2002
316 posts
It is simple economics.

I drive a Jeep Cherokee. It gets 17 mpg on the hiway. Not very good. I bought it so that I would have a car to get to the slopes on days that you *really* would want to be there, and to go on the beach. Not being wealthy, I have to drive this car to work too.

This vehicle is paid off. It is cheaper for me to simply drive it and burn more gas than I would in a smaller car. Ditch it and get a gas sipper AWD vehicle and suddenly I have a $400/month car payment along with much higher car insurance - plus I still am paying about 60% of my old gas bill! Plus, there goes my beach activities.

So, convince me that I should by a more efficient vehicle so that I won't burn AS MUCH gas and won't spew AS MUCH fumes into the air. Note however, that I will still be polluting.

The same is true all over - the installed base is simply cheaper to operate as is. Gas stations refitting to hydrogen - to expensive on an individual staion owner level. Car owners ditching their rides for the debatable fuel efficieny improvemnts of hybrids: to expensive for them, and they might not save any money. Car manufactures seeing this trend saying "well, they are buying ICE powered cars still so why should we be the first to switch?"

The problem os more of the inertia of fossil fueled economies, not the desire to change.
jimmy
July 13, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
What great luck i'm having today, just found this, looks like all the cousins turned out for lbotta family vacation
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 13, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
gatkinso, I am in some of the same pattern. I bought my Cherokee upon my return to the US in '96. It has served me well, don't owe a dime on it and would love to keep it except for the fact that at 120K miles, and it runs great now, I know that it may cease to be cost-effective some time from now.

My first four years owning it, it accumulated most of the miles given the commute in the DC area and extensive ski trips (didn't own the Snowshoe condo yet). Since then, it has averaged only 4 thousand miles a year as I get to walk to work or if I want to get a worhout on a nice day, go on a 15 mile circuituous bike ride before getting ready for work.

Not having to spend countless hours on a car on traffic jams has been awesome. Even in jobs where a driver came with the territory, the daily commute was a hair-raising chore. I'd arrive at work or at home all wired up and miserable.

To each his/her own. But walking or biking to work is such a wonderful part of my life now that I wonder just how the commute decreased my quality of life during all these years. I now have time to spare for pursuits with family and friends that are designed to increase my peace of mind.

This should not be a luxury which I know it is nowadays.
jimmy
July 13, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

Z, as things become declassified from the war years, the concept of war planning and civil defense created headaches for our planners who wanted to avoid a Dresden or Tokyo. With the end of the war, the military planners' influence waned, and with good reason. Else we may have found the Pentagon in Picayunne, Mississippi...




Picayune, Former tung capital of the world, brings up another thought.......What would've been wrong with the pentagon being in mississippi? What's the main industry in MD NOVA, chicken farms, timber, steelmaking or aircraft mfg? Nope, it's figuring out a way to get the federal (yours and mine) tax dollar! Let's move the pentagon to MS, the EPA to CA, OSHA to southern WV or KY. Spread some of that money around....then you wouldn't need half a million dollars to buy a townhouse or your little piece of heaven in the suburbs. I think many people choose to live in urbania because that's where the money's at.
Roy
July 14, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Jimmy I have no idea about any longterm maintenance costs. From what I have gathered, the possible big difference in maintenance costs is the battery (or actually batteries as there are 5 modules that makeup the battery). They cost about a grand each. However, they are supposed to last the life of the car (is that vague enough?). I have a buddy in New Hampshire that bought a 2003 hybrid. Besides regular maintenance, there have been no additional costs and his was the first year hybrids were out.

As for all of you driving your gas guzzling paid off cars, I can't fault you. I would not have bought the hybrid when I did if I wasn't going to buy a new car anyway. Changing a whole infrastructure can't happen overnight. The car pollution discussion has been going on for a long time. Eventually it has made changes (supposedly) to producing cleaner burning gas and engines and then to the hybrids. California is pushing for building hydrogen stations along some of the highways.

The point is to continue to make changes. How many of you recycle? Did you do it 20 years ago?
Roger Z
July 14, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Heck, even getting a car that gets 2 mpg a gallon better than your old one can be a substantial improvement for many folks and it isn't that hard to accomplish from a car engineering perspective- not as hard as fashioning a new engine, anyway.

Your point Roy about not getting a hybrid except that you were shopping for a new vehicle seems pretty reasonable to me. Very few people are going to buy a new car simply to get better gas mileage... but the next time they get a new car, gas mileage will be a more important factor in their buying decision. Maybe THE most important factor if you buy when average gas prices are 2.31 a gallon (or more)!
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 14, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Quote:

Picayune, Former tung capital of the world, brings up another thought.......What would've been wrong with the pentagon being in mississippi? What's the main industry in MD NOVA, chicken farms, timber, steelmaking or aircraft mfg? Nope, it's figuring out a way to get the federal (yours and mine) tax dollar! Let's move the pentagon to MS, the EPA to CA, OSHA to southern WV or KY. Spread some of that money around....then you wouldn't need half a million dollars to buy a townhouse or your little piece of heaven in the suburbs. I think many people choose to live in urbania because that's where the money's at.




Actually, the honorable senior senator from the great state of WV has been doing just that, slowly but at a steady pace...

Actually, much of it makes sense... Before my assignment in Bogota, Colombia, my "offensive" driving school was in WV - so are many of the critical database sites for the country such as the FBI, State Department etc. You don't want those in DC.

The problem in getting large headquarters of corporate America to locate in a non-urban area is related to the availability of highly skilled labor. For these folks, the number one condition is schooling for their children. Comparing the school systems in Picayunne MS with Fairfax County or Arlington County, VA, will readily show why NOVA is only second to the Palo Alto area as the site for high tech headquarters. Nothing wrong with the good people of Picayunne. It is just a matter of quality of life.

When it comes to Government, it is the same. (FYI, the largest number of jobs in MD and NOVA is not Government, but high-tech). If you're looking for a military base with 60 thousand soldiers and sergeants, you can locate them anywhere. If you're looking at enticing 35 thousand civilian employees with Masters Degrees, along with an officer force with the same or higher educational levels, you need to offer a place with the life style that will entice them.
jimmy
July 15, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
[quote
The problem in getting large headquarters of corporate America to locate in a non-urban area is related to the availability of highly skilled labor. For these folks, the number one condition is schooling for their children.............

When it comes to Government, it is the same. (FYI, the largest number of jobs in MD and NOVA is not Government, but high-tech).




Lou, you bring up two intersting points. Do you think that if the federal government was based in Topeka KS instead of DC that DC would still be a hot bed of high tech? That opportunity , i think, is there because of Tax Dollars, at least on it's present scale.

As fas as the availability of highly skilled labor, you are very right. My wife and I raised two very highly skilled children, daughter BS Physics & MA Architecture, son BS Accounting & Management. Yup raised them up, sent them to parochial grade school PUBLIC high school, both went to private colleges in WV. Want to guess were they're at? Sonny lives in Woodbridge VA, daughter just left Hoboken (do you ever wonder who Hobo Ken was and why they named a city in NJ after him, as i've said before, i'm a curious devil) NJ for a job in Pittsburgh, hour from "home" in part because she missed the wonderful lifestyle that we enjoy here in WV, had enough of the big city, i guess. My point is that there is not a shortage of highly skilled labor in un-urbania, they just mostly don't stay because they have to go where the money's at.

Now to bring this rant back to something somewhat related to skiing, one federal agency that i forgot to relocate in my previous post was the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. I think we need to relocate them to a place that's as far from Moonshine Mountain as possible .
snowcone
July 15, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
I have been lurking on this thread for a while and now I gotta say something ...

You do like they do in EU ... significantly reduce your hunny-do trips, purchase your goods closer to home [internet ordering anyone?], WALK!, ride bikes, purchase more economical transportation, ride share, etc.

I lived in Greece for 27 years and am amazed at the differences between US and EU. I don't remember when gas in GR was less than equivalent $4 or more per gallon. We use solar water heaters, no AC, washing machines have integrated water heaters, heating is only several hours per day in the winter [you sleep under lots of quilts and blankets], we conserve water, we conserve gasoline, we shop locally and walk to shopping using a cart, we use extensive public transportation [which is cheap, ubiquitous and light years ahead of anything in the US]; cars are for emergencies, weekends and vacations. We clean our houses =manually=; wash floors on hands and knees, use brooms!, very few homes have wall-to-wall because the upkeep is just too expensive.

And ya know .. I seem to have less time here even with all the many 'timesaving' fossil fueled devices than I did in Greece doing things the old fashion way. Kinda says something doesn't it?
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
July 15, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Quote:

Lou, you bring up two intersting points. Do you think that if the federal government was based in Topeka KS instead of DC that DC would still be a hot bed of high tech? That opportunity , i think, is there because of Tax Dollars, at least on it's present scale. People go where the money is, but for a major corporation to settle, it must be where the high skill labor is already settled and they can indeed retain these employees in an area with good schools, theater, shopping, and amenities. Nothing wrong with that.

As fas as the availability of highly skilled labor, you are very right. My wife and I raised two very highly skilled children, daughter BS Physics & MA Architecture, son BS Accounting & Management. Yup raised them up, sent them to parochial grade school PUBLIC high school, both went to private colleges in WV. Want to guess were they're at? Sonny lives in Woodbridge VA, daughter just left Hoboken (do you ever wonder who Hobo Ken was and why they named a city in NJ after him, as i've said before, i'm a curious devil) NJ for a job in Pittsburgh, hour from "home" in part because she missed the wonderful lifestyle that we enjoy here in WV, had enough of the big city, i guess. My point is that there is not a shortage of highly skilled labor in un-urbania, they just mostly don't stay because they have to go where the money's at.

Now to bring this rant back to something somewhat related to skiing, one federal agency that i forgot to relocate in my previous post was the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. I think we need to relocate them to a place that's as far from Moonshine Mountain as possible .




Topeka for the Feds? If Ponce de Leon would have found his Fountain of Youth there, I'm sure we'd have the capital and all Fortune 500 companies Hq there... But recently, I read a very interesting feature in National Geographic, May issue?... The Plains are literally depopulating, with immigration as the only reason why their populations are stable.

Federal expenditures can be used as social engineering to prop up unstable economies as well as to generate private enterprise. As I said before in this thread, WV is a champion at this method, and more power to the Senator. However, to attract businesses to the State, now ranked as one ot the top three least business-friendly states in the Union, a lot more needs to be done.

As a vacation home owner in WV, I pay roughly double the real estate taxes that a resident pays. I don't mind as I realize that such taxation comes with the territory. However, attracting and keeping both businesses and the highly educated folks (such as your offspring, and cograts on that), requires an investment in human capital that will guarantee the quality of life these folks are looking for. And that is a mix of public and private investment.

As far as the government agencies, wouldn't you think it be most expedient if... let's see.... ATF, OSHA, DEA, EPA, NRCS and NLRB move to West Ginny?
Roger Z
July 15, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Whaddya think, Jimmy- how about putting the ATF on Attu Island in Alaska? See if relocating a bureaucracy to the Aleutians can't stimulate their economy? At least they couldn't do any harm out there...
jimmy
July 16, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Alaska......yeah that's way better than west ginny . Maybe after they get up there they can 'slpore around fer sum OIL!!

It keeps coming back to oil doesn't it? Kev, Roy & others pointed out what a wonderous thing it is and how dependent skiers are on its uses......i was reading something the other day about quangdang??? province or someplace like that, a developing industrial area in china, anyway their factories there depend on diesel generators for elec becaz their power grid is so unreliable. Do you think high oil prices affect their economy more negativly than ours?
Roger Z
July 16, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Quote:

Do you think high oil prices affect their economy more negativly than ours?





I'm not really sure- Ibotta could probably comment a little on the state of China's economic dependency on oil better than me. On the one hand, they are more industrial oriented than we are, which suggests that their economic growth is more sensitive to oil prices than ours. On the other hand, a sizable portion of their economy- particularly their rural economy- is still pre-industrial and not really oil dependent at all. On a third hand, , they are very export dependent, so perhaps their exposure to commodity prices is based more on its impact on export-economies than their own.

Lots of variables behind it. Good question!
Denis - DCSki Supporter
July 17, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
2,170 posts
I agree. I go to Boulder on business fairly often. The drive to Summit County on weekends is a disaster. I-70 is the major east-west truck route and trucks will tailgate you at 80 mph on a 5 mile long twisting downhill in snow. You really can't get out of the way; you have to go at the speed they are pushing you out of self defense. There are always major accidents and the backups add hours to the trip both ways. When I'm in Boulder in winter I'll usually do Eldora and just forget about I-70.

People will tell you that skiing in Summit County is just an hour and change from Denver - Bull----. To me this situation is a really major problem with CO skiing. When on my own I just go to Utah instead which has vastly superior terrain and snow and far easier access. CO chamber of commerce types ought to be seriously worried about this but they aren't, otherwise they wouldn't have built DIA where they built it. It is also the country's worst airport for security lines and virtually everything else.
Roy
July 18, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
No the worst is Ft Lauderdale. Small airport that loves to check every old lady that walks through the gate. I would say Denver is a close second.

How far is Eldora from Denver. That's one of the few places I haven't skied there.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
July 18, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
It's about 60 miles northwest of the airport. The last 15 miles is up a scenic, but slow canyon drive.
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.24 seconds