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Phoenix on the Delaware

by DoDo Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 03:38:15 AM EST

In Puente AVE, I reviewed various ridership statistics, and also discussed the phenomenon of slow success for new railway services with real bad starts. All my examples were high-speed, but I indicated that there are similar stories for other types of railways, too. Here is one – one with a really bad start.

The River LINE is a transit service on a railway line along the Delaware River in New Jersey, run by that US state's public transport company NJ Transit. It operates GTW 2/6s, European-standard low-floor articulated diesel multiple units (DMUs) made by Swiss maker Stadler. Due to the higher US structural stiffness requirements, they are categorised as "light rail".

NJT 3509 headed north to Trenton passes over the Crosswicks Creek on the curved trestle at Bordentown. October 2008 photo by Gerald Oliveto from RailPictures.Net



Construction

The River LINE was troubled already at project stage. It was originally intended for the other shore, which had a higher population and was more well-off. However, transit opponents (more on this later) organised a successful NIMBY campaign.

Most of the 55 km (34-mile) line is single-track. Except for brief sections at both ends, it is a pre-existing railway branchline (in fact, it used to be one of the first railroads in the USA: the Camden & Amboy RR). To avoid accidents, it was agreed to run the "light rail" exclusively by day, and the freight trains exclusively by night.

Map from Light Rail Now!

No tunnels or major bridges, no electrification – in effect, the project was a simple branchline upgrade. However, in the end, project costs totalled a staggering $1.1 billion (of this, half a billion are secured operational subsidies).

I still have no clue how they managed to achieve this level of over-spending – even if 'consultants' explain two-fifths. For scale, a comparable upgrade, that of the 53 km Haller Willem in Northwestern Germany, cost altogether €55 million (in two phases).

Currently, Haller Willem is served by the TALENT DMUs (a product of Bombardier's Aachen/Germany-based subsidiary Talbot) of NordWestBahn, a private operator owned by two city transit companies and Veolia. Photo of VT 715 in Dissen on 6 November 2008 by André Beutel from Bahnbilder.de

With full ticket prices fixed at $1.1 (even today, it was raised only to $1.35) and the projected ridership, it would take centuries for the River LINE to bring back the investment, not to mention operating costs. So financially, it was and remains an unmitigated disaster. Even transit proponents called it a white elephant. But, what about other benefits?


Ridership

While costs were rising, even the initial ridership estimate was reduced from 9,300 to 5,900 and then 5,700 per workday.

But when the line started in 2004, in the first few weeks, ridership was a fraction of even that. As the (Devoid of) Reason Foundation wrote with satisfaction:

Now the preliminary ridership numbers have been released, and the picture they paint is grimmer still. A scant 1,500 riders are using the line on an average day, which is approximately one-quarter of NJ Transit's own projections. [Nice spin: the author divided actual ridership by two, assuming two-way rides; but the projection was simply for ridership. -DoDo] This is in spite of the fact that fares were cut to the bone ($1.10 per trip – cheaper than buses) in order to draw in riders.

Incongruously, NJ Transit spokeswoman Janet Hines claims to be "encouraged by the numbers" and hopes to meet projections by year's end. At this point, few share her optimism.

As you'll see, those few proved right. However, let's focus on this article a little more.

European readers may not be aware that in the USA, there is a well-developed anti-rail lobby: a network made up of well-financed libertarian think-tanks, corrupt and ideologically anti-public-services politicians, attack groups, and media workers, which is always at hand to badmouth every new passenger rail project. The (Devoid of) Reason Foundation is one of the main nodes.

The quoted article wasn't just crowing about the initial lack of success – but asked for the closure of the line:

What has been lost in this whole discussion is the question of whether or not it is wise to continue rail service along the River Line at all. Many seem to feel that South Jersey has no choice but to "make the best of it," as the Courier-Post once editorialized, and should invest even more money into guiding residential development to enhance ridership.

...You can't redeem the project or justify the investment. You can only waste more money.

...The tracks are already being used to haul freight, and can continue in this capacity even after passenger service is discontinued. Additionally, rail cars and other equipment can be liquidated to settle the debt associated with the line's construction.

Ha! Haha! Except... the triumphant naysayers were a bit too fast in declaring failure.

NJT 3510 as northbound train to Trenton enters Bordentown Station with trees in full boom for spring. April 2008 photo by Gerald Oliveto from RailPictures.Net

Below, the evolution of ridership numbers (in passengers per workday) – and the evolution of media opinion in quotes:

  • 3,290 p/wd in March 2004, the month of opening
  • 5,643 p/wd in August 2004: the (reduced) initial ridership goal reached
    NJT's River Line shows good numbers

    New Jersey Transit's River Line is showing better numbers than anyone expected - especially the nay-sayers.

  • 6,912 p/wd in February 2006
    Riders Slowly But Sure Buying Into The Riverline

    PALMYRA, N.J. (AP) ― Critics have derided it for costing too much money for New Jersey taxpayers. But ridership is nevertheless increasing for the Camden-to-Trenton River Line.

  • 7,900 p/wd in the third quarter of 2007
    Gas prices fuel higher ridership on two commuter rail lines

    Commuters board the River Line

  • 9,750 p/wd in the third quarter of 2008
    River Line plans to expand

    The River Line, the five-year-old Camden-to-Trenton light-rail route, is growing up.

    By the end of this year, ground is supposed to be broken for a $40 million station in Pennsauken to link the River Line with the Atlantic City Line. That will open the way for easier travel to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, as well as to the Jersey Shore.

    And the River Line is getting $24 million for an upgraded signal system that will allow for more frequent service and improved safety.

Seems like some more money will be "wasted" :-)


Transit-related development

Urban sprawl is a cancerous development of US origin, but it is not constrained to the USA for some time now. Still, an idea to counter-act it was also born in the USA: transit-oriented development. The theory is that commuter services will generate more dense development (shops, offices, apartment blocks) near stations, and thus also economic growth.

At the time the financial disaster of the River LINE became apparent, advocates were already arguing that this externalised benefit should not be ignored:

Fast Track to Nowhere?

...

Supporters of the line stress its potential for spurring economic development in Camden and other riverfront towns. Riverside, which has sketched plans to revive its commercial district, seeks designation as a transit village.

..."The transit village concept lends it self to the plans we have," says Gary LaVenia, Riverside's township administrator. "When you look for a transit village, you're looking for high-density housing and a commercial destination. The high density lends itself to more users of the rail going out in the other direction."

"In Camden, says economic consultant Smith, "the light rail coming right through the downtown is going to create tremendous opportunity for office space, restaurants and retail businesses. People who own the commercial space on Market Street and Cooper Street that lease to small professionals are optimistic that the light rail will be positive because people will locate along the commuter rail line."

Two years after opening, new development was indeed emerging:

NJ Transit officials say that the line's success should not be judged by how many riders it carries, but rather how much economic development it sparks along its 34-mile route.

Some businesses have said that the trains were a major factor in their decisions to open or expand along the route. In Cinnaminson, for example, a new residential development will have direct access to the train platform. And since the line opened in Riverside, Zena's Patisserie & Cafe, across from a station, has expanded from a small bakery to a booming lunch spot.

Another article from the same time:

Unique Rail

...Restaurants started popping up close to stations and proposals for building conversions and brownfield developments began to take shape. Sure enough, new and existing businesses, such as restaurants and stores reported growing business soon after opening day, leading one local newspaper to very quickly ask, "Could it be that the River LINE will be a success?"

Key indicators would suggest that the answer is "yes." There is major activity visible now all along the corridor. A perfect example is the agreement Riverside Township recently signed with developers to transform the industrial area known as the Golden Triangle into a $200 million transit-oriented, mixed-use development. The centerpiece of the 32-acre brownfield is Keystone Watchcase Tower, a classic 1908 building that's been vacant for more than 50 years and is located directly opposite the River LINE station. The seven-story tower, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will have commercial space on the ground level and 120 two-story lofts above. Two hundred new condominiums and 66 townhouses will flank this adaptive reuse development.

One of the new developments next to Cinnaminson station

In December 2006, NJ Transit was boasting about it (pdf!):

Joe North, NJ Transit's general manager of light rail operations, says the River LINE's success is all the more impressive if you add in impacts beyond the right-of-way...

"We knew right from the start that we'd have to do a lot more than just run a good light rail service," says North. "George Warrington said we would need every tool we could think of to promote it and integrate it into the mainstream of life throughout this corridor. Well, I think that's what has happened. That's most evident in the Burlington County Office of Economic Development's finding that the River LINE has played a significant role in $1 billion of area investment since we opened."

...and so it continued since.

Tracks run right through the heart of once pivotal towns. Each River Line journey reveals new nearby buildings spawned by the light rail system, as well as freshly restored old ones. One disembarks among dazzling red Knockout roses, which have grown to a height of more than five feet since the train started to run. There's no wrong side of the tracks along this route. Approaching each town, a riverine Renaissance is palpable. New law offices abut new real estate establishments. River Line Realty signs dot tended lawns before quirky Riverton houses. Every excursion reveals new restaurants, and additions to existing restaurants.

Running right down the center of East Broad Street, NJT 3503 leaves Burlington. Photo on 15 September 2007 by Gerald Oliveto from RailPictures.Net

:: :: :: :: ::

Check the Train Blogging index page for a (hopefully) complete list of ET diaries and stories related to railways and trains.

Display:
I note that River LINE's Stadler DMUs aren't the only Europeans employed by NJ Transit.

On a photo made by Carl Perelman this January in the Dover depot, ALP46 No. 4625 waits with a set of bi-level coaches. This Bombardier loco type was based on German Railway's flagship Class 101.

In the background, you also see the googles of ALP44 No. 4420, an electric loco based on the SJ (Swedish State Railways) Rc6 made by ABB (which was since then swallowed ADtranz and then that by Bombardier).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 17th, 2009 at 11:11:40 AM EST
Having got time to re-read my work, I added some important corrections:

  • What was reduced from 9,300 to 5,700 was the ridership projection.

  • I forgot to highlight one piece of gross spin by the Devoid of Reason Foundation guy; added an inserted note in italics.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 17th, 2009 at 12:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<ahem> TRAIN BLOGGING!!!

(Hey DoDo, where's the list of links to prior train blogs???)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Fri Apr 17th, 2009 at 11:25:25 AM EST
And with Obama into implementing high speed rail in the US - many train blogs to come!!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Apr 17th, 2009 at 11:26:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's the link to the current top TRAIN BLOGGING story at Daily Kos:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/4/17/721006/-Obamas-high-speed-rail-vision

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Fri Apr 17th, 2009 at 11:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's going to take a lot more money than what he's proposed so far to do it, though.  They might be planning a stand-alone bill. I don't know.  But $8bn isn't going to do much, even if the states and locals put a lot of money in (which they can't afford to do right now).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 17th, 2009 at 12:07:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Link added.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 17th, 2009 at 12:36:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an important diary for many reasons - chief among them being that long-term thinking is needed generally.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Apr 17th, 2009 at 01:09:44 PM EST
Denver's light rail is going through some financial problems right now. Basically, while ridership is reasonably high on most segments, the naysayers insist that it should make a profit, and use cost over-runs to argue that it should be shut down.

It is not surprising that a branch line upgrade should be so expensive. Even the heavily used main lines in the U.S. are still mostly wood ties, for example, so if you have to upgrade the entire ROW to concrete ties, and then put in a whole bunch of high-tech crossing gates, and new stations, you are essentially building from scratch. The only cost you are avoiding is the land acquisition and basic grading.

by asdf on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 08:41:24 AM EST
That was all true for my comparison from Germany, too. The larger part was renewed to a high standard as a side project of the Expo2000 in Hannover. The rest of the line was disused for more than a decade. None of the stations were up to standard. In practice, both parts were totally rebuilt.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 11:37:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... by getting the approvals of the waivers of bulk freight oriented safety standards that do not allow perfectly good heavy rail DMU and EMU sets to operate with adding sand bags?

I'm guessing there was a standard to meet that was more appropriate to the task at hand, so the approvals delays were much less.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 02:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I live in Columbus, NJ, the next town over from Bordentown, which hosts a RiverLine Station.  What the story doesn't tell you is about the increased problems as a result of this train.

This train has linked one of the highest rated crime city in the US for many years running, Camden NJ, with the City of Trenton.  While Trenton was never a prize, it was somewhat safe to move about.  Now we have the gang-express as some locals refer to the RiverLine; the train has exported Camden's crime to many of the municipalities along its path, but Trenton has been particularly hard hit.  Violent crime has soared, all sorts of drug related crime is also rising.

 I can tell you that I know many people who will not ride the train because of fear of safety, unlike with our major rail services like Amtrak or NJ Transit, this is a seedy ride.  Don't let the story of the numbers gloss over the complete impact.  There are likely many towns along the RiverLine that wish they could close terminals, but do not have that authority.

This service was never sought by any sizeable population.  Instead it was a liberal feel good project that was inflicted on the taxpayers of NJ.  A state which is now likely to go broke because of its spending on bad projects like this.

by boszleyusa (boszley@aol.com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 09:51:24 AM EST
To which my reactions would be:

  1. How much of this about crime is hearsay, and how much is fact? (Such as -- can you give me links to official crime statistics?)

  2. Could there be other reasons for a rise in crime?

  3. If trains are supposed to transport crime (why can't cars?), what is the police doing? What about regular patrols on trains?

  4. Would crime not be a late night problem? The night when the trains still don't run?

  5. Could you cite a source for your claim that towns would want to close stations? (I guess you mean stations: "terminal" would be at the end of the line.)

  6. What is a "liberal feel good project"? (Sounds like an ideological phrase.)

  7. What bad projects of similar or lager size are there in New Jersey?


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 11:45:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What solid reasons can you give to explain why gangs from Camden use the train to go up to Trenton? What's their intention, just to create mayhem? Do they do that on the trains, are there statistics of crime on the trains? Or is it that they're extending their drug dealing area?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 12:17:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the gang activity in NJ is conducted by males, between the ages of 13 - 22.  The driving age here is 17.  The distance between the two cities is about 40 miles.  

Most importantly as to why they wouldn't just drive to Trenton, this group is as a whole, a highly impoverished part of our society, with few owning cars.  Among the obstacles to car ownership is the cost of insurance (NJ has the highest insurance rates in the nation).  A male driver, under 25, with NO record of drug or alcohol related charges, would pay about $2,600 annually for basic insurance. Anyone convicted of drug possession (I venture an unsubstantiated guess that includes almost all gang members) would have rates and surcharges totaling several thousand dollars higher, which is unaffordable for most unemployed gang-bangers.

Lastly, NJ has very tough restrictions on new drivers; including the hours they can operate a vehicle and the ages of the passengers that can accompany them in the car.

The RiverLine cost $1.10, and runs till about 1:00 AM, which makes it an ideal facilitator.

by boszleyusa (boszley@aol.com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 12:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The River LINE ticket costs $1.35 by now. 1am, that's on Saturday. On weekdays and Sunday, the last train leaving Camden and running the full line arrives in Trenton at 22:06. After that, the line belongs to freight trains. However, there is always the bus. So I still can't figure out how it's the River LINE that is supposed to generate the new crime you aren't willing to evidence with stats.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 03:25:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On weekdays and Sunday, the last train leaving Camden and running the full line arrives in Trenton at 22:06.

BTW, a limitation locals have long demanded to lift, now with success: PTC will be installed on the line to enable parallel running of freight and "light rail".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 03:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Am I the only one who has a hard time picturing gang members, intent on breaking every law in the books, conscientiously following every law about driving and insurance? I doubt that enforcement of insurance laws is very effective, as there were 9% uninsured drivers in the state 5 years ago.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 04:01:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My big question is if you're going to travel somewhere else to comitt crime (and if you do the stuff you're after is easily marketable electronics basically, things that you can swap for cash or drugs with noone asking too many questions) If you havent got a car, how are you going to get stuff back, Stations are one of the more likely places to run across CCTV, and your average gang member is going to feel a little exposed and suspicious  carrying a 50" plasma tv on a train carriage. (plus theres a bottleneck at the exit where there are very few avenues of escape. so for the average criminal, trains are the last place they want to be, (with a few exceptions)Plus a lot of gang membership is about status, you stay in your own teritory, because thats the place where people know not to mess with you, Unless you're wandering out to pick up your major score from the dealer up the chain. (And generally thats frowned upon at any height above pretty near street level.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 08:45:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If these are street gangs out of Camden, causing danger to citizens in Trenton (violent crime and drugs), I truly don't believe they give a dang about stealing cars and driving without a license. Either these are kids scared of the law, or they're really dangerous trouble-makers. I can't get a sense of which, from your description.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 05:13:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What exactly is an "unemployed" gangbanger? If these guys aren't dealing drugs (or pursuing some equally lucrative variety of criminal activity), what on earth are they doing?
by Gag Halfrunt on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 06:43:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well it can't be that lucrative, according to various major film and record companies, criminals pirate their material to subsidise the drugs trade

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 08:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As much as I am not inclined by "reaction", to do research for others on what is well known and documented in the area; in the interest of integrity and that this may somehow be legitimate inquiry, I provide the following links for you to do your own research on the subjects I mentioned.

Newspapers with archives:

www.trentonian.com
www.nj.com/times/

I suggest Google for your crime statistics research as the FBI publishes these reports in great detail.  If that does not satisfy your appetite, the Trenton Police Department non-emergency number is 1-609-989-4111.

Lastly, you can review all of the states "liberal feel good" spending, at this site:

www.state.nj.us/treasury/omb/

Hope that helps.

by boszleyusa (boszley@aol.com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 12:32:20 PM EST
Welcome to the European Tribune, boszley, and thank you for bringing an alternative point of view to the debate.

The tradition here at ET is that anyone making statistical or factual claims should be able to substantiate them with specific references.  Linking to a newspaper or government homepage isn't sufficient to fulfil that requirement.

Are you able, please, to provide links to the specific pages that provide evidence for your assertions?

by Sassafras on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 01:11:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well known and documented in the area

If so, it should be easy for you to find such documentation, much easier than for me 6000 miles away.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 03:26:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't help to tell others to do the research you should be doing to substantiate your claims.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 05:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your implied jab on all government spending as liberal feel good spending aside, I put together some numbers on crime in Trenton.

According to the 2003 stats published by the FBI, crimes reported in Trenton prior to the opening of the river line were as follows -

Population:             86,130
Murder:              13
Forcible Rape:          36
Robbery:             645
Aggravated Assault:     824
Burglary:             1,073
Larceny or Theft:     2,514
Car Theft:             1,090
Arson:                     26

In 2006, the stats were as follows

Population:            84,703
Murder:              18
Forcible Rape:         31
Robbery:               632
Aggravated Assault:    593   
Burglary:           806
Larceny/Theft:         1,211   
Car Theft:             460
Arson:                 23

This does not look much like a crime surge to me.

An article on the 5th year anniversary of the River Line in the Burlington Times seems to fit with the original poster's appraisal.

The River Line at 5

It's been five years since the launch of the River Line, NJ Transit's Camden to Trenton light rail line and we think it's a qualified success.

The line has fulfilled a need for additional public transportation in the county and provided a much needed economic boost to some of the towns it spans.

New restaurants and shops have opened in Riverton and Burlington City, and new townhomes were built near the River Line stations in Cinnaminson and Delanco.

-snip-

NJ Transit also needs to make the safety of its riders and River Line neighbors a priority.

While police officials and nearby residents have said criminals sometimes make use of the line for illegal activities, crime statistics don't show a significant increase in crime in the towns served by the rail line.

Regular users also have raised concerns about vagrants and panhandlers, as well as drug-dealing, on some of the station platforms and in some of the cars.

NJ Transit police officers do patrol the 34-mile line route, but we believe a substantial increase in ridership should correlate with an increase in security patrols at the stations.

A preliminary google search on "river line crime" and "river line new jersey crime" turned up the above article, info on the new station, and the ET article here, but not much about serious crime problems created by the line.

by Zwackus on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 06:48:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh, you did the researh for him! Checking your link, I find there is newer data, too...

2007:
Population:            83,551               
Murder:              25
Forcible Rape:         15
Robbery:               595
Aggravated Assault:    530  
Burglary:           852
Larceny/Theft:         1,408  
Car Theft:             385
Arson:                 21

It seems murder is the only field where there is an apparent growing tendency, but then, the sample is small.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 07:14:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To complete the series, showing no clear trend for murder and confirming the downwards trend for everything else...

2005:
Population:            85,566
Murder:              31
Forcible Rape:         21
Robbery:               805
Aggravated Assault:    658  
Burglary:           962
Larceny/Theft:         1,940  
Car Theft:             672
Arson:                 27

2004:
Population:            85,911
Murder:              18
Forcible Rape:         47
Robbery:               576
Aggravated Assault:    716  
Burglary:           987
Larceny/Theft:         2,027  
Car Theft:             791
Arson:                 27

For all but murder, the trend is the same in earlier years, so I will table only murder -- which on the longer term does show an upward trend, but it began before the River LINE:
2002: 19
2001: 13
2000: 14
1999: 8
1998: 15
1997: 12
1996: 14
1995: 16

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 07:52:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not a trend, that's noise with some outliers which could have any number of causes.

So - any other devastatingly compelling evidence for this 'crime wave'?

Shall we compare deaths from road accidents along the length of the line for the same period?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 08:27:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The horn of the River Line trains distracts Drivers and Makes Them Crash!

Everyone knows about this, so I shouldn't have to do your research to confirm it, but here is a source:

x Cranky driver complaining in the online comment thread of one of the stories about the River line over the past five years in one of the local papers that have online stories and comments.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 08:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps there is a trend:

2003:
Car Theft: 1,090
2004:
Car Theft: 791
2005:
Car Theft: 672
2006:
Car Theft: 460
2007:
Car Theft: 385

by kjr63 on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 11:19:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a pretty common line of attack against mass transit from residents of means and privilege. The evidence for the phenomenon is scanty at best, but as with most conservative arguments it doesn't rely on evidence at all, but on shared assumptions like this:

what is well known and documented in the area

In other words, "see, everyone KNOWS that the River LINE brings crime, what kind of nut are you to deny common sense?!"

And the underlying belief that makes such an argument possible is the notion that mass transit is something only the poor use. Since poor = criminal to many Americans, it's all too easy to just blindly assume that mass transit is going to make it easier for that thug to show up in my quiet suburban neighborhood.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 at 09:18:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, I just remembered to point out another thing.

While Camden is much worse, Trenton was not a low crime area as the poster implied. That page with the 2003 statistics shows all violent crime, as well as burglary and car theft, way above the US national average. For example, in all violent crime, Camden was 4.02 times, Trenton 2.95 times the national average.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 03:46:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahh, but the complaint was about the impact on lovely Columbus, across the river from Bordentown and an ex-urb of Trenton.  Gates on the bridges!  That will do it.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 11:40:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Gretna method...

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 08:57:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 06:35:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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