8.12.04

Dublin

Wow, I've been unmotivated to write lately. Sorry about that.

Without going to much into we did this, we did that, let me just say that Dublin was great. It's a fantastic little city, which an energy that far outways it's population. I've always thought that there are two kinds of cities, there are cities that are either "nice places to live" or museam peices (Munich, Brussels, Prague, Minneapolis, Washington) and then there are cities that exude life and energy (London, Rome, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York.) Dublin is definatly the latter, which is incredable considering it's small size. It just goes to show that urbanity isn't a product of just population, but of the uses that the population puts into the city (LA shows the same thing in the opposite way.)

To Digress, I wanted to comment a bit on Luas, the new lightrail system that was just introduced to Dublin (roughly at the same time as Minneapolis.) It seemed to be a pretty good system. Ridership was high and the trains were nice. Actually, I think they were the same as the Minneapolis trains, Ryan do you know? But there were a couple of things that troubled me about the planning:

1. They use a honor system for tickets, which is great, however, you have to tell the machine exactly what station you are going to and you pay more for distance. I've never like systems where you have to pay based on distance traveled (copenhagen and amsterdam are also this way), I think it is too confusing, expecially for visiters. The exception to this is DC, where they scan a stored value card when you enter and exit, although this hardly helps keep the passengers flowing on and off.

2. The two lines never crossed. There was about a 1/2 mile walk between the two of them. I really don't understand why they did this. Hopefully they are planning another line. The second line (the one that starts at St. Stephens Green) not only didn't connect to the first, it also never connected to the DART (regional train system.) The first line however crossed the DART twice. Weird.

3. The first line is the only one I actually rode on, but it seemed to me that they routed it through some really depressed areas. People seemed to only get on and off at major stops (o'connell st, the museam area, the train stations, the hospital.) Minneapolis is kind of the same way. In that case I understand it because they were using rail lines that were already built to keep costs down, but in Dublin they were laying new tracks on city streets (much like in Downtown Minneapolis.) Why didn't they connect areas that were being used by the public instead of the run down ghettos on the north side? It seems like there is a fundimental difference between the planning of these systems in the 1990's and the way that systems were planned when the first subway systems went in in the late 1800's.

1 comments:

Driver2165 2:40 AM  

minneapolis uses a right of way that was there, and abandoned, but it's all new track.

luas's trains are made by alstom, who made our signal heads. our trains are bombardier (who should stick with ATV's as apparantly those are the only things they make that don't break down all the time). the alstom trams seem to be all over france, spain, and italy, but i think dc is the only North American city I saw listed on their website

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