Poverty, Mapping

Why Is the American Dream Dead in the South?

Interesting findings, at least as presented here.  The map is interesting to me, too.  Often, maps seem to end up looking like population density maps because the underlying data don’t seem to have been adjusted for that.  So it will seem to look, for instance, that people seem to have more blue cars in NYC than they do in Kallispell, Montana, when really, it’s just because there are more cars in NYC because there are more people there.

The map here isn’t so bad.  The writer of the article (not the paper) almost comes off like he’s blaming “the blacks” (he isn’t) but he doesn’t go very far beyond that, like looking at overall poverty instead of just race.

What the map shows, or tries to show, is the probability that kids born into the lowest income quintile will make it to the highest quintile.

I suspect that that the “problem”  is that the people in certain areas are poor, not that they are black (or white or hispanic or native).  And I can’t tell if they tried to adjust for regional disparities in income — someone in the top quintile of income in New Mexico likely has less income than someone in the top quintile of income in New York.

But I’ve only read the abstract of the paper.  Maybe if I read it, I’d answer my own questions?  🙂  It’s a “working paper” from the National Bureau of Economic Research (Paul Krugman says all the research in econ is coming out as “working papers” since the traditional journals take a very long time to publish anything).

Rapid Transit in NYC

Those of you in the Infrastructure class saw most of this already …

Beach Pneumatic – Alfred Beach’s Pneumatic Subway and the beginnings of rapid transit in New York

Jim E and I were yakking after class about NYC and how much of an outlier it is compared to the rest of the country — e.g., the IRT Lexington Ave line carries more passengers in a day (1.9M) than Boston’s MBTA (~1.3M)  and more than the Washington, DC, Metro system (~750k) and  the SF Muni (~700k) combined [1]) —  and the conversation did, of course, roll around to rapid transit.

I used to be on a train-related mailing list with a fellow named Joe Brennan who does similar work as me but at Columbia College in NYC.  He put together a great web-based “book” about the history of rapid transit in New York and surroundings (remember, Brooklyn was a separate city before 1898 and Queens was a county full of rural towns).  If you’re into that kind of stuff (I am, obviously, and so is Jim and probably Patrick) it’s a good read if a little long.

I think I like the work because it’s much more historical than it is nostalgic and lord knows there is plenty of railroad nostalgia stuff out there.  :eyeroll:

There are a few other “outlier” examples cluttering my head but I’ll save that for another post.

Bottom line is that when you hear someone say “Yeah, well in New York City they …” you should be skeptical of whatever the person says next!

Sidewalk Census

Short article on a program beginning in San Diego, Calif, where they are mapping all city sidewalks.  They assume that there are 5,000 miles of them, because there are 2,500 miles of city streets … but they really don’t know.

San Diego Doesn’t Know How Many Sidewalks It Has

Interestingly (or “amazingly”, if you are as cynical as I am) the City of Norman has already done this, at least for most of the city.  I can’t, however, find a map though I saw it at the city’s presentation on the Comprehensive Traffic Plan.  I did find this report, however, on progress expanding the sidewalk network.  Progress on getting existing sidewalks ADA compliant as well.

2013-08-26 CPT.pdf 

Note, too, mention of creating a Railroad Quiet Zone from Acres St to Post Oak Rd.  Some grade crossings are already compliant with what is needed, Duffy St being one.  Next time you pass that way, note the medians and “four quadrant” gates.

First post … and the vehicles have no flanged wheels!

Many years ago, before many of you were born, I lived in the  Boston metropolitan statistical area.  I still have something of a fondness for the area and am, as you probably imagine, intrigued by their transit system.

I’ll post something about that later, but today’s NARP Hotline had a blurb about proposed state transit funding that included the MBTA’s Silver Line, an interesting if weird transit line in Boston.

What caught my eye is that they are planning to extend it past its current northern terminal at Logan Airport into Chelsea, part of an area I worked in for a while and where I still have some friends.  Anyway, here are some links, including a map.

Silver Line Gateway Project

Map of Silver Line Chelsea extension