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Utah expands public transportation with rapid bus transit, free until 2021 (rideuta.com)
316 points by ngngngng 75 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 180 comments



A deeply red/Republican and relatively low-density state might seem like a strange place to find a functional public transit system. Utah is an interesting place. The geography of the Wasatch Front lends itself to public transit in ways that less geographically-constrained places do not. The region is mostly a north-south corridor, with occasional off-shoots to the side, which is how the transit network has developed. There is a significant tech culture, from 'little silicon slopes' in Lehi to the significant student population. The valley has seasonal pollution problems caused by mountains to the east and west. This is made worse by the lake effect, which means energy solutions helpful elsewhere are less effective, like natural gas plants. What would otherwise be transient pollutants instead react with ammonia from the lake and persist in the atmosphere, further trapped by the mountains. Utah has a significant need for public transit, and getting students connected and using it is a great way for generational change to occur. Car culture still rules, and will for a long time, but this is a good thing to hear. Hopefully a Trax expansion or equivalent in Utah county will happen eventually. Until then, this seems the next best policy.


>A deeply red/Republican and relatively low-density state might seem like a strange place to find a functional public transit system.

Only if you buy the strawmen of politics in the US of there being two 'sides' with everyone neatly falling into place on a pathetic line.

The further you get away from the shithole that is the US federal government, the more this becomes apparent. The things each 'side' is supposed to support completely changes at the state levels and varies from state to state.

The best thing you can do is dispose of the notion of a single political spectrum and you will be a lot less shocked when you encounter something contrary to the propaganda designed to divide people.


Miami has a free trolley service that is being actively expanded, supported by both sides of the aisle. It's paid by a sales tax directed towards transit projects, doesn't run up debt, and is widely popular. The idea being that boosting transit will increase job opportunities and economic activity, which will in turn raise more revenue via the sales tax.

South Florida in general is politically interesting, with a large amount of socially liberal yet fiscally conservative immigrants. Both parties are focused on economic development above all else.


That's true, and Utah was the only Red state with anything close to a successful protest vote this last presidential election. Then again, the only meaningful difference between that candidate and Trump was that he was less vulgar and Mormon.


I'm under the impression that the federal government knows this and actively tries to keep the population ignorant if their individual personalities. In America's violent culture, people see a massive red vs. blue battle and can't help but take a side.


I'd say it's more due to human nature to break complicated issues down to one dimension. Cameras have megapixels, computers have Flops, countries have some sort of "index" depending on what facet you're looking at, and politics has a single left/right value. Of course it's not very accurate, but that's the idea that's easiest to consume, and thus the one that propagates the most.

The 2-dimensional Political Compass is a huge improvement, but still isn't perfect. Reality is more complex and would require an N-dimensional political matrix.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_compass


http://birdsbeforethestorm.net/2016/10/lower-leftism-expandi...

^-- the most intriguing take on the political compass I've ever seen, albeit one with its own biases and issues (I'd replace feudalism with 'early human or tribal societies'). The main point was that it expanded beyond a strictly US view and I found the additional concept lines useful (Democracy line, inequality line, market line). It still runs into the same trouble trying to compress everything down into two dimensions does. Ideologies can end up next to each other that aren't very similar, which the end of the blog post acknowledged.


Silver lining: We're united against those other people, lol. By politicians encouraging a divided, polarized atmosphere they've created a largely 2-party system (instead of a many-party system).


I thing a larger factor is the Mormon Church/Mormon population. Utah has some strangely progressive economic policies like housing-first solutions to homelessness. Utah is a red state for sure, especially when it comes to social policies, but has the 'community' orientation that another commenter mentioned that public transit falls neatly in to.


A lot of Christians talk a big game about charity and such. But once I started becoming familiar with LDS folk, I was really impressed. They’re Christians in ways many other denominations only claim to be.

KSL-TV (LDS-owned NBC station) has an AppleTV app, and watching the SLC local news is far more interesting than I thought it would be. And there’s far less needless murder and mayhem plus more “good” news than is available in my market.


Sorry, I too know many LDS members and really love the SLC area and all the other incredible things in the state. While I like lots of things about the LDS community, the society there has many of the problems of Western states with lots of poverty, plus some that may be attributed to Mormon values: the highest rate of antidepressant use of any state, and the highest rate of cosmetic surgery. As for crime, the murder rate in Utah is similar to that of Idaho and higher than Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Connecticut.


> plus some that may be attributed to Mormon values: the highest rate of antidepressant use of any state, and the highest rate of cosmetic surgery.

The perfectionist streak is real. The manifestation in cosmetic surgery is somewhat odd considering it's not explicitly taught (and has even been explicitly been panned). My own theory is that it's a weird combo of taking ideals seriously, religiously magnified & concentrated conscientiousness, and finally, heavily emphasizing the importance of having a mate and tying status to it.

However, I'm not sure the most ready explanation for any outlying antidepressant is oppressive religious expectations, outside of either some extra zealous backgrounds or key demographics like gay/lesbian individuals who are presented with a dilemma by the church that usually can't be resolved living inside church direction.

Given the famous abstinence from most common forms of self-medication (alcohol, weed, and tobacco), and a bit of a bent for being directed by authority, seems to me a good chunk of the difference is likely to essentially be displaced system-approved substance use.


>highest rate of anti depressant use

I could restate this positively as "highest rate of treated depression," so I'm wondering if it also has abnormally high rates of depression?


Or even just abnormally high rates of depression treatment...

That said, I believe that there is other data showing there is other perscriptio drug abuse more prevelance than usual. If that's from increased depression, or merely from being an easier "bad" coping mechanism that's easier to hide, I'm not sure.

There are a lot of judgemental (self righteous?) Mormons in Utah. There are a lot of nice ones as well, though I think you'll find the ratio of nice to judgemental higher in other states.

My take on it? Being mormon has become somewhat cultural in Utah. It's not nearly so much elsewhere.


> plus some that may be attributed to Mormon values: the highest rate of antidepressant use of any state,

I won't dispute this, but I will mention some interesting hypotheses that indicate rates of depression are highly correlated with altitude.



> the highest rate of antidepressant use of any state

I see that commonly mentioned.

What is not concurrently mentioned is that Utah is 48th for drug abuse [1], 48th for excessive drinking and 50th for alcohol-related driving deaths [2], and 50th for tobacco use [3].

Depression sucks, but anti-depressants are far, far safer (if not cheaper) than self-medicating with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

[1] https://wallethub.com/edu/drug-use-by-state/35150/

[2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/03/08/these-america...

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6539a1.htm#modalIdS...


Which of those are problems and which are solutions? How can you tell?

nasredin 75 days ago [flagged]

You forgot pornography.

Utahns love porn.

Also all the crap LGBT Mormon kids go through.


I wouldn't say Utahns "love porn", just that the study showed they're willing to PAY for it more than any other state.


[flagged]

krapp 75 days ago [flagged]

A cult is nothing more than an unpopular religion. Christianity itself was just a Jewish cult until Constantine found it useful.


Best definition of cult I've heard of: a religion the majority of whose members weren't born into the religion.


In a cult, there is a person on the top who knows it’s all fake. In a religion, that person has already passed away.


Yep.

Council of Nicaea, 325 AD [1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea


There are a number of other features generally included in the definition of cults. Isolation, absolute authority, leader-worship, shunning of defectors, and other elements among them.

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Cult#Warning_signs_of_a_potent...


I agree with you that it's uncharitable to call Christianity a cult when there are more obviously perverse religious/New Age groups that better align with the definition (at least for the sake of debate).

However, I'm sure if you asked an LGBTQ person of their experiences with Christianity, especially with the uniquely conservative U.S. evangelical variety, they would say that some of those qualities clearly fit the bill.

Edit: One could also argue that the Catholic Church and its system of cardinals electing the pope (and whose very presence is regarded as sacrosanct) would qualify as both absolute authority and leader-worship. Albeit, I know the pope's own cop out is that God is the absolute authority, but I digress before my interest in theology leads us all down a dull rabbit hole.


I didn't intend to imply that Christianity is a cult now, but that it was as far as Jews and the Romans of the time were concerned. It wasn't even the only group at the time following a self-proclaimed messiah.

In the same way it's said that a language is "a dialect with an army", I'm claiming the difference between a cult and religion is the same.


Sadly, lots of Christians forget that no sin is greater than any other sin because all sin separates them from the Father.

Also:

> Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Love the person. The sin is still a sin, but love the person. It doesn't get any more simple than that.


I'm not aware of shunning people being common in US Christian groups for leaving. I stopped going to a church long ago and still keep in touch with friends who still attend.


There was the practice of excommunication, literally, to put outside the community and communication. Today retained in the form of denying communion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excommunication

https://www.etymonline.com/word/excommunication

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/politics/politi...

https://www.catholicvote.org/bishop-deny-communion-to-border...


The shunning thing is more Islam and Judaism nowadays. In the olden days of the Spanish Inquisition apostasy and heresy were rather roubustly dealt with.


The Catholic Inquisition still exists but it has been renamed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith[0].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregation_for_the_Doctrine_...


I'm not going to argue here over what religions or groups specifically are or aren't cults.

But GP's definition lacked significant nuance.


By definition, there's only one way to be a Christian and LDS aren't Christians.

Pedantry aside, Christians are still human and thus succumb to sin and as such are not as charitable as they should be.


> there's only one way to be a Christian and LDS aren't Christians.

What? Do you mean Catholics? There are non-Catholic Christian churches, but they are still Christians.


I'm referring to their doctrine of salvation.


That's an awfully broad claim considering that there are hundreds or thousands of branches of Christianity and many of them differ on what they believe to be necessary for salvation.


True, but it's very possible for someone who's not technically Christian to be more "Christian". Not the theological aspect but the whole behavior part: "love thy neighbor", and not throwing out charitable works.


The thing with LDS is that it's more of an organization with a strong (aka oppressive? or too powerful) leadership at top. Every adult has to go on a 'mission' for a full year?

On the flip side, there is no such distinct leadership/requirements in most other Christian organizations. Pretty much anyone call self a Christian.

Maybe Catholics are similar to LDS but I'm not too familiar with them.


Missions are 2 years for men, 1.5 years for women. It's optional for both men and women, but men are expected to go.

I went on a mission to Peru for 2 years. It was amazing, I have no regrets, but I wouldn't do it again. It was incredibly hard.

In contrast, I've started two modestly successful companies (one bootstrapped, one backed by $16M in VC money) and I'm working on starting my third. Startups are grueling, but not as grueling as a mission IMO. :)


I too went on a 2 year mission in Ohio and I second the statement that it was incredibly hard but totally worth it.


And the missions are served by either young adults (18-25) or retirees.

I.e. at times that are minimally disruptive to careers, families, etc.


Catholics are pretty different. The Catholic Church asks for less than the LDS (and most churches) at the local level, and it's quite a bit more hands-off. The higher levels of Catholic hierarchy looks like a medieval institution because it is a medieval institution. There is definitely set dogma, and the Church does not waver on it, but Catholics are generally quite comfortable being buffet Christians (choosing which bits to follow and which to disregard). I've met many more buffet Catholics than buffet Mormons.


As far as I can tell, all Mormons are buffet Mormons. The ones that think they're not just usually aren't thinking about the rest of what's being served besides what they usually eat.

(Your point about relative comfort at this fact may remain true independent of this observation.)


I've been an active member my whole life (38) and I've never even heard of "space doctrine". I looked it up and as far as I can tell, there are some theories by members of the Church but nothing from any current or former members of the Quorum of the Twelve or First Presidency, which is required for something to really be considered canon.

Just because some member of the Church believes or says something doesn't make it doctrine.


Just because some member of the Church believes or says something doesn't make it doctrine.

This is a problem for most religions these days. Some random person says something is part of their religion, and everyone on the internet and the media believe it.

It's like whenever some Catholic priest in some backwater says something that is not in line with Catholic teaching, the news picks up on it as if it came out of the Pope's mouth. Then it gets repeated ad nauseam across the internet by people who don't know, or can't be bothered to find out, if it's true or not.


Islam has this same problem, I've seen countless articles over the years about some person or group issuing ridiculous fatwas that are taken seriously.


I'd imagine that if you spent any significant amount of time tracking what Mormon apostles have actually said about a lot of controversial ideas, that you'd no longer be an active Mormon. The exmormon subreddit is littered with people who did exactly that.


I'm curious what beliefs you have in mind that you notice are typically not thought about. (Not that I think they don't exist, I'm just curious what specifically you have in mind).

The LDS church has an interesting tiered conception of doctrine, wherein some things that have been taught by LDS prophets are not in fact official doctrine. People tend to ignore the "space doctrine" most of the time too.


That is only true in the states and perhaps parts of Europe. Catholics in Latin America, Africa, and the Philippines are much less buffet.


Very true! I should have specified that this applies for Catholics in the United States.


> The higher levels of Catholic hierarchy looks like a medieval institution because it is a medieval institution.

Well, it's got pre-medieval, medieval, and post-medieval elements.

> There is definitely set dogma

Depending on who you believe (yes, there are actually doctrinal disputes over which doctrinal pronouncements are in fact dogmatic, though there are a handful of cases which are dogmatic and not in dispute as to that) there is between very little and extremely little definitively set dogma, though.


I think the fact that there is a distinction between doctrine and dogma, both of which exist, and with the boundary between them subject to serious scholarly debate, just shows how dogmatic/doctrinaire (which are synonyms in everyday non-Catholic English) the Catholic Church is.


There's not a boundary between them, one is a subset of the other. And what it really shows is how old and large the Church is (and, specifically how many questions it's been called in to address.)

How doctrinaire the Church is a pastoral question that (in terms of the central authority at least) changes considerably over time and especially with changes in Popes. Because, for all the accumulated history, tradition, and specialized language the Holy See had accumulated, it's still essentially an absolute monarchy, and the approach of the institutions reflects the personality of the person at the head of all of them.


what it really shows is how old and large the Church is

It's like trying to maintain a codebase for 1,700 years with only one major revision.


There've certainly been forks. Arguably even the occasional rewrite. :)


The belief is that God speaks to the world through a prophet, like he did with Moses, and that he still actively does so to this day. The leadership at the top is established so that it can be certain who that prophet is, and not just anyone who claims it.


Homogeneity makes governance (consensus) a lot easier.


Only for those prone to hate or fear "the other" amongst them. There are countless heterogeneous, egalitarian jurisdictions where concern for "fellow citizen" - regardless of superficial differences, is enough to gain consensus: it's all about how you define the in-group and out-group.


We're talking about Utah here. They're able to do things, like address homelessness and prison reform, that "liberal" areas of the USA can only dream about.


Mormons are the kindest and hardest working people in the country. They understand taking care of each other in ways no one else seems to, and I think that is most of the reason why Utah is so functional. Christians that actually act what they speak in nearly every way.

An aside, smog is really bad in Salt Lake due to its geography and that is probably one of the reasons they are taking this so seriously.


I’m happy to see so many positive comments about Mormons here. I usually don’t mention that I’m Mormon in online forums since I see mostly negativity about the church. (It’s just me being self-conscious) We’re certainly not perfect but we do try to look out our neighbors, I’m glad that’s recognized on the outside as well.


(As an Atheist) It bothers me to no end the amount of negativity that gets heaped on Mormons. From their immense early persecution[0] to being regularly ridiculed today, as a people they remain some of the kindest, most open-hearted, hard working people I know. And the sense of community that is stoked by them is tremendous. Sure, we all have issues, but as a group they are darn supportive of both each other and their communities. I, for one, admire that.

[0] read No Man Knows My History, for an historical perspective.


As another atheist/naturalist, I always find interesting how members of one religion found the mythology of another religion "ridiculous" and worth making fun of, but want the mythology of their own religion to be taken seriously and as a truth.


People live so much of their life in virtual worlds of media & thought that they confuse them with reality. So people will decide that they dislike Mormons (because everyone knows theism is dumb and antiscientific) or Muslims (because they're all terrorists), despite never having truly met any, having zero knowledge of their history, etc. The negative reactions you speak of aren't about Mormons or the church, they're about figments of sequestered imaginations, unconstrained by reality.

It's a shame. Real life is so much richer. In my real life I've often come across Mormon missionaries (in the past knocking at my door - not sure if they still do this?), and despite radical differences in view, have mostly had warm & engaging interactions.


Very well said, thank you; and of course it applies to almost every prejudice. It is indeed a shame.


As a someone who is not a Mormon (not even religious) I find the U.S.'s anti-Mormon bias to be very disappointing. My wife an I are planning a move to Salt Lake City while a lot of people talk about cities about the amenities and conveniences, the people are far more important and the people of Utah are a big part of why it's the place we want to raise a family.


Thanks for writing this -- I'm in the same boat. I'm not obvious about it (except maybe a mention in my Twitter bio or an occasional tweet) because I feel like mentioning my faith will taint people's perspective of me or my work. I am hopeful that there are quite a few people who can respect Mormons even if they don't agree with the tenets of the LDS church.


We certainly have our strengths, but also our own unique mix of sins.


> Mormons are the kindest

There is nothing kind about their treatment of the LGBT population in general, and LGBT youth in particular.

And if they were really that good at taking care of each other, I don't think that Utah would rank 5th in the nation for adolescent suicides (children 15 - 19 years) with a per capita suicide rate more than double the national average.*

They really do like to put on a good face, but their actions and the data says something rather different.

* https://www.statista.com/statistics/666791/states-with-highe...


I won’t disagree that Mormons still have a ways to go regarding relations with the LGBT community, but if you have follow the Mormon church at all you’ve seen lots of progress in the last 10 years which continues to be made.

As for the suicide rate, you are making very careless and dangerous assumptions. Yes, it’s higher than most other areas. The reason for why is still very much unknown, and could be attributed in part to a wide variety of factors, ranging anywhere from demographics to the high altitude. Assuming it’s high because Mormons are awful people is baseless and clearly an instance of someone who has looking to confirm their biases.

If you are going to bring data into the conversation you should try and be more empirically minded about it.


The religion of suicide victims and their parents aren't tracked officially, but over 50% of the population of Utah identify as Mormon.

I am perfectly willing to accept that more rural areas tend to have higher suicide rates, and that is not necessarily going to be correlated with religion, but at the same time, 1/3 of the population lives in the SLC metro area, which should be a moderating influence on the state's suicide rate if this is the primary cause.

The only other statistic I know of regarding Utah that is an outlier over the US in general is the percentage of individuals who identify as Mormon. As such, a hypothesis that the higher adolescent suicide rate has something to do with religion is perfectly valid, although still only a hypothesis.


Handwavy dismissals from Mormons about the high suicide rate all have one thing in common: they may explain higher than average baselibe levels, but they don't explain the growth. It is certainly plausible, and as empirical understandings improve, Mormonism is certainly being honed in on as a significant factor.

https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/10798286


From the same publication, teen suicide rates are rising across the US:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/suicide-rates-teen-girl...


And while the rate of child and teen suicide has risen by 23.5 percent nationally during the years covered by the study, it "more than doubled" (a 136 percent rise) in Utah, according to researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2018-03-22/cd...


So some possible hypotheses (in what I would consider most to least plausible):

1) Whatever causes the higher overall rates in Utah (altitude and/or other variables) that interacts in a non-linear way with whatever is causing the national increase.

2) Whatever factor that is driving the national increase is more influential in Utah for whatever reason. (e.g. maybe social networks are more harmful to more-judgmental Mormon communities)

3) There is some recent change in Mormon culture that has driven a change in teen suicide rates.

4) Mormon culture has caused a change in suicide rates despite not changing.

Do you have any support that would make (3) or (4) sound more reasonable? Or do you have another hypothesis?


One particularly strong datum in favor of 3/4 is the "November policy". On November 5th 2015 the church released a new policy:

* Claimed it is from God

* If you are gay then you are declared apostate and excommunicated (the strongest punishment that can be applied by the church, with extreme social repercussions)

* If your parents are gay, you're not allowed to be baptized at age 8 like other children, even given parent permission. Instead you must wait until age 21 and submit a signed affidavit disavowing your parents' relationship

* If your parents are gay you cannot get a baby blessing

Along with this policy came a strong increase in the anti-gay rhetoric from the prophets and apostles at the bi-annual general conference that all members attend.

Try putting that data point on a chart that shows the suicide rate and the correlation gets eerie.


That sounds horrible, but I'm not sure that explains the numbers. A quick internet search suggests that LGBT youth have 3x the suicide attempt rate.

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicid...

Given that LGBT is maybe 4-10% of the population of the population, it's not likely to be driving such a big spike in the total numbers. I'd be interested in a more careful breakdown if anyone has it.

Additionally, my interactions with Mormons suggests them (and pretty much everyone else) becoming more tolerant of LGBT, not less. However, that's anecdotes, not data.


I 100% agree that everyday interactions with Mormons suggests they are becoming more tolerant, and most of them struggle with the policies that are set by the church.

The issue is that the uppermost echelon of church leadership is a lifetime calling, they aren't replaced until one of them dies. This leads to the prophets and apostles all being the _oldest_ members of the church, and usually the most regressive. Combine that with the fact that obedience to leadership is tantamount to even personal revelation, and you get lots of hate speech over the pulpit even while the members in the pews are actually rather tolerant.

Let me run the numbers here though - if we have 100,000 youth then in 2015 there were 11 (0.011%) that committed suicide. If 4% of them are gay, that is 4,000 gay youth, and if their suicide rate is 3x the average then we'd expect 0.033% or 1-2 LGBT youth suicides.

If that were the end of it, I'd agree with you that it can't explain the near doubling. But would we expect LGBT youth to commit suicide more often, less often, or the same in a community with the above "November policy" kind of standards? I'd wager that LGBT youth suicides in Utah account for closer to 30% of all youth suicides.

I agree it doesn't completely explain the rise, but it seems a significant enough factor to be including in discussion.


Your assumption is that these factors could not be intertwined.

I would submit the following hypothesis:

As the nation moves in a direction where religion plays a smaller and smaller role culturally and legally, many follows of religion double down and attempt to prevent their children from moving in that direction. In places with a lower percentages of people who consider themselves religious - or at least very religious, this crackdown happens less, but when it does adolescents have other friends or family they can turn to for support. More insular communities - such as Mormons - do not offer the external support structure to young people, leaving them fewer options they see as viable.

So while this is not necessarily a problem only in the Mormon community, it certainly is exacerbating the problem.


> 1) Whatever causes the higher overall rates in Utah (altitude and/or other variables) that interacts in a non-linear way with whatever is causing the national increase.

Any proponent of this hypothesis will face quite the uphill battle explaining why suicide rates are growing nowhere near as fast in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, or Nevada.

> 2) Whatever factor that is driving the national increase is more influential in Utah for whatever reason. (e.g. maybe social networks are more harmful to more-judgmental Mormon communities)

Certainly possible. There are plenty of judgmental religious clusters in the US, but it's the state with all the Mormons that seems to be the outlier, which would need explanation.

> 3) There is some recent change in Mormon culture that has driven a change in teen suicide rates.

There certainly is a lot of recent changes in mormon culture as well as mormon teachings as of late, and ramping up quite dramatically for a good 20 years now. Before prop 8, there was almost no focus on homosexuality, now it is a regular topic. There have been some major policy changes, such as disallowing baptism of children of gay parents.

There has been a huge growth in focus on pornography and modesty over the last two decades. For example, you can find plenty of strapless and sleeveless dresses in the BYU homecoming archives, but none recently. You can read conference archives from 20 years ago and find few, if any, references to pornography or modesty...whereas every conference now will focus a large amount of time on the subjects.

> 4) Mormon culture has caused a change in suicide rates despite not changing.

It demonstrably has changed, so this one is out.

> Do you have any support that would make (3) or (4) sound more reasonable? Or do you have another hypothesis?

It's a combination of 2 and 3. For example, pornography is drastically more available now than 20 years ago, but that wouldn't be much of a problem if not coupled with the shame and judgment of mormon teachings combined with the drastic growth in focus on the subject. Same goes for everything related to sexuality: modesty and social media, homosexuality and the various legal/policy actions that the church has taken, etc. The combination of of social change, technological change, mormon shame/guilt/judgment, mormon obsession with perfection and social image, and recent mormon heel-digging behavior is precisely what I would think is the most plausible hypothesis.


As mentioned in another reply, I don't think LGBT is big enough portion of the population to really drive a huge change, despite having high suicide rates.

I'd be interested to see gender breakdown to see if modesty is an issue. I find it implausible, but would love to see data showing me wrong. Especially because when I grew up Mormon (I'm now atheist), a bikini was pretty risque but now I see conservative Mormons wearing bikinis as often as not. A priori, I would also expect modesty to decrease, not increase suicide rates (especially among the overweight or otherwise less-attractive). I'm not rooting for sexual modesty. I think it's probably good for society, but I don't care for it.

Pornography is interesting. I don't know how much Mormons have focused on it, but I'd be fascinated to see if that was a factor.


> A deeply red/Republican and relatively low-density state might seem like a strange place to find a functional public transit system.

I do not see it this way. Communities with shared values (republican or democratic), usually find it easier to agree on and build public services that they find useful. Getting efficient, inexpensive transport that does not cost too much to the state is pretty easy to justify.

By the same token, most Republicans know that they will eventually get old, likely sick and finally die; thus they are not opposed to public healthcare as long as it is efficient and does not overburden public finances. However, they think (with some justification given past national federal projects) that if the US Federal government designs such a system it will be an inefficient and super costly monster pandering to special interests. And they are dead set against it.


> By the same token, most Republicans know that they will eventually get old, likely sick and finally die; thus they are not opposed to public healthcare as long as it is efficient and does not overburden public finances. However, they think (with some justification given past national federal projects) that if the US Federal government designs such a system it will be an inefficient and super costly monster pandering to special interests. And they are dead set against it.

That's a pretty laughable statement. Tons of local government (town, city, state) projects are just as much (or more) over budget with massive special interest pandering as well. The Federal government is not unique in this aspect.


If my town does something stupid I can move to the next town with little downside to my life (other than the cost of the move) - I can keep my existing friends. If my county does something stupid I can move, but the costs are higher. Moving states is higher cost, and countries is even higher (might even be impossible)


The fact that Federal government is not unique in wasting money is still not a reason to throw a ton of new money at it.


> if the US Federal government designs such a system it will be an inefficient and super costly monster pandering to special interests

I think you described every government project to date.


And my point is that communities can do better. Small communities such as condo complexes collect and use money (often after a good yellout) for things that residents want (walkways, tennis courts, pools, shuttle buses, etc.) without mega waste.

The key property of this is that the costs are clear and must be paid directly by those who voted for a new functionality. LDS may be the glue that allows something similar at the city/state level in Utah.


Salt Lake City is not a very conservative place. Yes, it is crazily Gerry mannered by pie slicing into a bunch of red congressional district, but SLC itself is fairly left of center just like any other big city in the west.


You're correct, however this article is about transportation in Utah County, aka Happy Valley.


Utah is actually one of the most urban states in the country - this 2012 article explains that 90% of Utah’s people live on 1% of the land. Within Utah’s urban areas, population density is in the top 10 in the United States at 2737 people per square mile. Although I’d love to see some updated numbers, there has been a lot of sprawl since 2012.

http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=53794385&itype=cmsi...

It’s true that the state is empty, but it’s actually a better candidate for transit than one would think, because the Wasatch Front, where 2M people live, is small geographically.


With our air quality here, eventually can't come soon enough. I'd love to have a single family car and use public transit daily, but for right now I sacrificed that to live out in the middle of nowhere but still be able to find software jobs easily.


Utah is something like 60% Mormon, and Mormons are really big on community, helping others and many other "socialist" ideas. They are conservative in many ways but progressive in some.


> caused by mountains to the east and the west

And very lax emissions regulations and oil refineries in the middle of everything.


You should have seen it in the 1970s, before they cleaned up the Kennicott smelter. There were days when, from the east bench, it looked like you could walk across the top of the inversion to the Oquirrh Mountains.


> Hopefully a Trax expansion or equivalent in Utah county will happen eventually.

In Orem (Utah County) the city is building dedicated bus lanes in the center of University Parkway; my guess is that this is a precursor to Trax rails down the line (so to speak).


It's frustrating that transportation is such a target by Republicans. I can't see much reason for it but clearly it is some sort of "thing" where lately it is emphasized heavily to disrupt or target transportation systems for defunding.


> A deeply red/Republican and relatively low-density state might seem like a strange place to find a functional public transit system.

To add to the list, Texas is going to be the first state in the US to have a proper high-speed rail system, and it's actually going to be very affordable to build.


As usual, this looks like a half-baked implementation of BRT. They get many things right, including articulated buses, off-vehicle ticket purchase, and raised platforms. However, like most BRT systems in the US, it fails on the most important metric: dedicated lanes. Only half of the route is in exclusive lanes, which means the half the time buses will be fighting traffic.

Instead, we should be aiming to build more BRT like the Orange Line in Los Angeles[0], which operates completely in dedicated lanes.

[0] https://www.metro.net/riding/paid_parking/orange-line/


Dedicated lanes are a requirement when there's a lot of congestion (and that congestion would block public transport). It's completely unnecessary for most rapid bus lines, especially outside of cities proper.

> Only half of the route is in exclusive lanes, which means the half the time buses will be fighting traffic.

Half dedicated is enormous. How much traffic is there to fight in Utah outside of SLC?


For LA, separate bus lanes make a lot of sense. For Utah (really only SLC), it's really not necessary. When I was in SLC for work, "bad" traffic was when I had to tap the brakes on the freeway at 4pm.


From the article:

> Features like real-time electronic station signs, dedicated bus lanes and traffic signal priority will be added as construction continues.

The question is whether dedicated lanes for 100% of the route is a launch blocker. Remember that portions of the route are more rural and may not have any congestion to deal with.


From what I see, where there is a lack of dedicated lanes the roads are typically quite narrow--very little room for expansion for even a single dedicated lane (aside from the two lanes of regular traffic).

One section of the route is wide enough, but iirc, the residents along this particular segment in Provo fought against the dedicated lane (and won, afaik).


I live in Provo and drive frequently through the construction for the BRT. There will be dedicated lanes where there is typical congestion.


> Only half of the route is in exclusive lanes, which means the half the time buses will be fighting traffic.

Last I heard, the main segment that will not be dedicated in the end is a road used almost exclusively by students who now have free passes.

I don't remember why but I got the impression this last segment was a combination of nimby and challenges of retrofitting an area not meant for it.

My concern for this road isn't the lack of dedicated lane but it probably has the most dangerous behavior, things like impatint jaywalkers cutting into traffic and cars turning onto the road at bad times.


Yes, this is even an issue in places where there is good public transit like Zürich, Switzerland. There are sections where buses share the road and during rush hour it causes the busses to be off schedule. There is even talk to remove the fixed schedule for buses as this happens so frequently.

Sadly a new law passed that forbids the removal of roads in order to provide more dedicated bus lanes. As there is so little place it will be impossible in most places. However buses are sharing light rail space now as well which can be paved yet not allow regular traffic in it.


Pittsburgh has this, too. A dedicated transitway from downtown to the airport. It was a pretty efficient ride when I used it about ten years ago. But at the same time it seemed kind of wasteful.


A good functioning bus lane will feel very wasteful only if it's working as intended and the buses are free-flowing. The entire point is that the buses flow quickly past traffic; you could open up the lane to HOV or cars, but then traffic times would just degrade.

https://la.streetsblog.org/2014/07/08/balancing-cars-cash-an...

> In May 2014, Streetsblog L.A. began to receive tips that Silver Line BRT service along the 110 Freeway was experiencing some problems. So many drivers were taking the toll lanes to the point where the mix of buses, carpools and paying drivers resulted in congestion.

> In some cases, traffic in the express lanes was moving slower than the rest of the 10 Freeway. This congestion impacts all the busway users including buses, carpools, and toll-paying drivers.


The tolls should be raised until a lower amount of cars are around


Which is an efficient economic solution that basically ignores that we have a terrible public transit system and pervasive inequality which would result in the tolls being primarily on the backs of the poorest among us who travel the furthest to work in City centers to be paid the least.


If you read the article I linked, they raised the tolls and used the money to pay for more frequent bus services, and those bus services also ran faster due to the tolls decreasing congestion. So in the end it was pretty equitable given that higher tolls directly funded public transit improvements.


So use the surplus to lower taxes on poor folks?

Like, you can't fight the laws of economics. We don't have to like them, but can't we work within them rather than coming up with economically inefficient solutions which are bad for everyone?


Well many cities have implemented express lanes which raise and lower prices depending on traffic patterns. metro Atlanta has added them with a new reversible express lane; I believe it is elevated its entire length; coming online in a few months.

the problem with any well designed road system is that the people who need it cannot guarantee their needs don't change. this is especially true where both parents work. where a residence might have had a good commute when bought changes in work location can upset the whole process.


Of course, you can't really beat the congestion offered by zero cars in your bus lane.


> Pittsburgh has this, too. A dedicated transitway from downtown to the airport.

This has never existed. I'm not even sure what you could be thinking off. The West Busway is an old rail-bed, but it only goes a short ways from the city and servers a couple of communities, after that the airport bus uses the highway.


This has never existed. I'm not even sure what you could be thinking off.

I guess I’m having my first “senior moment.” I remember this quite vividly. I sure hope I’m not confusing it with another city.

I used to keep pretty good expense records back then, so I should have a record of the fare. If not, where do I go to collect my Crazy Old Man badge?


Yes. The west busway ends around halfway between downtown and the airport. It ends just shy of I-79, and uses the parkway (I-376) for the rest.

https://www.portauthority.org/rt/28x.pdf


It may feel wasteful if you're used to seeing packed roads, but if you compare to the common alternative (a train track) it no longer seems so bad.


Look at a line of 60 cars with 1 person each, taking up quarter of a mile. One car every two seconds.

Then look at a bus with 60 people taking up 20 yards. One bus a minute.

Then look at a train 200 yards long with 1000 people every 3 minutes.

Which is more wasteful?


> One bus a minute

The dedicated bus lane we're talking about here appears to have one bus every 30 minutes (GP said it was a line out to the airport). So it's natural to look at a dedicated road lane that sees two vehicles an hour and think "what a waste, would it really hurt to let some cars drive here too?".

But nobody looks at a train track the same way since you're used to seeing train tracks without a bunch of traffic on them.

And yet an extra lane is cheaper to build & maintain. So it's understandable to look at the dedicated lane and think that it's inefficient, when in really it isn't.


> The dedicated bus lane we're talking about here appears to have one bus every 30 minutes

The West Busway doesn't go to the airport and has buses serving the communities it runs through ever few minutes.


I remember when the Orange Line launched. We used to call it the "Black and Blue Line" because the buses got hit pretty often at intersections. I guess it was confusing for some.


It's also only one single bus route.


This isn't downtown NYC. The point here isn't so much to use space more efficiently as it is to provide a means for people to get around without cars and get a foot in the door for mass transit so that when they do need more mass transit it's easier to do politically (expanding an existing thing vs creating a new thing).


I don't understand why road taxes aren't used to pay for free public transport. The more people on public transport the more room for cars.


Free public transport is a can of worms; in general, free tends to attract walkers and bikers but not drivers, since price is not really how a car competes with public transport. And attracting walkers and bikers would probably be a negative. There's also a negative cycle where some walkers and bikers will switch because the free service is good enough, so the services become overcrowded, so more service is provided and the increased frequencies make public transit even more attractive to walkers and bikers. So you end up increasing costs quite a bit with no increase in "revenue".

There's also the fact that in even moderately busy systems, the amount of fares collected is not insignificant. As an example, New York's MTA: http://interactive.nydailynews.com/project/mta-funding/

$6B out of $15B is quite a lot of money. Raising taxes to cover $6B in lost revenue would be quite the feat. And why wouldn't that $6B be better put towards housing, or hospitals, or schools, or even better public transport services? It's generally better to make services more useful, than to just make existing subpar service free.


"Free" is really handy for keeping the service fast & on time though. Not required to be sure, but each rider digging for change takes time. My local bus rapid transit is nominally not-free, but tickets are not checked. It's impressive how fast it is, and that is part of why.


You can effectively achieve most of that with just tap cards and all-door boarding.


Because outside of hyper dense cities roads are "public transit." Making them free to use (if you've already paid the costs associated with a car) has benefits to all that are large enough that increasing cost beyond what it takes to upkeep them at some subsistence level is not in our best interest (except in a few dense cities).


But the upkeep is expensive. One example: Jewel Avenue and Van Wyk Expressway intersection

> New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Cathy Calhoun said the bridge is set to get $13 million in repairs to enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

This is just one intersection and definitely not at the heart of the city. Jewel Avenue Q64 bus is probably symbolic of New York politics. It is frustrating to see no bus for half an hour and then see three buses come together at the same time. However, we can't have a train here even if we somehow we're able to create/take over the land we need.


Road upkeep is really cheap. (Cheap enough that Dominoes Pizza can fix roads for fun as a publicity stunt). The numbers seem high, if you aren't used to transit budgets -- but by those comparisons, roads are really cheap.

A $13 million bridge repair sounds expensive. But to replace that bridge with a BRT line (as one example) has an initial upfront cost of ~$40 million, and has a higher per-day maintenance cost too. To replace that bridge with a real subway line (which is probably what NYC would need to best serve riders) could easily be $160 million or higher.

Roads are the cheapest way to provide public transportation. Not necessarily the best way, but always the cheapest way.


If it is anything like the situation in Pennsylvania I can see two causes - politics and representation of the rural and further-suburban disapproving of services 'just for the city' and the current road taxes alone being insufficient. Free while great for adoption also has a bad revenue curve in the more people who adopt it the less money they make in addition to increased operation costs/decreased quality from more crowding of the system. And then there are issues with metrics and success or failure. If public transit makes the road only need repaired every ten years instead of every notice its benefits may not be accounted properly or in a really bad case not even realized if they have roads on fixed repair timetables and only accelerate them if they clearly need repair ahead of schedule.


https://le.utah.gov/audit/12_01rpt.pdf Page 7, heading "Farebox Recovery Has Improved Since 2006"

If riders are only paying about 1/8 of the total cost, where do you suppose the rest is coming from?


Because it's easy enough to make public transportation's passengers pay?


Is it?

https://le.utah.gov/audit/12_01rpt.pdf

As of 2010, riders paid about 13% of the total cost of public transit operation. (Page 7, heading "Farebox Recovery Has Improved Since 2006")


Just thought to leave an aside for anyone considering working in Utah.

I Lived in Orem, Utah for a long-time super interesting state. Everyone is super conservative, no doubt, but they are the nicest people I've ever met. They can be "accidentally" racist and bigoted but I attribute that for their ignorance as opposed to hate.

The church itself governs and operates like a socialist country. Every church member in the world pays 10% of their income to the church, and that money in turn goes towards financing all three Brigham Young Universities - one in Provo Utah, one in Hawaii, and one in Idaho. So a student could get a private-school education for only $2000-5000 a year. The money also goes towards construction projects to build new temples and new churches. It goes towards relief for families that are struggling financially.

The state also has some the best national parks in the countries, and probably the best slopes to ski on.

I think people mentioned this but there is a pretty significant tech presence there as well.

Some downsides, everyone is Mormon is not a lot of stuff is open on Sundays, and even if you're a devout atheist, you'll probably go to church a couple times, because everyone around you goes and you have nothing better to do. Very little diversity, racially, ethnically, politically, religiously, it's almost like living in Japan, where everyone is nice to you but you'll always be considered an outsider.


Just a note - and I am sorry to derail this conversation - but in my experience, Non-Japanese residents do not have to be outsiders in Japan.

The people who raise that point the most, in my experience, are English teachers who don't speak Japanese, or have had some kind of privileged background. I wasn't part of either in North America; at this point, I would be hard pressed to point at too many things that are particularly different for me and my Japanese co-workers.

If you do speak Japanese and have the desire to be a part of the community, you can be part of non-political society. I know plenty of non-Japanese who can participate in everything (except for voting, which is admittedly a big thing).

Some people point to police harassment (and I have experienced it), but I have seen Japanese people pulled over to have their bags searched and their cycle registration checked. It's a different norm.

That's not to say it is a great thing to be active in Japanese society. Being part of the PTA is a pain in the rear. There is plenty of meaningless inefficiency in "group activities". Everyone takes the same days off and you need to book together time months in advance. But if you want to be in the in-circle, and want to be part of traditional celebrations, you can. (Especially in Tokyo)

On the other hand, as a non-Christian who worked for a company in Salt Lake City, I doubt I could be a part of society there in the same way that I am here. I really liked my co-workers in Provo, more than even my co-workers at some companies in Japan. They were interesting and fun to be around, even when we had different political beliefs.

However, I doubt I could ever be a close friend to any of them because they had beliefs I didn't share, and couldn't share.

It's not like Japan (or Tokyo at least); if you are decent enough at the language, you can slip into groups and be a normal member of society.


This is pretty spot on, moved from the Northeast to Utah for school, now done with school and I'm enjoying my time here because I'm in love with the mountains but I'm planning how to move out of the state because I know that I will never feel culturally secure here. Being part of the outdoor community I never find myself struggling to find like minded people, but I do feel like an outsider to society as a whole.


Heard good things about Seattle or Boise and Colorado for outdoor culture.


Yeah, I'd say this is pretty accurate. I moved to Utah from Silicon Valley and I've been blown away by the incredible outdoor activities here.

I live in Lehi. I'm 5min from work, 5min from epic mountain biking, 5min from incredible hiking, 10min from rock climbing in a canyon, 15min from fly fishing in the mountains, 30min from some of the best skiing in the world, 3.5 hours from zion's, moab, bryce, canyonlands.

There's plenty to complain about, but the outdoors here are hard to beat.


I've been Mormon my whole life and Utah still feels weird to me. The culture is definitely influenced by the Church, but the culture is distinctly "Utahn". Go meet some Mormons in California, New York, or out of the country, and you'll see the difference.


Indeed. Over half the Mormons live outside of the U.S.

Some places have higher concentrations than others. Tonga for instance is roughly 60%. Even getting out to Idaho, Arizona or California (still higher than average mormon density areas), and you'll encounter a different culture.


> It goes towards relief for families that are struggling financially.

Sort of a technicality, but that money doesn't come from the 10% tithe. It comes from what is called "fast offerings" that is a separate offering associated with a monthly fast.


The case is not so extreme in SLC. I've lived here about 4.5 years and while much of the state is overwhelmingly Mormon (I do not practice or sympathize with any religion), SLC is not so different from other similar-sized cities culturally. There's great food, arts, music, and so on. Obviously for a non-Mormon the outdoors access is the primary draw here in my opinion, but it's a nice place to live regardless.


For what it's worth, living in Salt Lake City: this is one single bus route among dozens. It's nice that there won't be a cost for this route, but this could be expanded to all of our bus routes and still more would need to be done for local air quality.


They should make a bus system that can change any light to green when the bus shows up, and control the grid in other ways to truly expedite public transit.


Has existed in Europe since forever. Usually busses and trams have their own traffic light here.


That technology already exists for emergency vehicles.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_signal_preemption


Plenty of cities have traffic light preemption for buses. Portland does it for the MAX (not a bus, I know), and Chicago tried it when I lived there, etc. (The problem then becomes, what happens when an emergency vehicle AND a bus both preempt the traffic light? In Portland anyway, MAX wins. That doesn't always mean the emergency vehicle stops, though, with predictable results.)

I rode the bus route daily when they tried it in Chicago and it didn't speed things up much. One at a time, slowly, slowly, people climbed on board, paid their fare, couldn't move into the bus because it was crowded, and then the next person in line blocked the doors until someone moved enough for them to get on... five minutes, the bus was on its way through a fresh green traffic signal. Great.

(Continuing the rant, what about paying the fare off the bus? I've tried this in NYC, and every time I've used SBS, fare collectors have stopped the bus, slowly checked everyone's tickets with the bus stopped, and then gotten off. Waiting at a red light or two is nothing compared to that. I'm sure by the time you include the fare inspectors' salaries, some supervisors to fire them when they do the collection with the bus stopped, and recruiters for new fare inspectors... it's a mega money losing operation. But oh no, we could never make it free, only Communists would want free bus service!)


NYC's implementation is terrible because no other place with proof of payment stops the entire vehicle to check fares.

The issue with free is that free transit tends to create a negative spiral where some walkers and bikers will switch to transit because it's free, so services have to be improved to deal with the crowding, which makes transit more appealing to bikers and walkers, which increases overcrowding, and so on. None of the cities and towns that have free transit in the world are very big.


Indeed, in Europe I've never seen a vehicle stopped for fare checks. Some places don't allow ticket purchases from the driver either, while others do but it's frowned upon for slowing down everyone else.


  The issue with free is that free transit tends to create a
  negative spiral where some walkers and bikers will switch
  to transit because it's free, so services have to be
  improved to deal with the crowding, which makes transit
  more appealing to bikers and walkers
Woudn't the same thing apply to drivers?


It does, which is why highway expansions generally fill up a few years after opening. http://cityobservatory.org/reducing-congestion-katy-didnt/


I used to ride the bus all the time in Utah valley. Then they tore up all the roads to build lanes for this project, and all the bus schedules went to pot. That's when I stopped riding the bus as often.

I'm not sure whether tearing up all the roads for 3+ years to have a bus that connects two places already connected by a new train is that awesome. Just make that stretch of Frontrunner free.


Its not the endpoints that are a big deal but everything in between plus easier access to those end points.


Considering moving to SLC, it's the perfect hub for all the stuff I like to do and has lots of nice people and food. Airport is not crowded either.

I love how mountains are visible from most places as well. Within a few hours I can be at the Grand Canyon or at Yellowston or in Denver or in Las Vegas.


I've lived in Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and SLC and SLC is easily my favorite of the bunch. LA has more amenities, but SLC balances that with WAYYYY more accessible outdoor activities, a proper winter, cheap housing, and nicer people.


I grew up in Atlanta (dislike many things about it but it'll always be where I visit my family), visited LA (crowded but I'll revisit), want to visit Chicago (food, museums, skyline).

I lived in Utah for a year for learning/work. I liked how clean Utah was and how good the quality of life was. Only trade-off was the Mormon vibe but that can be avoided if you are in SLC.

I plan to buy an SUV and drive all my stuff there, live a real simple life, work remotely, take as many adventures as my heart desires.


Some of us consider outdoor activities and nice people to be "amenities"...


I agree with you on that, but LA still has more for sure. Mountains are an hour and a half away, but they are there. LA has more diversity in food and people so you can find your niche. Do you want Paleo vegan oatmeal cheesecake? Then there's an entire store dedicated to that. The scale LA runs at enables all these niche things.

I still love SLC more though.


So, I live in a BRT neighborhood in Provo, and it's really weird. It's more inconvenient for motorists, the bike routes are awkward (there are new signs for bikes to yield to vehicles -- at an intersection that has a median through it and is solely for the benefit of bicyclists), and pedestrians have to go into the middle of the street to get on the bus. And BRT still takes 1.5x-2x the time to get to main destinations than direct car routes do.

Not to mention that one of the residential BRT streets north of me has been under construction for more time than it took NASA to get to the moon in the '60s.

But it's cool that we get free service, I guess. BYU and UVU students get free UTA transportation (more than just BRT) with their ID cards.


It often takes 2 hours to get by bus or light-rail from one end of Santa Clara county to the other, while driving typically takes an average of 20-25 minutes. Also, VTA is expensive for low-income folks with a minimum of $2 for a single ride, and it takes up to 4-5 rides to get somewhere each way, and so the daily passes are $7.. Which is also a lot. Yearly passes for kids and disabled are $330, $880 for adults and twice that $1760 for express buses.

http://www.vta.org/getting-around/fares


Sounds like they need a "hopper" system like London has. London, weirdly, has the cheapest bus system in the UK.


With how bad the air quality is, I'd be really curious about what would happen if all of the region's public transit was made free. TRAX can be packed quite often, but there's still so much more capacity available in the system.

Traffic is so bad, pretty much all the time, so it would have to help that as well.

But then there is the matter of money has to come from somewhere, although Utah has one of the richer state governments to begin with.


free transit has been tried, the findings were that it got mostly new riders from those who walked or rode bicycles because they didn't want to pay for transit but converted very few drivers. [1]

it really comes down to, a transit system cannot be everything for everyone so its best to make it good for a segment of the population. if we want to improve transit issues the primary method is to overhaul the power of zoning boards and reduce the ability of groups to sue to prevent housing to be built closer in if not inside cities.

one recent tactic has been for politically connected groups to sue and make ridiculous changing demands so that to the point it becomes unaffordable to build and force the developer to sell to the group connected to the politicians. then everyone loses. [2].

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/01/why-can...

[2] https://missionlocal.org/2018/07/axis-developerment-abruptly...


I understand free transit does not generally work. However, the Salt Lake region is rather unique in the first place, so I'm curious the effects it would have there. It may still fail but I suspect it would be different than previous studies on free transit.


Public transit fangirl here... Salt Lake City's transit system is awesome. Clean, runs timely, and runs in sensible paths through population areas. The bus system off the train service is a bit less useful, but I've found with Lyft / Uber augments, I can get just about anywhere I want to without a car.


AC Transit is building out a BRT line in the East Bay between Oakland and San Leandro.

http://www.actransit.org/brt/


Heavily subsidized transportation that hemorrhages money doesn't work.


[flagged]


Like "free" roads then, or "free" police, or "free" non-polluted air.


Please don't post unsubstantive comments here, and especially not ideological boilerplate!


It was a federal grant.


... which is paid for by taxes.


Not if you're one of the many people that don't pay taxes! (retirees, children, the poor, etc..)


Most retirees pay taxes, including on social security.


Most of "the poor," too, unless you pick a particularly narrow definition.


[flagged]


Please don't make a bad thread even worse by going into personal attack.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Better public transportation means more bodies in the seats at church.


The LDS church has a church in every neighborhood out here. People don't take public transportation to get to them. They're literally as close as the bus stop for many people.


Not sure why you're being downvoted, despite being a bit cynical this may well have been the pitch to the folks in Utah County.




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