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COLLISIONS IN STREET AND HIGHWAY TRANSPORTATION
W. J. Sidis
62. The "All-Day Driver." The advent of the automobile brought new possibilities in the way of short distance travel in the central business districts of cities. Those who study the parking problem as it relates to the stored vehicle, must also necessarily take into account the extraordinary convenience of the private automobile, and taxicab as well, for making those numerous short trips for which the street car was often found to be inadequate. Those restrictions against the long time parker, the all-day parker for instance, which might prevent the person having frequent and steady use for a vehicle, from bringing the vehicle into the downtown section of the city, are clumsy. On the other hand, unrestricted freedom in parking causes the long time parker to hold valuable curb space to the exclusion of the same person mentioned above, who uses a private vehicle for numerous short trips. The adoption of rules designating well selected parking periods, and the rules regularly and equitably enforced, is undoubtedly the best answer to the "parking problem" down town.
63. Dissatisfactions with Parking Time Restrictions. Experience has demonstrated, however, that carefully prepared rules rigidly enforced, often place a hardship upon a motorist. The lack of any place for storing his vehicle downtown, usually results in his parking a long distance from his destination or leaving his vehicle at home.
64. Proposed Buses Would Aid All Classes of Vehicles and Relieve Streets of Some Pedestrians. Since the municipality's obligation appears to be merely that the curb shall be available to all by some equitable plan that secures the greatest good for the greatest number, the provision of cheap and rapid transportation between downtown points for all persons, would be the most expedient solution for the municipality. A system of midcity buses traversing the central business district, operating at a nominal fare or even free, would accommodate passengers deposited by any transportation agency, or by private vehicle. Taxicabs sometimes thread congested districts at impossibly slow speeds, and the buses would often aid taxicab passengers. Pedestrians frequently congest streets in a detrimental manner, and a municipality would be justified in transporting them between downtown points, just as the owner of a tall building may find it expedient to provide elevator service between floors.
65. All-Day Parkers Kept Out of the Central Business District. With frequent, rapid, cheap transportation always available between downtown points, the long-time parker would be expected to park outside of the central business district and the person who makes frequent trips in his private vehicle would stand far better chance of finding vacant curb space. Taxicabs and commercial vehicles would be particularly benefited, a logical result since the public has a common, indirect interest in these vehicles.
66. Design and Adaptation of the Midcity Buses. 67. Selection of Type. The selection of the type of bus for the proposed service in the central business district, and the planning of the arrangements for their operation over the streets is a matter of the utmost importance. For a city to adopt the general idea proposed and then to select a type of bus now used in intercity or suburban service, would be to invite failure and eventual abandonment of the whole proposition.
68. Effect of Street Congestion. Moreover, to merely add a type of bus, well designed for general service, perhaps, or even one fulfilling the requirements here described, to the congested street traffic as might be found in an average city, would undoubtedly result in failure to achieve the desired end. Not only should every detail of construction of the proposed buses be planned to secure the features mentioned below, but the adoption of the proposed midcity buses is predicated upon the expectation that street traffic control be so systematized that these buses as well as all other traffic units will be able to proceed at a satisfactory rate of speed without obstruction, such as might be caused by double-parked vehicles. The whole scheme of safe and speedy flow of traffic described throughout this book is regarded as a fundamental requirement for the proper adaptation of the proposed buses.
69. Platform Buses for Standees to Secure Rapid Loading and Unloading. The use of platform bus systems in the central business districts of large cities has been proposed by others, with features that vary somewhat from those here described. Platform buses having floors very close to the street surface are essential for quick loading and unloading. The number of seats provided would be limited to a few for the aged, infirm, and others not able to stand. Stanchions would be liberally provided for the able-bodied passengers, who would be expected to stand for the brief interval of the trip. The amount of headroom should be equal to that of present-day street cars. The reader may gain the idea that buses for standees are suggested on the theory that more people may be crowded into them. This is quite contrary to the actual intent of the proposal. Crowding will result in personal discomfort and lengthened trip time due to the delays while loading and unloading and seriously impair the efficiency of the service.
70. Motive Power. The motive power for these buses when planned for the most favorable circumstances, is expected to be that of the electric storage battery. The trolley bus, with or without battery as auxiliary, will be selected for many localities; while gasoline propelled buses will undoubtedly be best suited to other places. Where storage battery power is selected, it is also expected that well designed contact strips laid in the street pavement would be provided at points where the buses regularly accelerated or climbed grades. When fully charged, the storage battery should have a capacity sufficient for propelling the bus for about two hours without taking current from the strips. Under normal conditions the battery would take charging current when the bus was taking current from the strips. The contact strips would have a potential of about one hundred volts, and be automatically deadened when not covered by the bus. The strips would be relatively harmless even if stepped upon accidently when energized.
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