Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Amtrak's allowing cats and dogs on trains disses people with allergies

Thanks to Amtrak’s new policy, Mark Ferrante now takes Lucky along on his trips. Photograph by Andrew Propp, Washingtonian Magazine.

I am surprised that none of the articles I've seen (e.g., "Dogs and cats can now go choo-choo: Amtrak tests pets," Washington Post; "Want to take dog on Amtrak train? Next month you can," Detroit Free Press;" "You Can Take Your Dogs (or Cats!) on Amtrak Now," Washingtonian Magazine) about Amtrak's new policy allowing people to bring cats and dogs on board trains--albeit with restrictions such as that they have to stay in carriers, and the carrier+pet can't be more than 20 pounds--fails to consider that 15% of the US population is allergic to cats and dogs, especially cats.

Remember that most seats are unreserved.  Amtrak's new policy is that someone with an allergic reaction should ask to be re-seated.

But over time, all the cars likely will be "tainted" with dander.  It's not like Amtrak will designate certain cars as "no pets" just as they do "Quiet Cars."



At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in Germany it is common in restaurants to allow pets- especially dogs- enter and sit at the foot of the tables. This is very jarring for Americans when we visit- and is unexpected.

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually- as someone with both asthma and bad allergies, I find the old carpets in metro trains to be the biggest problem- pets are nothing compared to the moldy carpet smell you get hit with going into some of the older trains. I am glad to see no carpets in newer train cars. It might be OK if the rugs got cleaned every so often but like many maintenance issues in WMATA these " incidentals" get ignored. I look at it as the same as the " broken window " issue- if you let these little things go then people start to lose faith in the system at large.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

well, there are many "little" design issues with WMATA that are problematic, including what I call "design for maintenance" issues.

One is carpets, and I agree with you about the moldy smell. Going forward, they aren't installing carpet as you pointed out.

Carpet and the seats take a lot of time and energy to keep in good condition.

The hexagonal floor tiles are another. Speaking of "prototyping" design features to see if they work, clearly that was never done. When they have the least bit of water on them, they are unsafe.

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes the floor tiles are slippery when wet or frozen- but when they added the braille- like tiles on the edges some years back this was a brilliant modification- actually- it should have been done throughout the entire system as they work pretty decently
maybe a different colored braille effect tile could be substituted for the platform edges?

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

even doing every other tile in braille - if it is a cheaper modification- could cut down on accidents and slips- it would also be sort of cool looking

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

resetting that many tiles costs a fortune, but interesting idea.

when the tiled walls in NYC subway stations were created, the tiles were placed on big sheets, off site, and transported to the stations. They weren't set in place, one by one, at the stations.

The new tile replacements are more like master blocks and a slightly different material, therefore not slippery. Maybe they are the equivalent of 6-8 individual tiles. I'll look at one next time I am at Takoma Station.

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am part of the 15% that is allergic to cats and dogs and I was worried when I read this news as well. I am not someone who uses Amtrak a lot, but does consider it. If I take Amtrak and have allergy problems it will I will have to reconsider my options and maybe only fly in the future.

It's very disappointing to hear that I would have to be re-seated because I am allergic to a nearby pet. That would be a extra burden for me even if the allergy is not my fault. People with dog/cat allergies should not become 2nd class on the train behind people with their pets. I think people bringing pets on the train should at least have to sit in a designated car to contain pet dander.


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