Friday, March 02, 2007
Streetcars - Yeah!
It really is much of the same news:
- Streetcars are better than buses because they are 'sexier', i.e. people that won't ride a bus because it's 'only for poor people' will hope on a street car.
- Streetcars are better than buses because it's a rail in the ground - i.e. developers know that it will take major effort to move or close a street car line, but a bus route can be changed overnight
There is currently a study by the group that did the Portland street car line on feasiblity for Cincinnati. You can tell by previous and current comments of city council members that it's really about where to put it, not if to do it. Which I think is great.
There is also today a letter to the enquirer about Streetcars... I think they got it half right. Streetcars are not the answer, and it should be part of a regional transit network with light rail. However, to indicate that streetcars aren't needed is also not a holistic view of transit. Light Rail provides a regional link with stations spaced 1/2 a mile or more apart. It's higher speed and has right of way. But when you get downtown, the best way to connect to destination is to be able to hop on a streetcar. If light rail goes from Mason to Downtown and dumps off a the 2nd street multi-modal transport center (under 2nd st between PBS and GABP), and you work at Kroger, most people will opt-out becuase they'd have to walk 9-10 blocks every day. But if you have a connecting light rail line do a loop up vine and back down main st, you'd make it more feasible.
The other point to make here, is that the folks in the 'region' spoke in 2002. They didn't want to spend the money to build light rail to the 'burbs. However, streetcars can do a lot for transport in the urban core, and wouldn't require approval of the 'region'. So you can get started on a better transportation system by getting buy-in from the people who understand the value of public transit (most of those people are in the urban core).