Screwing our retirees is HOW WE ROLL

Screwing our retirees is HOW WE ROLL

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Clang, Clang, Crunch: The Truth About Streetcars

•According to the experts, modern streetcars are no better at carrying people around than other transit methods, maybe a little worse.
•Streetcars never pay for themselves.
•Streetcars are less green than buses.
•Other than that, they're great.
People love them. Something about a sleek new streetcar—the soft whir of electric technology, the aura of Euro-cool—draws people powerfully. Advocates in Portland, Oregon, claim their streetcar line has spurred billions of dollars in redevelopment because people want to live near streetcars.


Max said...

Max 0 minutes ago
A Portlander's perspective -

1) John Charles is the worst person to quote about anything transit related. If he had his way, there wouldn't be ANY public transportation of ANY type! His right-wing "think tank" is funded by the Cato institute.

2) Portland Streetcar is very successful, and not just for tourists. Just take a look in the cars and you'll see! Instead of John Charles, maybe you should have interviewed someone who actually works or lives downtown.

3) It is correct that Portland Streetcar is mostly development tool. Why didn't developers pay for it? Well they did - it was paid for with an urban renewal district (read property taxation tricks) and federal funds. Many of the stops/streetcars are also sponsored by businesses.

4) Portland Streetcar is not intended to get you to/from downtown in a hurry. It's a circulator, intended to essentially supplement walking. It's for people living in the downtown condos to go 12 blocks to get to work, or head 4 blocks to the grocery store, or maybe go from work to get a bite for lunch, etc.

Some of the development of the pearl district would have occurred without the streetcar, but many of those huge condo towers were built under the condition that the streetcar would be put in place. This sort of development would never have happened with an easily-discontinued/rerouted bus line that people wouldn't ride due to the rubber wheels.

Al M said...

Streetcar apologist!

Jason McHuff said...

Nice work Max.

But you could add how drivers are subsidized, too with things like (mostly) free parking and oil defense. Texas's own DOT used to have an e-newsletter online that answered the question "Do Roads Pay for Themselves?" and pointed out how they don't.