Monday, November 12, 2012

Streetcar fetish alive and well

In Seattle, of course, where nostalgia, paid for with other people's money, is never in short supply.  Now it's $10 million just to 'study' the idea (any bets as to what the 'study' will find?).
The 2011 Transit Master Plan proposes something new for Seattle, a so-called "rapid streetcar," which adds capacity and speed by using two-car or extended articulated trains that often run in their own lanes.
'Rapid streetcar' couldn't be any more of an oxymoron if someone intended it.  The reason streetcars disappeared from the streets of America's cities in the first place was that they were slow, uncomfortable, dangerous, and expensive.

The studies have already been done (by the likes of Scott Bottles).  The verdict is in.  Streetcars have been shown to be less efficient than other mass transit alternatives, like buses and taxis.  But, in politics there's nothing as powerful as an idea that has been thoroughly discredited by reality.

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