May 29, 2020

Fast Track For National Rail Transit

MINNEAPOLIS – Technically speaking “light rail transit” encompasses an urban rail line capable of carrying 2,000 to 20,000 passengers an hour at speeds reaching 70 miles per hour. “Heavy rail” describes longer, faster commuter and inter-city trains. The reality of light and heavy rail in this city of 400,000, and in 29 other cities across the United States that have built light rail, street car, and commuter rail systems since 1984, is much more encompassing …

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Casual Carpool Plus Transit, A S.F. Commute

SAN FRANCISCO — Since late March I’ve been living in a one-room cottage behind an old Craftsman-style home in Berkeley, and commuting to downtown San Francisco. It’s not your typical daily trip. But as gas prices rise, congestion mounts, and family incomes fall, it may well become a new kind of commuting norm in the United States. Of course it may not, too. This being San Francisco. And the weather is just unbelievably good most …

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About Those Suburbs and Cities

As the dimensions of the mortgage crisis both expand and get clearer, a new picture is emerging of a nation in pain that simultaneously is coming to new conclusions about what it means to be safe and secure in America. For the first time since post-war federal policy ganged up on cities to promote suburban expansion, cities are rebounding in remarkable ways and suburbs appear to have reached some kind of new limits to growth. …

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Fresh Food, Rapid Transit Meet In Grand Civic Space

  NEW YORK — The day after Thanksgiving it was as though no one had ever eaten a square meal, judging from the lines that formed at Zaro’s Bread Basket or the Little Pie Company or Two Boots Pizza. Like everyplace else in midtown Manhattan, the ground floor, the “dining concourse”  of Grand Central Station was mobbed. Some of what New York City presents to the world these days is familiar to those of us raised there …

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What Is Selling? Homes Close To Transit

According to real estate listing services, there are nearly 41,000 homes for sale in Detroit and its three neighboring counties — Wayne, Oakland and Macomb. That’s more than twice as many homes on the market as in 2004, when the housing slump started in southeast Michigan. Moreover, it takes an average of six months to sell a house in metropolitan Detroit, and prices have slipped 15 percent to 3o percent, depending on where the home is …

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$100 Barrel Oil Nears; Streetcars in Portland

  Two items caught my eye today. World oil prices reached $93 a barrel this week, which is why gasoline at the Wesco down the road is $3.07-a- gallon tonight. The other news is the announcement on Monday that city leaders in Oregon want to dramatically expand the number of neighborhoods served by Portland’s spectacularly successful streetcar. The two developments are related, of course, because as fuel prices rise the sanity and fuel-efficiency of streetcar lines makes ever …

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Banning Coal Power Plants in Ontario; Promoting Them in Michigan

  The Canadian province of Ontario, which lies across Lake Huron from Michigan, and is home to about the same number of people (10.3 million there, 10 million here), has supported one of the planet’s active conversations on the ties between a strong economy and a clean environment. Much of the dialogue centers of global climate change and the province’s coal-fired power plants, one of which, the Nanticoke plant on Lake Erie, is among the largest on the …

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Toronto Transit City

In 1954, the year that Detroit was busily completing the Lodge Freeway and starting construction on the city’s other major highways Toronto (see pix) opened 12 stations on the Yonge Street subway line, the city’s first. Since then Toronto has built three more regional rapid transit lines, 69 stations, and nearly 43 miles of subway and rapid transit track. The city’s subway and surface streetcar system carries 1.2 million passengers a day, many of whom …

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With Richardson Promise on Transit, Mode Shift Idea Enters 2008 Presidential Race

  Democrat Bill  Richardson, a member of President Bill Clinton’s cabinet and the current governor of New Mexico, this week became the first 2008 presidential candidate to formally introduce a Mode Shift idea into the national race. Richardson was in West Hollywood on Monday, and according to the Associated Press promised “to create a partnership to build a light rail network and help untangle the Los Angeles region’s notorious traffic. With gas prices rising and …

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What Will Shrink Metro Areas? Household Size and Transportation Costs

  If you travel to Las Vegas, Knoxville, Chicago, and Salt Lake City one of the surprising trends you’ll see is the abrupt shift in housing markets. Downtowns in these and other cities are outpacing the suburbs in new home construction and existing home sales. Two of the critical reasons for both are the shrinking size of American households — not a new trend — and the fact that transportation costs exceed housing expenses in household budgets. Though …

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