Friday, August 15, 2008

Street Cars


I wanted to share this article from yesterday's The New York Times about the reemergence of street cars in American cities.

Cincinnati, OH plans to revive their street car line (dismantled in the 1950s) to connect the city in a six- to eight-mile loop. At least 40 other US cities are also exploring streetcar plans.
Modern streetcars, like those Cincinnati plans to use, cost about $3 million each, run on an overhead electrical wire and carry up to 130 passengers per car on rails that are flush with the pavement. And since streetcars can pick up passengers on either side, they can make shorter stops than buses.

Portland, OR has spearheaded the reintroduction of streetcars to American cities. They launched the first modern streetcar program in the US in 2001, which has helped spur development. More than 10,000 residential units have been built. Also, there has been $3.5 billion invested in property within two blocks of the streetcar line. Wow - talk about urban restoration.

There are detractors - some feel that streetcars only help spur downtown revitalization projects.

It is certainly an interesting time in transportation in the US.

1 comment:

Richard said...

They have amazing street car systems in Brussels, Amsterdam, and Vienna. The one in Vienna is a complete circle around the downtown area. All of them are clean and comfortable and the one in Amsterdam even had TV monitors broadcasting the news. We can learn so much from Europe about public transportation.