Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Phase Two of TransLink's UBC Rapid Transit Study Launched

TransLink has officially launched into phase two of their UBC/Broadway Rapid Transit Corridor Study. TransLink started the study in the summer of 2009 and expects to have phase two of it complete in early 2012. The UBC study is running in parallel with the Surrey Rapid Transit Study and SFU/SkyTrain Interface Study. In phase one of the study, TransLink looked at some high level corridor and technology options. Phase two of the study looks at seven possible rapid transit options. TransLink will be seeking feedback from the general public on the seven options.

I’ve outlined the different options, but I highly suggest that you check out TransLink's UBC Study Site. Right now transit service is very unreliable along the Broadway Corridor with trip to UBC taking from 25 to 45 minutes from Commercial/Broadway SkyTrain Station.

Bus Rapid Transit
Travel Time (Commercial Dr – UBC): 33mins
Capital Costs: $350m (Diesel) $450m (Trolley)
Incremental Operating Costs: $-1m (Diesel) $-2m Trolley
Project Daily Boardings (2021): 75,000

Light Rail Transit 1
Travel Time (Commercial Dr – UBC): 26mins to 29mins
Capital Costs: $1.1b
Incremental Operating Costs: $-3m to $-6m
Project Daily Boardings (2021): 99,000-109,000

Light Rail Transit 2
Travel Time (Commercial Dr – UBC): 26mins to 29mins
Capital Costs: $1.3b to $1.4b
Incremental Operating Costs: $-2m to $-3m
Project Daily Boardings (2021): 107,000-116,000

Rail Rapid Transit (SkyTrain)
Travel Time (Commercial Dr – UBC): 20mins
Capital Costs: $2.9b to $3.2b
Incremental Operating Costs: $-3m to $-7m
Project Daily Boardings (2021): 137,000-146,000

Light Rail/SkyTrain Combination
Travel Time (Commercial Dr – UBC): 27mins
Capital Costs: $2.4b
Incremental Operating Costs: $-5m
Project Daily Boardings (2021): 145,000

Bus Rapid Transit/SkyTrain Combination
Travel Time (Commercial Dr – UBC): 32mins
Capital Costs: $1.9b
Incremental Operating Costs: $4m
Project Daily Boardings (2021): 138,000

Best Bus
Travel Time (Commercial Dr – UBC): 30mins
Capital Costs: $325m
Incremental Operating Costs: $18m
Project Daily Boardings (2021): 75,000

When I look over the different options, it really seems like Bus Rapid Transit is not going to be a good fit for the Broadway corridor and we are likely to be settling on some combination of SkyTrain, light rail, or both.

If light rail is picked at the preferred alternative, the stations are being planned without fare gates. This is because fare gates will substantially increase station costs and decrees access. If we are to see fare gates, it will be a political decision. Also, the stations will be designed to handle four-car trains.

One of the challenges that TransLink will have to overcome is the issues of parking. All of the surface-based transit options will require the removal of some parking.
Cross-section of Broadway from Alma to Arbutus
Just like in Downtown Vancouver, there will be people who will claim that the world will come to an end with the removal of any parking even though we’ve seen time and time again that this is simply not the case.

TransLink first public workshop is tonight:

6pm - 9pm Vancouver Masonic Centre
4th Floor Jewel Ballroom
1495 W.8th Ave, Vancouver


Check out their website for more dates and for information on their online consultations.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Zealand and Climate Change

Recently I received my New Zealand citizenship and thought I'd do some research about the country. The first thing that I checked out is what the country is doing to fight climate change. While it doesn't take much to beat Canada when it comes to actually doing something about climate change, New Zealand really puts us to shame. They actually have a Ministry of Climate Change!

Let compare budgeted spending on the environment per capita for 2010/11.

Canada
Federal $49
BC $37
Total C$86

New Zealand
Climate Change $241
Environment $32
Conservation $96
Total  NZ$369 or C$271.62


New Zealand outspends Canada by a factor of 3. On the climate action front, New Zealand has an Emissions Trading Scheme to reduce GHG emissions. Also, New Zealand has the goal of a 10% to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and a 50% reduction of net greenhouse gases from 1990 levels by 2050. Pretty impressive. Meanwhile Canada's "goal" is to reduce greenhouse gases by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020. Clearly much, much more can be done in Canada.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bike Lanes for Cars?


My friend Dan Burden has said many times that bike lanes actually do more for the motoring public than for cyclists. I'ver never had the time to research that statement, but I do trust Dan 100% and value his work very highly. Dan has said that out of the 22 benefits of bike lanes, only two are for the cyclist.

Yesterday while catching up on my reading I accessed this information and was amazed! So, while all those folks in Vancouver and elsewhere have spoken out and detest bike lanes. take a look at what they do for ALL of us, including car drivers:

(A) Safety--highways with paved shoulders have reduced accident rates, as paved shoulders:

1. Provide space to make evasive maneuvers;

2. Accommodate driver error;

3. Add a recovery area to regain control of a vehicle;

4. Provide space for disabled vehicles;

5. Provide increased sight distance for through vehicles and for vehicles entering the roadway (in cut sections or brushy areas in rural areas, and in urban areas with many sight obstructions);

6. Provide lateral clearance to roadside objects such as guardrail, signs and poles;

7. Contribute to driving ease and reduced driver strain;

8. Reduce passing conflicts between motor vehicles and bicyclists and pedestrians;

9. Make the crossing pedestrian more visible to motorists; and

10. Provide for storm water discharge farther from the travel lanes, reducing hydroplaning. This also reduces splash and spray to following vehicles and nearby pedestrians and bicyclists.

(B) Capacity--highways with paved shoulders can carry more traffic, as paved shoulders:

11. Provide more intersection and safe stopping sight distance;

12. Allow for easier exiting from travel lanes to side streets and roads (also a safety benefit);

13. Provide greater effective turning radius for trucks;

14. Provide space for off-tracking of truck's rear wheels in curved sections;

15. Provide space for disabled vehicles, mail delivery and bus stops;

16. Provide space for bicyclists to ride at their own pace;

17. Provide space between motor vehicles and pedestrians, increasing pedestrians level of comfort

(C) Maintenance--highways with paved shoulders are easier to maintain, as paved shoulders:

18. Provide structural support to the pavement;

19. Discharge water further from the travel lanes, reducing the undermining of the base and subgrade;

20. Provide space for maintenance operations and snow storage;

21. Provide space for portable maintenance signs;

22. Facilitate painting of fog lines.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Taxing

One of the things that I’ve seen in BC in the last decade is a shift from income tax and other hidden taxes to open consumption taxes and user fees. While many people complain about being taxed and feed to death now-a-days, I don’t think they realize that they were already been taxed to death, just more covertly in the past. Any economist worth his weight will tell you that moving to consumption taxes (and fees) are better than skimming people’s pay cheques with income tax. In fact, we haven’t even had income tax in Canada for a century. With consumption based taxes, you can also encourage people to make smarter choices like driving less due to carbon tax and tolling.

I cringe when I hear talk from some political parties, both provincially and federally, that want to axe user fees and consumption tax and move back to the bad old days of income tax or deficit spending. While it may appear “free”, you actually end up paying a heaver price now and in the future. With income tax, you are left with less money to save, invest, or do any of the good things that we are told we should do and actually end up being less productive. Government services tend to get bogged down and over-used without user fees because of a lack of proper valuing. We end up with congested roads, burdened water systems, and exhausted infrastructure.

All this to say that user fees and consumption taxes are something that will be needed in BC if want our government to be able to invest in all the thing we take for granted everyday and help guide us in making smart environmental and economic choices.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Driven Apart

CEOs for Cities, an urbanist think tank, released a report called Driven Apart. The report takes a critic look at the Texas Transportation Institute's Urban Mobility Report (UMR).

"The secret to reducing the amount of time Americans spend in peak hour traffic has more to do with how we build our cities than how we build our roads."

CEOs for Cities notes that the UMR has been used by governments in the US to justify road building projects, but suggests that the UMR is flawed at its core. The UMR uses a metric of comparing free-flow travel time to congested travel time. When using this metric regions like Los Angles have the most congestion while places like Nashville rank as some of the least congested regions.

CEOs for Cities looks at the total time people spend in traffic and found that places like Nashville have the longest commute times while places like Portland, New York, and Chicago have some of the shortest commute times.

According to the UMR, things are much worse in Chicago than in Charlotte
Though it seem counter-intuitive, the more congested a cities is, the less time people spend in traffic. Of course built form has a lot to do with reducing travel times. In places like Portland and New York, people have transportation choices, tend to live closer to work, and end up travelling shorter distances.

When you look at our region, increasing peak congestion has been used to justify freeway projects like the Port Mann and South Fraser Perimeter Road which ironically end up causing people to travel longer distances and long total times even commute times decreased in our region.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pictures from Waterloo Rapid Transit

One of the interesting things on the Waterloo Rapid Transit website are mock-ups of what the streetscape will look like with light rail. When you look at the densities in the pictures and that Waterloo region has a population that is similar to Surrey, you can almost see something like this on King George Highway or 104th Avenue. Also interesting is that most of these road going on a lane diet to accommodate light rail.

Uptown Waterloo - Caroline Street

Courtland and Blockline

Grand River Hospital

Uptown Waterloo - King Street

Monday, March 21, 2011

Region of Waterloo - Light Rail

In June 2009, the Region of Waterloo approved light rail as the preferred rapid transit technology to connect Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge which as has a population of 478,121 according to the 2006 census. In 2010, the Ontario and Federal governments announced funding for the project though in the fall of 2010 there were some concerns about the cost of light rail as compared to bus rapid transit.

Yep, it's the great Bus Rapid Transit/Light Rail debate. Anyway, the staff for the project created a Rapid Transit Implementation Options report which has the following to say about light rail and bus rapid transit. To be clear, the report was talking about Ottawa-style, true BRT not the "BRT" we see in Vancouver or Calgary.
It should be noted that full BRT would be very difficult to convert to LRT because of the cost associated with replacing BRT infrastructure before its service life is over, because conversion is not likely to happen until BRT is at capacity, and because it would be very difficult to operate BRT while building LRT in the same passageway. As far as staff are aware, there has never been a conversion of BRT to LRT in the same at-grade passageway. Ottawa will be the first. Ottawa is avoiding some of the problems associated with converting BRT to LRT by planning to build their LRT underground in their downtown area, at very high cost.

-LRT is much more likely to achieve the objectives of the RGMS [Regional Growth Management Strategy] than BRT;
-LRT has higher capital and net operating costs than BRT, but provides significantly greater benefits;
-LRT has much greater potential to attract transit ridership and to shape urban form than BRT; and
-LRT has a demonstrable influence on land values and is recognized as a planning tool that can support and encourage the development of more sustainable land use patterns.

BRT is cheaper per kilometre to install and to operate than LRT. LRT costs approximately twice as much per kilometre as BRT to install. More details about capital and net operating costs are provided in Section 7.4. Operating costs are shown net of fare box revenue. LRT would have higher fare box revenues than BRT given that LRT (Conestoga Mall to Ainslie Terminal) is expected to have higher ridership than BRT.

Friday, March 18, 2011

2011 City of Langley Community Grant

We are very pleased to announce that South Fraser OnTrax has received a $1000 community grant from the City of Langley. We plan on using this funding for a sustainable transportation workshop in the fall with the help of other community organizations. We will be posted more information as we get closer to the workshop.

South Fraser OnTrax would like to thank the City Council for support sustainability in Langley.

Moving Beyond the Automobile: Congestion Pricing

The following is from Streetfilm which is a great site to check out. The first video is on congestion pricing and the second video is about separated bike lanes in New York.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

50 Foot Sign

One the the things about building communities at an auto and not at a people scale is that you end up with things that you'd rather not have. For example at the February 21 City of Langley Council meeting, a development variance permit for two 50 foot signs was approved by council for the new development at Glover Road and the Langley Bypass. A 50 foot sign is about as tall as a five storey building which will make this sign the second tallest structure in the City of Langley! The developer noted that:

"The internal dealerships need a presence on the roadway and the height is required to ensure visibility to drivers traveling at highway speeds."

Freestanding signs rarely contribute to the urban fabric of the community and further cements the notion that people and good urban design don't belong on the Langley Bypass. The Langley Bypass is one of the ugliest, most uninspired, and non-sustainable routes in the South of Fraser and one of the few commercial roads without a sidewalk that I can think of. It doesn't present a good imagine of Langley.

With the approval of these signs, I wonder if others will apply for similar five story signs along the Bypass. Now that the precedence is set is there much point in a sign bylaw?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Port Mann

With the help of the Internet Archive's WayBackMachine, I was able to find some interesting facts about the Port Mann Bridge and HOV lanes that currently exist on the Trans-Canada Highway. First some background, a July 29, 1998 press release outlined the government of the day's plans and priority for highways in Metro Vancouver:
The provincial government proposes to improve the operation of the Greater Vancouver highway system over the next decade through the development of four types of programs. High Occupancy Vehicle / Transit Priority Network. It is expected that in the next five to seven years the investment priority for HOV will be the creation of transit lanes and queue jumpers on both provincial and local roads. The objective is to help increase BC Transit ridership by providing time savings and improving reliability. A second priority will be the development of HOV lanes in the eastern half of the Burrard Peninsula to provide connectivity and continuity with the Barnet-Hastings and Highway 1 HOV lanes. The current timetable calls for the completion of a detailed investment plan in early 1998.

...

Major Road Improvements. Over the next two years, the provincial government will co-operate with municipalities to plan regional routes which may be upgraded or developed to take pressure off the Trans-Canada corridor and to improve conditions for local and regional traffic.

Trans-Canada Highway improvements which will be implemented in co-operation with local governments are:

-Improvements at and around the Cape Horn Interchange just west of the Port Mann Bridge to increase its capacity to process traffic, including high occupancy vehicles coming from the new Highway 1 HOV lanes
-A new South Fraser Perimeter Road to link highways 1 and 15 with Highway 91 and the Alex Fraser Bridge. Among other benefits, this would divert traffic from the Port Mann Bridge
-A North Fraser Perimeter Road, partly using existing roadway, to connect the Mary Hill Bypass with Marine Way and relieve growing congestion
-A Stormont-McBride Connector to provide a better connection from Highway 1 in Burnaby to Marine Way and Highway 91
-The extension of Nordel Way to connect with 88th Avenue
-Some improvements to Highway 10 in Surrey, Langley and Delta to improve safety and traffic flow between highways 1 and 91.
This lead me to another website about the $60 million Trans-Canada Highway HOV lane project between Grandview Highway Interchange and the Cape Horn Interchange.


HOV lanes near Cariboo
under construction
This project completed in 1998, just in time for the $74 million Cape Horn to Port Mann Bridge HOV improvement project.
There are four components to the $74-million project:

-Highway 7 laning improvements at United Boulevard (Opened November 17, 1999)
-A new Highway 7 to Highway 1 westbound on-ramp (Opened December 15, 1999)
-An eastbound HOV lane on the Port Mann Bridge (Scheduled completion Spring 2001)
-Mary Hill Bypass to westbound Highway 1 ramp (Scheduled completion late 2001)

The additional eastbound HOV lane will be an extension of the existing Highway 1 HOV Lanes that opened in October 1998. The HOV lanes currently run from the Grandview Highway Interchange (just east of Boundary Road) to the Cape Horn Interchange (just west of the Port Mann Bridge).


It is interesting to note that the HOV lanes were originally for three or more people in a vehicle and was reduced to two or more. Also really interesting is that the company that is going to tear down the current Port Mann Bridge is the same company that in 2001 complete the HOV lane on that same bridge, Flatiron. Between 1998 and 2001 the government of the day invested $134 million on the Trans-Canada highway, only to have it last for about a decade. Note a very good return on investment if you ask me. Hopefully, we get more life out of the current $3300 million Port Mann/Highway 1 Project.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Light Rail Update

I found these clips on the Internet about various light rail projects in the US. First off is a clip about The Tide light rail system which is under construction in Norfolk, Virginia that began service in December 2010.


The second video looks at life in Tempe, Arizona where Phoenix's new light rail line goes and the effects it is having in the community.



The final video is about Detroit's Woodward Avenue light rail project.

Friday, March 11, 2011

200th Street and Langley Bypass Interchange

The City of Langley has posted a new 47 page presentation on the 192 St/51 Ave/196 St, $121.00 million Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program Overpass Project. What I found interesting is that on page 27 thought was given to a major interchange at 200th Street and the Langley Bypass. It was costed at over $150 million and was quickly rejected.

Proposed 200th Street and Langley Bypass Interchange

This goes back to a previous point I've been making on this blog which is that the road network we see is pretty much what we got due to the high cost of plowing roads through viable businesses and residential neighbourhoods. In the South of Fraser we will be ringed by freeways, but we will have to rely on a diverse transportation mix to get us through the increasingly congestion core road network.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Langley Lodge

The tallest building in Langley, the six story Langley Lodge Seniors Care Centre, will complete its three-year expansion program which saw the construction of a new six storey West Tower and the complete renovation of the 1974 East Tower in April. The project cost a total of $28 million.

Building Pad
What is interesting about project is that there is no basement or underground parking which I'm sure helped in keep the costs down. As the population ages and the cost of transportation increases, I have to wondering if this will become the new normal for construction. I know that in the City of Vancouver and Surrey, they are experimenting with unbundling parking from apartment purchases.

Anyway, the Langley Lodge has a February 2011 and October 2010 Construction Bulletin which has more information on the project.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2010 Community Sustainability Snapshot

The Fresh Outlook Foundation, a Okanagan based sustainable advocacy organization, released its 2010 Community Sustainability Snapshot survey of local government. I suggest that you download the whole report, but I wanted to highlight a few of the results.

About half of the local governments surveyed had sustainability plans and project in 2010 while in 2007 only about a quarter had plans. It was interesting to note that limited financial resources, aversion to change, and public apathy/resistance are some of the top barrier to impalement sustainable community policies.

Not surprising, local government planning and legislation (e.g., OCPs, RGSs) have been the tools of choice to promote sustainability. Also, local governments look to other local governments when developing sustainability plans. In fact the top resource requested by local governments was case studies from other communities in their province. This lead me to the conclusion that we need a few bold and visionary communities that other communities can look to when implementing sustainability plans.

Water efficiency/conservation, solid waste reduction, energy efficiency, active transportation projects are the top four sustainability initiatives that local government has worked on. When it comes to funding, it is the provincial government that has provided the most money to support sustainability projects.

Looking at the responses in the survey, it seems that local government staff really need the support of elected official (who look to the general public) to implement sustainability projects and with the lack of funding being cited a the top barrier to sustainability, it seems that general public and elected official education is something that is still very much needed.

PS: I'd like to point out the the Township of Langley had the third most respondents to this survey at 4, while the Town of Ladysmith had 5, the District of Summerland had 6 people fill out the survey.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Built Environment

In November we had Dan Burden speak at our Sustainability on the Edge event and recently posted his talk at TEDx Manhattan Beach on the blog. He showed us what we can accomplish when we work together and listen to each other.

Dan showed us how we can create a good environment; a happy, healthy and safe place for young and old alike. This built environment must be for people and not just for the private vehicle. In the talk, we were advised that we could learn a lot from some people like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

A good built environment must have room for walking, safe lanes for bicycles, parks (that can be seen by shops and homes close by), and good public transportation. This will lead to a better quality of life for all and give people real choice and equality.

On that note, our current transportation system is not equitable or accessible. Some people who immigrate to Canada may initially struggling due to the fact that they must to learn to drive and buy their own car to find work and keep a job. When I was working with the Salvation Army, I learned there were many working poor people and they had a hard time owning and maintaining their own private vehicle. There are also middle class people who cannot afford to provide a vehicle for every member of the family. If you are unable to drive due to health reasons, you may also find yourself at a disadvantage. Even is cars were free, we simply cannot build enough roads and bridges for every person to own their own private vehicle and that is why we should listen to people like Dan when it comes to place making.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dan Burden Does A TED Talk

Back in December I was in LA working with Dan Burden on a project. He told me at that time, that he would be doing a talk for TED. Well, it has arrived. Mr. Dan Burden at TEDx Manhattan Beach! Dan has sent along another interesting link from the same TED discussion and I will be posting that on another day.

Dan believes this economic crisis is causing America (and probably many other places) to wake up and change the way we are building our communities. Development is not a bad thing. It is how we do development that can be good or bad. Listen and learn from the Master of Walkability as I call him, Mr. Dan Burden.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Don't Miss It - Resilient Cities Event in Mission


(Click Poster to View Larger Image)
UPDATE: Registration begins on March 7th for the full day program at $100. The FREE evening program does not require prior registration.

On March 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm, there will be a free evening RESILIENT CITIES presentation at The Clarke Theatre, 33700 Prentis Avenue, Mission, BC. No registration for the free evening event is required.

Also on March 24, 2011 starting at 8:00 am at the same location, there will be a day-long symposium on Resilient Cities. The full day program fee is only $100 and requires registration.The online registration should begin on March 7, 2011. I should have read the full email from Cory, sorry! If you are interested in the daytime symposium, you can contact one of these folks for more information:

sfletcher@mission.ca
chalbert@city.whiterock.bc.ca

March 7th registration should be at:
http://www.pibc.bc.ca/content/pibc-institute-chapter-events

We will keep you posted as much as possible on this event and provide an updated link to the $100 full day program registration, if one is forwarded to us. But please take advantage of the free evening presentation starting at 7:00 pm!

Hat tip to faithful SFOT blog read Cory Newcomb and the new Senior Planning Technician for the City of Sidney on Vancouver Island, who brought to my attention this very worthy city building presentation. We wish Cory much success on the island, but will certainly miss seeing him around the FVRD and Metro Vancouver for sure.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Active Transportation Spending in Vancouver

Just for fun, I decided to compare what the City of Vancouver has set aside for cycling infrastructure improvements as compared to South of Fraser municipalities. I must point out that, with the exception of the City of Langley, budget information hasn't been easy to find and requires way to much effort to find. Anyway, in Vancouver they have a three-year, $494.8 million capital budget from 2009 to 2011. In that budget they have set aside $29 million for cycling (Cycling Network, Greenways Program, Burrard Bridge Traffic/Bicycle/Pedestrian Upgrade). On average that's $9.6m per year or $14.94 per person on cycling.

Spending on Cycling Infrastructure (not with new roads)
Vancouver $14.94 per person
Surrey $4.33 person
Township of Langley $1.68 person
City of Langley $0 person

The City of Vancouver outspends Surrey by a factor of 3 on cycling which shows that we have much catching up to do in the South of Fraser give that Vancouver is outspending us on cycling and that they had a 20 year head start!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Downtown Surrey

In case you missed it, yesterday the City of Surrey broke ground on the new City Hall which is part of the new civic centre in Downtown Surrey.



According to the City of Surrey website:
The new City Hall and Community Plaza are part of the Build Surrey program, the most comprehensive construction and capital works program in the city’s history. The program will see a variety of community centres, recreation facilities and infrastructure projects built in every town centre over the next ten years to create vibrant, connected, pedestrian-friendly communities.

Other Build Surrey projects in City Centre include the new Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre, a new 75,000 square foot regional library currently under construction, a covered youth park, a performing arts centre, as well as walking trails and beautification initiatives. In conjunction with the major new residential developments underway, these projects will support new commercial, entertainment, education, civic, and recreation opportunities for residents and businesses in Surrey.

More Resource:
Build Surrey Program Brochure
Civic Centre Development Brochure

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Detroit Light Rail - Woodward Avenue

I've been following the progress of a proposed streetcar line in the heart of Detroit for about a year now. Detroit is pretty much a text book example of how 1950's urban planning, white flight, and complete faith in the automotive industry lead to the complete devastation of the core city. Right now 27% of all land parcels in the City of Detroit are vacant and the core city's population continues to shrink. It's not all doom and gloom in Detroit though. While there is certainly some interesting proposals and projects with urban farming in the city, they are also looking to light rail to bring life back.

In 2006, planning started for a 9.3 mile starter streetcar line that will form the backbone of a new regional rail transit system. The 3.4 mile first phase is scheduled to start construction this year.

Proposed Transit Network
They have also posted a video of what Woodward Avenue will look like with light rail.



People and business in Detroit have looked at how light rail has trigger investment in other communities and are looking to get on board. Ironically, like most North America cities, Detroit had an extensive streetcar system that was ripped out for the auto including on Woodward Avenue.
Even more importantly, it will also play a key role in revitalizing Detroit. As Mayor Bing pointed out in his State of the City address, it is a centerpiece of plans to attract 15,000 new residents to the Midtown area.

Businessmen like Dan Gilbert, Roger Penske, and Chris Illitch are so confident in this rail project’s ability to boost downtown Detroit that they are donating their own money to help build it.

Rail transit is no longer just for the New Yorks and Chicagos of the world. Cities like St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Minneapolis, Denver, Charlotte, Houston, Salt Lake City and Phoenix all have successfully integrated light rail into their city streets. Ridership is well above expectations, with the light rail attracting not only low income workers who need affordable transportation, but also professionals seeking an escape from long time-wasting commutes. And like Dallas, these cities are reaping enormous economic benefits from it.
- Michigan Live