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monsoon

Light Rail Fails in Cincinnati

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bobliocatt    0

Too bad they just don't get it, especially when its a good possibility that several of those old subway tunnels could have been used in this system. Well at least, Fort Lauderdale approved a light rail system yesterday and plan to have their's up & running by 2007.

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Cotuit    0

Perhaps they can find the money to secure the right of ways and construct a bare-bones BRT line with tht option to convert to LRT in the future.

LRT is clearly superior and costs less in the long run, but the start up costs are high.

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Phillydog    39

I think David Walters, in his latest article from the Charlotte Creative Loafing, says it best. As a person interested in building American cities where "mobility" means something to everyone and realizing that the built form of our cities is the key to broadening mobility, I especially like Mr. Walters' words:

Autopia

Reclaiming Charlotte from its cars

BY DAVID WALTERS

Sometimes it takes an outsider to make us see the obvious. Dan Glaister, a British journalist perplexed by Americans' complete reliance on the automobile, recently sent this dispatch back to London: "In its own dysfunctional way (America's) car culture . . . works. You can get around, you can park when you get there -- or someone else parks for you -- and you can drive home when you leave, sometimes even travelling at high speed within the city boundaries, should you chance upon the right freeway at the right time of day. It's only when you step outside the car and try to cross the road or walk to the nearest shop that the absolute barminess of it all hits you."

This "barminess," the crazy concept of sublimating human health and safety to the needs of the automobile, is starkly evident in a world where pedestrians have second-class status. Cars control Charlotte. Can we cast off the yoke of servitude to these mechanical masters and reclaim our city?

As in most American cities, Charlotteans complain about gas prices as the cost of filling an SUV's tank tops 50 dollars. But this cost isn't high enough to make us change our profligate routines. We drive as much as always, spending more time sealed in our cars and buildings than living in our streets and public spaces. And that's the way we design new pieces of our city -- separated structures with only large highways connecting them. A few token sidewalks here and there proclaim the possibility of walking. But there's nowhere to walk to.

We live as servants in the kingdom of the car.

Another Englishman, the architectural historian Reyner Banham -- known for cycling everywhere on his folding Moulton bicycle -- coined the phrase "autopia" in his book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. In the days before we fully understood the consequences of paving paradise so we could drive everywhere, Banham noted "the private car and the public freeway together provide an . . . idealised version of democratic urban transportation: door-to-door movement on demand at high average speeds over a very large area."

That kind of personal mobility has become ingrained in American thinking, perceived as part of this nation's birthright. We demand this convenience but we're in deep denial about the consequences. In pursuit of our "manifest destiny," we destroy the natural landscape, disturb the ecology of the oceans, pollute the environment, and go to war, all in the quest for more gasoline to feed our habit.

The US comprises only 5 percent of the world's population, yet we consume a whopping 45 percent of the world's gasoline. More than half our fuel comes from foreign countries, upon whom we're increasingly dependent, like junkies buying whatever they can from their dealers.

Our addiction to foreign oil is our Achilles' heel in the "war on terror." If we are ever to gain the upper hand against Muslim fundamentalists, we have to free ourselves from this debilitating dependency on gasoline. Changing our lifestyles so we drive less would be a true form of patriotism.

What should our government be doing? What can we do as individuals?

Instead of digging America deeper every day into the quagmire of huge federal deficits, immoral tax cuts for the rich, and deeply foolish foreign wars, Congress and the White House should be investing those billions of dollars in alternative energy sources, and dramatically increasing fuel efficiency standards of cars and trucks to cut gasoline consumption. We should stop building and supporting single-use mega-malls and power centers that demand much more driving to shop in distant locations, and concentrate instead on building mixed-use neighborhoods that can support the renewal of a more sustainable community life. We should be redesigning America's cities for people, and putting cars in their proper place.

These actions need strong government leadership, and they won't happen without federal mandates, but they would be more patriotic than anything in the ill-named "Patriot Act."

We could all try to live more economical, carefully planned lives, reducing our energy consumption and automobile dependence. My wife and I are lucky to live in Dilworth, a neighborhood built for pedestrians and transit in the early 1900s, and which provides us today with most things we need without leaving our community. We can walk, or drive short distances, to the grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants, coffee shops, copy shop, bookstore, two parks, and, if we had school-age kids, the elementary school. We can walk to work at our studio in South End. I can ride the bus to the university. Just think what Charlotte could be like if we built our city where everybody had the freedom to leave their car at home! We could drive less, use less gas, and help the USA win its global conflict.

I'm just trying to be patriotic. And I'm not even American.

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Allan    0

Why don't they utilize the subway they never used ???

Maybe the cost? I don't know. I heard a story on the old subway system on NPR one evening...it was quite interesting. Although now I want to go check it out myself!

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PghUSA    0

I'd help Cincy out but I am too busy digging the subway we never got to the UNIVERSITIES and the AIRPORT (more then just the downtown and southern suburbs one we are stuck with now)--but as soon as I complete what has been discussed by 'burgh politicans for the last 80 years I'll get digging in Cincy! P.S. You are more then welcomed to borrow my shovel in the mean time ;)

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Get the dumbies out of office that killed this project!!! The same thing happened in Cleveland with Neorail (www.pb4d.com/neorail) back a couple of years ago by Kucinich.

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