Tag Archives: Portland(ia)

“Streetcars make a comeback as U.S. cities seek to stimulate economy, increase transit options”

Streetcars make a comeback as U.S. cities seek to stimulate economy, increase transit options.

I never quite know what to make of articles like this one. I like railways of almost every type, so you’d think I would be on this particular bandwagon. But I’m not. Not exactly.

All these cities seem to want to catch the lightning in a bottle that Portland seems to have been able to catch (“$3.5 billion in development!”).  What none of them seem to understand is that by the time the Portland Streetcar came along in 2001, Portland had already been investing seriously in public transit for 15+ years, with an extensive light rail system, a downtown transit mall, and cancelled and dismantled freeways.  They even had a “fareless square” that lasted from 1975 until 2012 when the bean-counters killed it.

So by the time the streetcar started service, the city was already a transit city where people knew what public transit could be and voted with their feet and used it.

Tucson hasn’t done that.  Cincinnati hasn’t either, nor has KC.  Detroit?  Well …  bad example of anything.  

Nor has OKC for that matter.

Good luck to them, but I’m not optimistic.