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Better than I could put it

Absent other options (and local bus is not an option) they will drive. That’s where rail comes in. We can build it, as some have suggested, in places where people don’t want to live right now in hopes that people will want to live there. Or we can build it where people already are, and where more people are coming, to take some of that load. We’ve learned from Main that people will ride rail if it goes where they want to go. We’ve also learned that dense development is most likely to occur in places that are already dense. Rail isn’t causing density — the density is coming anyway. Rail, done right, is a way to deal with the traffic that density brings.

Focus on this sentence:

We’ve also learned that dense development is most likely to occur in places that are already dense.

What parts of Austin are already dense? Why, the parts served by 2000's light rail proposal, and skipped by commuter rail (and streetcar). And, no, sorry, TOD won't make much of a difference.

We ignore lessons from other cities at our own peril.

This entry was posted in the following categories: Austin , Don't Hurt Us Mr. Krusee, We'll Do Whatever You Want , I Told You So , Transit in Austin , Transportation , Urban Design

Comments

I can think of a counter example where light rail (streetcars) to an unpopulated place was a success, but the differences are so extreme that it may serve to illustrate what it would take.

That counter example is the twin peaks tunnel in San Francisco. When it was built almost a century ago, there was nobody living at the west end of the tunnel. However, the density east of the tunnel was high enough that it was pretty much saturated and the travel time in the streetcars through the tunnel was so much faster than the other options, it made "West Portal" (as the neighborhood is known) a very desirable place to live.

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