El Paso and Juarez Plan Transit Link

» Project would span international boundary, but it’s unclear how immigration law would be upheld.

Counselors in both El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico agreed this week to support the creation of a fixed-corridor transit line connecting their two cities. A new line, probably rail, could use existing bridges and track to reinforce a link that tens of thousands of people cross today in automobiles or by foot. An hour-long wait is common for Mexicans attempting to enter the United States. Other than speeding movement, however, there are few specifics offered about the project, which seems more of a pipe dream than a serious proposal.

The project’s ambition brings to mind the still-born effort to stage the 2016 Summer Olympics in San Diego and neighboring Tijuana. In that case, a local attempt at bi-national unity was superseded by higher level administrators who feared the logistical and political problems inherent in trying

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San Jose Plots a Renewal of Its Struggling Light Rail Network

» VTA, unlike most other modern systems, has had trouble attracting ridership.

More than 20 years after its first segment opened, the VTA Santa Clara County light rail system has yet to provoke a significant change in the land use patters of San Jose and its surroundings. Rather, the project has yet to attract major investment in areas around stations and it has done little to reinforce the tenuous status of downtown San Jose as the region’s center. Fortunately, VTA planners are on the lookout for potential improvements and are now evaluating ways to improve service. The problem is that the failures of this rail system aren’t the lines or vehicles themselves but rather the physical form of the city.

VTA’s difficulties are made manifest by the system’s low ridership: despite the fact that the system now offers 42 miles of service heading in all directions from

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Learning from the Keystone Corridor

» We can expect modest jumps in ridership after investing in relatively minor rail line upgrades.

In 2006, Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation completed work on improvements to the Keystone Corridor, which runs 104 miles from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. The $145 million project increased top speeds to 110 mph and allowed for full electric operation, making it possible to run trains reliably from New York’s Penn Station. The line now offers 14 weekday round trips between Harrisburg and Philadelphia and 1h35 trip times between the city centers on express trains (compared with two hours previously), with local routes making the journey in up to 1h55. The improvements on the Keystone demonstrate the small gains that can be garnered from making rail services more time competitive.

The upgrades to the route have allowed Amtrak to increase passenger totals significantly over the past two years. Though Keystone ridership has been on

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East Bay, Starved for Transit Funds, Considers Postponing BRT Project

» Line connecting Berkeley, Oakland, and Bayfair had been planned for 2012; Oakland Airport Connector project, meanwhile, still appears to be moving forward.

AC Transit, which provides service in the California East Bay counties of Alameda and Contra Costa, announced earlier this month that it would have to cut service by 15% to make up for budget shortfalls. The agency has suffered from declining tax revenue and a complete cutoff from state funds that it had relied upon in previous years. The agency, which is centered in Oakland, is one of the largest transit providers in the country, with buses carrying 240,000 people a day.

In order to avoid cutting service, General Manager Rick Fernandez has proposed using $80 million in funds now designated for a bus rapid transit line and divert it to normal bus service. The BRT project would connect downtown Berkeley with Bayfair, via downtown

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Readying Atlanta for Its Bright Future

» Resurgent city plans major transit expansion in the form of streetcar and light rail lines, but will they serve its growing population well?

When Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996, it had the chance to project itself as the epitome of progress in the New South. But the city was sick. Despite massive growth in its suburbs, Atlanta had been losing population since 1970. The Games were marred by poorly planned transit service and a bombing that killed two people and injured 100 others. The year before, the city had been rated the most dangerous in the United States.

Atlanta rebuilt itself quickly into the capital of the South after it was destroyed during the Civil War by General William T. Sherman, who described it later: “Behind us lay Atlanta, smouldering and in ruins, the black smoke rising high in air, and hanging like a pall over the ruined

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The Site / The Fight

  • by Yonah Freemark
  • Twitter: @yfreemark
  • yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com
  • Le progrès ne vaut que s'il est partagé par tous.

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