Regional Transportation Authorities are not Necessarily the Solution to the Urban-Suburban Divide

» Developing common goals is more productive than forcing a merger of regional transportation agencies. An authority for Detroit comes closer.

If there’s anything Detroit needs most, it may be regional cooperation, where it finds itself distinctively behind the times. While some major cities like New York or San Francisco are large and wealthy enough to be able to close themselves off politically from the surroundings, Michigan’s largest metropolis benefits from neither of those characteristics, so it must find ways to make agreements with nearby municipalities.

Frequently mentioned is the idea of a regional transportation district, which would coordinate funding and spending activities at the metropolitan scale. A proposal for one is currently being considered in the Michigan legislature. But it’s not clear that the creation of such an agency will resolve some of the structural issues complicating politics in this metropolis.

The biggest problem is the metropolitan area’s racial and class

Continue reading Regional Transportation Authorities are not Necessarily the Solution to the Urban-Suburban Divide »

Weekend Links

» This week’s big news. Open thread in the comments.

Follow my Twitter account (@ttpolitic) to get news in real time.

On The Transport Politic:

With new government settling into power, U.K.’s HS2 project could be radically reworked
Charlotte’s Northeast Corridor light rail line underfunded, likely to be shortened
Paris unveils four-year cycling plan with aim to reinforce Velib’ bike share
There’s more to life than transit expansion


Los Angeles is building one of the nation’s large rail rapid transit systems today, but it has had a variety of ideas for solving its congestion problems over the years. In 1954, it put together a proposal for a series of downtown bus tunnels. Suffice it to say, the concept didn’t go very far.

(Unrealistic?) Plans:

Nashville pulls together a proposal to spend $5 billion on transit expansion over the next few decades. It plans to invest

Continue reading Weekend Links »

There's More to Life than Transit Expansion

Cities in the United States are almost universally lacking in adequate transit provision, both in terms of capacity and services provided. These limitations are at least partially to blame for the limited use of public transportation by Americans and inform the primary focus of this website, the expansion of bus and rail networks from coast to coast.

It is from this perspective that I disagreed so adamantly last week with Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, who has argued that transit systems must prioritize ensuring adequate support for existing services while cutting down on major extension plans for rapid transit. Despite the great costs involved, our transportation infrastructure is so weak that we have no choice but to invest in both expanded operations and the construction of new lines — in most cities. The federal government has a responsibility to play a major role on both those fronts.

Yet my previous discussion —

Continue reading There’s More to Life than Transit Expansion »

Paris Unveils Four-Year Cycling Plan With Aim to Reinforce Velib' Bike Share

» Two major axes will service 65 “biking neighborhoods” throughout the city. Dedicated bike lanes will increase from 273 miles today to 435 miles by 2014.

If Velib’ has changed the face of Paris by providing it the largest bike sharing system in the world with 1,800 stations and more than 20,000 bikes, there’s still plenty of work to be done in the French capital. After nine years of slow but steady improvements originating from an environmentally minded city hall, Paris is about to hit the accelerator pedal.

The new plan, to be presented in early June to the city council, where it is virtually guaranteed passage, will increase the number of bike lanes within this 40.7 square mile city from 273 miles today (most built since 2001) to 435 miles in 2014. Two major axes — one running east-west from the Bois de Vincennes to the

Continue reading Paris Unveils Four-Year Cycling Plan With Aim to Reinforce Velib’ Bike Share »

Charlotte's Northeast Corridor Light Rail Line Underfunded, Likely to be Shortened

» Extension of the city’s successful first rail transit line, now years behind schedule, is to be further delayed.

Just weeks before the opening of their first light rail line in November 2007, Charlotte’s voters affirmed their commitment to the city’s transit expansion, voting by a large margin to continue the collection of a dedicated half-cent sales tax first approved in 1998. Their endorsement of the city’s public transportation was founded on the sense that Charlotte’s growth needed to be reconfigured around walkability and transit use. One place everyone in this New South city did not want to imitate was Atlanta, whose unchecked sprawl is not particularly appealing.

The 10-mile South light rail line, from Center City to I-485 via the South End, has seen ridership shoot far above initial expectations. And the city’s bus system has seen ridership double since 2000, from 34,000 daily riders to 77,000.


Continue reading Charlotte’s Northeast Corridor Light Rail Line Underfunded, Likely to be Shortened »

The Site / The Fight

  • by Yonah Freemark
  • Twitter: @yfreemark
  • yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com
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