Weekend Links

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

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The Transport Politic:

Next American City:

Canadians like transit

  • The Canadian federal government has agreed to commit $265 million to the Waterloo light rail project, which will extend into Kitchener and Cambridge. The local governments involved may not be able to find the rest of the funds to pay for the almost $700 million program.
  • Elsewhere in Ontario, the provincial government has found $600 million to fund the light rail system there, which will replace a busway with a rail tunnel through downtown. Though that project is being contested in the upcoming mayoral election, this money makes its construction more likely. Ontario has already agreed to spend billions on the Toronto area transit system.
  • Calgary planners propose two express buses and a streetcar all serving the airport. Many politicians, on the other hand, want a light rail extension there.

High-speed rail takes time

  • South Korea, which already has a high-speed system roughly based on the French TGV, plans a major expansion to connect all of the country’s major cities. Links to North Korea, however, aren’t likely for a long time.
  • Siemens promotes its trains in ads across the internet, hoping to win commissions for contracts in California, Florida, and the Midwest. For now, though, the only company that will for sure build new trains for the U.S. is Spanish concern Talgo, which will construct trains for Wisconsin.
  • Despite the big benefits of high-speed rail for California, people on the Peninsula are continuing to fight its development. A Palo Alto committee declares “no confidence” in the project. But the High-Speed Rail Authority reaffirms its push for an alignment through that city.


  • Washington, D.C. has begun the installation of its new bike sharing stations, Beyond DC reports. The first station was actually put up in Arlington, but the whole system should be up and operating later this fall. I questioned the density of the system earlier in the summer.

Image above: Montréal Métro, from Flickr user David Salafia (cc)

6 replies on “Weekend Links”

Regarding the Waterloo Region light rail funding: There’s a municipal election coming up, so most candidates are in taxpayer skepticism/populism mode. After the election staff will come back with options for moving forward — and I’m sure will reiterate the costs of doing nothing. There’s a solid chance light rail will be coming to the region.

“people on the Peninsula are continuing to fight (HSR) development”

Categorically untrue. Some people are fighting it, because it will ruin near the homes. But a recent public opinion poll on the peninsula shows overwhelming support for the fast trains, and those counties voted overwhelmingly with the rest of the state to pay for it.

I think you meant “some people are fighting it, because they fear it will ruin their homes”. The number of people fighting it because it will actually ruin their homes would be approximately zero. Indeed, since its the key to electrification of Caltrain, its one of the best possible insurance policies for property values in the Peninsula against the impact of oil price shocks.

Even without oil price shocks there’s congestion and parking issues that make having a train nearby that makes real estate worth more. Being able to put “walk to train” in the real estate ad is worth a lot of money.

This has been the source of the urban / suburban divide on local rail spending … the value of the greatest transport capacity per square foot of corridor is far greater in central urban areas than in suburban areas.

Those habits of thought continue, even as the high floor on gas prices during the deepest recession since the 1930’s revealed how obsolete they are … convenient access to an oil-independent rail corridor is one of the best friend that a suburban home owner will be able to boast of in the coming decade, and its a good deal even for houses directly backing onto the corridor.

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