Rail transit is cheaper than cars, buses

Downtown Government Street as a car-free pedestrian mall is a great idea. During a trial in New York City, merchants found many more shoppers came, so they asked that the streets remain car-free. Adding a streetcar/light-rail transit service, as in many European cities, would give people easier access. Our civic and business leaders should be looking at the economic benefits of rail transit.
Cars do not shop, people do. Rail transit delivers far more people than dozens of cars. A line from Ogden Point (for cruise-ship passengers), through James Bay and downtown to Uptown would at first bring James Bay people downtown and later bring people from new, high-value transit-oriented development north along Government and Douglas.
As well, the E&N can easily deliver 1,600 people an hour from the West Shore to downtown on the single track with one passing siding, more than double the ability of a road lane with cars.
Rebuilding the track would take just weeks, compared with many months of traffic disruption during building the McKenzie Avenue interchange. The conjecture — that buses are cheaper — is false. Rebuilding the track on the established base would cost far less than building a two-lane roadway along that right-of-way. U.S. cities find rail runs cheaper than buses. Fewer operators, more passengers, quicker service, longer vehicle life.
Rail transit also attracts drivers from their cars; buses don’t.
Even Kenosha, Wisconsin — population: 100,000 — is extending its streetcar line. Cities everywhere keep building more rail lines after their first.
Bob Trotter

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