This is Washington, DC’s Streetcar.
It runs through 2.2 miles of mixed traffic in the United States capital.
And it was once part of an ambitious 37 mile streetcar network for the city.
But those plans have changed drastically.
The project was delivered 7 years past its deadline .
And tens of million dollars over budget.
The idea was to increase mobility for residents .
While revitalizing an economically depressed area of the city.
But it’s had trouble along the way…..
Similar problems sprung up in Atlanta and Salt Lake City too.
Still, there’s a massive resurgence of streetcars underway.
Since 2001, about a dozen streetcar systems have cropped up across the country.
But why do so many cities want streetcars?
The general goal is based on the idea that if we build more densely around our transit
车站 就能说服更多人多走动 多骑自行车
stations, then we’ll convince more people to walk around, bike around, and take transit
to get work to get to school and other destinations.
Streetcars are also touted for their ability to add a certain… je ne sais quoi to a neighborhood.
You know, every city in the country even around the world wants to have some type of train
列车能穿过他们的城市 因为他们认为那看起来是个积极 时髦
going through their city because they see it as a positive, modern looking and modern
feeling public transportation system.
The case for building streetcars has historical precedent.
They’ve been around since the 19th century, when they were first horse-driven.
之后 二十世纪 它的电力版本在城市里普遍流行起来
Later, in the 20th century, the electrical versions became really popular in cities.
Their popularity started to fade when cities turned their focus to building infrastructure
for buses and cars.
But in the last decade or so, streetcars have made a comeback.
There’s been a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about urban living and some of that comes
with excitement about mass transportation.
But big, sort of traditional heavy rail subway projects are very, very expensive.
So cities look for something cheaper that they can do and a lot of them have come up
The Portland Streetcar was one of the first in the new wave and has led the way for other
Its success is often cited in proposals to exemplify the benefits of a modern transit
But all streetcar proposals are not created equal.
Some have seen roaring success…
While others, like in Atlanta and D.C see a ton of criticism
The problem is that having gone for mass transit on the cheap you get transit that isn’t very
useful for transportation.
It looks nice — you have this cool shiny new train — but if you’re running in mixed
混合交通系统中 你的前进非常缓慢 比传统公共汽车慢了几倍
traffic you’re gonna go as slow, or often times slower than a traditional bus.
Aside from the slow pace, limited connectivity has kept commuters away in DC.
I’ve been living here for 37 years and I like the streetcar.
有轨电车非常方便 只有一件事 就是
It’s convenient, the only thing I don’t like about the streetcar is that it doesn’t
go far enough.
I wouldn’t use the streetcar over the bus because the bus takes me straight to my job.
Right in front of my job.
有轨电车不能去山上 虽然这没什么意义 但是……
The streetcar doesn’t go over the hill, which I didn’t think made sense, but…
所以说 既然有轨电车不能促进通勤 为什么还需要更多的呢？
So if they’re not improving the commute, why is there a push for more streetcars?
From my perspective they are almost entirely designed to support economic development and
not increase mobility.
In Portland, for instance, planners actively sought development adjacent to the streetcar.
Our narrative was pretty development focused early on, to the point where people were saying
the only the only reason you built the streetcar was for development purposes.
Now that we’re carrying upwards of 16,000 passengers a day it’s very much a mix.
The system succeeded because Portland Streetcar worked with developers to support their plan.
You have to really look at the development side of things.
Having the rail on the ground is significantly important for them.
To see the commitment from the city for them to make catalytic investments is is important.
We’re asking these developers to build something that they may not build anyway, but for the
There’s a little bit of quid pro quo there.
That kind of focus on economic development is at the heart of other projects too.
布鲁克林-皇后区轻轨 亦称为BQX 这是一种达到最高水准的从阿斯托里亚到日落公园的
The Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, a state-of-the-art streetcar that will run from Astoria to Sunset
Park, and has the potential to generate over $25 billion of economic activity for our city
over 30 years.
Projections aside, the Brooklyn Queens connector has already proven to be a contentious issue.
I think one clear reason why the project has been advanced is, is similar to the streetcar
projects being discussed around the country which is that there is an economic development
goal in the brooklyn and queens waterfront by some major investors who want to improve
transportation for basically the new towers that are being constructed along the waterfront.
The motivation behind development, and its effects make for a messy debate.
A year after its launch, D.C. is starting to see the development that tends to follow
A string of luxury apartments, restaurants and stores has fueled a real estate boom along
There is evidence that suggests that government expenditures of any sort that provide a public
benefit will provide a sort of a stimulus for development
You know whether their parks, whether they’re investments in neighborhood retail improvement,
whether they’re better sidewalks —
but it doesn’t have to be a streetcar.
There are many ways to attract new investment and the streetcar may not be the ideal one
or even the right one.