Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Another video on the Toronto Streetcar system from the transit workers: transit as an urban industry

Back during the initial streetcar study in DC (DC Transit Futures), I made the point that if DC were to (re)develop streetcars to the extent discussed, then we could work to even develop streetcar manufacturing facilities, not unlike what happened in New Orleans, when they created a manufacturing plant there to construct the streetcars for the then new Canal Street line.  See the past blog entry, "DC as a center of streetcar manufacturing excellence?"

As importantly, in the context of industrial jobs, other than construction and building maintenance (plumbing, electrical, etc.), transit--maintaining the vehicles--is one of the only major industrial/craft industries left in "the city."  For example, in DC with WMATA ("Metro"), you have diesel engine mechanics for buses, track maintenance people, etc.

Looking into the Amtrak Maintenance FaciltyLeft: looking into the Amtrak maintenance facility in the Ivy City Yard from a nearby street overpass.

Similarly, DC needs to think of Amtrak as a local industry, because many locomotive engineers and other "industrial" workers involved in the running of the Amtrak passenger rail service are based here.  See "Commuter Railroads and Amtrak."

Anyway, the Toronto Transit Maintenance Workers have another great video (they are worried about their jobs refurbishing streetcars being outsourced) about the Toronto Streetcar "Lifecycle Enhancement Project," which completely restores and rebuilds streetcar vehicles on a 5 year cycle, to maintain their useful life.

Granted the union workers take all the credit for this, when of course, it is equally a management initiative and commitment.  Nevertheless, the video is well done and shows the various sections of the Hillside Maintenance Shops involved in the 5-week process of rebuilding the car.

It's a well done video.  (Too often such videos are not.)

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