Transit: access and support of urban lifestyle vs. speed
But it is happening on H Street/DC "this soon" only because former ANC6A Chairman Joe Fengler organized a campaign to get DDOT to agree to include rail installation as part of the previously approved streetscape upgrade.
Without the rails on H Street as a goad, there would be no streetcar service...
Complaints that streetcars in mixed traffic are a waste. But it reminded me of the recent discussion about how streetcars in mixed traffic "are a waste." See "Meet the worst transit project in America" from Vox and how the conversation is misguided, because it's asking the service to answer a different question from its purpose.
Access versus speed. And in thinking about the photo, I realized that my writing on the same topic, "Making the case for intra-city (vs. inter-city) transit planning" should have referenced the University of Minnesota "Access to Destinations" research project from a few years back.
What is accessibility?The point is that access to places can be just as important or even more important than how long it takes to get there.
Accessibility is the central organizing concept of the Access to Destinations Study. In the context of transportation studies, accessibility refers to the ability of people to reach the destinations they must visit in order to meet their needs, and desire to visit to satisfy their wants.
Working, shopping, education, and recreation are just some of the human activities that motivate people to travel to a variety of destinations. The ability to reach these destinations is affected by many factors, including the transportation infrastructure, travel behavior preferences, patterns of land use and development, availability of mass transportation services, and traffic management policies. Understanding how these factors interact to affect the lives of urban and suburban residents is a major goal of the Access to Destinations Study.
Don't get me wrong, I like speed too.
But the point of streetcar service is to support urban living--living close to work, shopping, parks and other amenities, and having a number of non-automobile methods to get there--walking, biking, various forms of transit, car sharing, etc.
It's not to move you long distances, where speed matters.
State Lawmakers Give OK To 25 MPH Speed Limit For New York City."
Sustainable mobility policy and practice requires a wide range of changes to existing practices. I have been thinking about this too in terms of how the city talks the talk about sustainable mobility, but so many of our policies and practices don't support it fully, ranging from
- the failure to take bike theft seriously
- the fact that traffic accident analysis favors the motor vehicle over pedestrians and bicyclists
- that the city raised speed limits on many arterials--albeit out of the core--rather than lowered them, as NYC just did on Broadway, which required the passage of a new law by the State Legislature authorizing New York City to have posted speed limits under 30mph on arterials (Broadway Is Reined In by a Lower Speed Limit"," New York Times)
- how NYC has introduced "Neighborhood Slow Zones" of 20mph in neighborhoods
-- Metroway webpage