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.

Friday, October 08, 2010

It does make a difference who gets elected: New Jersey and Maryland edition

1. One of the most vital transit infrastructure improvements in NJ/New York City is klled by Governor Christie. See "Christie Halts Train Tunnel, Citing Its Cost" from the New York Times.

I'm not gonna look up transit statistics for northern New Jersey and New York City, but we all know usage is high. From the article:

The tunnel, which would have stretched under the Hudson from North Bergen, N.J., to a new station deep below 34th Street in Manhattan, was intended to double the number of trains that could enter the city from the west each day. The project’s planners said the additional trains would alleviate congestion on local roads, reduce pollution, help the growth of the region’s economy and raise property values for suburban homeowners.

While it's true that the cost for the project is high and that overruns are likely, the economic vitality of New Jersey is in part dependent on strong transit connections with New York City.

There are few transit projects in the nation with as much return on investment as this one.

2. Candidate for governor of Maryland Robert Ehrlich argues for killing the Purple Line light rail system in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, and maybe replacing it with buses. See "Format of Purple Line up to voters" from the Washington Post.

In the Washington region, few transit projects will have as much return on investment (with the exception of the creation of the separated blue line) as the creation of this east-west light rail line in the two Maryland counties that abut DC.

The Dulles Metrorail extension (Silver Line) is projected to have about 87,000 daily riders, the Purple Line about 68,000 daily riders, for less cost.

The region's competitive advantage (DC's in particular) rests upon efficient nonautomobile transportation modes (walking, biking, transit, especially rail-based transit). If the transit system doesn't continue to expand -- note that expand doesn't necessarily mean extend outward, it also means intensification of service and capacity at the core -- this competitive advantage will be squandered.

For this reason alone, were I a resident of Maryland, I wouldn't vote for Bob Ehrlich. (Plus he's slimy in other ways, even if he has a nice smile.)

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