Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The right thing, but late

In a better world, we would try common sense first.  Here Mark Perry cites up-and-running private inter-city bus service which might be a better deal than much of the proposed high-speed rail.

Right on time, the Los Angeles planners are proposing express bus service along Wilshire Boulevard.  Actually, they are way late.  Many of us began fretting over subway service along Wilshire many years ago.  But that project went forward and has been a huge waste.  Ridership is one-half of what was "projected" and cost "over-runs" mean that $7-billion have been spent -- and counting.

But costs and benefits aside, there is now a 99-cent store at Wilshire and Fairfax, once the top of LA's Miracle Mile.  This was not how it was supposed to work out.  Lavish transit was supposed to create lavish transit-oriented development and all the cool urban stuff that planners dream about.

This post began with an appreciation of express bus better late than never.  Winston Churchill supposedly remarked that 'You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else!'  Perhaps he was being kind.