Saturday, May 14, 2016

A feature, not a bug

The WSJ's car guy, Dan Neil, writes about "Commute to Thrill ... A new wave of electric-powered rides -- scooters, long boards, unicylces -- is ready to whisk you from your mass-transit stop to your final destination ..."  He notes rail transit's last-mile problem.  Actually, it's a first-and-last-mile problem. The piece is Manahattan-centric; in the rest of America it would be last-and-first-several-mile-problem. Or call it fatal flaw problem.

Right on cue, today's LA Times writes about LA's about-to-open latest light-rail extension, "The Expo Line is finally coming to the Westside, but limited parking raises concerns." The Times (in spite of having recently noted rail's woeful 25 years in LA, see their chart) coverage does include some memorable lines. Here is one: "In planning documents for the Expo Line, officials said they expected commuters will drive into surrounding neighborhoods to find street parking at every station." This stuff passes all of the mandated environmental reviews. Most of these neighborhoods have posted one- or two-hour limits as well as once-per-week street cleaning/tow-away warnings. Often more. Not to mention that some neighborhood residents or business who might have some things to say.

It gets better. "The goal, urbanists say, is to change land-use patterns near stations over time, adding apartment buildings and office complexes along rapid transit corridors that would make it easier for people to get to work, run errands and go out to dinner without a car." So lack of parking is a feature, not a bug. It's a vital part of a grand New Urbanist strategy.

And we hear that some in the public are cynical about what their betters do all day.


DC's Metro problem. Different but similar.