Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Challenge

I challenge any city to draw lines in the street and run a bus, then run a streetcar and see what happens. And again, why are we so worried about overhead wires? Lungs don't care about your aesthetic.

10 comments:

Andrew said...

I think this is one of the most important selling points to people less familiar with public trans projects.

Justin said...

There are ways to make the catenary look invisible.

Thelonious_Nick said...

OK, I see the guy's point. Much of the appeal of rail is psychological. Nevertheless, there are real advantages for rail over bus that are noticeable immediately to riders: comfort of ride, noise, timeliness.

Plus, the "permanance" of rail is not just a psychological effect--buses change routes and schedules all the time, rail not so much.

beyonddc said...

I'm all for painting bus lanes a different color. There's something to be said for being at a street corner and being able to tell without a doubt just based on the color of the asphalt that a bus serves that intersection.

... But ho-boy, that's still a far-cry from a real train.

Jon said...

i think overhead wires are attractive... a symbol of frequent quality transit

concerns over the visual impact of overhead wire, i believe, killed the LA trolley bus system. as if LA circa 1990 was a visually beautiful place.

yosoyjay said...

When I lived in Seattle, I actually liked the look of the catenary wires for the buses. And really, unless you are looking for them they not very noticeable.

That being said, overhead wires as an argument against street cars sounds like some folks are grasping at straws in our new transit world.

Matt Fisher said...

Them folks are graspin' at this here pack o' straws o'er them there o'erhead wires.

Okay, I tried to make a joke about sounding with a Southern accent. This silly opposition is merely based on a few aesthetic fears.

arcady said...

Overhead wires really can be a blight though. If you've ever seen a trolleybus grand junction in a tight intersection you'd know what I mean: they blacken the sky. But wires designed for pantographs, slow speeds, and light loads can be fairly unobtrusive, especially if they are anchored directly to buildings rather than to special poles. And there, by the way, is another advantage of streetcars: you can use a lighter wire, because you only have a 60 foot train rather than a 300 foot one.

Jarrett at HumanTransit.org said...

But in the real world of finite capital resources, you can have a few streetcars or lots and lots of buses.

Your experiment would need to compare a small streetcar system with a much more extensive system of buses in exclusive lanes.

beyonddc said...

Most cities already have lots and lots of buses. Most cities have found that lots and lots of buses are good, but aren't capable of doing the same things as trains.