Sunday, August 30, 2009

Preservation & Resevations

As a former runner I appreciate trails of all kinds. It's easier on your legs and trails are a good way to get around without having to be in traffic. With that being said, the idea that we should be reserving our right of ways for trails alone instead of trails and transit seems shortsighted. While I applaud the rails to trails folks for what they've been doing, the creation of a trail while the use for rails waits for a project only encourages a permanent trail.

In the case of Whittier, the construction of a trail has likely built up political will and precluded the ROW from ever being used for transit ever again which is a real shame since it would be possible to share. It's also possible that it won't be the best alternative. Eventually though it might come in handy. The trail is on the far right alternative within the city of Whittier.

On a similar note, short term gains should not outweigh long term benefits. In the case of Buffalo, the transit authority is looking to sell some ROW that could be used for long term gain. I understand there are trying times around the country, but these types of decisions that aren't looking at the long term consequences are trouble and it points to the loss of long term thinking in how we make decisions.


Jon said...

re: losing rail RoWs to trails

in portland, the old portland traction company RoW was lost to a trail about 20 years ago. now known as the springwater trail and the trolley trail, it even was used in its final years for delievering the original MAX cars to gresham's ruby junction. i've always thought the springwater should be considered as a possible future MAX line providing a second line to gresham. additionally the u/c trolley trail connects milwaukie to oregon city on the old portland traction line. its a shame this line will be lost when there are plans to extend the proposed milwaukie line to oregon city and the planned mcloughlin blvd extension to oregon city could be problematic as its a major highway route, could require extensive eminent domain to widen and would completely change the existing land uses which could really bring out the NIMBYs.

re: whittier

without knowing anything about the area, i wonder if it is feasible to do 3 of those proposed routes and operate them like branch lines feeding the new single east LA trunk line (like mbta green line, septa green line, muni metro, shaker heights, etc.). i've wondered why we dont see new light rail lines built with this multiple branch lines feeding a major trunk line model (subway for the trunk line optional).

re: buffalo

wow that would be real short sighted then again buffalo NFTA has made a lot of poor decisions in its history.

Cap'n Transit said...

"Jeanne Renner, one of the Whittier residents opposed to the use of the Greenway Trail, was ecstatic about Knabe's announcement."

Yay! Less transit options! Everyone forced to drive wherever they need to go! Hooray for grass-roots activism!

Andrew said...

It is short sighted, though that is the transport policy BS that we have to deal with. Rail with trail would a whole lot better.

Craig Dellla Penna said...

Here in New England the former network of trolleys were largely in the RoW of the roads and NOT in the RoW of the steam RRs.

If the goal is to take cars off the road, then build the trolley in the RoW of the roads and de-lane the roads to make room for the trolleys.

Matt Fisher said...

Using rail lines for trails alone is like using rail lines for busways alone: They effectively really preclude any real possibility of rail. This needs to stop. I am, however, not against a rail and trail combined option, whereby a trail is parallel to a rail line.

It would be pretty bad to do this in Buffalo, I'll say. :(

AlexB said...

TOD and increased transit use in general require a population to ride it. With no end to the emigration from Buffalo, Losing ROW is the least of their problems. I wish I could be more optimistic...