Sunday, August 26, 2007

China's Subway Boom

An article in the LA Times discusses the subway boom that is going on in China. Realizing that they can't fit their population into cars without choking on the result, they decide to expand rapidly like Robert Moses. While its fast and it gets it done, I'm not sure I would want the government to come and just kick whole neighborhoods up to build lines. On the other hand, it sure beats having to wait ten years for the New Starts program. Ridiculous. We could build a system like that with all the public involvement we enjoy, it just needs to be funded. Subways for America. How about starting out with massive expansions of Subways in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Baltimore etc. Perhaps even lines in places like Minneapolis and Tampa. Being a little selfish, could we put one on Geary and Van Ness? It would really help me get to the In N Out Burger and the local gatherings on Saturday's for Texas football without spending an hour on transit to go 5 miles.

Brian Taylor, a professor of urban planning at UCLA, noted that the United States used to be much more heavy-handed in its planning policies. Consider, for instance, the way whole swaths of central Los Angeles were razed to make way for the Santa Monica Freeway. Perhaps, he said, China is simply at a different stage in its evolution, both in terms of economic development and political participation.

From about 1890 to the late 1970s, he said, Los Angeles expanded its transportation system at an astonishing rate, first building the world's most extensive streetcar system and then tearing it down and building the world's first and largest freeway network.

"So it's not as if we haven't had these enormous investment eras in transportation infrastructure," Taylor said.

Cities "go through these various epochs of growth," he said, and at the moment, Los Angeles is in a very different stage than Shanghai.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Word. (Especially about the Geary and Van Ness part.)