Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday News Links

The Orange Line BRT estimated initial ridership on a hunch. Models drive me crazy, but this seems a bit nuts as well. From the LA Times:

MTA officials denied that they lowballed Orange Line ridership predictions but conceded that their forecasts might be more art than science. "We didn't put it into a computer model," said Rod Goldman, the MTA's deputy executive officer for service development. "A lot of it was our educated guesswork based on our experience."

Charlotte's mixed use market is doing better than single family homes. Seems to me like this might be from lack of supply over the years. Complaints of expense just prove this point. From the Charlotte Observer:
“There's an immediate crisis feeling about the price of gas, but there's also a different living preference now,” said Laura Harmon, economic development program manager for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission. “Those of us who might be baby boomers didn't have those options. But now the millennials and so forth are wanting to live differently.”
As noted in the guest post by J.M. it will be interesting to see how Norfolk's light rail line comes out. But while they were pushing forward, their sister city rejected the idea. Now the local paper thinks its time to get back on the train.

Finally comes a blog post from Bill Fulton's blog. Seems that Starbucks has bucked the trend of picking the 100% corner and instead is concentrating more on auto orientation in Redding. Really? Seems a bit strange to me at this time that they would want someone to get in their car making them think about gas to go buy an expensive cup of coffee. But the poster makes a good point that its partly the citizens that are to blame.
The Starbucks with a drive-through window at the edge of downtown? That one stays. So does the Starbucks at the other end of downtown inside of Safeway. But the coffee house at the most visible corner in downtown? The store that was supposed to anchor a cornerstone redevelopment project? It’s closing.

Ultimate responsibility, though, lies with the community. Redding is a town where people rush to the newest franchise restaurant. Earlier this year, they lined up overnight for the opening of a Chipotle in a rebuilt strip center. Seriously. It’s a town where Wal-Mart, Costco, Target and Home Depot have big boxes within walking distance of each other – although you’d take your life in your hands trying to make the trip on foot.

In other words, most people who live in Redding don’t care about having a vibrant downtown full of local flavor. And no one – including an urban planning journalist who thinks he knows better – can make them care.

1 comment:

Richard Layman said...

Maybe in Redding. In the main, most of the stores closing are not in walkable traditional commercial districts, but stores in strip centers reached by car.

Although one store in DC's western central business district is closing, the only one in the city. But as you can imagine there are still dozens more across the city.

If the Redding commercial district is anemic, then it's not really a 100% intersection... but I don't know it so I can't say.