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If local business will support it, DC can try the trolley via a dedicated right-of-way (street closure like the early 1970s F street shopping area). An entire street was closed to act as a pedestrian mall and could now easily host a traction line--if such a designated street were extended cross-town). We must note tho' that Baltimore now has an LRV, but it really does absolutely nothing I have seen that a bus couldn't!

However, lest we forget, a trolley today will still face what really caused the great demise of Washington's trolley system--local economic demographics changed. The greatest single enemy of the trolley and bus has always been (still is) the "AUTO."

Another leftover aftershock today is from the fact that as sprawling suburbs grew, residents moved, which led to strip malls and shopping centers. Suburbanites now shop close to home. In turn, we see the demise of our once great city shopping district. Sad to say, but unless we can "revive" that sense of a reason (major retail) to ride within the city, ...we will NOT see much of an increase in ridership. I'm afraid we will need more than mere storefronts outlets for that. Maybe a mega shopping mall in central DC????

In addition, the major trend (focus of WMATC-WMATA & COG since the 1970s) is that the "main transit user" in DC is NOT the "city rider," but the intercity "commuter" from Northern Virginia and Maryland. I can appreciate the idea for a trolley. However, we should prioritize federal $$$$ where they are needed most---easing the "real commuter issue."

I still favor an "express busway." But if one must push the rail option, heavy rail like MARC and VRE, have a MUCH better chance of carrying the increased volume of riders needed in actually helping to ease traffic.

As for the city rider, O. Roy Chalk's proposal for an all bus rapid transit system is a must read and widely available at the Library of Congress. It gives point by point data to support the effectiveness of buses within and extending to the outlying areas for many decades to come.

by James on Dec 7, 2009 11:42 pm • linkreport

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