Streetcars and Street Design

This morning on the Streetsblog Network, Yonah Freemark at The Transport Politic
talks about streetcar plans in Washington, D.C. Without better street
design, he argues, the capital’s streetcars could end up mired in
traffic:  

2828548503_05b93fe912.jpg(Photo: rocket ship via Flickr)

I have documented some of the quotidian situations that will result
in delayed traffic as a result of the design of the District’s
streetcar system. None of the problems are unique to streetcars — in
fact, they’re shared with any vehicle that must share its running way
with automobiles, including buses. But streetcars are put in a
particular predicament in each of the cases noted below because, unlike
buses, they can’t change lanes. If systems are designed with
major flaws, such as those illustrated below, this means that these
trains will operate at significantly lower speeds than equivalent
buses; the result: a big investment investment in public transportation
could actually mean less mobility.

But take note, other cities: these structural issues can be resolved through better designed streets.

More from around the network: Decatur Metro writes about media coverage of a street narrowing project in Atlanta; things get lively in the comments. Broken Sidewalk has a post on how bad roads made transit more attractive in the early part of the 20th century. And Utility Cycling continues a series on search and rescue bike services.

  • I’m definitely looking forward to streetcars returning to Downtown in a few years.

    http://www.lastreetcar.org/

    I’d put modern streetcars on transit-only lanes in several places.

    – Sunset Blvd. between downtown and the Strip

    – Santa Monica Blvd. between Century City and downtown via the Beverly Hills ROW and joining the Sunset line at Sunset Junction

    – Ventura Blvd. between Universal City and Warner Center

    – Venice Blvd. between Venice Beach and downtown

    – From Venice Beach to Santa Monica pier to the Purple Line terminus in Westwood.

    Right now bus-only advocates dismiss them, but once they go online again in 2014 I bet there will be several areas in Los Angeles County looking to getting them for themselves.

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