Our Most Senior Fellow feels (and thus all of us here at The Placemaking Institute must also feel) it should be duly noted that Oklahoma City (following the examples set by such Texas trendsetters as Dallas and Houston and now San Antonio) has recognized broadening its transportation modalities by implementing urban rail is the way to go. All the while Austin is unfortunately still sitting on its hands.
Ack-basswards Oklahoma City, Austin, Oklahoma City!
There will be a general obligation mobility bond referendum in November 2010 which, if passed, would fund the City’s portion of the initial phase of an urban rail system.
In an Aug. 9th Express-News article, columnist Jan Jarboe Russell explained why San Antonio should develop a modern streetcar system: “In the late 1920s, all of San Antonio – then, a tiny 36 square miles – was connected by about 130 miles of electric streetcars. It was a better, more fuel-efficient and cheaper transportation system than we have today. Sadly, in 1933 we became one of the first American cities to dismantle its streetcar system. This is a no-brainer: We should bring back the streetcar. Here’s why: A starter streetcar system costs less than half of the expense to build light rail. It can be built in about half the time. It doesn’t add to air pollution and hums along like a quiet song…(And) streetcar lines not only move people efficiently and quietly, they drive economies…(Modern streetcar technology) has emerged as a symbol of a new San Antonio with a revitalized center city and a 21st-century economy.”
We need to pass it now; not doing so twenty years ago (when, according to TPI’s analysis of TTI’s data, was the perfect time to strike) was short-sighted and has put us behind the proverbial transportation eight-ball. If we don’t some place like freakin’ Stillwater will surpass our reputed Progressivity.