"High tech" mass transit
I have had this in my "pending" file since before Christmas.
The Minneapolis City Council, rather than tackling crime in their fair city (see Rambix for all the stories) has dedicated $300,000 in order to "study" whether a streetcar line would be a useful form of mass transit. The thing that got me was the first line of the article. The reporter gave the readers an unintended (I think) insight into the city council's mindset when she wrote:
"Minneapolis has a desire named streetcar."
The reporter continued to gush about the history of streetcars in Minneapolis and quoted Mayor Ryback:
"We're looking to add more energy to our main streets," Rybak said Wednesday. "It puts us on the cutting edge of American cities, but ironically it also grows out of the city's history. Minneapolis grew along streetcar lines, and that's part of what created the charm of our neighborhood commercial districts."
What the Mayor forgets though, is that trolleys would run (according to the city's plans) on streets that are already over croweded with car, bus, pedestrian and (in a couple of places) light rail traffic. Adding more vehicles to already crowded streets is a recipe for disaster. Since the day that the light rail trains started running, we have had several train/car accidents that have resulted in many deaths. Remember, we are talking about a mindset where people drive their cars out on to thin ice because they "didn't want to walk that far".
The last thing the City of Minneapolis needs is trolley cars fighting for space on Washington Avenue or Lake Street Mayor Ryback. Instead, let's focus on getting the petty thieves off of the streets of Minneapolis so that the suburban residents who work and visit in your city aren't afraid to meet the same fate as this person, this person and this person.