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The Case for Tearing Down Park-and-Ride Lots

Eric Jaffe | The Atlantic – CityLab

Calgary is planning to remove all but 500 of the 1,750 park-and-ride spots at its suburban Anderson light rail station, and gradually convert the space into a mixed-use development. This angers some regular commuters, of course, but local officials have stayed firm. Responding to the concern a couple weeks ago, a local councilman said massive park-and-ride lots simply run counter to the city’s growth strategy. Read more

Christie-Backed Housing to Flood Rail With Tunnel Killed

Elise Young | Bloomberg

All that Courtney Belton really wants is a seat and on-time arrivals as she commutes aboard a New Jersey Transit train. The Northeast Corridor, the busiest U.S. rail line, doesn’t always accommodate.

The inconveniences are bound to worsen: A block from the New Brunswick station where she waits, a 238-unit apartment building is being marketed to those eager to trade cars for mass transit. At least 26,000 such homes have been built or are planned across the state in what are called transit villages. Read more

America’s Invisible Trolley System

Joe Kloc | Newsweek

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In 1995, a nonprofit transit advocacy group in New York, the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association (BHRA), decided to construct a light rail service connecting the underserviced neighborhood of Red Hook to downtown Brooklyn. After obtaining permission and funding through the city in 2000, the group laid down a half-mile of track. But a few years later, in 2003, New York City’s Department of Transportation revoked the group’s construction permit and ripped up its tracks without providing the BHRA with any explanation.

The next year, however, the city received almost $300,000 in federal money—more than it had invested in the BHRA’s trolley—to study whether it was feasible to build essentially the same line. It sat on the money for years before eventually spending only a small portion of it to conclude such a project would be too expensive. Proponents of the Red Hook trolley were confused and angry. “There is an unquantifiable resistance to electric-powered street transit in New York,” says Ray Howell, a BHRA member.

It’s not just New York. Despite the environmental benefits of mass transportation—which saves 37 million metric tons of carbon and 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline each year (about 3 percent of total U.S. motor gasoline consumption)—this resistance exists in cities pursuing light rail projects across the country. Read more

North Oakland gets greenspace proposals – Chatham architect students submit ideas

Diana Nelson Jones | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Imagine getting off a bus with your bike at Centre Avenue and Neville Street in North Oakland and pedaling on a wooded trail to the Strip District — a five-minute trip, with no cars, a tree canopy and a view.

Elaine Kramer sees the possibility with a design that follows the historic path of Neville all the way to Liberty Avenue, hugging a hillside above a deep ravine traversed by railroads and the East Busway.

A recent Chatham University master’s graduate in landscape architecture, Ms. Kramer was one of several students who designed projects last semester for the Oakland Planning and Development Corp. Read more

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