Monday, February 01, 2016

Streetsblog strikes back at L.A. Times story

Streetsblog is playing defense against that LA Times story about the decline in that city's transit ridership after investing $9 billion in its rail system. 

A number of the comments to the Streetsblog LA story support the notion that investing in rail is a false path for LA, while the Streetsblog SF story takes on anti-rail Randal O'Toole, chiding him for cherry-picking ridership numbers and short-term thinking. 

O'Toole can defend himself, but he might say that investing in buses is a much better deal for cities than train systems, which are more expensive to build and to operate over the long term. 

Buses, on the other hand, are cheaper to buy and maintain, and bus systems are more flexible, since cities can change bus lines or just run more buses depending on how best to serve their citizens. See O'Toole's If We Spend Less, We Can Have More.

That has always been the best argument against San Francisco's Central Subway project, that the $124 million in city money invested in the project would have been better spent on our existing Muni system.

Quentin Kopp on the Central Subway project.

See also Thomas Matoff's 2006 critique of the Central Subway's design.

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See also this and this.


Flint: A reminder for California

Caitrin Chappelle, Ellen Hanak

The ongoing public health crisis in Flint, Michigan is a reminder that exposure to dangerous contaminants in drinking water is still a challenge in the US, more than 40 years after the enactment of the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act. Flint began drawing water from a new source, the Flint River, in early 2014. It corroded pipes and carried harmful lead to residents’ taps. Although California does not face this specific problem, we are still failing to provide safe drinking water to some of the state’s most vulnerable residents...

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