01 November 2008

Mass Transit Consequences

I am a big fan of mass-transit. I would love to see the city lay some light rail, and the streetcar seems to be a pretty cool idea. I know it is considered one of those "city" ideas, but I never understood why folks in the 'burbs would not be more behind it. Being able to take light rail to and from work seems like a brilliant idea to me. I spent 3 months working in Osaka, Japan, and using the subway to commute is one of my favorite memories. Now obviously Cincinnati is a smaller city, but I still like the idea.

Here is the kind of post that might be the source of some of the fear. Stephen Dubner (co-writer of Freakonomics) posted about some unintended consequences on the Freakonomics blog. He is blogging about an article in Riverfront Times.

His conclusion:

If the incoming President can find the money, there will surely be renewed efforts to expand public transit in a lot of cities.

There are obvious gains: environmental, less road congestion, fewer accidents, etc. But if St. Louis’s experience is at all indicative, there might also be at least one unintended consequence worth thinking about.

It is interesting to read some of the comments posted on this. I think Public Policy is often implemented without sufficient consideration of unintended consequences, but to use this as a rationale to not implement better mass transit misses out on a ton of positives, imho.

What are your thoughts?


Quimbob said...

Require teenagers to have a note from parents or work before allowing them on the bus.
The shops could require a minimum sale upon entering the store. No reason to shop in stores nowadays, anyways. Do your research online, call the stores for prices & once you make your decision, go.
heck, just lock up everybody under 18.
ok, that's probably not practical.

CityKin said...

Everyone is so afraid of teenagers and having places they can gather.

DP said...

In DC, when they built the MetroRail system, the Georgetown neighborhood sucessfully fought the location of a stop in their community. They didn't want "those people" coming to their neighborhood. Now the Orange Line runs, with no stop, directly beneath one of the biggest traffic nightmares in the city.

Have we asked the good folks in Kenwood what they think about light rail up 71?

hellogerard said...

First of all, the increase in crime is anecdotal at best. Second, assuming it were true, the solution to the family breakdown kids with idle hands and the crime that results is not to avoid public transit. That's just segregating neighborhoods. Hell, we might as well just build a wall around poor areas. Then they won't be able to go anywhere at all.