The Modern Streetcar 'Hoax'?

Plans for modern streetcars are becoming more popular across the U.S. as one component of a revitalization plan. Randal O'Toole argues that the connection between streetcars and economic development is a hoax.

"The clear lesson is that spending huge amounts of money for what amounts to a Disneyland ride ends up hurting average transit riders. And not just transit riders: Portland schools, fire, police, public health, and other essential services have all seen budget squeezes even as the city continues to give huge subsidies to developers along the streetcar line.

...In short, the streetcar had nothing to do with the new construction. Without the subsidies but with the streetcar, virtually no new construction would have taken place. With the subsidies but no streetcar, virtually all of the new developments would have been built anyway."

Full Story: Don't Fall for the Streetcar Hoax



April Fools Day or Thoreau Institute? You decide.

Ok, is the Thoreau Institute a joke?! It CAN'T be for real! Check out their website and decide for yourself:

- Urban Planning and Smart Growth makes housing unaffordable?!

- Commuter rail DECREASES transit ridership?!


This HAS to be some kind of sick joke!


While this site legitimately questions the utility of smart-growth planning policies, it is so terribly biased in favor of a certain agenda that it cannot be taken seriously.

O'Toole just had to rub Goldschmidt's face in it, didn't he?

I bought Randal O'Toole's book "The Vanishing Automobile" and read about half of it. It's not bad. He provides a contrarian analysis that is helpful to balance out some of the muddle-headed tripe that passes for "Neo-traditional" planning. But after a couple hundred pages, O'Toole's arguments get old.

This latest article provides more of O'Toole's typical, slanted, anti-planning reportage. The best demonstration of his credibility is provided by O'Toole's need to include a link to a devastating story about Neil Goldschmidt's tawdry past within his anti-streetcar article. It shows you how low Mr. O'Toole will stoop in his attempt to prove a point.

Pretty low, Randal. Can't you make your point without dragging Goldschmidt through the mud? Your writing reminds me of Rush Limbaugh.

Robert Torzynski
Rochester, NY

The Light Rail-Rape Connection

Sensationalism gets a writer heard...

It seems the story he tells is less one of evil light rail than one of public-sector mismanagement and corruption (not to accuse anyone, since I don't know the details).

P.S. How selective of the writer to link to the rape story but not to articles on the "light-rail mafia."

An Award For Randall O'Toole

I gave the Thoreau Institute an award for being the most misnamed organization in America.

Search for Thoreau Institute on Google, and my very brief blog entry is the fourth result. That seems to mean that the Thoreau Institute is not taken seriously by many people.

Charles Siegel

The "Thoreau Institute"

Yep, so, I was just SO perplexed by the article that I HAD to go to their website. I read several of the "papers" they've produced...methodological flaws throughout. Their primary staff consists of O'Toole and two other people. The Board of Directors is composed of a variety of random no-bodies acting as respresentatives of several groups that appear just as sketchy as "The Thoreau Institute". Not at all credible . . .

Ohhhh...Thaaat Guy!

Its all coming back to me now. I thought this last oil shock might have spurred him to lay down his diesel-powered pen. Thanks for the heads up. Anybody know where I can find some balanced analysis of this subject?

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