Streetcar Suburbs May Not Actually Support Streetcars

Yonah Freemark suggests that the original streetcar suburbs were actually not dense enough to continue supporting streetcars back in the day.
April 20, 2010, 2pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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It is often assumed that streetcars were ripped out as part of a conspiracy to replace them with buses and automobiles, but Freemark argues that the densities of streetcar suburbs were really too low to support that kind of transit in the first place.

He writes, "Unlike inner-city districts with their medium and high-rise buildings, streetcar suburbs are characterized by low densities, little neighborhood retail within walking distance, and very few accessible jobs, three significant factors that make them difficult to adapt to transit. In other words, while they may have been built with streetcars in mind, they transitioned to the automobile age naturally."

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Published on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 in Next American City
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