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.

Read Time: 1 minute

December 18, 2006, 1:00 PM PST

By Chris Steins @urbaninsight


"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."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 in The Thoreau Institute

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

A tent covered in blue and black tarps sits on a downtown Los Angeles sidewalk with the white ziggurat-topped L.A. City Hall looming in the background

L.A. County Towns Clash Over Homelessness Policies

Local governments often come to different conclusions about how to address homelessness within their respective borders, but varying approaches only exacerbate the problem.

February 3 - Shelterforce Magazine

Rendering of mixed-use development with parks and stormwater retention on former Houston landfill site

A Mixed-Use Vision for Houston Landfill Site

A local nonprofit is urging the city to consider adding mixed-use development to the site, which city officials plan to turn into a stormwater detention facility.

February 3 - Urban Edge

Aerial view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin at sunset

Milwaukee County Makes Substantial Progress on Homelessness

In 2022, the county’s point-in-time count of unhoused people reflected just 18 individuals, the lowest in the country.

February 3 - Urban Milwaukee