The Streetcar Solution

In a long excerpt from his new book Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World, Patrick Condon explains the advantages of streetcars, where they went, and why we should bring them back.

1 minute read

September 19, 2010, 11:00 AM PDT

By Tim Halbur


Condon writes,

"Streetcar cities were walkable, transit accessible and virtually pollution free while still dramatically extending the distance citizens could cover during the day.

The planning literature occasionally refers to the streetcar city pattern, but seldom is the streetcar city mentioned for enhancing human well-being or lauded as a time when energy use per capita for transportation was a tiny fraction of what it is today.

This is tragic, because the streetcar established the form of most U.S. and Canadian cities. That pattern still constitutes the very bones of our cities -- even now, when most of the streetcars are gone."

Condon cites many studies showing the benefits of streetcars over other transportation modes.

Friday, September 17, 2010 in The Tyee

Three colorful, large beachfront homes, one khaki, one blue, and one yellow, with a small dune in front and flat sand in foreground.

Florida Homeowners 'Nope Out' of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

The U.S. Corps of Engineers and Redington Shores, Florida are at a standstill: The Corps won’t spend public money to restore private beaches, and homeowners are refusing to grant public access to the beaches behind their home in return for federal assistance.

June 7, 2024 - Grist

Multistory apartment building under construction.

New Tennessee Law Allows No-Cost Incentives for Affordable Housing

Local governments in the Volunteer State can now offer developers incentives like increased density, lower parking requirements, and priority permitting for affordable housing projects.

June 10, 2024 - Nooga Today

Pumping Gas

10 States Where the Gas Tax Is Highest

As the gap between gas tax revenue and transportation funding needs widen across the country, the funding mechanism is drawing increased scrutiny from both public officials and consumers.

June 9, 2024 - The Ascent

Concrete walkway with landscaping, decorative tiles, and picnic tables in a Los Angeles County park.

Wish Granted: Former Brownfield Transformed to New Park

Wishing Tree Park in West Carson, California officially opened last month, replacing a brownfield site with a much-needed green space for recreation and respite.

June 14 - Urbanize LA

"No right turn on red" and "Turning vehicles yield to pedestrians" sign.

The Tide is Turning on Right Turns on Red

The policy, which stems from the gas embargo of the 1970s, makes intersections more dangerous for pedestrians.

June 14 - NPR

Thick green forest on edge of lake in Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville Begins Process to Clean Superfund Site

A public forest is home to dozens of barrels that have been leaking toxic materials for decades.

June 14 - Inside Climate News

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.