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Debating the Merits of New Intermodal Hubs

Train-bus-bike connector stations have a long pedigree, and a reputation for anchoring neighborhood investment. But some criticize planned hubs for their perceived lavishness.
May 19, 2015, 1pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Jay Stewart

Following the tested example of New York's Penn Station, cities like North Charleston, Amarillo, and Anaheim are phasing in new "intermodal hubs" that combine rail, bus, and bike access to facilitate trips consisting entirely of non-auto modes. Supporters like Todd Litman, executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, argue that by improving the quality of transit trips on existing lines, cities can increase transit patronage. 

Citing Anaheim's new ARTIC station, critics like UCI's Michael McNally call attention to costs ($188 million in ARTIC's case) and "the fact that ridership has not risen as dramatically as planners forecasted." Moreover, ARTIC includes luxury amenities like an oyster bar, which may be of questionable utility to transit patrons.

Litman disagrees, calling parking lots—especially those that are lit or covered, with courtesy signage—hubs for cars. "To encourage a true modal shift, he adds, 'we have to prioritize that level of convenience and comfort.'" Those who could afford to drive might then choose public options instead.

Note: Todd Litman is a longtime contributor and blogger for Planetizen. Check out his articles here. 

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Published on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in Next City
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