Corridors Are the Secret to Improving Transit in Small Cities

The future of smaller cities could depend on figuring out a way to improve transit, perhaps not at the neighborhood or level, but at the corridor level.

1 minute read

August 16, 2017, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Bend, Oregon

Andy Melton / Flickr

"The state of transit in the US is, generally, pretty damn poor, and this is especially true of smaller cities and towns," writes Sandy Johnston. "Generally, transit in those places is, shall we say, not particularly useful; generally it’s conceived of as a last resort, welfare transit, the kind of thing that only people with no other options use. That’s a product of mentality, but also of lack of resources."

According to Johnston, many older cities, even the smaller ones, have "good bones," and are thus "potentially salvageable as places of good, safe, walkable mixed-use urbanism." The catch, as Johnston describes it, is that there's often only one corridor appropriate for high-frequency transit in small cities, though "the most urban corridor is likely underserved, because of the general terribleness of American transit; but in the smaller cities, this likely means that the city has lost any chance at transit-based urbanism at all." [Emphasis is the author's.]

What follows is "a thought exercise about how small-city transit might look if more funding–or different funding–were available, enough to let agencies focus on intensive service on the best corridors." Johnston also provides some case studies of these concepts: Utica, Binghamton, Kingston, and Glens Falls, and other northeastern and Midwestern cities.

Hat tip to Angie Schmitt for sharing the article.

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