Light Rail in NOLA??
steve gave a post for an awesome meeting that address onoging proposals for a light rail link betweeen CBD and the airport. [tuesday 5:30, 1010 common street]
i found some good info about the success of light rail in portland, oregon where i lived for about a year.
you can also bet your asses I'll be wearing my favorite light rail t-shirt that has a logo of the portland airport-cbd light rail, even though it has some basketti ("spaghetti") stains on it. i ain't scared!
also, i wrote the group organizing these meetings a letter via their website www.east-westcorridor.com i encourage all greens interested in sustainable trasit to do the same!
The people in the New Orleans area certainly need a more sustainable mode of transportation along this heavily-used corridor.
Light rail in other cities has helped everyone in the region get to work, sports/entertainment events, access to shopping and more while reducing air and water emissions and improving livability.
In Portland Oregon, for instance, the Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) expanded in 1998 and by 1999 had already *exceeded* ridership predictions for 2005. Meanwhile, property along the line has increased in value 10%, and more than $2.9 billion dollars worth of transit-oriented development has occurred within walking distance of the MAX stops.
The system was so successful--77% of riders owned cars yet chose the MAX-- that another expansion to the airport was recently completed, and yet another is being planned along another corridor. Federal funds that otherwise would have gone towards highway expansion covered 83% of the costs.
In New Orleans, our main corridor is also the corridor to the airport, Zephyr Stadium, Superdome, and CBD. It's a perfect opportunity to implement a well-planned transit to a congested, polluting, expensive highway.
Louisiana has used only 8% of federal funds earmarked for sustainable development on transit-- while spending 56% on road/bridge building/expanding. And of course, 0% on bicycle and pedestrian projects.
A light-rail link from the CBD to MSY isn't a panacea for regional economic growth or environmental quality-- but if it is planned thoughtfully and democratically it could serve as a catalyst in our region for improvement in our economy and our ecology, and well as initiate a truly regional approach to economic growth and environmetal sustainability.
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