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1813Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Seattle monorail.

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Nov 1, 2000
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      Mike Lacey said:

      >my problem with monorail is that from street level the track looks
      >like an elevated freeway and thenegative effect on street livability
      >is probaly comprobable. The name of the pressure group says it
      >well "rise above it all" - and presumably leave the old city to die,
      >the urban renewal specialists of the 50s and 60s had similar ideas.

      Any notion that elevated transportation systems do not impair the
      quality of urban life is plain and simply nuts. Even if the things
      are COMPLETELY silent, they're still ugly and intrusive. No way,
      I say.

      >Trams/Streetcars work so well because they mesh with the existing
      >fabric of the city, ensuring a lively buzz at street level. San
      >Francisco has a fleet of streetcars that must give and take with
      >other street traffic. They are slow but always packed and as such
      >they enrich the city, rather than subtract from it.

      I've never resolved this in my own mind and have come to the conclusion,
      "it depends." In some situations, street-level trams work fine,
      are reasonably quiet, and fairly safe. In bigger cities, though,
      I tend to think that we should be subways, not trams. The argument
      is especially strong if you're building a new city, because the
      costs of construction can be kept under control. Modern trams are
      mostly much noiser than necessary--listen to a 1935 PCC streetcar
      in good working order, especially the slightly later "all electric"
      version that had no compressed air system at all. Noise is a major
      issue, and we shouldn't forget about it just to save some money--we're
      going to be living with the noise "forever."


      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      postmaster@... Carfree.com
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