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2 June 2011

19th Century Streetcars or 21st Century Cars?

I was reading this Salon’s Article about how the energy industry is changing.  I found this quote to be very apt…

Another casualty of energy abundance is the new urbanism. Because cars and trucks and buses can run on natural gas as well as gasoline and diesel fuel, the proposition that peak oil will soon force people around the world to abandon automobile-centered suburbs and office parks for dense downtowns connected by light rail and inter-city trains can no longer be taken seriously. Deprived of the arguments from depletion, national security and global warming, the campaign to increase urban density and mass transit rests on nothing but a personal taste for expensive downtown living, a taste which the suburban working-class majorities in most developed nations manifestly do not share…read it all

What brought this to mind is the recent local town meetings about the North LRT line.  I’ve been wondering why the city transportation department and the thought of why we are spending money on a 19th century technology (streetcars) in the 21st Century.

At it’s core – that’s what LRT cars are – a slightly modernised streetcar, not all that different from the one running at Heritage Park.

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