In the Mayor’s orientation talk I expect he discussed his Urban Rail Plan for Madison since this is critical to the overall goal of the New Urbanism the COWS want to impose on the city. In his one page overview, Cieslewicz mentions the Portland, Oregon urban rail system nine times with effusive adoration. Not everyone who lives in Portland shares this enthusiasm for pretty little trains as covered in these two posts from Danegerus.com.
Portland's MAX: “As I live in Portland, home of MAX, which we voted against twice, only to see highway funds diverted anyway, creating the cesspool of traffic jams that make us the most car-unfriendly city in America... I have complained at length about the misallocation of funds that is "Light-Rail" and expressed my confusion at the Lefties love of their choo-choo's.”
Portland's Interstate MAX: Problems between theory and reality.
“First, Interstate MAX will not be "fast." It takes 30 minutes to travel from the Expo Center to Pioneer Courthouse Square, a speed of roughly 15 mph. This offers no improvement over the No. 5 bus that currently runs down Interstate Avenue.”Ideology that runs counter to the evidence of history needs to be questioned. The background is covered in prior post: COWS Running Madison and prior post: COWS Philosophy plus prior post: COW Thinking. Madison is a great city but past performance does not guarantee future success.
“Second, Interstate MAX will be no more "reliable" than bus service. The January ice storms showed that light rail is vulnerable to total shutdown under extreme winter conditions, just when transit service is needed the most. Buses routinely come to the rescue when trains fail.”
“Third, Interstate MAX will not improve access to jobs and housing; it merely replaces an existing bus route.”
“Light rail is often touted as a congestion-relief strategy, but in fact Interstate MAX has already made traffic much worse; TriMet reduced North Interstate Avenue from four lanes to two lanes to obtain rail right-of-way. Traffic has increased on nearby parallel routes and few of the displaced motorists will use Interstate MAX.”
“In recent years, rail advocates have changed arguments, conceding that light rail is not really a transit strategy but a means to increase density in neighborhoods. Why is that desirable? People have steadily migrated from central cities to the suburbs for more than 100 years. The notion that light rail can reverse this trend not only ignores a broad consumer preference for low density, it also ignores the historical role of trains, which were used to move people out of overcrowded cities to new streetcar suburbs.”