I’ll admit that I have mixed feelings about the Streetcar: more regular, better maintained transit seems like a great idea, but considering the many needs on Columbia Pike and the high level of ridership on old fashioned Metrobus, I’m skeptical that it’s a good use of lots of taxpayer dollars. Would bus rapid transit (B.R.T.) be a better choice? I’ve ridden the Healthline in Cleveland (which was nearly empty) and seen the one in Bogota (which was always packed), and it seems like a very viable option. See this article in the New York Times (login required) on B.R.T.
The gist: “B.R.T. is far less expensive than light rail, which has been coveted by many U.S. cities with growing populations. And many cities can forget about building new underground trains. Costs for building B.R.T. can run $1 million per mile, or per 1.6 kilometers, compared with $1 billion per mile for subways.”