BRT vs. Streetcar: Which is the Better Option for the Pike?

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.”

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2 Responses to BRT vs. Streetcar: Which is the Better Option for the Pike?

  1. MW says:

    Don’t underestimate that the streetcar would be on the Metro map and the BRT would not. A Streetcar would literally put the Pike on the map.

  2. G Clifford Prout says:

    Can’t speak about Bogota, but I can for Cleveland. First off my sympathy to you for having to go to Cleveland. Secondly as far as the “Healthline,” a corrupt and inept government created a boondoggle that only helped enrich those who found favor to help build the monstrosity. (Read about the concrete already failing and the mobsters who supplied it.) It travels from an abandoned commercial district (i.e. downtown Cleveland) through an abandoned light industrial zone, via a burned out ghetto ending up in cultural oasis that no one can afford to patronize anymore. The people that live along the line ride the bus to stay warm if they’ve had the power turned off. The plans to build a “health mart” at the old convention center are as stupid as building a BRT through the poorest parts of town. The only good sign these days is that the FBI has arrested about 100% of the old county government hacks and they’ve elected in a county council which is structured to have more accountability to the voters.

    Arlington has a much better chance of success. The line is planned to run from highly populated areas through a revitalized commercial corridor. County government if far from corrupt and we are blessed with high incomes and low unemployment.

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