Today on Streetsblog.net

2922746704_46664861ba.jpgWe’re headed out to the West Coast this morning on Streetsblog Network, where we are now featuring feeds from 142 blogs and adding new members all the time (welcome Kansas! welcome Kentucky!).

A Lesson from San Francisco: How Streetcars Can Evolve. Seattle, WA: Can streetcars that share space with car traffic become part of a true rapid-transit system? From Seattle Transit Blog, a historical analysis of the way streetcars in San Francisco have done just that.

Un-Malling 14th Street. St. Louis, MO: When is a pedestrian mall not a good idea? In 1977, the city of St. Louis closed a shopping street downtown to cars. The experiment failed and the street went dead. Urban Review STL looks forward to the restoration of the street grid.

Plus: Electric trains in California, more on the Big Bad Big Box and a fun video about walking.

Photo: "Monorail and Streetcar, Past, Present and Future," by Oranviri, via the STB Flickr pool

  • Rhywun

    Q. When is a pedestrian mall not a good idea?

    A. When your city’s economy and/or crime (and/or all the other factors that cause people to leave) stinks so bad that it’s continuing to lose population to the suburbs despite all your best efforts.

    I’m a bit confused about the author of that post’s insistence that closing a street to cars is “suburban bliss”. I would hardly call the thousands of successful examples in Europe “suburban bliss”. The fact that it doesn’t work in Saint Louis is because people prefer the real suburbs–the one that you can drive to.

    Buffalo has a pedestrian street that they want to give back to cars too, as if 50% of the downtown area isn’t already devoted to cars. It won’t bring life back to downtown Buffalo, and I doubt it will work in this part of Saint Louis either.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

STREETSBLOG USA

Planning a Streetcar? Better Get Your Zoning Right

|
Streetcars aren’t necessarily the fastest or cheapest way to get people from point A to point B, compared to, say, light rail or additional bus service. But cities around the country are racing to install new lines because streetcars can be a powerful tool for promoting urban development, of the walkable, transit-oriented, mixed-use, high-tax-revenue generating kind. But there’s […]

Transit-Oriented America, Part 3: Three More Cities

|
Part 3 in a series on rail and transit-only travel across the United States focuses on the final three cities of our journey. Part 2 looked at the first three and Part 1 presented an overview of our travel.  San Francisco Fully restored streetcars, cable cars, buses with and without pantographs, submerged and at-grade light rail, a […]

Good Streets Include Streetcars

|
Last stop for Brooklyn’s trolley dodgers at Fairway Market in Red Hook. Devotees of the Red Hook, Brooklyn Fairway grocery store can have the pleasure, after loading up on gourmet salt and other essentials, of sipping coffee on their back veranda over looking the river. It’s a wonderful view. On your right is the Statue […]
STREETSBLOG USA

To Speed Service, Seattle Looks to Separate Streetcars From Auto Traffic

|
As streetcars make a comeback in cities across America, they are under scrutiny from transit advocates who complain about service quality. Atlanta’s new streetcar has produced disappointing ridership numbers, with sources reporting it’s not much faster than walking. And Yonah Freemark at the Transport Politic reports that after a fairly strong start, Seattle’s South Lake Union […]

Eyes on the Street: Bicoastal Streetcars

|
Brooklyn San Francisco Like Clarence Eckerson, I recently returned from a visit to San Francisco. I left with a feeling that San Francisco has the best urban surface transportation in the country: emissions-free buses drawing power from overhead wires, regular buses, cable cars moving up and down steep hills, many cyclists despite those hills, partially buried lightrail and […]