Riding That Train


Roger Valdez brings us this article on three points of his experiences with Seattle‘s light rail.  His first point is that he is surprised that this has happened at all.  The history of this project began back in 1995, and even after it was approved in 1996, there was the process of deciding where it should go, if it should be surface or tunneled, and how to mitigate its impact on communities.  Almost everywhere they went some activist group opposed the plans, and when they corrected them, another group would spring up to oppose the changes.  But despite all this, and fourteen years later, Seattle’s light rail dream has finally materialized.  His second point is, now that we’ve made it this far, how do we keep it viable?  Valdez’s first solution involves land use policy.  Areas surrounding transit stops need to be upzoned and need to allow mixed use development so that people can walk to immediate services and take the train to more distant ones. His final point is that local governments need to create and support policies that encourage light rail use.  I’m glad to see that Seattle’s light rail is going well and that it seems to be supported by the community, and I’m glad that people like Roger are keen on the next step: TOD.

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