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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Charlotte, N.C. is smarter than New York City

Unlike the New York Times, which regularly sends gullible rubes out to write travel brochure fodder about Portlandia, a TV station from Carolina actually assigned a reporter who took a balanced look at our city's streetcar madness.

Comments (16)

It's not just a street car. It's like molasses poured into the body politic. It is or becomes so large that it begins to support a government class that will lie, cheat, and do whatever necessary to keep laying track. It is perhaps the worst thing to hit a once pleasant city. It's Mussolini's trains. But these don't run on time, or come in at cost.

Wooooooowwwwww. Money could be used for other projects! Dang!

Except for the last paragraph, that was a really good piece. The numbers are frightening.

Thanks, Vera!

"The cars run on a 15-mile system made up of two loops, at a price tag of roughly $20 million per mile.

But the operating budget is another issue. Money comes from ticket sales and sponsorships, but mainly city, state and federal taxes."

$20 Million per mile? WTF????

$20M per mile? Hell, that's a bargain when compared to light rail at $179M per mile.

The streetcar did not spur the development.

Endless tax credits and other abatements did, along with the sudden availability of dozens of acres of land with the promise of free government money to develop the land by building streets and sidewalks and at least one city owned parking garage.

The streetcar was just the icing on top of the already rich chocolate cake.

Erik H., I'm sure you haven't forgotten another major reason that spurred development in spit of streetcars:
Extensive UpZoning.

North Macadam and it's urban renewal increased density from FAR 2:1 to 12:1 (six times), and increased heights from 35 ft to 325 ft.(9+ times)

Pearl District urban renewal increased density FAR on average from 2:1 to 8:1 (four times), and increased heights from an average of 35 ft to 125 ft.(3.7 times)

Most any property owner/developer who has their property increased by these amounts, plus all the endless subsidies attached would build.

To let Charlotte be mislead that streetcars are the instrumental reason for development is hypocrisy. It's as bad as Mayor Katz proclaiming that after neighborhood presentations concerning North Macadam URA showing many tall buildings, that "it's all an exaggeration, there will maybe be up to three tall buildings, right Planning Staff? "Yes", said the staff.

It's the opposite. We've had enough exaggerations from the Politicians, Bureaucrats and Planners.

But Lee, there were 10,000 family wage jobs created, right??

And don't forget THE tram (rim shot)! Iconic just like the Eifel Tower!

Someone should send that reporter a few of Tri-Mets financial statements so he can get the whole story on the fiscal madness behind inner city rail...

Dr. Eric Fruits with Portland State University may have just lost his job for not agreeing with the streetcar mafia.

Erik H. makes excellent points...Those seeking information in Charlotte should be made aware that other initiatives, other than streetcars, were primarily responsible for the masses of property development.

The streetcars are indeed icing....high cost, fattening, and entirely extraneous which, with the opportunity costs (those things foregone because of the investment in crappy streetcars), makes them even worse. Just...just think...we could have invested in more sensitivity training for the thugs who pass as police officers in this city.

The City of Lies.
. . . and at the rate we are going we could end up lying on the bottom of the barrel.

"It's sustainable." WTF?

I'm sure you haven't forgotten another major reason that spurred development in spit of streetcars:
Extensive UpZoning.

Good point. What if Portland just eliminated density restrictions city-wide and let anyone build as dense as they wanted?

The pro-"smart growth" people complain government policies forced "urban sprawl" and suburbs...so...undo it. Let Portland grow as dense as they want.

Of course, what happens if that density happens at SE 148th and Division? Or in St. Johns? Or 39th and Powell? Or on Foster? Or Barbur and Capitol? Or Hillsdale?

The city is not restricting density, they are promoting it and in some cases if people want to build with less density, the city apparently has codes of a minimum density requirement.
My thought is not to eliminate codes, but go back to years ago before Katz/Hales and get those good codes for our livability back in place. Hales knows exactly what he did, if he has matured and realized some errors of his early vision, who better in a position to put those codes back. But alas, he may be into smart growth for life, that is for others. I don't think he has a six story complex or density on his street. It is too late for some areas, but why continue on with those negative code changes of extreme density that people don't want? The smart growth folks shouldn't be the only ones considered when decisions are made. I think we have had enough of Metro dictates in our area.
Words are so deceptive, smart growth being one. I wonder if deception was in mind when the term was coined?

It is so like the streetcar mafia to spin the facts and claim that “the system led to $4 billion worth of investment near the tracks, including 10,000 housing units.” What was not said is that a considerable amount of additional taxpayer funded subsidies at the expense of other public services and long term debt were expended to leverage the streetcar claimed investment. Most of that propped up investment would have happened with or without the streetcar.

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