Politics Re: Seattle Times Prop 1 Editorial
posted by October 15 at 16:24 PMon
Consider Portland. That city opened its first light-rail line two decades ago, and has built several of them, all of which replaced bus lines. Overall, Greater Portland is no less car-dependent than Seattle. Its congestion has gotten worse, just as it has here. Many Portlanders are proud of light rail, but the last three times new light-rail plans have been on the ballot in the Portland area, the people rejected them.
A. Of course congestion has gotten worse over two decades. Portland has grown phenomenally since building light rail. Imagine if they hadn’t built it and poured all that money into roads and buses. Would congestion have gone down? Hardly. Portland’s light rail riders would be sharing the roads with all the new folks who currently drive.
B. “The last three times new light-rail plans have been on the ballot in the Portland area, the people rejected them.” Right. And that’s why congestion has gotten worse. Maybe if they didn’t reject light rail initiatives, congestion wouldn’t have gotten as much worse.
Here are some stats on Portland’s light rail ridership:
Between 1995 and 2005 overall ridership increased 53% with only a 20% increase in service. While transit remains a minority mode for travel, it is outpacing the 25% growth in vehicles miles of travel and the 16% growth in population over that same period of time.