City Debunking the Arguments Against Mass Transit
posted by October 31 at 17:34 PMon
As I noted earlier, rail opponent and Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman made transit proponents’ argument for them during a debate with Mayor Greg Nickels at the UW last week, arguing—bizarrely—that we shouldn’t build light rail because it predominantly helps rush hour commuters. Nickels responded that that’s exactly the point: Transit is supposed to serve people at the most congested times. “The problem is that we all try to get to and from work and to and from the university at the same time every day,” Nickels said. “We wouldn’t have to put down another cubic foot of concrete if all those trips were spread out throughout the day and night.”
Anyway, the Mass Transit Now campaign has posted the video of Freeman laying out his “argument.” It’s convoluted, to say the least.
Meanwhile, what may be the real reason Freeman opposes transit—because doesn’t want “those kind of people” coming to his Bellevue Square shopping mall and reducing his the property values—is being proven false in Denver, where homes along light-rail lines have actually increased in value, sometimes dramatically. As home values throughout Denver as a whole have declined 7.5 percent, the value of homes along rail lines has increased 4 percent. And the closer a home is to a rail station, the more its value has increased.
As for the argument that rail and express buses “can’t possibly” serve the million riders they will have the capacity to carry daily, because trains will be running empty—another Freeman favorite—Sightline’s Clark Williams-Derry points out that many Seattle buses are now actually running above capacity, suggesting that light rail trains will be far from empty (especially at rush hour). The fuller buses and trains are, the bigger positive impact they have on the climate. That’s true, it turns out, even when you consider the whole “life cycle” of the system, including greenhouse gases produced manufacturing buses and rail cars and building roads and rail lines.