I worry about how much ridership the streetcar would get with its one-way pair configuration. Surface transit works best when it’s on a two-way street; for example, in Manhattan every time a north-south avenue was converted to one-way, the associated bus line suffered a drop in ridership. In one area, the northbound route here is especially circuitous, traveling around Findlay Market.
I think Alon is looking at it from the point of view of someone going from downtown to UC. The route starts on Main Street heading north, then takes a 4 block detour west to Elm, goes up past Findlay market, heads a block east, then goes two blocks SOUTH again (WTF?) before going another block east to Vine and up. There’s some 8 blocks of fussing around that doesn’t get you any closer to where you’re going.
Now, I’m as big a streetcar supporter as you’ll find, but I don’t really understand the purpose of having the north and south lines only one block apart.
Wouldn’t it help ridership if the lines were placed several blocks apart, so that folks on Elm or Sycamore were more likely to hop a four or five block ride? If you have to walk three or four blocks to the stop, it kind of defeats the purpose, right?
I’m sure there’s a logical reason for this- maybe one of you could enlighten me?
Across the country, wherever streetcar tracks are laid, development will soon follow. The way to maximize this development is by employing parallel tracks. In Portland, development was greatest within three blocks of the streetcar tracks.
By having parallel tracks, you have development on the block between the tracks and then for three more blocks on either side. Essentially a seven block corridor of economic activity with the greatest benefits being felt in the center.
If the tracks are too far apart, the system becomes more difficult to use. With parallel tracks, a passenger can get off the streetcar and see the other set of tracks for their return trip. By always knowing where the streetcar will pick them up, new riders have a greater sense of security.