The benefits of streetcars are being recognized in cities around the world, and they are investing heavily in these pedestrian-friendly, environmentally conscious systems to efficiently and reliably take people where they want and need to go. For more detailed information click here, but below is a summary of the benefits:
Catalyst for new development – With highly visible rails installed in the streets, a permanent, dependable streetcar system will assure investors that their investments have permanent access to public transit and a steady flow of customers. For example, when Portland installed their streetcar, the increase in activity that the streetcars generated, drove new retail, office, commercial, and home development around the streetcar line.
Creates jobs – With new homes, comes new residents, and they need jobs. With the streetcar, more people will have easy access to employment opportunities. The streetcar will force the downtown area to compete for skilled, educated, and in-demand employees throughout the region. The diverse urban environment will attract creative employees, making LA more competitive.
Stimulates tourism – The streetcar will connect major destinations together and will be easy for novice riders to use and understand. By traveling to the places that people want to go, the streetcar will capture riders that are willing, ready, and excited to engage in Downtown L.A.’s depth of entertainment, cultural, and shopping experiences. This results in more spending, more hotels booked, and in turn, more city revenue.
Sustainable power – Streetcars run entirely on electricity, which means they emit zero point-source emissions while operating, and as an added benefit, electric systems are virtually silent. They reduce carbon gas emissions by making urban living easier, more accessible, and convenient for live/work activity.
Promotes safe, healthy, active community – Streetcars extend the distance a person can comfortably walk. Streetcar schedules will be integrated into real-time transit maps, available on mobile phones and the internet, so riders know exactly when and where streetcars arrive and depart.
Increases productivity – Removing the stress of a daily commute increases productivity and makes getting to work an active experience. The streetcar system will be especially helpful for those who choose not to, or are unable to, use an automobile as their primary means of transit. This will decrease traffic and allow for easy circulation with less parking. The streetcar will make downtown transit connections seamless by directly interfacing with the regional transportation network, including numerous bus routes, rail lines, and multi-mobility hubs.
Cost effective – Streetcars are designed to integrate with the existing urban environment, can be constructed quickly, and flow with traffic in a shared right-of-way. They can be built on-time and on-budget while minimally disrupting businesses.
With the addition of the streetcar, urban living will become more sustainable and convenient. It can help revitalize communities and neighborhoods while providing significant economic and development returns city-wide. What do you think? Would one of these work in Reno?