One of my favorite visuals when I visit San Francisco are the trolleys and street cars. When I rode a street car for the first time a few years ago, I didn’t realize that they were largely retired cars purchased from eastern cities like Newark and Philadelphia.
There seems to be a bit of a renaissance toward light rail service in many cities given their reasonable economics and limited pollution among other advantages (such as fun). This has likely been a result of the swing towards urban residential development, especially in former commercial districts and class b and c office markets. The credit boom fueled demand for residential housing in downtown markets and more need for public transportation.
With the recession, credit crunch and falling tax collections being experienced in many urban municipalities, I wonder if the opportunity for light rail expansion is already past. Transportation is always a key consideration in urban residential housing market.
Man, I love trains.
[New Urbanism Watch] A Streetcar Named De-Leverage