Streetcars and Cities in the 21st Century
April 23, 2008 | In Los Angeles, May 22, at the Historic Orpheum Theatre
Streetcars can be the catalystImagine a public-private partnership that leverages tremendous value for property owners and local businesses, helps market new high-rise residential development, mixed-use and a "green" lifestyle, and helps achieve public goals like affordability, sustainability, parks, and high-quality public spaces. Streetcars can be the catalyst for these goals – in downtowns and in urban and suburban neighborhoods. The spectacular success of the Portland streetcar has revolutionized the way cities think about transit and development by stimulating $3.5 billion in investment in two new neighborhoods near Portland’s downtown. The brand new Seattle streetcar is having similar success in South Lake Union -- where property owners put up half the cost of streetcar construction. San Francisco’s F-Line streetcar has played an important role in the rebirth of the Embarcadero as a walkable, transit-oriented neighborhood since the freeway was taken down. And streetcars have promoted economic development and investment in walkable, higher-density, mixed-use neighborhoods in communities as diverse as Kenosha, Wisconsin, Tampa, and Little Rock. Streetcars are a boon for pedestrians and streetlife, link disparate places into “someplace,” connect to regional transit systems and promote ridership, and create sustainable communities where it's possible to live without a car. Streetcars are cheaper than other rail transit (affordable even for small cities), fit easily into built environments, they’re energy efficient, and they are strong and proven economic development engines for revitalizing neighborhoods. Hear about the success of the most robust new streetcar systems at the last of four national workshops, hosted by the national nonprofit Reconnecting America and the Seaside Institute, the American Public Transportation Association, national Community Streetcar Coalition, PB, and other national and local sponsors. Speakers from around the country will talk about the political and funding strategies that are getting new streetcar systems built. The cost of the full-day workshop is $75, and $25 for local residents; at the Historic Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. National sponsors include HDR, URS, LTK, Gannett Fleming, Holland & Knight, AnsaldoBreda, United Streetcar/Skoda, and TranSystems. Local sponsors include the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, the Bringing Back Broadway Initiative, the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of L.A., the Central City Association, the Historic Downtown L.A. Business Improvement District, and the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. For more information call Natasha Daggs at 510-268-8602 or 323-304-2304, or go to www.reconnectingamerica.org.