Heads up – this is long – 30 minutes.
John Charles, Portland, OR environmental council member and now think tank president, offers warnings on light rail to Vancouver. He concludes by saying, “I’m not inherently opposed to trains. Actually I used to commute from NJ to in NYC on the commuter trains. I enjoyed it; I kind of like trains. Light rail is just a failed paradigm. The transitory development has failed. It’s not scalable. Even if you find one that works occasionally, you can’t scale it up to the mass market. Any conversation needs to be about its people moving abilities, not whether it is a catalyst for development.”
A couple more comments by Mr. Charles:
..When I was at the Oregon environmental council, beginning to question whether saving the environment was synonymous with big government. Randall wasdoing a lot of research and writing on the same topic… I have to say that regional planning, and especially what’s known in Portland as the Metro 2040 50-year vision, I was very involved with that. That’s really what pushed me over the edge. Once I got behind the scenes and got my hands dirty in 2040 planning process, especially that the fact Metro zone consultants were telling them that it wasn’t going to work and they ignored all their consultants. That’s meant to me that it was time to move on… I left after 16 1/2 years. I just had to get out of there.
Portland was the first region in the country to successfully lobby the Federal Transit Administration to allow federal pork barrel money flowing to a local transit project. That some of that money could be siphoned off to subsidize high density development….