Sunday, March 28, 2010

Reserved Right-of-Way

The tramway is making its comeback in North America. After years of being replaced by buses, cities are lure by the capacity and the environmental benefits. As Yonah Freemark mentions in this article, it's important to design a tramway properly. Europe's "new tramway" concept completely solves the problems. The idea is that the tramway should be completely separate from the cars. That means taking lanes away from the road which encourages cars to get off. The benefits of tramways are too good to ignore for many cities. We can only hope that that of Montreal gets on the tracks soon.
All this at a much more reasonable price than would be possible if you wanted the type of full-scale, independent right-of-way featured by Link. Unlike equally cheap streetcars, these tram lines wouldn’t held up by surrounding traffic or required to have short trainsets because of limited street dimensions.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s been relatively easy to implement such street-running railin a number of European cities, and where it’s been done, it has often improved the quality of the surrounding streetscape, producing exactly the type of livable environment planners love to see around major new transit investments.

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