The core question is where exactly the streetcar will run and whether it will have to share the right-of-way with cars. The RTA has ruled out putting the tracks on the neutral ground, as on St. Charles Avenue. There are too many physical obstacles in the way, most notably an AT&T "trunk line" carrying phone signals.They couldn't decide if one or two lanes of vehicular traffic would be most efficient so they decided to do both which will surely be the worst of all possible plans. Also, if you're going to squeeze in a bike lane that goes only one direction in a narrow space between parked cars and heavy traffic, you're better off just not putting in a bike lane at all.
But Augustine acknowledged that he couldn't really answer this question: if it's alright to give the streetcar a dedicated lane on the street during peak traffic hours, when the most cars are on the road, why not give the streetcar its own lane all the time?
In other words, if eliminating one lane for cars won't foul up traffic during rush-hour, what could be the harm when there's more room to maneuver?
Put on the spot, Augustine concluded simply, "A compromise was made," and made it clear that anyone hoping to tip the balance in favor of a fully dedicated lane would have to lobby City Hall, which ultimately controls the roads.
One wonders if efficient public transit is even the object here. In fact a few of the statements made indicate something quite the contrary.
Questions asking about redundancy of streetcar on a bus line (the #88). Augustine cites property appreciation, livability.
— The_GambitLIVE (@The_GambitLIVE) March 7, 2013
Pres Kabacoff, a real estate developer from the Bywater neighborhood, said he thinks the streetcar will help spur business. Kabacoff even argued that slowing down vehicle traffic might be a good thing, since having cars whip by "is not conducive for good retail development."So there you have it. An "effective streetcar" is one that jams up traffic to such an extent that Pres Kabacoff can turn a higher profit from downtown properties that will consequently be more "conveniently located." Getting people from one place to another is really kind of an afterthought.
He added, "To the extent that people have a difficult time in traffic getting down the street it may cause them to want to live in the area and use an effective streetcar."