Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Eat the tourists

Don't act so surprised. That's what it's supposed to do.
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority’s largest new transit infrastructure investment since Hurricane Katrina — its North Rampart streetcar line — actually reduced convenient access to jobs in nearby areas, according to a new report.

The report was released by RIDE New Orleans, a transit advocacy group that has long argued that the RTA should prioritize buses, which carry almost exclusively local riders, over the more picturesque streetcars, which appeal to tourists.
We know that's what it's supposed to do because they told us that's what it was supposed to do when they were planning it. In this meeting, Justin Augustine didn't say anything about getting people more efficient transit. He talked about "revitalizing a corridor."
Justin Augustine, the agency’s general manager, said the project will take about two years to complete once the work gets started. As with the Loyola Avenue spur, which opened in January 2013, city officials hope the investment will pay off by generating economic development in a part of the city where revitalization efforts have proceeded in fits and starts.

“When we first introduced the concept, we wanted to revitalize and renew parts of the city, and we knew that along that corridor, you’d be touching five historic neighborhoods,” Augustine said, referring to the French Quarter, Iberville, the Treme, the Marigny and the Upper 9th Ward. “We’re hoping with all of our projects that we spur economic development.”
In this meeting, Pres Kabacoff explicitly said the way to revitalize the corridor was to make the transit slower and less reliable for people trying to get anywhere on time.
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."

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."
Of course nobody actually lives in the area. It's all Airbnbs um.. overnight po-boy parties and such there. But, hey, the corridor is "revitalized." Tourism is doing that. It's also killing the city.

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