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Light Rail is Trendy

Update: I am beginning to dislike light-rail systems more lately. Most of the time systems and stations are located in the wrong areas and are not successful. I know a few good systems exist out there. Sacramento is not one of the better ones.

I am a big fan of light rail systems and am excited that Sacramento is dedicated to expanding its light rail system through its Transit for Livable Communities land use planning project. However, the recent fare increases are cause for concern, especially considering the majority of riders on the system are poor. I do occasionally ride the Sacramento light rail, and my girlfriend rides the system to her job every weekday (There is currently no service to the city I work in, but there are plans for expansion to it as well as the Sacramento Airport. I cannot wait!). I would ride more often, but I enjoy the exercise from walking too much. Sacramento this past week broke ground on its first major transit oriented residential development project called the Upper East Side Lofts at the Folsom/65th Street stop. I hope this trend continues because residents are demanding more of this type of development. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a light rail system is, visit the Light Rail Transit Association website for an explanation.

I stumbled across the Light Rail Now! website and found their NewsLog which had a couple of interesting articles about light rail. Here are some of the highlights from the article:

-Minneapolis-St. Paul light rail line exceeds ridership projections 15 years early

-Houston dumps the MetroRail expansion plan for Bus Rapid Transit (why??)

-Suburbanites of Metro DC want an expansion of the MetroRail, and

-Memphis starting a marketing campaign to garner support for a light rail system.

I will have some feature articles about light rail and the state of light rail in Sacramento and other cities in the future.

The picture above is of the Sacramento light rail running on K Street in downtown. K Street is a pedestrian/transit only street in this section. There is a shopping mall, a movie theater (pictured), an IMAX theater, and several bars, restaurants, and cafés. Yet, the street has many vacant stores and is seemingly struggling. Why is this happening? That is a story for another day. But hopefully some new HOUSING on the street will help turn things around.

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