Monday, November 20, 2006

Light Rail

On an optimistic note, Denver's new Southeast Light Rail line opened last week. I commuted via light rail today, and it was quite pleasant--about 10 minutes longer trip than driving (35min including necessary walking vs. 25 minutes door-to-door driving), but a relaxing opportunity to read, and cheaper than parking alone, not to mention car ownership and gas. My current schedule allows me to commute outside of rush-hour, so the light rail trip is about 10 minutes faster if I had to fight the traffic.

Mass transit alone isn't the solution to our problems, or even a very effective stop-gap. It's quite nice to have, though. And it can certainly buy us time when combined with multi-use zoning, transit-oriented development, higher density residential/commercial, etc. Watching the city breeze from the seat of a train by makes me feel like I'm in Europe, so maybe that's fueling my optimism. But America has a lot of structural problems that don't plague Europe, and that light rail won't solve. But hey, it's nice for me for the time being...

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