Here's a particularly grim expose of misunderstanding. It's an opinion piece entitled Streetcar in Tampa: An Idea Whose Time has Come - and Gone
running in the St. Pete Times. Sandra Thompson attempts to make the case that the streetcar system in its heritage context cannot possibly exist as a serious transportation solution for downtown. This in wake of Hartline's move to fund an engineering and financial study
for the Whiting Street extension.
Sandra actually argues that we need something more akin to what Portland is currently running
. What strikes me as odd, and what utterly underscores how difficult it can be to have same-side team discussions of urban rail mass transit, is that she seems to be completely unaware that the very system she is praising as quality mass transit in downtown Portland is fundamentally the very same schema as that of the Teco Line Streetcar. In smashing the value of the Teco Line yet promoting ultra modern transit for the downtown corridors, Sandra Thompson has orchestrated a collision of disparate music. It's as if the truck carrying all the percussion instruments of the New York Philharmonic has overturned on the freeway of Sandra's alotted space in the St. Pete Times.
I type it here so often that I am afraid that I will overstate the case to the bore of regulars. But each time I read these kinds of concerns, I am, once again, forced to remind that the sliver of the Teco Line Streetcar line which operates today is in fact a much grander forefather of what it will be tommorrow. You're for
small extensions because you're for bigger
ones later. You're for
bigger ones later, because you're for
Hillsborough County light rail. You're for
Hillsborough County light rail because you're for
regional rail. There is no difference, particularly when you remember that you're for
all that because, as much as you're for modern urban rail solutions, you're against
those people who would rather never see a sliver of urban rail make it another inch here, ever. The short extension would, among other things, be a great way to tell anyone on the Hillsborough BOCC who voted against it, to drop dead. And I mean that strictly philisophically.
I regard that 3 or 4 block extension
as actually critical in the sense that it provides the potential for total connectivity between parking garages deeply set in Ybor City and the very heart of the downtown core. That will give Tampa the latitude, someday, to add those fancy modern "Euro-style" streetcars that Portland uses, and which Sandra seems to praise as highly as I would.