The concept is if the public doesn't want something and New Urbanist acolytes like Benton and the city planning department do, create a task force stacked with "business and community representatives" who already agree with you, meet and talk for a few years, and the coup de grâce bring in a consultant whose specialty is... "transit-oriented development."
Our experts are recognized nationally as leaders in these strategies, having contributed to more than 70 light rail station areas.The reality is that this trolley down Central Avenue will only serve about 5,000 people a day - if that. (Mario Burgos has an interesting analysis here.) At a cost of $28 MILLION a mile and $3.9 MILLION a year we could buy a whole lot buses, build all kinds of bike and walking trails, and fix a whole lot of roads throughout the city. The estimated $106 MILLION would go a long way towards fixing the Paseo/I-25 interchange which serves far more people on a daily basis.
Isaac Benton and the Almighty Alcalde would have us believe that rails embedded in Central Avenue will carry the trolley to utopia. In reality, it's the worst sort of government wealth redistribution scheme aimed largely at legacy building not solving transportation problems. To make matters worse, these yahoos are considering wasting our money at a time when city hall is trying to avert a budget crisis and squabbling about how to do it. It's just more 19th Century Streetcar stupidity that'll end up costing all of us MILLIONS of dollars up front and for years to come.