Wednesday, January 13, 2010

PDP #160: Blue Line, Blue Sky

While Los Angeles does in fact have a subway, the majority of its rail-transit kilometers are served by light rail lines that are, essentially, beefier and grade-separated streetcar lines using beefier vehicles. That's the case with the Blue Line, which at twenty years of age is the oldest of LA's transit lines, which I've photographed here looking north toward downtown Los Angeles from Firestone station. Much of the Blue Line is surface-running, but on occasion it's elevated to pass above cross streets. On the other side of that metal barrier, Firestone Avenue is about forty feet below.

Sometimes I wonder if the Scarborough RT, and the old proposed-but-unrealized Etobicoke RT, might ever have ended up like the Blue Line, one of the busiest light-rail lines in the United States. The extension of intermediate-capacity transit into those cities twenty or thirty years ago, beyond the Scarborough RT's current five-stop form, could have done a lot to make Toronto a true transit city well before the 21st century. I find that the most galling of all - the constant willingness to leave worthwhile projects to some undefined future, because obviously the future will be all candies and roses and those future people will have no problem paying for it at all.

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