Tag: Light Rail

Scooter Economy


Have you ever wondered about the scooter economy? No, not that Scooter. We are talking about the electric scooters, which have largely supplanted undocked bicycles. The undocked bicycles were, themselves, a leap forward from docked bicycles. All of these transportation modes attack the “last mile” problem, with increasing efficacy. “Docked,” undocked,” “last mile,” what is all this about? Read on and marvel, or at least gain a nice break room, coffee shop, or dinner table story.

The last mile problem:

In transportation of persons, as in transmission of data, the last mile is the toughest challenge, and limits the efficiency of the entire system. Think back to when cable and telecommunications companies were racing to bury many thousands of miles of cable in literal pipelines. The pipelines shielded and allowed maintenance on the wire and fiber optic cables forming data infrastructure “pipelines.”

Wheels of Justice Spinning?


In mid-December, I wrote about the murder of a convenience store clerk in “Drug Dealing: Not a Victimless Crime.” In that piece, you saw the rapid response of a makeshift shrine, with many prayer candles burning. Now, that temporary shrine is replaced with a permanent cross, lit by two prayer candles at all times.

The cross confirms the sparse details given in a follow-up KTAR news story, shortly after the murderous attack, or robbery attempt:

Jose Alcarez-Hernandez, 54, died in the shooting that police said may have been the result of a robbery gone bad.

Member Post


Here‘s a song that’s so catchy, even if you don’t listen to it you will sing it. The lyrics go: “Snake farm/It just sounds nasty/Snake farm/It pretty much is/Snake farm/It’s a reptile house/Snake farm/Ughhhh!” Well, you may have to listen to get that final interjection right. But if you don’t…I still bet everything that comes […]

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All Aboard for Urban Renovation?


As President Trump crafts his strategy to continue his “promises made, promises kept” grand political strategy, he likely will advance an urban renewal initiative, aimed at key communities the Democratic Party relies upon for electoral success. In addition to assessing such an initiative on its political and moral worth, we should also be very careful about its bias toward bureaucrats or citizens. In Drug Dealing: Not a Victimless Crime, a story of a murder and a car driven into a Subway restaurant, I raised the issue of unintended consequences of urban planning. The would-be masters of the metropolis tell us that light rail makes, encourages development, makes people movement better, and improves communities. Yet, they do not talk about the government induced destruction of businesses, movement of vagrants and drug addicts, and associated harm to communities. I have seen both sides in the Valley of the Sun, prompting cautionary contemplation.

Preliminaries: Money and Style

Drug Dealing: Not a Victimless Crime


My Ricochet profile includes a statement of principles. In part:

On economics, I support maximizing liberty under the minimum law needed for
informed, consensual exchanges. There is no truly free trade or truly neutral

On social issues I am a 1st Amendment absolutist, nearly. I support the death
penalty but abhor its modern medicalization. Re-legalize unhybridized marijuana, powder cocaine and opium, as the black market created by the drug war has cost enough. Reduce harm, don’t create a market for it.

Member Post


Civic projects and why they cost so much is explained in a very succinct  paragraph by former mayor Willie Brown. In 2013, complaints about the costs of the TransBay Terminal in San Francisco prompted former mayor Willie Brown to sound off in an opinion piece, telling critics to “get off it.”- courtesy of Watchdog.org Preview Open

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Can Buses Ever Be Cool?


shutterstock_112350695Recently, at The American Interest, Walter Russell Mead highlighted a UK think tank’s efforts to persuade the government that buses are superior to trains. “The great train fantasy” is, he argues, preventing us from generating sensible solutions to transportation problems. Trains seem fancy and futuristic, but in reality are expensive and lower-capacity than buses. Also, buses are more flexible. When urban development and demographic changes alter people’s travel needs, you can just change the bus routes. It’s much harder to reroute a train.

Despite all that, buses still seem déclassé, which is presumably a major reason why trains and light rail continue to streak their way through the dreams of liberal urban planners. Trains seem sleek and streamlined and their doors make that cool whoosh noise. Is the coming technocratic paradise going to run on buses? Yeah, right.

For the record, I personally hate mass transportation. As a mom with several small kids, it’s fairly useless to me, and I hated everything about St. Paul’s recent light rail project (which, as far as I could tell, was motivated entirely by the argument, “Hey, Minneapolis has light rail, and we’re just as wasteful and technocratic as they are”). Meanwhile, the people I know who lobby for more and better mass transport are childless urban professionals whose claim that it’s “a quality of life issue” mostly seems to boil down to a demand that we all help offset their transportation expenses so that they’ll have even more money for sushi bars and snorkeling trips. (What? No, I’m totally not bitter.)