Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist


Dateline: 11:02 pm January 6, 2009 Filed under:

What do St. Louis, Atlanta and Minneapolis have in common? In all three cities, one can take the train from the airport directly to the downtown.

What do Newark, Baltimore and Milwaukee have in common? You can fly in to their airport, and take a train to other cities.

Continental Airlines offers a codeshare service by rail from Newark to New Haven, Stamford, Philadelphia and Wilmington.

Milwaukee is effectively a third Chicago airport. If you are in the Loop, it is 35 minutes to Midway on the Orange line, an hour (often more) to O’Hare on the Blue line, and 1.5 hours to Milwaukee Airport on Amtrak.

What do Houston, Phoenix and Charlotte have in common? They are southern car-dominated cities with successful recent light rail lines (OK, so Phoenix just started their service, but I’m banking that ridership will be high).

Plus, Charlotte has a very progressive zoning code for transit station areas, with density minimums and parking maximums, which sets the table for developers to do good transit oriented development projects.

What does all of this have to do with anything? Well, we are at a pivot point in urban development. Demographics are changing, the economy and real estate industry are reeling, and with the new Obama administration, we have the opportunity to invest in transportation projects that will shape urban growth for decades to come.

Transportation for America (T4America) is a campaign to get America moving again. They seek to modernize and expand intercity rail and urban transit systems comparable to those in Europe and China, invest in green transportation technology—not just cleaner cars and buses, but also expanding opportunities for people to walk, bike and take transit, restore existing transportation infrastructure, and save American families money by providing more affordable housing options within easy walking and biking distance or transit connections to jobs and commercial districts.

It is kind of neat to fly in to Baltimore in order to get to Washington. It is really nice to use a transit system in cities across the country. Unfortunately, this is still the exception rather than the norm. There is much to do.

Log on to T4America today and help get America moving again.

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