People always say that you need a large population to do Mass transit, but I'm not so sure
I was listening to NPR when the US population mark hit 300 million and Steve Berman, mayor of Gilbert, Ariz., the fastest-growing city in the United States talked about the population boom in his city, yet shunned the idea of Mass Transit saying "It's just not something we think about here in the southwest." However I'm glad to say that despite his bull headiness his neighbors to the East are responding to a growing population with foresight.
I lived in New Mexico a couple of years ago, and the Governor Bill Richardson was strongly pushing a commuter rail service for Albuquerque and up to Santa Fe. To my surprise he actually managed to get it done (no small feat in a state legislature that only meets for 30 days/year)!
They call it the Rail Runner (a play on Road Runner which is the state bird), and its already running From Belen, NM through ABQ into Sandoval County with a plan to expand it to Santa Fe by 2008. http://www.nmrailrunner.com/
Now to let you know:
Santa Fe has a population of about 61,000
Albuquerque has a population of under 500,000
Metro Region around ABQ (not including Santa Fe) is about 900,000
Which makes ABQ aprox. the same size ad Cleveland with a significantly smaller population in the sub/exurbs.
The rail seems to be quite popular, although they're only running it on weekdays so far (and it's still at the low introductory price of $2/ride). If this works I don't see why every city of this size and bigger shouldn't do the same thing!
But what do you think... is there a size limit for mass Transit? Is this project doomed to be a drain on the States resources?
BTW in ABQ, the city is seeking input on which designs they should choose for the new Light rail that they're going to be building soon...(Source).
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