The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

Our Mission: Monkeywrench the Anti-Transit Forces

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Thursday, August 22, 2002

Another Wendell Coxism: Missing Context

From the Cabalmaster:

As we've said, Wendell Cox often has "correct" data. But then he often misses the "big picture."

For example, this entry would trick many people, particularly the uncritical, into thinking that the Portland's West Side light rail line, which opened in September 1998, has "failed." This appears to be Cox's motive.

Well, to understand the complete context, two key pieces of information are missing: the rate of job growth in Portland's western suburbs was very high during the same period the LRT line, opened, a reflection of the well-known "high tech" orientation of the area during the late 1990's " boom." Population in Washington County also increased faster than the Portland area average, generating more total trips by all modes, both in major corridors and locally.

The other key fact is that the new LRT line significantly increased the total transit market share in the Sunset Highway corridor. Details are at Portland State University, Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies and at the Tri-Met web site.

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