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, September 05, 2002


From the Cabalmaster:

Much of the data and statistics on “The Public Purpose” and “Demographia” remind we Opinionated Ones of a 1972 hit single by “War” (see: However, the “song” presented by Wendell and company holds that the world is a suburb (rather than a “ghetto”).

We presume that Wendell wants you to believe that this reflects "choice." We're not convinced.

“The Public Purpose” and “Demographia” fail consistently to present anything resembling context together with their population-change statistics. For us, this would include -- “before” and “after:”

---average household size.

---average age of residents.

---share of population aged 18 and under (that is, children).

---number of housing units.

---per-capita income.

---inflation-adjusted price of housing.

We TransitCabalists can think of at least one city where:

---the share of population under 18 is about the lowest in the country.

---the number of housing units has increased very slowly; significant expansion has been fought tenaciously by neighborhood groups.

--demand, in the form of the large number of high-income people who want to live there, exacerbated by the restrictions on supply, has pushed housing prices to stratospheric levels.

(That’s the city named for that gentle saint from Assisi.)

We can also think of another city where:

---the number of housing units has increased significantly, owing to large-scale replacement of single-family dwellings by apartments and condos, mitigating the rise in housing costs.

---the population density has increased steadily over the past several decades.

---the share of population under 18 is quite high, and may be the highest in the country.

---per-capita income belies the extent of poverty; there may be more poverty here than anywhere else in the country.

(That’s the city named for the Virgin Mary.)

We‚ll close by noting that the Japan Tramway Society cites decreasing population along streetcar lines, and a decreasing population of children, as factors in the traffic declines experienced by Japanese streetcar systems (Nippon no romendensha handbook 2001; English title Tramways of Japan STADTBAHN 16, Ninth Edition 2001. Tokyo: Japan Tramway Society, 2001.)

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