The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal
Friday, December 27, 2002
Wendell Cox is Not Mediocre -- He's Just Average -- 8
"It is the unfortunate destiny of the ridiculous to be subject to ridicule."
James Howard Kunstler
"Truth passes through three phases: 1) It is ridiculed. 2) It is violently opposed. 3) It is accepted as self-evident." Albert Schopenhouer
From the Cabalmaster:
Your Favorite Transit Pundits consider the “Urban Rail Success Stories” pages on “The Public Purpose” as a weak attempt by Wendell Cox to establish his bona fides as a transit supporter (see “Keys to Urban Rail Success,” www.publicpurpose.com/ut-railkeys.htm). This might be described as “Wendell’s world view” on rail transit (we wonder if he’s noticed that few others share it).
You won’t see it up front, but Wendell eventually does define “success,” as follows: “controlling traffic congestion.” This requires “high residential population density and massive central business districts.” There are, Wendell asserts, “two additional issues:” 1) rail must be “grade separated” in order to provide “auto competitive speeds,” and 2) there is little potential for “suburb to suburb” travel on rail systems.
Wendell also writes: “Light rail provides little or none of the rail service [in the “urban rail success sites”], because to compete with the automobile requires automobile competitive speeds, something that is not possible without significant grade separation (In a fully grade separated alignment, light rail could replicate the performance of metros). As a result, light rail plays little role where rail is an effective strategy.
Wendell’s strategy (as we Opinionated Ones see it) is to pick five examples of metropolitan regions that would probably not exist in their current form without extensive urban rail transit -- and label them “success stories.” In addition, he seeks to demonstrate that light rail is ineffective as a mode and therefore has no reasonable field of application.
Now that you have the context, you might want to check out the “success story” pages:
-----”Urban Rail Success Stories: Hong Kong” (www.publicpurpose.com/ut-rs-hk.htm). This entry includes the following sentence: “More than 90 percent of the rail ridership is either metro or commuter rail --- less than 10 percent is light rail.” (For information on Hong Kong’s urban and suburban railway, LRT and tramway lines, see: www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Bay/9585/index.html.)
-----”Urban Rail Success Stories: London” (www.publicpurpose.com/ut-rs-lon.htm). The last sentence reads, “Virtually all rail service is grade separated metro or commuter rail (little or no light rail).” (For details of the Docklands Light Railway, see: www.dlr.co.uk. For details of the Croydon Tramlink, the planned “West London Tram Scheme” and the “Cross River Tram Scheme,” see: www.tfl.gov.uk.)
-----”Urban Rail Success Stories: New York” (www.publicpurpose.com/ut-rs-nyc.htm). The last sentence reads, “Virtually all rail service is grade separated metro or commuter rail (little or no light rail).” This is true with reference to the City of New York, but not to the metropolitan region. (For details of Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and Newark City Subway, see: www.njtransit.com/sf_lightrail.shtm.)
-----“Urban Rail Success Stories: Paris” (www.publicpurpose.com/ut-rs-par.htm). The last sentence reads, “Virtually all rail service is grade separated metro or commuter rail (little or no light rail).” (For details of the two existing LRT lines in the Paris region, and planned additional lines, see: www.lrta.org/Paris.html.)
-----”Urban Rail Success Stories: Tokyo” (www.publicpurpose.com/ut-rs-tok.htm). The last sentence reads, “Virtually all rail service is grade separated metro or commuter rail (little or no light rail).”
We hope we’ve illustrated that Wendell sometimes mixes a little “boilerplate” together with all that fudge. This practice entails certain risks to one's credibility, as we'll document next time.
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