Tomorrow evening here in Rochester, our city’s very active and helpful transportation advocacy group, Reconnect Rochester, will screen Canadian Stephen Low’s brief (46 minutes) documentary entitled “The Trolley.” We had the good fortune to see this film in an IMAX theater in Ottawa last year, and Low tells a powerful tale of trolleys as essential forces in shaping our cities, and once more critically necessary as a small step in taming cars and saving the world.
We transportation geeks have never shied away from hyperbole….
The screening of Low’s film will be accompanied by a panel discussion, and I am most flattered to be a member of that panel. So I have been snooping around my favorite world-wide transit sites to bone up on facts and figures, and much to my surprise, I found these:
Columbus, Ohio (!).
Not so surprisingly, New York.
Chautauqua Lake? Wow. They SHOULD have them in Buffalo.
At Lake Merritt, in Oakland.
Connecting Minneapolis with Lake Minnetonka.
And Pittsburgh. I guess I am not the only one inclined to hyperbole: I think Columbus has them beat for Largest in the World.
Now we are familiar with double-decker trams. We have ridden what I suspect is the most famous double-decker, in Hong Kong.
Owned and operated by a private entity, yes it’s true, in China, this system carries something like 70,000,000 a year to its nearly 120 station stops. Each car can carry 115 people (it would be mighty uncomfortable if packed, believe me), and the tram runs on 1.5 minute headways – the time between cars. The fare is under 50 cents, and the system is making money.
Maybe there is hope yet! We have our own North American models to pursue, and the lessons of Hong Kong to guide us. Onward, transiteers!