Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Streetcar Named Charlottesville

The Buzz

A couple years ago, the buzz on the street was electric, well sort of. It was about that time that folks down at city hall were bantering about the idea of bringing streetcars back to Charlottesville. Back? Oh yes, there was a time, from 1897 until 1935, when they roamed our streets.

It Works Other Places

I like the idea of streetcars; Munich Germany has a great system that’s closely interconnected with the surface road infrastructure. They have separate traffic signals for the streetcars that are also timed with the auto signals. But I digress.

New Ideas
In 2008 the city took an in-depth look at putting in a street car line from the Transit Center on Water Street, down Main St. and University Ave., to Emmet St. and Barracks Road. That’s a pretty cool first step.

However, the thought of finding room for a streetcar on the corner scares me. Add to mix electric lines strung over the road to power the trains and things start to get ugly. We also have a lot more traffic than they did in 1935. Keep in mind that was the year when they had enough of streetcars and moved on to busses. No, I am not a proponent of buses, though they have their purpose. And I’m not going to get into a history lesson of Standard Oil and GM conspiring to destroy our country’s street car infrastructure. I’m thinking subway.

The Charlottesville Subway System

Ok, it’s a lofty goal, but come on, every major city has one. And it puts all those messy trains underground, out of sight and out of mind. What’s not to love? As a first step and a public service, I have already done the hard part. I created a map of the Charlottesville Subway System. With that out of the way we can get onto the more mundane task of actually creating the infrastructure. I will leave that to the professionals.

In the meantime, I think the idea has to get out to the desk of the common man, where he can ponder the possibilities while drinking coffee. That’s when I got this nifty idea of making Charlottesville Subway System coffee mugs. I actually did a prototype run. And you know, there may be more interest in the mugs than the subway itself. If I can just get a decent run cost on a quantity buy, they would make great Christmas presents… Stay tuned…


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home