Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for January 24th, 2007

Rehabilitating Robert Moses: New York Times

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Robert Moses, Queens Museum, Museum of the City of New York – Architecture – New York Times

Published: January 23, 2007


Robert Moses was a man of his time, no doubt. And he was determined to get things done his way, and ride rough shod over all opposition – especially from the community. Pointing to his achievements, these three exhibitions are trying to accentuate the positive and offset what is now seen as the harsh judgement delivered by Robert A Caro’s definitive biography.


I suspect that there is some agenda here – since Moses hated transit and built expressways. And the auto lobby are still demanding more roads and ever more resources for their failed experiments in social engineering. Maybe it is significant that Caro is not invited to any of the exhibitions.


Or am I paranoid?


Written by Stephen Rees

January 24, 2007 at 5:21 pm

John Baird, Light Rail Killer

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News ::

Did Tories’ new enviro minister undercut a big light rail project to settle a political score? A Tyee special report.

By Laura Drake
Published: January 23, 2007

I have been professionally invloved in evaluating transportation projects for most of my career. And far too often, it really doesn’t matter what the technical or economic arguments are – it’s all about politics. And mostly poilitics of the smallest and most personal kind.

When I was last in Ottawa (June 2006) it looked like the line would be built. But what did I know? I was cheered by the use of a lightweight German vehicle which brings the lower cost of Light Rail (tram) technology to existing railways. O Train got around the ARA rules about not allowing heavy freight trains and Light Rail vehicles on the same track by “temporal separation” . Diesel traction may not be ideal but saves a lot in front investment in electrification, so the initial line as proof of concept can open and win over the waverers.

But obviously not those opposed by reason of personal self interest or – if the Tyee is right – simple malice. And after all the interests of the community at large are the last thing you would expect any politician to put ahead of their own agenda.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 24, 2007 at 9:16 am