Exit ramp academic epidemic

Drive past or through nearly any population center these days and you are likely to observe America’s epidemic of exit ramp academic institutions situated on prime real estate aside the highway. The University of Phoenix is probably the best known of these entities nationally, but they are not alone – in the Midwest there are Indiana Wesleyan, DeVry, Davenport, Franklin University (not Franklin College), ITT, Baker, and many other institutions that have branched out from their main campus (or in some cases from their virtual campus) to become occupants in suburban office parks.

From a distance, some of these exit ramp academic institutions almost appear to have been designed in a manner that loosely resembles a modern hotel. It is hard to imagine the real estate at these location being inexpensive, though it may be less than building on a downtown site. Regardless, as urban planners, should this trend be a concern?

Indiana Wesleyan – Fort Wayne – Source: campus explorer.com

Probably the biggest concern is the trend represents yet another tacit acceptance of sprawl being the land use choice du jour. A number of hospitals have unfortunately followed the sprawl option, so why not academic institutions too? Perhaps if they were situated alongside bike trails or pedestrian friendly locations, the choice would be more palatable, but freeway exit ramps serve only one mode of transportation and do not promote active transportation (bicycling, walking, and transit) in the least.  As a result, when you have the change over between classes, legions of students at ext ramp campuses are seldom seen rushing to class on foot, on skateboards, or by bike. Instead, there are sequential mini-rush hours of cars jockeying for parking spaces.

Situating academic sites along a freeway exit ramp in the suburbs presents many of the same reverse-commuting problems for low-income and disadvantaged individuals as the suburban migration of offices has over tha past few decades. mass transit might be great for commuting into town, but the opposite is not necessarily true.

Fortunately, there are some notable exceptions to the epidemic of exit ramp academics. In particular, Davenport University is adaptively reusing a building in downtown Lansing, Michigan for their new local campus. Likewise, one of their campuses in Grand Rapids. Michigan is situated downtown. Many kudos to Davenport for making these smart land use choices. At the same time, it should be noted that these two plus the downtown Battle Creek campus represent three of its many locations across the state.

While these suburban campuses certainly serve a purpose and fulfill a market niche, one has to wonder if these glittering exit ramp sites generate the kind of “complete academic experience” or will generate the some semblance of “alumni nostalgia” that one finds at a traditional college or university. In the end, that issue is one for each student to decide for themselves.

As planners, perhaps one solution to this trend and to help reduce the onset of mini-rush hours is to clearly articulate in the community’s zoning ordinance that educational institutions, whether for profit or not, are NOT a commercial land use permitted by right, but are instead either an institutional use or a use which requires a special use permit in commercial or office zoning districts. At the very least, a special use permit will allow the Planning Commission to place conditions on the use to address community concerns.

Otherwise, the master plan should be employed a useful way of pinpointing those future locations where the community wishes to see academic land uses situated.  This should be done both on the future land use map, as well as within the text of the document, particularly within the goals and objectives section of the plan. Without clearly articulated parameters to go by, the appropriateness of such uses at a give location then becomes a matter of interpretation.

One preference could be to guide these academic uses toward downtown and midtown locations where a greater range of viable transportation options are available to promote walking, cycling, and use of mass transit. It could also be seen as a way to help revitalize these parts of the city, as well as making higher education more accessible (and hopefully more affordable) to low-income and disadvantaged individuals in the community.

Please feel free to pass along any experiences you or your community have encountered regarding exit ramp academics as well as any planning suggestions for their proper siting.

25 Most transit-friendly cities of Canada

Source: transit.toronto.on.ca

Below is a list of the 25 most transit-oriented cities in Canada based on data provided by MoneySense utilizing 2006 Census transit data. The percentage given represents the percent of commuters who utilize mass transit. As one can see, the race for the top spot was extremely close between Montreal and Toronto, with only a difference of 0.36 percent separating them. It is fascinating to note that some suburbs of Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto having higher rates of usage of mass transit than core cities like Edmonton, Hamilton, London, Windsor, St. Catharines, Saint John, St. John’s, Saskatoon, and Regina.

  1. Montreal, QC – 34.74 percent
  2. Toronto, ON – 34.38 percent
  3. New Westminster, BC – 26.76 percent
  4. Brossard, QC – 25.92 percent
  5. Vancouver, BC – 25.12 percent
  6. Burnaby, BC – 25.03 percent
  7. Longeuil, QC – 21.97 percent
  8. Ottawa, ON – 21.22 percent
  9. Dollard-Des Ormeaux, QC – 15.92 percent
  10. Mississauga, ON – 15.75 percent
  11. Calgary, AB – 15.63 percent
  12. Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray), AB – 14.84 percent
  13. Markham, ON – 14.38 percent
  14. Gatineau, QC – 14.36 percent
  15. Oakville, ON – 14.28 percent
  16. Coquitlam, BC – 13.87 percent
  17. Laval, QC – 13.74 percent
  18. Ajax, ON – 13.40 percent
  19. Quebec City, QC – 13.28 percent
  20. Richmond Hill, ON – 13.17 percent
  21. Pickering, ON – 13.02 percent
  22. Winnipeg, MB – 12.97 percent
  23. Edmonton, AB – 12.72 percent
  24. Victoria, BC – 12.63 percent
  25. Halifax, NS – 11.86 percent

For some comparison, here is a weblink to mass transit ridership data from cities in the United States in 2010. Montreal and Toronto would both be in the top five in the United States. Kudos to all those cities in Canada that made the Top 25 in 2012.

Make gas hogs pay thru the snout

I am still amazed at the number of people who continue buying gas hogging SUV’s like Navigators and Tahoes. There are very few, if any, justifiable instances where these vehicles are practical, especially for family use.

To me, those who continue to purchase new ones are more than selfish, they are unpatriotic. Therefore, I think these gas hogs should pay through the snout for buying such vehicles and the money be used to help build a more eco-friendly infrastructure for passenger rail, mass transit and non-motorized transportation such as bicycles.

My proposal would be to levy a $100 surcharge on the purchase of any new fuel-inefficient SUV or car and $50 on the purchase of used ones. The money generated would remain in each state to use in conjunction with other funding sources for non-highway infrastructure projects that enhance passenger rail, mass transit, and non-motorized transportation options.

So, what do you think of this idea? Please don’t give me any libertarian BS propaganda. The moronic actions of selfish persons certainly do adversely impact the lives of selfless persons.

Where mass transit matters – BRTs in Bogota: el mejor en autobuses de tránsito rápido

Bogota BRT station - Source: designinnivation.ie

In the past decade or so, bus rapid transit (BRT) has become a popular mass transit option for a number of cities in the United States and around the world. The first such system opening Curitiba, Brazil in 1974. However, for the quintessential model of the full potential of a successful BRT system, one only need to look to the capital city of Colombia, Bogota. According to a detailed study released by the United States Department of Transportation in 2006:

“Serving the city of Bogotá, Colombia, TransMilenio is one of the world’s premier Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems. In January 2006, the system carried over one million passengers per day on a network of high-capacity trunk corridors, supported by feeder services that extend system coverage to peripheral areas of the city. TransMilenio is also the centerpiece of a long-term urban renewal and mobility strategy that prioritizes walking and cycling and discourages private vehicle use. Encouraged by TransMilenio’s success, the Colombian government is now embarking on a major program to construct similar systems in cities throughout Colombia.”

Bogota skyline - Source: bcwe.org

According to recent estimates, metropolitan Bogota has nearly eight million residents. A successful bus rapid transit (BRT) system such as TransMilenio in Bogota, Colombia should include most, if not all of the following features:

  • Bus only, grade-separated (or at-grade exclusive) right-of-way
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Serves a diverse market with high-frequency all day service
  • Bus priority
  • Vehicles with tram-like characteristics
  • A specific image with a brand name: (e.g. TransMilenio in Bogota)
  • Off-bus fare collection
  • Level boarding 
  • Stations versus stops

Each of the features listed above are meant to improve service by making the system more user-friendly, reduce loading/unloading times, and create a comprehensive and efficient network. Ridership projections made in 2004 indicated that the new system would peak at 673,000 passengers per day. As of January of 2006, TransMilenio was carrying more than one million passengers per workday – with an astounding 41,000 passengers per hour per direction on certain routes during peak periods. In 2009 the daily ridership data had increased to 1.4 million per day.

Source: columbiabogota.info

Is bus rapid transit (BRT) the “be all, end all” solution for every congested metropolitan area? No, of course not. But BRT does offer another option for transportation planners and engineers to consider in addition to light rail, commuter rail, modern streetcars, water taxis, and traditional bus networks. Bogota, Colombia has shown us that BRTs can present a viable option that competes effectively with the other mass transportation mode choices. Each individual community must decide which option(s) are best for them based on their political, social, economic, topographic, and transportation dynamics.  For Bogota, Colombia, TransMilenio was the correct choice and all those involved in its creation and operation should be commended. Kudos!

Explaining the “WOW” factor!

Recently, I noted in a post about mass transit rail versus buses on rustwire.com, that bus rapid transit (BRT) does not have the “WOW” factor of a light rail transit (LRT), commuter rail, subways, or a modern streetcar system. At least one respondent questioned what a “WOW” factor was and how you identify it. Fair question.

I hate to be glib, but when you see something that has the “WOW” factor, you know it.  Doesn’t matter whether it is a stunning scenic vista, a beautiful butterfly, a cool new high tech gadget, or a fancy mode of transportation. Either it has got it (the WOW factor) or it doesn’t.

LRT - Source: lightrailnow.org

Commuter rail - source: bombardier.com

Subway car - Source: en.wikipedia.org

Let’s face reality, people adore trains. I do not know whether this was ingrained into our brains as kids or what, but with the exception of waiting for one to pass at a crossing, most of us has a strong affinity for trains. I think deep down inside, nearly all Americans would love to have a passenger railroad system like is available in Europe.

Buses on the other hand, are often (not always) seen as diesel-belching vehicles that make a bunch of noise and who were the death-knell of most interurban railways, trolleys, and streetcars, which just happen to all be members of the beloved train family. Hence, buses are the equivalent of the “anti-train.”

BRT - Source: vta.org

Trains have a “WOW” factor and buses simply don’t. Some new buses may look sleeker, fancier, more clean, and tech-inspired, but they remain for all intents and purposes, buses. One clear variation to this perception has to do with double-decker buses. For some reason, probably because we do not have them here, Americans literally drool and lather over double-decker buses. You can’t keep us off double-decker buses in the United Kingdom.

As kids (and adults) we collect toy trains, not toy buses. Model railroad clubs, shows, and fairs dot the nation. I doubt there is a single model bus club in the country.  Hundreds of movies, books, play, songs, and shows are written about trains and train travel. Comparatively few (Speed being a notable exception) focus on buses. Most children know the stories of The Little Engine That Could or Thomas and Friends. To my recollection, there is nothing even remotely comparable for buses.

Source: amazon.com

Back to “WOW” for a moment. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as a word used for the following purpose:

“to express wonder, amazement, or great pleasure.”

Perhaps, because we see buses all the time, there is little or no wonder or amazement left in them. Light rail, subways, streetcars, and trolleys are seen much less frequently (unless you live in a major metropolitan area) – hence to many people, they evoke a sense of wonder or amazement.

Will BRT’s be able to do evoke a “WOW” reaction? I do not know. Perhaps initially, but I wonder if they will for the long run. Buses carry a lot of baggage (no pun intended) for past sins and despite numerous attempts to counteract it. Unfortunately, they also sometimes carry an unfair socio-economic stigma.

Personally, I think the stigma is flat out wrong. I have commuted by bus a number of times in my life and find it more relaxing and enjoyable than sitting in traffic. Still, I have heard the same negative reference to buses made by 20 somethings to 80 somethings. Personally, I hope my concern over this issue is overdone. Maybe after some BRT success stories are better publicized in the United States, the stigma will abate.

However, it is fair to say that even if the negative stereotype of buses does abate, that does not mean they will ever come close to replacing trains in the hearts and minds of most Americans.

For many American cities which lack other “WOW” factors, like scenic settings or iconic skylines and structures, a rail transit system is a means to an end for creative placemaking. Only time will tell if BRTs offer the same opportunity.

Where mass transit matters (pt. 6) – ferry tales

Liverpool - Source: panaramio.com

Some may wonder why I am now writing about ferries, considering I just posted a blog about water taxis? In my unscientific interpretation, they are different forms of mass transit. Ferries ship people and goods between specific points across a waterway – essentially like a waterborne bridge.

Water taxis on the other hand, move people (principally) up and down and along the shoreline from stop to stop, also crossing the water feature in many instances. Ferries tend to be larger vessels and often can carry cars or other vehicles, as well as passengers.

Before I get to far into this topic, let me first say that I love ferries – there is something quite romantic and captivating about crossing a body of water on a ferry. In urban areas many of them become iconic features of the local landscape. I also have a fairly decent collection of books and postcards on ferry boats and services. So, please keep in mind this post is being written by somewhat of a ferry geek.

Staten Island Ferry - Source: newyork-hq.com

I simply cannot imagine New York City without the Staten Island Ferry, which happens to carry 75,000 passengers per weekday. Nor could I ever imagine Seattle without its loveable fleet of Washington State ferries or Liverpool without its famous “Ferry Cross the Mersey.” Talk about placemaking -non of these cities would be the same without their handsome ferries plying the adjacent waters.

Seattle - en.wikipedia.org

But New York City, Liverpool, and Seattle are hardly alone when it comes to ferries being an important cog in a multi-modal transportation system. Here’s a partial list of cities with ferry systems around the world that are functionally part of  the local multi-modal transportation system and not just water crossings:

Sydney - Source: sydneytraveltips.com

Some may say ferries are much too expensive and hard to keep profitable. My response is compare the cost of the ferry to that of a new bridge or tunnel. Or, better yet, consider the costs of the increased congestion that would undoubtedly result from not having the ferry as an option. Roads and highways are not, nor should they ever be, the lone solution in a planner’s quiver of transportation choices.

Lastly, if one of our goals as urban planners is to “make places,” then a ferry, a water taxi, an incline, or a cable car are unique ways to differentiate one’s community from the pack. Otherwise, if we want all cities just to be clones, then there really is little, if any need for planners.

I will get off my soapbox now.

Where mass transit matters (pt 5) – water taxis

Source: twitter.com

For those of us who love the water like me, water taxis (or water buses) are just plain fun to see, ride, and be around. They are perfect for walking and bicycling work commuters who prefer not to have to deal with the street traffic. One of the New York City water taxis even has a specialty ride called the Bike the Brooklyn Bridge/Water Taxi Back Adventure. These nimble and nifty little boats can take you shore to shore without ever getting your feet wet and are a perfect form of mass transit for many urban settings, including inland cities on rivers or lakes (i.e. Winnipeg, Paris, Quad Cities, Pittsburgh, and Oklahoma City for example).  Based on the list below, water taxi and/or water bus services can be found serving 14 states and 25 different nations.

Chicago Water Taxi

Water taxis/buses are popular with the general public and commuters too. In the month of August of 2011 alone, the Chicago Water Taxi Company had 73,482 riders utilize its service along the Chicago River. In Brooklyn, ridership was well above expectations for the East River Service. The East River service had 448,670 riders in its first 17 weeks of operation, which was an astounding 40,000 ahead of projections for the entire year!

For urban planners, water taxis/buses are an excellent and cost-effective way to promote multi-modal mass transit in a city without huge and costly infrastructure improvements. Most of the infrastructure is already in place in the form of the waterway, lake, channel, harbor, or bay. On a slightly whimsical twist to the old adage, “just add a boat.

Plans for a new water taxi service between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario would be the first such international service and an exciting new commuting and tourism opportunity. Water taxis would be a viable mass transportation option for many cities dotting the Great Lakes shoreline, not just Chicago or Toronto, whether they are in the United States or Canada.

Seabus, with North Vancouver on the far shore

Cities and other places operating water buses and/or taxis around the planet include the following:

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Bristol, England, UK
  • Brunei
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Bydgoszcz, Poland
  • Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
  • Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Guangzhou, China
  • Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Jacksonville, Florida, USA
  • Karachi, Pakistan
  • Kobe, Japan
  • Kristiansund, Norway
  • Kragerø, Norway
  • Laughlin-Bullhead City, Nevada/Arizona, USA
  • London, England, USA
  • Long Beach, California, USA
  • Manchester, England, UK – Waxis (launched in 2010)
  • Nantes, France
  • Manila, The Philippines
  • Moscow, Russia
  • New York City, New York/New Jersey, USA (multiple services)
  • Niigata, Japan
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA – Bricktown Water Taxi
  • Orlando, Florida, USA
  • Osaka, Japan
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Paris, France
  • Panama City, Panama
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Port of Spain, Trinidad
  • Potsdam, Germany
  • Quad Cities, Illinois/Iowa, USA – Channel Cat Taxi
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Sacramento, California, USA
  • Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Shizuoka, Japan
  • Singapore
  • Spalding, England, UK
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tampa, Florida, USA
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – Seabus
  • Venice, Italy
  • Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, USA
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Yokohama, Japan

SOURCE: en.wikipedia.org. Here’s a weblink to a brochure on the Channel Cat Taxi service across the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities.

Where mass transit matters (pt 4) – light rail (LRT)

Until the recent emphasis on bus rapid transit, (BRT), light rail transit (LRT) has been the modern symbol of modern mass transit in the United States. When I refer to light rail I am including  trams, modern street cars, trolleys that generally follow or parallel streets. It does not include commuter rail (sometime referred to as heavy rail) or subways/metros.

Portland - Source: panoramio.com

In the United States, Portland, Oregon has received the most press attention and accolades for its light rail system. But, Portland is not alone. Many other cities in the states and around the world employ light rail into their multi-modal transportation network.

As an urban planner and voter, I am concerned is that the distribution of light rail transit funding appears to be lopsided towards urban areas in the south and west. Based on the lists provided below, 19 light rail systems are in the south and west, while only 11 are in the north and east. Similarly, 13 heritage streetcars operate in the south and west, while just two are in the north and east.

Here’s a list of  the  systems operating or about to open in North America:

Calgary - Source: activeminds.ca

Canada

  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Toronto, Ontario

Cuba

  • Havana

Mexico

  • Monterrey
  • Guadalajara
  • Mexico City

United States (light rail)

  • Austin, Texas
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Camden, New Jersey
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Houston, Texas
  • Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Oceanside, California
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Sacramento, California
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Diego, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • San Jose, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Tacoma, Washington
  • Washington, DC (2012)

Kenosha logo - Source: krc.goflo.com

United States (heritage streetcars)

  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Galveston, Texas
  • Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Little Rock/North Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California
  • San Pedro, California
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Tucson, Arizona

Busiest Light Rail Systems in the USA

         City             Daily Boardings

  1. Boston               232,000
  2. San Francisco   170,900
  3. Los Angeles      169,800
  4. Portland            147,100
  5. San Diego         133,400
  6. Philadelphia        97,700
  7. Dallas                  75,400
  8. Denver                66,900
  9. Salt Lake City     55,500
  10. St. Louis              53,200
  11. Sacramento        45,300
  12. Jersey City          40,975
  13. Phoenix               40,600
  14. Houston              36,600
  15. Minneapolis        35,100
  16. San Jose            33,400
  17. Baltimore            32,400
  18. Miami                  31,100
  19. Seattle                27,100
  20. Pittsburgh           24,200
  21. Buffalo                22,200
  22. Newark              18,807
  23. New Orleans      17,500
  24. Charlotte            15,100
  25. Cleveland             8,900
  26. Camden               8,762
  27. Oceanside           8,100
  28. Norfolk                 5,100

Where mass transit matters (pt 3) – particulars of funiculars

Johnstown, PA Incline

Funiculars (or inclines) are one of my favorite modes of urban transportation due to the scenic views combined with their historic ambiance. Inclines offer a unique glimpse into the urban landscape and a fascinating mode of transport. Two cities could be easily called the funicular capitals of the world at one time or another. Metropolitan Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania once has as many as 20 inclines operating in the area and Valparaiso, Chile had as many as 26. Valparaiso, Chile is the easily the reigning world capital of funiculars with 15 systems still operating according to the database on funiculars.net (please note that wikipedia indicates that only 12 are operating).

Locations where multiple funiculars are still operational as a mass transit option include the following cities around the globe (according to en.wikipedia.org):

  • Valparaiso, Chile – 12
  • Naples, Italy – 4
  • Niagara Falls, Canada – 4
  • Bournemouth, UK – 3
  • Hong Kong, China - 3
  • Lisbon, Portugal – 3
  • Barcelona, Spain – 3
  • Bern, Switzerland – 2
  • Bergamo, Italy – 2
  • Bilbao, Spain – 2
  • Biel/Bienne, Switzerland – 2
  • Cantanzaro, Italy – 2
  • Davos, Switzerland – 2
  • Dresden, Germany – 2
  • Genoa, Italy – 2
  • Hastings, UK – 2
  • Innsbruck, Austria – 2
  • Interlaken, Switzerland – 2
  • Istanbul, Turkey – 2
  • Kaprun, Austria – 2
  • Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic – 2
  • Kaunas, Lithuania – 2
  • Lucerne, Switzerland – 2
  • Lugano, Switzerland – 2
  • Lyon, France – 2
  • Montreux, Switzerland – 2
  • Montserrat, Spain – 2
  • Neuchatel, Switzerland – 2
  • Pittsburgh, USA – 2
  • Prague, Czech Republic – 2
  • Salzburg, Austria – 2
  • Scarborough, UK – 2
  • Varese, Italy – 2
  • Zurich, Switzerland – 2

As an urban planner, I find funiculars (inclines) to be a terrific, efficient, and useful form of urban transportation that should be employed a lot more than they are now. In the United States there are numerous cities where steep terrain or grades where an incline would be a great resource for both pedestrian and bicycle commuters. Plus, they add the elements of fun, uniqueness, and placemaking to the fabric of the community.

In those cities where I have visited and/or ridden inclines in the United States, such as Chattanooga, Dubuque, Johnstown, and Pittsburgh, the residential neighborhoods and commercial districts at either end of the incline tend to remain active and prosperous, in part due to convenient accessibility made available from inclines. The Station Square mixed use development in Pittsburgh is directly adjacent to the two remaining inclines which serve both it and Mt. Washington. In Johnstown, the incline links downtown with the lovely Westmont neighborhood. Definitely one of the more unique (and fun) work commutes in the entire United States.

Funiculars/inclines have the advantages of promoting walkability, active and healthy transportation, new urbanism, economic development, environmental sustainability, and mass transit all at the same time. Hopefully, more cities in the United States and around the globe will consider adding or reestablishing funiculars as a viable mass transit mode that has numerous community benefits.

Below are two additional photographs I took of the Johnstown, PA Incline in 2007 – one of only a few inclines that carry motor vehicles as well as passengers.