Sunday, December 14, 2008

Streetcar advocates: Ignorant or deceptive?

(Better late than never department)

Addressing the Lancaster Rotary Club in February, 2008, Tim Peters who directs the "Lancaster Streetcar Company" indicated that many other cities, including Memphis, Little Rock, and even nearby Media, Pennsylvania, have implemented streetcar systems with success.

On an idle December Sunday afternoon, NewsLanc decided to research Peters' assertion via the Internet and came across a number of posting accompanied with scores of photos along trolley routes under "U. S. Streetcar Systems" by John Smatlak of the Railway Preservation Resources.

At, one discovers that the Memphis street car two routes either run through private right-of-ways or avenues so wide as to permit pedestrian loading platforms in their center. So Memphis has little relevance to the two lane streets and sharp 90 degree corners of Lancaster.

At, we also encountered private right-of-ways and spacious avenues in Little Rock. We also learned that round trip was $.50 an only $.25 for seniors, with children under five riding free.

As for the Media Streetcar system, doesn't exist. Perhaps Peters is thinking of the Norristown high speed system of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA.) It consists of modern rail cars and runs on its own right of way. It is one of the few suburban rail systems built in the early nineteenth century that have remained to current times.

In short, once again we discover that supporters of a streetcar system for Lancaster, at best, don't know what they are talking about, or, at worst, seek to delude the public.