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Archive: Alan Hoffman

Light Rail Boom Needs A Second Look

Alan Hoffman / Jul 09 2009

For Release July 9, 2009

Alan HoffmanTouted coast to coast as the key to “transit-oriented development,” light rail systems are close to “accepted wisdom” as keys to 21st century metropolitan growth.

But it’s worth remembering that the Interstate Highway System, when first promulgated in the 1950s, was widely and uncritically hailed too. Sadly, we failed to take into count the price we’d ultimately pay as the massive roadways subsidized scattered development and simultaneously helped empty out many downtowns.

In short, there were winners and losers. Cities since have pumped many billions into reviving downtowns, but even to this day the phrase “inner city” still conjures unfavorable images of the bereft neighborhoods left behind to decay when the middle classes escaped to the fringes. Read More »