Thursday, October 18, 2018

Streetcars as Economic Development

Streetcars as Economic Development
Many Streetcar Companies are Mimicking the Same Tactics of Those Wanting to Build Stadiums in Your City

If we look at streetcars are economic development, then we should see them a success.  The Streetsblog says, “The primary benefits of streetcar projects were always intended to be related to development.” (1).

Lauren Fischer and David King published a report in the Journal of Transport Geography in 2017 that looks at the limits of streetcars. The intention is not to improve transit, but to increase economic development.(2).

The trouble with this is that the groups usually pushing for the streetcar, don’t want to pay for them themselves

They want taxpayers to pay for them.

The allusion is that ridership will fund the running and building of these streetcars.  That is never the case.  Streetcars remain heavily subsidized.  Sometimes the money meant to build the street car line is sent to non-existent companies. Yes, let’s not forget the City of El Paso was shamed into paying invoiced to sham companies for work they did not do on the streetcar line. Bliss states:

“Nothing is inherently wrong with a streetcar beloved by developers, so long as developers are paying for it.  But they’re not, at least not on their own.  Taxpayers are picking up most of the bill for the 21st century streetcar renaissance—money which could otherwise support more effective forms of public transportation.  Overall mobility suffers when transit dollars are diverted to projects that are more about real estate than riders.”

Many cities are jumping on board with streetcars and El Paso, predictably, did a giant leap for mankind.
And many streetcar companies are mimicking the same tactics of those wanting to build stadiums in your city: Let’s build something with your taxpayer funds, to make the city’s rich richer, something that will not be self-sufficient, and something that suck funds from your city’s infrastructure maintenance.

1.      Schmitt, Angie. “The Problem with America’s New Streetcars,” StreetsBlogUSA, October 4, 2017. Acess, May 6, 2018.
2.      King, David and Ficher, Lauren Ames. “Streetcar projects as spatial planning: A shift in transport planning in the United States,” Journal of Transport Geography, February 2016. Accessed May 6, 2018.
3.      Bliss, Laura.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Streetcars and Ridership: Expect a Decline After the Thrill is Gone

Streetcars and Ridership
Expect a Decline After the Thrill is Gone
by Raymundo Eli Rojas

This is Part 2 in a series on streetcars. To read Part I, click HERE

We can predict that when the streetcar finally opens to rider, people will flock to ride them. 

The City of El Paso and the El Paso Times (well add Secret and her crew) will market this as a success; they will say, “Look how good we did!”

Then, ridership will decline.

Just last year, several articles were published regarding the under performance of streetcars.

Laura Bliss says in her article “Enough With the  Street Cars Already,” that in Detroit, ridership initially peaked when the new streetcars came out, but “A few weeks after the city of Detroit began charging riders a few bucks per ride on its brand-new downtown streetcar, ridership dropped 40 percent, according to the Detroit Free Press. Sadly, few observers were surprised.” (1).

Forty percent decline! 

Bliss states, “The streetcar, dubbed the QLine, is carrying 3,000 riders per day, short of the projected 5,000 to 8,000 per day required to break even.”  (2).

In looking at Atlanta, Georgia, Bliss said after the city “…saw a 60 percent drop in ridership after its 1.3-mile line, which opened in 2014, started asking for $1 per go.” (3).

The outlook in other cities is not good.   

According to Bliss:

Since it opened in September 2016, Cincinnati’s Bell Connector line has seen about two-thirds of the daily ridership consultants predicted.  Salt Lake City’s Sugar House line has fared even worse, with just about one-third of the passengers originally projected.  Even Seattle, for all of its other transit successes, is seeing about the same sorry share of original predictions.


According to the Cincinnati Inquirer, as of January 2018, ridership for their streetcar is half of what it was in 2017.  (5).

There are exceptions.  

These are Kansas City and Portland.  Regarding streetcars, Portland has long been used as a model for other cities.  “Overall,” says Bliss, “as critics have often pointed out, the record is pretty poor when these projects are judged as transit.  Which might be the wrong frame.  Actual transit riders aren’t well served by them, but developers and downtown business boosters tend to be pleased.” (6).

Therefore, Bliss states that if we look at streetcars as “transit,” the predictions for success are bleak.

  1.    1. Bliss, Laura,” “Enough with the streetcars already,” CityLab, September 29, 2017. Access, May 6, 2018:
    2.      Id.
    3.      Id.
    4.      Id.
    5.      Brazeal, Casey. “The Cincinnati Streetcar is Failing,” Planetizen, March 11, 2018. Access, May 6, 2018.
    6.      Bliss, Laura.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

New Whataburger on Airway Promises to be Vince Perez-Claudia Ordaz Proofed

New Whataburger on Airway Promises to be Vince Perez-Claudia Ordaz Proofed
Years Later, Many Innocent Lives Still Affected by Haughty Couple
by  Satira Sinverg├╝enza
Associated Mess

With the opening of the new Whataburger on Airway, many El Pasoans were worried that it would not stand the test of County Commissioner Vince Perez and City Representative Claudia Ordaz Perez.

But in a recent press release, Whataburger Corporate Headquarters in San Antonio, assured El Pasoans that they have nothing to fear.

In speaking with the Airway Whataburger Manager, Amber Guesa, she said “the latest technology has been installed at the new Whataburger so that patrons will have no fear of their meal being interrupted by impulsive couples.”

In 2016, after a Whataburger (Montwood and Zaragoza) patron honked at a vehicle that the Perez-Ordazes where in, another passenger in their vehicle got out of the vehicle and confronted the person who honk. 

El Paso Police officers who saw the incident ask the Perez-Ordazes and company to leave the Whataburger premises.

“We have installed security cameras,” says Guesa “that can spot the Perez Ordazes from miles away.” “We can even spot other Ordazes hated by Mexicans like Gustavo Diaz Ordaz.”

“To also reassure our patrons,” stated Guesa, “we’ve asked local night clubs to call us once the Perez-Ordazes have left their night club, kind of like the warnings given when Meyrl Streep’s character’s employees would give in the ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ when she was coming up the elevator.”

City Rep. Claudia Ordaz texting during City Council meeting.
“Our staff at all locations in El Paso,” says Guesa, “has received special training.” “Staff can now put up with questions like, ‘Do you know who I am?’, ‘Do you know I can have the County food inspector here first thing Monday morning,’ ‘I’m a city representative!’ and other paper tiger warnings that El Paso’s royalty might give.”

Guesa stated that staff at the Montwood-Zaragoza Whataburger, who were victims of the Perez-Ordazes, had to go through intense PTSD therapy after the Perez Ordazes caused the late night disturbance.

“Now,” says, Guesa, “if Perez calls a responding police officers’ supervisor and demands what part of the penal code gives us authority to ask him and his wife of leave, we can give it right way.”

J. Wellington Wimpy who frequents hamburger restaurants all over El Paso stated, “I’m glad Whataburger is implementing these safeguards. I’d hate to be in a car behind Perez and Ordaz, and then be threatened with violence if I honk at them.”

Above: County Commissioner Vince Perez shows which Whataburgers he will harass next.

The Perez-Ordazes were contacted for this story, but their representative Secre N. Mucho, said they have no comment but vow to get even with Whataburger by building arenas over all restaurant locations.

Whataburger will also be offering a special hamburger to honor the Perez-Ordaz incident, calling it the "Pendejo Burger."