Tag Archives: population growth

Downtown Oakland needs its rail back

I am posting this today to coincide with V Smoothe’s post at ABO about Streetcars on Broadway.  Was going to add more detail before posting in the future at some unknown date.  On the other hand, I feel very discouraged that this will probably never happen which is why I didn’t post it sooner.  The idea of putting railcars back onto Oaktown streets is not original to me, although I didn’t know of other people’s opinions on this until today.  (Other than say people like Len or Vivek saying it probably wouldn’t happen.)  Streetcars are unlikely to return to Dolores, Valencia and Guerrero either.

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I wrote this post knowing that Detroit will rebuild/rebrand itself in the near future by bringing back “railroad tracks” and “trains” on city streets.  It will be a smaller city, but a city with streetcars again.

Downtown Oakland (aka theDTO) experienced glory in no small part because of our intra-city and inter-city rail systems.  We used to have good ground-level trains here. Being close to San Francisco’s earthquake-phobic gold and silver flippers helped as 1906 quake ‘fugees fled to the East Bay, hipster style but for different reasons. The World War Two economy also greatly aided Oakland’s ramping up, with Kaiser’s ship-building yards (yes, that Kaiser) and the Ford plant in Richmond among other things we used to make here.

It is probably more accurate to say Oakland’s glory was due to its strong, productive economy, and that streetcars were a symptom of its largess.

We have the 1R and 72R rapid AC Transit buses which are good, decent terrain for cycling, and BART for working in Fremont or SF, but a street car system would be Ooo-la-la! Much less jerky than busses, supportable sometimes with wind and solar and even those dang BloomEnergy BloomBoxes everyone’s yapping about today[weeks ago]. If Oakland ever gets a BloomBox fuel cell system, it should be installed right in the midst of EBMUD’s sewage treatment plant — plenty of “directed biogas” available there!  But back to today’s topic: Oakland and its former streetcar rail lines.

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