Monday, February 25, 2008

Urban News Vol. 7

Apologies for this major lull since the 19th. Our place is now listed and we've been spending most of our time reducing the clutter through donations, storage, or outright trashing of items we don't need or utilize.

This installment could be called Inter-Urban News since it deals with a largely forgotten, yet efficient method of transporting goods and people. Over what time period I am not certain, but freight railroad traffic has been steadily increasing due to a number of factors. This is innately a good development, pushed unfortunately by market forces rather than civic responsibility. The obvious next step is improving interurban passenger rail service as well as intraurban. I suppose we'll see how green conscious are lawmakers are actually becoming as the next transportation bill hits the floor of the House.

While I am generally disgusted by the Democrat and Chronicle's policies on user comments (I've never seen a bigger bunch of snipers, haters, cynics, and racists), I want to get an entry of local substance in today as I am travelling to Florida on Wednesday afternoon and will only be writing about baseball (should be a nice break for the mind) until Sunday. So I will reference Claudia Vargas' piece on the reversed fortunes of the Genesee & Wyoming as well as the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville.

by Claudia Vargas, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Article Key Points:
  • Norman Schneider, Exec. Director of Railroad of New York: "[Rail transportation] is cheaper, it has environmental advantages ... and the highways have become very congested."
  • 14 percent increase in quarterly revenue, and 20 percent rise in operating income for Genesee & Wyoming
  • Freight carried by the company's Rochester & Southern and Buffalo & Pittsburgh lines has grown almost 50 percent since 1999
  • Livonia, Avon & Lakeville has been putting in new rails on the line that runs from Lakeville to Henrietta, the company has already seen a 20 percent increase in business within the last few years
  • CSX announced this month that it will spend $48.5 million to improve its upstate rail system, which includes 280 miles of track in the Rochester area.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is the future reality. Exurbs not located on rail lines will feel the energy crunch acutely. It is my estimate that city dwellers not only will save money on transporting themselves, but also on goods procured at a lower price compared with their faux rural counterparts.

My last note today involves me getting down off the soapbox and becoming part of the solution. Arkee Allen and Patrick Rausch at East High School founded the Rochester Matters Academy at East. This group is constantly in search of mentors and general classroom assistants. I'd encourage anyone who can to volunteer their time as an investment in the community.

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