Bus rapid transit could ‘Europeanize’ America’s cities

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While Americans were tearing up streetcar lines and building the interstate highway system, Europe was expanding its passenger rail system. Now, as workers young and old flock to urban job centers — often leaving their cars behind — bus rapid transit could represent the best bet for making amends.

Real estate investor Peter Vilim, co-chair of Waterton Associates, tells Streetsblog Chicago’s John Greenfield why his company supports “BRT,” which typically provides dedicated lanes and raised islands that allow passengers to get on and off of buses quickly. While it “may be too late to lay new tracks in the city of Chicago … BRT is the next best thing,” Vilim says.

Waterton Associates owns 4,500 apartments in Chicago that house about 10,000 residents, “and no more than 30 percent of them have cars,” Vilim says. “They mostly get around on foot, on transit and by bicycle — that’s a preference. They could live in the suburbs and own cars, but they want to live downtown near their jobs and where the action is and do something with their time other than driving home.” Source: chi.streetsblog.org.

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