Transportation headlines, Wednesday, January 4

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

The problem with naming transit stations (The Atlantic Cities)

As transit agency budgets have been squeezed by the recession, many have considered selling transit station naming rights to corporations in exchange for infusions of cash. Eric Jaffe notes that the most frequent objection to this tack centers on its “crass commercialism,” but there are bigger reasons not to like it, he says. Namely, transit station names serve a core navigational function: telling riders where they are, and “AT&T Station” in Philadelphia, for example, fails to do that.

Cycle like the Danes to cut carbon emissions, says study (The Guardian)

The European Cycling Federation has finished Europe’s first comprehensive study of the environmental benefits of cycling and the results are a big feather in the cap of the Danish. If all Europeans were to cycle the amount of the average Dane — that’s 600 miles per year — the continent could achieve as much as a quarter of the carbon reductions its seeking from the transportation sector.

Rust Belt cities: to avoid more shrinkage, protect & strengthen the core (NRDC Switchboard)

Writer Kaid Benfield digs into an interesting study [PDF] from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland that considers the importance of “a dense urban core…to the overall strength of a metro region.” Their findings? Regions that continued to grow over the last decade maintained strong downtowns, even as their suburbs grew — think Chicago and Boston. In contrast, those regions that declined overall — think Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo — saw their central city populations decline concurrent with the rise of their hinterlands.

8 replies

  1. Instead of naming transit stations with corporate names, why not just allow the transit stations to have businesses operate there directly and earn rental income?

    Our transit stations are inefficient uni-taskers that handle only one purpose: to wait for the train. The station itself earns zero revenue and it costs money to maintain the upkeep of the station. And they wonder why they make no money?

    Instead of earning zero revenue, it could earn rental revenue; the train station is “prime real estate” for businesses as the people are already there. Businesses don’t have to wait for a customer to park their car and come to them, the customers are already at the stations walking by everyday. A train station has so much potential that being a place just to wait for train; it can be a place where people can buy groceries, books, drinks, bakeries, etc.

  2. I hate corporate naming of stations. I hope Metro never, ever sells the name of a station to the highest bidder. If a subway station is in Little Tokyo, it should be Little Tokyo Sta., period.

    The only time I would want to see a corporate name on a train station, subway station or light rail station is if it were part of a corporate headquarters or underneath some skyscraper or building with a corporate name: City National Plaza Station or ARCO Plaza Station, because then it would be an accurate description of the intended destination.

    I do agree with the previous comments: One way or another, Metro Rail stations need to include retail space. That would be a much better way to earn cash for the transit system.

  3. Agreed +1.

    Why waste something that has so much more potential? Train stations can be put to better use than just being a place to wait for the train.

  4. Agreed +1.

    The amount and placement of the commercial space would have to be suited to each stop. There is a huge amount of space under the Chinatown Goldline station, for example. Greenline Norwalk? If riders were allowed to eat breakfast burrito and drink their morning coffee on the platforms, hey maybe some small food shops. Union Station has had this for years, airports do. Port Authority Bus terminal and many subway stations in NYC do.

  5. The MTA can’t even get its OWN STATIONS named correctly! Why would they be turned over to a ridiculous corporation with even less geographic sensitivity?

  6. Agreed +1. No to corporate naming. Yes to bringing in businesses to stations.

    There are a lot more opportunities for Metro by earning recurrent rental revenue than one shot corporate naming sell outs.

    Just imagine what bringing in businesses to stations can accomplish. The 103rd St/Kenneth Hahn Station can have a mini Watts Towers gift shop. Universal Studios can open a gift shop and sell Universal Studios tickets directly at Universal City Station. Add Ticketmaster booths so people can buy their tickets at the station as they use the Blue Line to Staples Center, Nokia Theater, LA Live concert events. The opportunities are limitless. This is a much better way to earn revenue that just letting train stations do nothing or selling out station names to corporations.