The March 3 Sunday News contained an opinion piece by Althea C. Ramsay headed, “Climb aboard an old idea.” The article mentions visits to various cities and purports that “Business in formerly blighted areas was brisk. Construction of new projects was ongoing along the routes…The riders on the streetcar were most often local residents, commuters, grandparents with their grandchildren and couples visiting downtown from surrounding Counties.”
Here we go again!
When it comes to City renewal, the good, solid, conservative Lancaster establishment seems to have a single approach: Grab as much federal grant money as possible, float bond issues guaranteed by local taxpayers, and construct gigantic projects that are likely to do more harm than any good.
In the past, we had the eyesore and failed Lancaster Square. Currently a misbegotten, ruinous Convention Center / Hotel Project is being thrust upon the community despite wide scale reluctance by the public. And now our benighted leaders are suggesting that all will be well if we spend another couple hundred million dollars in bringing back streetcars.
Never mind that street cars were replaced by trackless trolleys and later buses a half century ago in most towns. Never mind that they congest streets and threaten pedestrian safety (They can’t be heard). And give no heed to the fact we already have to subsidize the far more practical and flexible Red Rose bus system.
Why cannot the local power establishment understand the route to revitalization is through attracting people to move downtown and simultaneously encouraging shopkeepers and restauranteurs to start or expand businesses, not hundred million dollar boondoggles at taxpayers’ expense?
Let’s stop wasting our tax money and the tax money of future generations and concentrate on allowing private enterprise — remember capitalism? — to invest significant private funds because then the projects will not be disconnected from reality.