We tend to grant little charity to our colleagues at the Duke Chronicle, but we will give credit where it is due, even in the lead-up to our rivalry game this week. They have responsibly reported and hilariously editorialized Duke’s decision to, for the time being, opt out of the Triangle’s proposed and long-beleaguered light rail project, citing hospital patient safety and disruption of operations and research as the motivating factors.
The News & Observer reported this is only one obstacle in a laundry list of factors hindering the finalization of the project. In this continuing relationship of heartbreak and disappointment, maybe the answer is to walk away.
Look, we get it. Trains are alluring. Scenes in movies like "Casino Royale" and countless other films and novels illustrate this. We also understand the allure of being socially responsible and green (especially for the Board), but a futile idea is still a futile idea.
Passenger trains only make sense when a population density is sufficiently high enough to maximize ridership and revenue while minimizing congestion and traffic. Sorry Triangle area, but you are not that dense, or that heavily trafficked. Just as our relatively light density provides a good standard of living for those not wanting to share a triple-bunk bedroom in a Manhattan artist loft, that same light density makes a light rail project a failed vision for the area.
For example, Los Angeles, too, has had its fair share of troubles in train development. Many complain that the Los Angeles railways system developed from the 1970s to now is ineffective in utilization and cost, given the practical needs of the Los Angeles metropolitan population.