Desire Named Streetcar Grips Cities

40 cities considering resurrecting the humble streetcar
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2008 3:56 AM CDT
A streetcar picks up passengers in downtown Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
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(Newser) – Most American cities dismantled their streetcar lines over 50 years ago but a major comeback is gathering speed, the New York Times reports. Cincinnati, Houston, Denver, Salt Lake City and Charlotte have streetcar systems in the works to revive sagging downtown areas. A dozen cities already have streetcars and at least 40 more are exploring the option.

Streetcar supporters point to the example of Portland, where development blossomed after it built America's first major new streetcar system since World War II. Critics argue that growth along streetcar lines is dependent on public subsidy, but city officials impressed by success don't want to be left behind.