There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Friday, September 14, 2007

The ghost of airport light rail service

At every light rail station today, Sacramento Regional Transit has set up easels advertising the 20th birthday of light rail. Free rides for everyone.

But I'm wondering about the choice of artwork. There between the start date -- '87 -- and today -- '07 -- and sandwiched between "20 Years" and "of Light Rail" are three vehicles.

The first appears to be an old-fashion trolley, perhaps reminiscent of historical cars from before 1987. And that is here because? Unfortunately, it looks like the downtown tourist shuttle threatened with extinction by recent budget cuts.

In the middle is the familiar vehicle that seemed so modern when it was first introduced in 1987.

Finally, we have the modern train that joined the system with the south line addition and the Folsom extension.

I could live with the anachronism on the left. That didn't bother me. But when I saw a blowup of the picture today I was miffed. There on the "modern" vehicle was the destination: Airport


The light rail system has returned trolleys to the city. Over the 20 years since, it has been modernized and expanded. The three cars can represent that image. The "modern" car could have said "Meadowview" or "Folsom." But instead it says "Airport." The artist who put "Airport" as the destination and the RT managers who approved the idea have rubbed salt in the wounds of every transit rider who wonders what became of the can-do spirit that once inspired confidence in a future of modern, reliable transit service in Sacramento.

Airport on light rail? In our dreams.

1 comment:

Central City said...

I saw that as well on a sign over downtown plaza , i thought - what a joke ! Maybe in 2027 !

Any other keen eyes out there ?