I spend a lot of time learning about – and talking about – what rail transit does to connect and improve communities. It spurs new development, it improves public health and increases the number of people on the street, it helps combat climate change, it helps communities form – there’s a long list. Sometimes these things seem clear to many of us, but often we have trouble articulating them in a way that helps others make these connections.

There are many tools available to us to help – from blogs to books to classes – but few are as powerful as direct, in-person explanation from a human being. As such, I can’t recommend Rail~Volution enough – not only is it a set of presentations and seminars about exactly what most of us want to see and how to get there, it’s also a chance to mingle with people who are making things happen. It’s even split into three sections for people with different amounts of existing knowledge and different interests.

In October, Rail~Volution is in Portland, as John mentioned in the news roundup. I’ll almost definitely be going, and I suspect Adam will as well. If you want to geek out about rail transit for a whole weekend, this is the place to be. Registration opens soon – we’ll remind you when it does.

16 Replies to “You Should Go To Rail~Volution”

  1. Hopefully you’ll be able to take the train there. How appropriate that would be.

    1. I haven’t heard of any planned Cascades outages. I don’t know where in Portland this is but it would be unthinkably ironic for it not to be near a rail stop. Last year’s schedule shows several excursions from various metro and streetcar stops in Boston and suburbs, for TOD walking tours and the like. I just wish we had transit as extensive as Massachussetts. They can certainly find a few excursions in Portland, although some of the potential ones will have to wait ten years.

      What makes me sad is how little we have to offer in Seattle, if we someday want to have the Rail-volution here. Of course, as residents we can be blind to what other people think is advanced. Many cities don’t have anything equivalent to Broadway or the Ave, or the 1920s density on Capitol Hill/First Hill. The Burke-Gilman trail is another advantage. And ST2 Link will reach all parts of King/Snohomish county, even if it doesn’t get to every city. So there will be something to show in 13 years, if we can get a move on fill-in TOD in the meantime. (Is it too much to hope that ST3 Link might reach Tacoma?)

    2. It’s a block from Pioneer Square, which has connections to the Red, Green, Blue and Yellow lines. The Green and Yellow come from Union Station.

      It’s also about 4 blocks from the Streetcar (800′, shorter distance than walking from Link to the Airport).

  2. Rail-Volution is especially useful for those folks who don’t quite “get” the connection between land use and transportation. I doubt very many of those are readers of this blog, but if you know anyone who with such limitations, by all means encourage them to Portland in October.

    Also, there are some who come to work for transit agencies with experience in a technical field but not with transit per se. Sometimes they don’t “get” it either, perhaps viewing rail as just a big expensive bus route (or worse, a series of boxes moving back and forth on a fixed schedule).

    I hope the local transit agencies are generous in sending staff this year. R-V sponsors, and I expect that most local agencies are, get a lot of free passes to hand out. (They’ve even been known to give passes to friends outside the agency.)

    1. I think even regular readers can benefit. I think a big hole in our advocacy is that we “get” it, but often we can’t articulate why.

    1. Well, four times for Grace Crunican, twice for Mithun people, and a couple of times because Link was opening. :)

  3. If only it were a weekend… Monday-Wednesday doesn’t work for a school schedule…

    1. I don’t know what program you are in, but 3 days at R~V will net you more learning and insight than 3 days of classes. Make arrangements with your profs.

    2. As a Garfield Graduate, I hereby grant you the time off to attend this event in Portland. I cannot imagine that you could not get credit somehow for doing this. Start working with those administrators now!

  4. Portland was the birthplace of Rail-Volution, and I believe this is the first time it will be held there in about 15 years?

    1. I’ve attended twice in Portland, the last time about 1998, if memory serves…

  5. Having spent some twenty years in Portland I have to say that the transit there is a mess. That is especially true of light-rail and does little or nothing to help low income people gain access to jobs, goods and services.

  6. AJ NOPO is the center of what used to be the Black section of the city. It is now being gentrified with a lot of whites moving in. There are still a lot of blacks living there. It is also one of the most poverty stricken parts of the city. Five miles north is the Rivergate Industrial Park which is home to numerous warehouses distribution facilities, and some manufacturing. The best Trimet can do to provide bus service to the area is three buses in the morning and three in the afternoon. Unless things have changed recently that was the best they could do for some twenty years.

    When the Yellow line was built from the Rose Garden to the Expo Center they changed some of the bus routes in the area. The one bus that served the Rivergate area was rerouted and then people who worked in the Area had to use a different route to get to work, which then became two or maybe three buses and an hours trip. That was up from one bus and a twenty minute trip.

    Not to mention night service is piss poor.

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