Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Corner of Monument Ave. and Sheppard St., 1928

Corner of Monument Ave. and Sheppard St., 1928.
Click on this image for a much larger view.

In 2008 (80 years after this photo by Cook was taken) you can still see remnants of the streetcar rail in the road on Sheppard Street. When the streetcars in Richmond were replaced by the bus line after World War II, the city left much of the streetcar rail where it was -- they simply paved over it.


HEK said...

Ray, this is one of the saddest pictures I know of. The tremendous loss and wrong-headed planning that followed the elimination of this transit system is incalculable. Hard to believe, but if some form of the Richmond streetcar system had been saved until the present day, it would be 120 years old this year.

If, in that alternate Richmond, we'd had the presence of mind to keep them, there'd be sleek, modern, European models humming around town, along with some heritage cars (with air conditioning, I should think) much like this one.

If Richmond had maintained, expanded and remained dynamic with its transit, this city would be quite different today.

Ray, said...


b0b said...

Richmond really could bring back the streetcar system.

The single biggest element needed to support a successful streetcar system is that it services dense, walkable neighborhoods. Richmond proper is full of these neighborhoods. Within the actual city limits, I can only think of a few neighborhoods that don't have sidewalks.

I am aware that the political and economical hurdles of actually doing it would be formidable. But that does not mean that it isn't worth pointing out that Richmond's land use patterns are textbook for supporting a streetcar system (no wonder, since we had streetcars when the neighborhoods were built).

Bring back the streetcars. Beyond restoring the legitimacy of the public school system, it would be the most courageous and forward looking thing that the city could do to prepare for the remainder of the 21st century.

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