Friday, December 21, 2012

The enemy of the livable city ... the car

'Walkable City' review: Walking is key to a livable urban area | "Part of the reason suburban property values continue to languish, in Portland and elsewhere, while inner-city housing prices have largely recovered from the 2008 real estate collapse, is a function of the benefits inherent in living within walking distance of shops, services and public transportation. If you don't know your neighborhood's "walk score," I suggest you find it -- it may have more impact on your long-term financial health than your 401(k). "

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Liberté, Égalité, Gratuité

Free Public Transit Works

Enormous multi-lane traffic jam
 ~ Atlantic Cities reports on a mid-size French town that has had free public transit for more than a decade. Châteauroux has seen its ridership double. Meanwhile in only 3 years a metro area west of Paris has seen use go up 170% even as private vehicle traffic volumes fell 10%.

Like many transit systems, the fare box makes up only a small percentage of system revenue. Eliminating the infrastructure and logistics of fare collection, with minor adjustments to other funding sources, can allow transit systems to be profitable as well as more usable.
The motivations for making a transit system free are obvious. Increased ridership can relieve traffic, improve the environment, boost the system’s efficiency, give residents more spending money, help the poor, and rejuvenate central business districts.
Shared transportation is a public good and a desirable and necessary part of civic infrastructure. Like sidewalks, parks, trails and other similar public space amenities, it should be free, easy to use and widely available. Most cities in the US still have quite a ways to go.

Originally posted on Chris Leyerle's blog.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Solid Ground - Downtown Seattle Free Circulator Bus

Solid Ground - Downtown Circulator Bus: "Starting 10/1/12, Solid Ground began providing FREE rides on our Downtown Circulator Bus for people living on low incomes and those who access health and human services in the downtown area."

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chris B. Leyerle: Making Public Transit Harder to Take

Chris B. Leyerle: Making Public Transit Harder to Take: "I have never seen the tunnel so jammed with buses. As people patiently filed through the front doors to pay their fares, more rush hour commuters kept streaming down the stairs. The drivers would shut their doors, but the buses in front didn't move, and they'd end up opening the doors again to let more people on. The 218 was already standing-room-only at Westlake, and by the Pioneer Square Station, there was no more room for anyone else to get on.

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Making Public Transit Harder to Take

The End of the Ride Free Area

Crowds pack the Seattle Transit Tunnel
 ~ "Back door!"

So shouted the tired office worker in the direction of the Metro Transit bus driver down the Westlake Station platform of the Seattle Transit Tunnel.

The driver didn't respond. The commuter, wearily, headed toward the front door of the bus, annoyance clearly visible on her face. Boarding through all doors was already a dim memory.

It was just past 5:30 on the first weekday following the elimination of Seattle's downtown ride free area and clearly not everyone was with the new program. Metro did away with the downtown Ride Free Area in an attempt to save the $2.2M of evaded fares in their operating budget of $549M. Those relatively meager (and theoretical) savings are changing the ease, appeal and convenience of taking public transit.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bus riders plan 'funeral march' to mourn Ride Free Area's demise -

Bus riders plan 'funeral march' to mourn Ride Free Area's demise - "More than 100 bus riders will participate in a "funeral march" along Third Avenue to protest the death of free bus rides in downtown Seattle.

The Transit Riders Union plans the march and rally on Friday, Sept. 28, the day before King County Metro Transit ends the downtown "Ride Free Area." (An earlier version of this story had the incorrect date). It will start with a 3 p.m. rally at Westlake Park, followed by a march down the sidewalks of Third Avenue -- a main transit corridor -- to the King County Courthouse."

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Friday, September 7, 2012

How shall we move forward? Does Salem have the vision to spend money to make money – in transportation? | Willamette Live

How shall we move forward? Does Salem have the vision to spend money to make money – in transportation? | Willamette Live: "As our city debates building a new bridge to carry autos across the Willamette at a price tag of up to $700 million, we thought we’d ask Allan Pollock, General Manager of Salem-Keizer Transit, how that same $700 million investment would transform the work his agency does.

“If the transit district had access to $700 million you would see a community that allows for full mobility for everyone,” he said."

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Local News | Walkability helps older adults stay healthy, studies say | Seattle Times Newspaper

Local News | Walkability helps older adults stay healthy, studies say | Seattle Times Newspaper: "Priority will be placed on connecting streets to each other so people can actually walk, rather than drive, to destinations such as the grocery store.

The city has installed new highway signs that read "Bainbridge Shares the Road," with illustrations that encourage drivers to watch out for pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians and people using wheelchairs.

"If you design things for people with difficulties, you're actually making them work for everybody," said Bainbridge activist Don Willott, a member of the non-motorized transportation advisory committee. "A runner benefits from a sidewalk that doesn't dip down at driveways, the same as someone using a walker.""

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Olympic Transport

Tubing in London

 ~ Olympians can be role models for more than their athletic prowess. Check out the gold medal means of getting around:

US gold medal-winning men's basketball team taking public transportation at London Olympics

The US men's gold medal-winning basketball team weren't the only Olympians skipping the limo and the various other chauffeured options, either. Also seen on the Tube were medalists from Venezuela, the UK (of course) and Rwanda, as well as other Americans.

Public transit, offering "cachet as well as convenience" is, as Chris Paul tweeted, a #fasterwaybacktothehotel.

Cross-posted to Chris B. Leyerle blog.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

This Is Your Ocean on Acid, and It's Not Pretty | Climate Central

This Is Your Ocean on Acid, and It's Not Pretty | Climate Central: "When that acidic water entered the hatcheries, it caused oyster shells in their critical formative period to dissolve. Oysters and other shellfish, including clams and lobsters, and a host of sea creatures that include plankton and corals, need calcium carbonate minerals to form their shells and skeletons. Normally ocean water is full of these minerals, but as carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have climbed across the globe, the ocean has absorbed increasing levels of CO2, causing ocean acidification to rise and the availability of these minerals to fall"

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Free transit advocate, socialist Kshama Sawant running for State House

Seattle Transit Union Endorses Socialist Kshama Sawant for State House: "Sawant advocates reversing the $10.5 billion in budget cuts to public services that her opponent Democratic Representative Jamie Pedersen and the Democratic Party-majority state government have implemented during the economic crisis. In fact, Sawant calls for expanding funding to make public transit free, environmentally sound, and extremely convenient for commuters. Seattle has the 4th worst traffic in North America because its transit system is centered around private cars, which is also disastrous for the climate change crisis. "

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Chris B. Leyerle: Climate Change Adaptation

Chris B. Leyerle: Climate Change Adaptation: " ~ Those who deny climate change and its obvious impacts use many rationalizations. As these become harder to plausibly defend, there is a growing trend away from denying the reality to denying the significance of the impacts."

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

With #publictransit, a little money goes a long way

Why?: "Proposition 1 is a small investment that will RESTORE and SAVE bus service in our communities. Prop 1 will cost the average resident $3.33 a month, or only 3 pennies on every 10 dollars spent— protecting mobility for those who need it most, and removing thousands of cars from our already crowded streets and freeways."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Visions of Transportation

Walking, Biking, Riding

 ~ In Seattle, Sound Transit is extending light rail to Northgate. There's a vigorous debate about whether to build park-and-ride spaces or infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians, especially a foot/bike bridge over I-5.

Which to build?
Park-and-ride use is popular in King County, where most major lots are filled or overflowing. The 1,500 spots at Northgate are generally full, sending people to park on surrounding streets.

"We could fill more, I could assure you of that," says Ron Posthuma, a Metro Transit assistant director for planning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Job Benefits of Public Transit

By Industry

 ~ Public transit just makes sense in so many ways.

Jobs created per million dollars of investment

Oh, and where is Big Oil which the API keeps telling us is such a wonderful job creator? The original study suggests combined oil and gas is 5.18 jobs per $1M investment, but that is, well, all gas. If oil were broken out in this chart, their number would be negative. The oil industry has been shedding jobs for years and pales as a job creator to the renewable energy industry.

Others of interest: roads and bridges repair (20), conservation (20), water infrastructure (20), school buildings (19), financial industry (7), nuclear industry (4). Study details here.

Cross-posted to Chris B. Leyerle's blog.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Imposing rail on top of #autosprawl is a loser. Make buses free, and you will then see where to put rail.

Light rail driving up rents in the Rainier Valley | Seattle: "Rainier Valley thrives on its diversity. But this colorful community now finds itself in a gray area because of light rail.
"We definitely like light rail. Ideally it would've been done in a different way. But it's not too late to make adjustments now," said Rebecca Saldana, Program Director with Puget Sound Sage. "

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Idaho free bus system a huge success

Citylink: Reliable. Efficient. Free.: "Citylink transit, launched in 2005, provides reliable, efficient, and free public bus service to Kootenai and Benewah counties in North Idaho. This transit operates five routes, 22 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. The interconnecting network comprises over 100 stops, spread across 200 miles of road, and transports an average of 40,000 passengers per month."

Monday, May 7, 2012

Build It and They Will Come

Demand for Free Transportation

 ~ Why are there user fees for public transit but not for the use of other transportation infrastructure? What would happen if public transit were free?

The impact of not having user fees for other transportation options is instructive.  Simply: an abundance in the supply of transportation capacity can stimulate demand for it. It works for bike lanes in cities:
Science has verified something that may appear obvious at first glance: The direct connection between the presence of bike lanes and the number of bike commuters. The more infrastructure exists to encourage biking, the more people bike—and the more society reaps the public health, energy, and lifestyle benefits that come with an increasing share of people-powered transportation.
This isn't true just for bikes; it's true too for roads. Build more capacity and the number of drivers, trips and miles driven increases:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Salt Lake City News - Letters: Suburbs Are for Suckers

Salt Lake City News - Letters: Suburbs Are for Suckers: "Let’s assume that you, too, can walk out your front door and within minutes walk into the doors of a children’s museum, a planetarium, a library, two malls, dozens of restaurants, a movie theater, free public transit, the grocery store, an NBA game, two live theaters, a symphony, the farmers market and your job."

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Monday, April 23, 2012

It's all about the headways. Period. - City Comforts, the blog

It's all about the headways. Period. - City Comforts, the blog: "To me it's no issue. I don't use transit because I don't like to plan; my trips are somewhat spontaneous and I like life that way. The buses in Seattle are physically acceptable; they simply don't run often enough."

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ride Free Seattle

No More Free Rides on Metro

Metro KC Transit Ride Free Area (RFA)
 ~ The Seattle area bus system, Metro Transit, plans to eliminate the downtown Ride Free Area (RFA) effective September 29, 2012.

The rationale, tucked away in a PDF says simply:
Phasing out the RFA will increase revenue and have a net positive impact on Metro’s bottom line. It would make it simpler for riders to pay fares throughout the system. A more consistent fare collection system is expected to reduce fare disputes and fare evasion. In a 2010 survey of Metro’s bus operators, eliminating the RFA was listed as the leading strategy to reduce fare evasion.
This is perhaps true, and the solution may well work, but Metro is solving the wrong problem, and the real problem is only going to be made worse.

Ditch the car and flash your Undriver's License |

Ditch the car and flash your Undriver's License | " “I got very quickly from the point of not having a car to never wanting one again.”"

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Montana free buses on track to carry 300,000 a year

Streamline bus hits new milestone | | Z7 | Bozeman, Montana: "In February, the Human Resource Development Council's (HRDC) Streamline transportation program reached its third significant milestone in the past six months. Streamline provided nearly 32,000 rides for the month of February marking the first time that Streamline has provided more than 30,000 rides in one month."

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Occupy TriMet April 4, 2012 (A4) | Occupy Portland

Occupy TriMet April 4, 2012 (A4) | Occupy Portland: "With fare hikes and cuts to service at TriMet looming on the horizon, Occupy Portland joins Occupy Boston’s call for a national day of action on April …4th in defense of public transportation. ‘Occupy TriMet’ will be a local day of action in support of reliable, affordable transit throughout our region."

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Move to the city, make it better.

The Secret to Seattle's Booming Downtown - Jobs & Economy - The Atlantic Cities: "It wasn't always like this. As Talton explains, Seattle's downtown went through some rocky times in the 1960s and 1970s. "Seattle nearly killed its downtown with suburban malls and Le Corbusier-style arid building," he tells us via email.

But, unlike other cities, Talton says Seattle never allowed its urban core to collapse. "Stewards with capital coming back, for example reviving downtown retail in the 1990s, and enhancing transit and rail service, and building all its stadiums downtown, and linking nearby South Lake Union to downtown with a streetcar," he writes. "It also invested in saving Pike Place Market. Now Seattle has to keep the momentum going while continuing to preserve historic buildings and street life.""

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Transit Ridership Numbers Up in Idaho

Transit Ridership Numbers Up in Idaho: "Boise, Idaho, 3/14/2012 — The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released national transit ridership numbers this week indicating the second highest annual ridership since 1957.  In Idaho, ridership has increased consistently and averaged a jump of 9.3% from 2009 to 2011, as reported by the Idaho Transportation Department – Division of Transportation Performance.

Looking at 2011, Idaho’s 2.7% increase from 2010 is greater than the one year national average increase of 2.3%. “There is no doubt the need for public transit continues to grow,” said Heather Wheeler, CTAI Executive Director, “and as gas prices increase, ridership will rise even more.”"

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chamber suggests summer trolleys - Whitefish Pilot: Whitefish Pilot: whitefish, chamber of commerce,

Chamber suggests summer trolleys - Whitefish Pilot: Whitefish Pilot: whitefish, chamber of commerce,: "Whitefish’s Chamber of Commerce is interested in exploring the idea of creating a summer transit loop similar to what the SNOW bus offers in the winter. The chamber presented the idea to city council March 5 during their annual joint work session.
The free public transit system would utilize two trolleys that make a one-hour loop around town, including stops at destination points such as Central Avenue, major residential areas and lodges. It was suggested a trolley could go to Big Mountain three or four times a day. The trolleys would run from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m."

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Seattle Transit Riders Union

Our Mission | Transit Riders Union: "The Transit Riders Union is a democratic organization of working and poor people, taking control over our own lives, and building up the power we need to change society for the good of humanity and of the planet. We will fight to preserve, expand, and improve the public transportation system in Seattle and beyond, so that every human being has access to safe, affordable, and reliable public transit."

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Cops make fun of injured pedestrian

Jogger hit and injured by vehicle. Cops mock him and say he should "get a car."
Meanwhile Mother Nature quietly chuckles at the stupidity of humans.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"best family decision ever" -- going #carfree

Hillsboro family chooses car-free lifestyle, uses bicycles to get around | "Last January, the family sold its year-old Honda Odyssey minivan and set about traversing the metro area by bike. The move would save money, help the environment and improve everyone's health, the parents told their five kids, who range in age from 9 to 15.

A year after the family traded four wheels for 14, mom Anne Goldfeld calls it "the best family decision ever." With no thoughts or desires to have a car again, she said, "every day brings us in deeper connection with the planet." "

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