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New Mobility mayors - Your candidates

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  • Michael Yeates
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 17, 2007
      Hi Eric ,

      Great list ... but ... sorry that I definitely CANNOT nominate our current Lord Mayor (Brisbane City Council) ... he is getting worse ... has big cars (V8s?) and says carbon offsetting is the solution ...

      My public response tongue-in-cheek has been to point out that since I own about 20ha of bush not far out of Brisbane, the trees on it allow me to now drive as much and as often and as far as I wish ... so no more buses, trains, bikes or walking, its OK for me to use the car ...

      He has recently committed the City to building several multi-billion underground tunnels for traffic and removing bus lanes ... recently he even announced he will be ending the use of the USA bike racks mounted on the front of buses ... I believe Brisbane may have been the first major city bus fleet outside the USA to adopt these "Sportworks" racks back in c2001-2 ... certainly the first in Oz although ACTION the Canberra ACT bus fleet now has some ...

      He was elected on a slogan of "can do man" but we are now about to brand him the "can UNdo man" ... to draw attention to his biases in favour of populist/popular rather than necessary policy decisions ...!

      However, that is the bad news ...

      May I suggest adding "Share the Road" (and possibly any other similar but different concepts you may become aware of ... but list them separately) to your excellent list noting your excellent point drawing attention to the need to accommodate (and perhaps challenge understanding of) the nuances of different meanings in/from different places/settings/environments??

      "Share the Road" is different to say "shared space" in that StR is EXISTING roads and road types so challenges management of existing roads ... thus needs little expense to make changes that achieve the goals of "safety+convenience" for all would be road users ... (Yeates, 2000).

      StR is definitely NOT about providing bike lanes on existing roads for example as that is about segregation/separation and does not require changes to use of adjacent space ... StR would argue against moves to permit cyclists to use footpaths as they are not part of the road.

      Examples of how "Share the Road" can be implemented (in these cases, utilising promotion of space/sharing for cycling/cyclists on the road) can be found by GOOGLE and  each of the following to get some ideas of how the concept is being used and how widely although not necessarily using the yellow BIKE symbol we use in Oz ...

      yellow bike symbol

      BFZ bicycle

      Bicycle awareness BAZ

      As the bicycle is a useful tool fitting between both high (urban) speed wheeled vehicles and the slowest and weakest of people walking, using an aid etc, the emphasis is on the bikes as once all the urban and suburban road networks are (made) safe for cyclists, they will be pretty safe for pedestrians (and motorists) ... as per Graz ... but also numerous other examples (with different focus almost inevitably).

      I submit that promoting cycling on the road in urban and suburban areas is potentially a HUGE and VERY powerful (but for some reason, possibly fear, under-utilised) way to make explicit (and implement) the changes needed to the way roads and streets are managed hence my continued promotion of Graz and Gerd Sammer's work with the 30km/h default speed limit concept ...

      Once that is in place, having a speed limit above 30 has to be justified and that in a city or urban or suburban area is very difficult if all modes are to be accommodated with equity and equality ...  my website provides some of the supportive arguments via my papers dealing with these issues ...

      It is worth noting that there is therefore no real need for a "Share the Road" campaign in Graz ... although human beings being human, there always is a need ... just to keep reminding in case we forget ...!!!


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      Dear Friends,

    • Richard Layman
      Recently, I pissed off a local councilmember by saying that the $70K he is directing the city to use to boost ridership on a bus circulator is a waste. This
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 18, 2007
        Recently, I pissed off a local councilmember by saying that the $70K he is directing the city to use to "boost" ridership on a bus circulator is a waste.  This particular circulator duplicates service on a portion of a bus trunk line that is one of the highest use lines in the city.  And the circulator bus line has perhaps the worst utilization of any bus line in the city.
        It got me thinking--even though my primary work is in commercial district revitalization--that most of these kinds of bus lines are boondoggles that are created in response to merchants and business proprietors clamoring for more business.  But in most instances, the issue isn't mobility (how to get there) but accessibility (having stuff there that people want to go to in the first place).
        What do people think?
        Any good studies that you know of?
        Below is a copy of the email I sent...
        Richard Layman
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Richard Layman [mailto:rlaymandc@...]
        Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 5:25 PM
        To: columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: jim@...
        Subject: Re: [columbia_heights] [Fwd: [Adams Morgan] Better Service for the Adams Morgan Link]

        Sorry but this is a waste.  Funny, I was just looking at chapter 12 of TCRP report 95, which covers pricing of transit service.  Mostly, price isn't the issue. 
        Marketing can be, but as I've said before, the Adams Morgan Link duplicates the extant 90s line bus service.  And probably not that many people travel between the U Street and Adams-Morgan nightlife districts Thurs-Sat nites, obviating the need for the service.  Clearly, given that the bus has the least utilization of any bus route in the city, in a city with decent bus utilization, that is an indication that the route "may" not be needed.
        Even though I am a "commercial district revitalization specialist" I would argue with my transit hat that most commercial district circulator bus systems are a response to marketing demands on the part of the commercial district merchants, and said response--a bus circulator system--usually isn't the right response, but this is because usually the commercial district people don't understand what the real issues are (which tend to concern the business mix, quality of the offer and the positioning and competitiveness of the commercial district vis-a-vis other districts).  In any case, most such circulator bus routes are failures across the country.  IMO anyway, in terms of ridership.
        (Note that the usage of the Downtown Circulator isn't all that great.  Now, I support the service for different reasons.  And I do think that the service requires far better marketing than is currently provided.  And it has marketing development issues besides because every few days there is a whole new crop of tourists and visitors that need to be marketed to anew.)
        Dump the 98 bus.  Put the money into transit service that will get used.
        For thinking more broadly about transit, see the reprinted blog entry below.
        AND Jim, the #1 most important DC transit initiative would be for the DC City Council to pass a resolution putting the separated blue line subway outlined in the Core Capacity Study back on the table, and the #1 priority in DC transportation planning.
        Richard Layman

        Towards a DC centric transportation policy (within the regional context)

        Typical Household Budget in 28 Metropolitan areas
        From the A Heavy Load report.

        The Smart Growth America e-newsletter, via a piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, calls our attention to a report from the Center for Housing Policy, "A Heavy Load: The Combined Housing and Transportation Burdens of Working Families," which calculates the total cost of housing plus transportation, when considering affordability.

        One thing that shocks me is that it says the average low to moderate income household in the Washington region spends $9,625 annually on transportation (page 4 of the report). Granted there is a housing/jobs imbalance, especially if one is under-educated, but that amount seems high.

        I spend less than $1,250/year--and about $400 is the cost of maintaining a bicycle. I am not counting occasional spending for rental cars for trips out of the region, and I am including car sharing. My GF spends maybe $1,500/year, but $1,000 is covered by TransitCheck, so that cuts it down to $500.

        Note that the Surface Transportation Policy Project has a couple papers on this subject too. They make the point that great transit systems reduce the cost of travel for people across all demographics, but especially among low to moderate income households. See "Driven to Spend: Pumping Dollars out of Our Households and Communities."

        The reason that in my transportation and land use paper I suggest free surface transportation in the city (for bus and streetcar) -- and credit for my putting it in the paper goes in part to "Cableflame," a co-writer on the companion Dr. Transit blog -- is because of equity concerns almost more than increasing transit use.

        Most fareless squares, such as in Portland, Seattle, and Pittsburgh, have been designed to reduce congestion in the downtown area, as well as to help the region meet air quality requirements. But providing free transportation to or within the core of the center city benefits higher income people the most, because they tend to have more of the jobs that are present in a central business district.

        Providing free service throughout the city would be more equitable. It is also costly.

        I can't say how much it would cost to provide free bus (and eventually streetcar) service only within downtown. I figure the additional cost for doing it for the entire city would be between $75 million and $80 million. This is just a rough calculation that is probably slightly overstated--I estimate that weekly farebox revenue is about $1.5 million. That's based on 400,000 trips in DC daily, M-F, but we don't know how many are "unlinked" and how many are transfers or otherwise reduced fares.

        The way to pay for this and other transit expansion is through a payroll withholding tax on income earned in DC. It would function just like how Social Security is collected. This is done in four counties in Oregon.

        Depending on the assessable percentage (say between .005 and .00625), it could generate upwards of $200 million annually.

        However, pumping $80 million of that into free bus service might be too much and not have the kind of return on investment that we need. Alternatives could be to reduce the cost of bus service slightly or to not increase fares, while putting the money into improving bus service in many ways (also in the paper) as well as expanding neighborhood-based bus feeder services, and streetcar and subway expansion projects within the city proper.

        Of course, such a tax, given that 70% of the workers in the city do not live in the city, would be called a commuter tax and it would be difficult to get Congress to sign off on it. In order to get it through, some improvements in road access to the city from Maryland and Virginia would probably have to be provided as well.

        William Jordan <whj@...> wrote:

        -------- Original Message --------
        Subject: [Adams Morgan] Better Service for the Adams Morgan Link
        Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 11:02:23 -0400
        From: "Jim Graham"
        Reply-To: AdamsMorgan@yahoogroups.com

        Dear Friends, I am pleased to pass along this press release from
        Metro/WMATA. I have sponsored this improvement, as well as the original

        The expansion will be accompanied by a marketing effort funded by Metro
        and executed by the Adams Morgan BID.

        Bests, Councilmember Jim Graham

        Service Increased on Metrobus 98 Adams Morgan-U Street Link

        Metrobus 98, the Adams Morgan-U Street Link, will run every 10 minutes
        instead of every 15 minutes, beginning July 1 as part of a three-month
        test to increase ridership.

        For just 25 cents, passengers can take the bus that travels along the
        busy Adams Morgan and U Street corridors. The bus route runs from
        Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Metrorail station to the U
        St/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Metrorail station, and
        operates Sunday through Friday from 6 p.m. to Metrorail closing and
        Saturdays from 10 a.m. to Metrorail closing.

        Increasing the frequency of Metrobus 98 to boost ridership was a
        recommendation of the Adams Morgan Partnership. The District of Columbia
        will reimburse Metro $70,000 for the additional service.

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