Last month Cherriots published the first year's report on the flexible transit "West Salem Connector" service. Detailed transit analysis isn't the thing here, so maybe you will have more to say. But there are several interesting bits in it - including the SRC elephant.
|A Year in Review|
(slides throughout from it)
The biggest complaint about it is that Cherriots continues to ignore the way service levels fit into the context of cross-river mobility. Cherriots is not analytically self-aware here, alas. The Salem River Crossing continues to be a giant lacuna, the proverbial "elephant in the room." It's not a factor in the analysis at all. In this Cherriots limits themselves to a tactical discussion about West Salem service, and avoids questions about larger strategy and priorities. This may be practical, sure, but it is also a huge evasion and renunciation, and ensures that much of West Salem will continue to be difficult to serve. It perpetuates, instead of ameliorates, conditions that we already know are problematic.
The answer to that will not be measured in tens of boardings per day.
And even if you say, "well look at all the autoist challenges: no one is served by running empty buses in the hills" we should have a better analysis of the trade-offs.
One swag suggested that for $15 million annually, instead of the $45 million low-ball annual estimate for a bridge and highway, we could have a ridiculous level of service in West Salem. Would saving $30 million a year be a reasonable trade-off? Seriously, why aren't we having that debate? Maybe more to the point, why isn't Cherriots leading that debate?
(At the same time, critics of the bridge should consider more deeply that improving service to West Salem effectively - that is, in a way that creates a substantial increase in river crossings by transit and equivalent decrease by drive-alone car - is not obvious or easy, and that simple slogans for "more transit" are mostly powerless.)
|6 lines @ 7 day service = $15 million /year|
via TransitMix beta (not from Cherriots)
extending the pilot project in West Salem. This seems like a mixed message - a clear admission that use and adoption of it is not proceeding as quickly as folks would like, but also a sign that on its own limited terms it's at least a partial success. Cherriots is then also working towards evaluating extensions of it for South Salem and Keizer. Because those areas are not constrained by the river and it bridges, the tactical focus in analysis seems likely to work better, and it may be that service in those areas can be more thoroughly knit into the system and to be consistent with longer-range strategy.
But as long as we situate analyses of transit in West Salem without also an explicit discussion of the Salem River Crossing, we are not having an honest discussion about mobility.