Moving over to the "Transportation Demand Management" side of the Alternate Modes Study, the overwhelming impression is a set of projects marginalized and underfunded. Most of the programming is solidly "alternate," secondary in most every way, and rarely represents a serious attempt to accomplish something substantial. It's fiddling on the edges in a way that is mostly for show; institutionally as expressed in budgets and FTE there is not enough care whether something actually succeeds. Programming is not actually being positioned for success.
Transportation Demand Management (TDM)
The TDM recommendations are divided into two broad groups, TDM Implementation Strategies and TDM Concepts. The TDM Concepts are further divided into five categories, with some overlap: (1) Multi-Modal Concepts, (2) Bicycle/Pedestrian Specific Concepts, (3) Transit Specific Concepts, (4) Parking Specific Concepts, and (5) Carpool/Vanpool Specific Concepts. Cherriots Rideshare serves as the lead organization for TDM in the Salem area.
TDM Implementation Strategies
There has been some progress on advancing three of the four implementation strategies identified in the Alternate Modes Study.
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator: The City added an additional transportation planner position in 2011, thereby doubling the staff devoted to transportation planning. Both transportation planners cover all aspects of transportation planning. The new transportation planner has taken the lead on managing bike parking and implementing bicycle destination signing, among other responsibilities.
- Transit Funding: As discussed earlier in this memo, transit district funding continues to be limited. However, the Transit District has proactively worked to improve the effectiveness of their service and this is reflected in the coming changes identified in the Moving Forward plan. In addition, the Transit District has laid the groundwork for expanding service to evenings and weekends when funding allows. This work provides a strong foundation for future funding opportunities.
- Individualized Marketing Program: This recommendation is for an individualized marketing program for trips between west Salem and downtown. While this has not been implemented, Cherriots is currently in progress with a similar marketing program for two other neighborhoods in Salem (NEN and Grant). The results of this program may create momentum to launch a program for west Salem.
TDM Implementation Concepts
- One-Stop Website for Alternate Modes: Cherriots Rideshare is finalizing a Strategic Action Plan (Summer 2015). One of the key short-term recommendations (Year 1) is to build a new website. The new website would be designed to improve program efficiencies by increasing awareness, reaching a broader geographic audience, providing electronic resources, and promoting social media tools.
|Cherriots is in the middle of transitioning|
from "RideShare" to "Trip Choice"
- Acknowledge and Reward Commuters: Cherriots Rideshare offers various reward programs, often in conjunction with other rideshare entities in the Willamette Valley. For example, Cherriots Rideshare was a sponsor of Carpool Karma, a carpool challenge in western Oregon that ran between February 1 and May 1, 2015.
- Education on Bike/Transit Integration: Cherriots has information online with instructions on how to load your bike on the bus, including a brief video tutorial. In addition, they periodically bring demonstration racks to public events for people to practice putting a bike on the bus rack.
- Employer Bicycle/Pedestrian Programs and Facilities: Cherriots Rideshare supports employer bicycle/pedestrian programs through its network of Employee Transportation Coordinators.
- Bicycle Encouragement: In 2013, The City of Salem launched Salem Sunday Streets. This annual event promotes healthy and active living by opening up city streets for people to play, explore, and build community.
|Three City of Eugene Staff work on Sunday Streets|
- Bicycling and Walking Information Distribution: In 2012, the Salem area bike map was updated through a partnership with the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments, Cherriots Rideshare, and the City. This was the first update since 2006. The bike map covers the Salem-Keizer metropolitan area as well as the surrounding three-county region (Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties). This map is distributed free of charge at area bike shops, traveler information centers, and at events. It is also available online. An updated version is scheduled for 2016. In 2015, Cherriots Rideshare worked with a group of students from Willamette University to create a walking map of downtown Salem. Cherriots Rideshare will be printing the map and making it available free of charge.
- Parking changes: The last five years have seen significant review of the City’s parking management policies. This review has led to several increases in parking rates. Parking meter rates were doubled in 2013 (from $0.75/hour to $1.50/hour). Parking permit rates in City-owned parking garages increased based on demand, with the highest increase being 44 percent at Liberty Parkade between 2010 and 2015. Parking fines have similarly increased, with increases ranging from 25 to 300 percent.
|Alternate Modes Study|
- Drive Less Connect: Cherriots Rideshare participates in Drive Less Connect, Oregon’s secure, easy-to-use online ride-matching tool that matches users with rides. In addition to providing online ride matching for carpools and vanpools, it can also help users find a biking partner. The number of users in the Drive Less Connect system has increased substantially in recent years, from 948 users in 2011-12 to 3674 users in 2014-15.
- Emergency Ride Home Program: Many area employers are registered participants of the Cherriots Rideshare Emergency Ride Home program. This program provides users of alternate modes with a ride home in the event of an emergency.
So how'd we do?
|Alternate Modes TOC on TDM|
- Develop a Transportation Management Association
- Incentive/Challenge Programs to Encourage Bicycling and Walking
- Conduct Targeted Marketing Recruitment
- Reduce the Direct Cost of Transit Passes to Employees and Commuters
- Switch from Monthly to Daily Fee Parking
- Disourage Parking at Peak Periods
- Price Parking to Recover the Costs
- Apply a Tax to Parking Spaces
- Provide Parking Cash-Outs to Employees using Alternate Modes
The overwhelming impression from this list is that "we haven't tried very hard yet." The programming we have done is very limited and it is nearly certain that we haven't applied enough financial and staff resources on projects to position them for success. It should not surprise us that our desultory institutional efforts have yielded limited success. Since we haven't tried very hard, we also cannot draw conclusions about any failures.
(It must be said that most of the funding for Cherriots RideShare/Trip Choice comes through SKATS from Federal sources - STP-U and TAP-U, see chart in this discussion - and that at least theoretically, SKATS could shift spending from autoist road widening projects to TDM projects. This is funding separate from Cherriots' bus operations. And, again, the level of funding represents a statement of our commitments and values.)
In the end, we have taken baby steps only on implementing the Alternate Modes Study. In order to achieve the 8% reduction the SRC traffic modeling assumes, we will have to make "aggressive" steps, not just baby steps. It is possible that we discover those steps are more effective than we supposed - again, we need to try hard - and confirm that spending $5 million or $50 million on walking, biking, and busing is way more effective than $500 million on a new bridge and highway.