Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Area MPO Meets Today; Rideshare to Refund 3 Parking Stalls Worth of Funding

Our area Metropolitan Planning Organization meets today at noon, and there's a couple of interesting items on the agenda.  The first item of interest, a refund of $72,000 for transportation demand management activities, shows the inconsistency - even insanity - of our current funded priorities (as opposed to unfunded policy rhetoric, however sweet).

Back in 2009 in a discussion of the local allocation of STIP funding, the meagre amount we formally spend on programming that supports trips other than drive-alone stood out.  Back then, according to Cherriots,
The amount allocated is the entire budget for the Rideshare program. It does vary from year to year but it has been around $225,000 (total) each year which must cover all of the Rideshare program activities, salaries, benefits, marketing and outreach.
What was true then is true today:  That's crazy! They work to promote and facilitate essentially all transportation options other than the drive-alone-trip. And that's all we give them.

By comparison, In 2009 the widening at Wallace and Glen Creek was projected to be about $9M. 

So RideShare was getting about 2% annually of the total cost of the Wallace and Glen Creek project. 

Since then, the Wallace and Glen Creek project seems to have climbed to around $15M, maybe even heading to $16M.  The exact numbers aren't important.  It's a lot more than $9M.

Here's the latest breakdown from the 2012 - 2017 TIP.

Summary Chart of SKATS 2012-17 TIP
(Click to enlarge)
And at the SKATS Policy Committee meeting tomorrow today, Rideshare is going to give up $72,000 for years 2014 and 2015.  That's a rounding error on the Wallace and Glen Greek project!

Interestingly, there's no line item in the 2012-17 TIP (see clip just above) that corresponds to this $72,000.  (When we talk about transparency, here's an example of information being publicly available and yet also being pretty opaque to the interested public.  So is it effectively public?  Maybe not.)

The refund (or since it's future funding,  maybe "refusal" is better?) is especially concerning when the Capitol seismic retrofit project will reduce parking on the Capitol Mall, and Cherriots will have a great opportunity to market directly to State workers and engage them on bus, bike, and car-pool. Why isn't Cherriots interested in retaining the funds for expanding programming?  Are funds going to be easier to get next year or the year after?  Or are we just going to "do more with less."

And for another sense of the scale here, a new parking stall in a garage costs around $25,000. So we're whacking down Cherriots Rideshare for the cost of two, three, or maybe even four parking stalls.  Again, that's a rounding error on the Wallace and Glen Creek project.

I mean, shouldn't we fund a program like this on the order of an entire garage floor?  Like if we funded it to save 50 parking stalls, that would be $1.25M, or 100 stalls for $2.5M!

(So here's an idea, let's evaluate programs like that in terms of "garage parking stall equivalents"!  Right now for that figure of $225,000, we say RideShare is annually worth 9 stalls.  Isn't that a profoundly misguided sense of our priorities?  It sounds like we're talking about toilets!  It's absurd that's the way we value it. We should be funding Rideshare and demand management efforts in much more robust ways.  Anyway, if you want to propose a more sophisticated way of calculating "garage parking stall equivalents," happy to listen!)

Buy a lottery ticket,
Support bikeways!
Also on the agenda is talk about the ConnectOregon funding:
At this time there are two projects within SKATS that are likely to apply for ConnectOregon V funds. One project is a bicycle/pedestrian path between Hyacinth St. NE and Bill Frey Dr., and the other is future phases (environmental work, property acquisition, or additional design work) for the South Salem Transit Center.
This is a way that the mistake in locating the Kroc Center will likely suck up funds that might have been used to greater advantage elsewhere. This is basic remediation, not a creative expansion of capacity for people who walk, bike, or otherwise wish to avoid drive-alone trips. (For complete Kroc Center notes, see here.)

SKATS meets Tuesday, October 22nd at noon, above La Capitale/Andaluz, 100 High St. SE, Suite 200.

1 comment:

Curt said...

Love garage parking stall equivalents. Can we use the Salem Hospital Lot for surface parking stall equivalents ($9000 per)?

Rick Williams puts the break even cost for one garage stall at $230 per month.

I was really surprised to read in the River Crossing DEIS that the modeshare for carpooling was so high. That is one category where we outperform Portland. Is Cherriots Rideshare the most effective agency in Salem?