|Remember when the temporary transit mall was an actual place?!|
Not on the agenda, but perhaps most relevant, is a series of just-announced meetings for a project called "capturing the ride." These will take place in April, and there will doubtless be more to say, but Cherriots has recognized that
Current fixed-route transit service provided by Salem-Keizer Transit is inefficient in the low-density neighborhoods of West Salem, South Salem, and Keizer.And so there will be community meetings in each area towards
finding substitutes to fixed-route transit that would increase ridership while increasing efficiency.It's not clear whether Cherriots hired consultants or whether this is some super-duper student project. The project team describes themselves as:
Through a five month planning process, Paradigm Planning will...explore mode and route options in order to produce a plan that provides innovative and feasible alternatives to current transit service that will meet the needs of the community. Paradigm will also determine underlying barriers that have prevented transit use and provide an additional set of recommendations to help increase ridership specific to the study areas.
Paradigm Planning, a group of Portland State University Masters of Urban Planning students interested in transportation, land use, and community engagement. We volunteer our time and skills to work with community members to develop useful transit systems that balance the need for efficiency, coverage, and convenience. Our team is made up of six members with diverse backgrounds.But it doesn't really matter. Either way the project can be enormously useful - if they don't succumb to study churn. And West Salem in particular is key.
We have seen how the Salem River Crossing team concluded that transit is powerless to reduce congestion on the Marion and Center Street bridges. As has been noted several times the TSM/TDM analysis of transit was profoundly flawed and, by a straw man argument, concluded transit was helpless to alleviate congestion (more here and here):
|Sloppy or Intellectually Dishonest?|
The meetings and analysis in West Salem could offer an opportunity for Cherriots to reassess this faulty analysis and develop a more sophisticated understanding of current barriers to transit use in West Salem and develop a corresponding service plan that will concretely reduce the number of bridge crossings. Or to put it another way: It should be easy and convenient for State workers and others who work downtown to take transit instead of drive-alone trips across the bridge.
The meeting is on Wednesday, April 9th at 5pm at the West Salem Roth's. (There are also meetings in South Salem and Keizer, but the West Salem one is obviously the most important.)
Back to the board, trying to mobilize Cherriots for a more vigorous critique of the Salem River Crossing was perhaps something of a missed opportunity this summer. At the same time, Cherriots has shown a striking timidity on the matter, looking like they fear - but fear what? We already have mediocre service, so what is the actual threat of regional "partners" pulling funding? Can they really make it worse?
Well, the discussion of the MPO agenda earlier this week touched on the way that the "consensus" model of decision making at SKATS and MWACT, two regional bodies that administer State and Federal funding, requires unanimity, and the threat of dissent by a single representative can kill or significantly alter a project. This policy probably helps cooperation on mainstream projects, but for transit and other interests that have traditionally been on the margin, the requirement of unanimity hinders leadership and neuters programming: Unanimity ensures that marginal things stay on the margins.
|Cherriots letter on the Salem Alternative|
Letter from July 15th, 2013
Reprinted in Board Packet, December 9th, 2013
- A new park and ride
- A new and improved West Salem transit center
- Signal Priority for buses
- And bus queue jump lanes
Here's the formal motion in support of the Salem Alternative, adopted at the January 13th meeting last month:
|Formal Motion in Support of Salem Alternative,|
January 13th, 2014
The bottom line is: We need more assertive leadership from our transit agency, but at the same time, the deck is stacked against them and changes in governance policy may be necessary.
There's also a report on Cherriots RideShare, but the discussion may use statewide data, not Salem-Keizer or even Marion-Polk data. There's no discussion of deltas or trends, unfortunately, just bare numbers. (There are more reports out there, and they might merit a separate post sometime. It would be interesting to see more on the "bike trips" component, as this is year-round reporting, not just a single month's worth as with the Bike Commute Challenge.)
|But hey, that's I-5 in north Portland!|
Does this have anything to do with Salem?
|Drive Less Connect Numbers for Q1, 2013-14 year|
|Drive Less Connect Numbers for Q2, 2013-14|
Finally, RideShare will be developing a Plan and this looks promising:
In late 2013 we issued an RFP for a consultant to work with the Rideshare program on developing a strategic plan for the program. We selected Alta Planning as the consultant and we are in the process of determining the final scope of work. Already determined is the inclusion of input from the Salem-Keizer Transit Board as well as a variety of other regional stakeholders.RideShare is poorly funded, but it has also seemed like the program lacked some focus, and it is not difficult to imagine that a Strategic Plan will help it maximize the bang-per-buck. Alta has focused primarily on bike planning - they helped with Bike and Walk Salem - and hopefully the plan will include significant support for bicycling.
Finally, while it has been impossible to get the RFP for the System Analysis the Jarrett Walker is conducting, the first change order is posted. Apparently the original contract was for $99,997, and Change Order #1 is for $10,098. It has three parts:
- Task 1 will provide an addendum to the Existing Conditions Report detailing information about CherryLift activity to include origin, destination, and travel pattern.
- Task 2 will provide a report for public consumption of the January 30 Stakeholder Workshop.
- Task 3 will provide additional narrative descriptions of GIS data used in the project for future planning use.
Currently with 40 community leaders and @humantransit envisioning #SalemKeizer's future @Cherriots network pic.twitter.com/UcD2pL7JQzLast month as part of the analysis, Jarrett Walker met with business leaders, electeds, and advocates to discuss Cherriots service. One of the chief topics was the trade-off of frequency (time) versus coverage (space). Walker has a blog, Human Transit, and he discusses here the framework for the way he sees the trade-offs. As you can see, the second item in the Change Order will be a formal report on this meeting.
— Brad Coy (@bradlycoy) January 31, 2014
There's probably other stuff too. Transit has not been a focus here, and if you know of something interesting or noteworthy, drop a comment!
The Cherriots Board meets Thursday, February 27th at 6:30 PM in Council Chambers at City Hall, 555 Liberty St. SE.