Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Conservative Case for Amtrak, More on Transit, Bike Parking at Burgerville - Newsbits

Oof! But not Salem.

They know bike parking, though. Here's the installation in Monmouth. (It could be a model in Salem for lots of businesses!)

Mighty fine bike parking
at the Monmouth Burgerville!
Potentially, that's six customers in the space of one car spot. In the restaurant was one family of six, but mostly it was singles, pairs, and trios. So even if you assume that three people arrive by the average car visit, that's still a doubling of capacity per stall.

You may also recall the drive-thru complaint in 2009 and that Burgerville then made a corporate commitment to serving people on bike by the drive-thru.

Why is this so complicated!?

In and of itself, it's not worth a car-trip, but if you're on bike or happen to be near a Burgerville, tomorrow is a deal day. We live in an imperfect world, and it's worth celebrating those take nicer things from niche to more mainstream success. Just like going car-free won't work for lots of people, but lower-car can, so eating less meat and eating better meat is also a useful strategy for greenhouse gases and for health.
You already know the Hospital has come out against Cherriots, and word has gone around about a Facebook ad also against Cherriots and sponsored by the Chamber. And now the Lund Report says that Cherriots has effectively flipped a $50,000 grant from Cherriots, to hire a coordinator to improve non-emergency medical transportation for patients, and metaphorically anyway used the $50,000 to oppose the transit measure instead.

That's pretty rich.

Here's a piece in American Conservative that champions the value of Amtrak. You can pretty much do a one-to-one substitution of Cherriots for Amtrak, and a lot of the argument remains the same.
From the piece:
Yes, Amtrak is subsidized. So are all competing forms of transportation. Highways cover only 51 percent of their costs from all user fees, including the gas tax. The rest is paid by subsidies of one form or another, especially from local property taxes. Airlines receive massive subsidies in the form of airports and the air traffic control system. The day after 9/11, the airlines ran to Capitol Hill and were immediately given billions of dollars in additional taxpayer money, no questions asked.

BikePortland has a piece on 2014 Census commuting numbers, but I couldn't find the same for Salem. (Maybe you're more skilled with Census data? We'll update if you can point the way!) So here are two of the tables for Salem's 2009 and 2013 "commuting characteristics by sex" (from the American Factfinder, which won't hard link to a specific set of search results, alas):

2009: Bikes at 1.3%
2013:Bikes at 1.7% (but +0.4 is within error bars)
The more interesting stories are the increase in drive-alone trips and what looks like a statistically significant growth in the rate of walking to work. The decline in transit is probably related to service cuts.

Anyway, we shouldn't make too much of any false precision here, but the trends do show that the highest level goal, of reducing drive-alone trips, isn't happening.

Late Add!
Things to come? In that picture I see...a richer, more vibrant community, more transportation and mobility choices, more jobs, more wealth. Not seeing a lot of downside here!


Anonymous said...

On 9/15/15, CANDO endorsed Ballot Measure 24-388 to Raise Funds to Expand Bus Service.

Anonymous said...

The Oregonian reports that Salem is the second slowest growing city in Oregon. If the Chamber's priority is growth, their agenda appears to be failing (at least compared to the rest of the state).

Anonymous said...

Here are the numbers I was able to find:

Salem city, OR; Salem, OR Metro Area
Estimate Margin of Error
Total: 69,931 +/-3,606
Car, truck, or van: 59,632 +/-3,433 85.27%
Drove alone 49,572 +/-3,240 70.89%
Carpooled: 10,060 +/-2,582 14.39%
Public transportation:1,691 +/-872 2.42%
Bicycle 1,230 +/-552 1.76%
Walked 2,756 +/-983 3.94%

The only thing that stands out is the decrease in drive alone trips. The cycling rate is staying steady but the total number is steadily increasing. Maybe new residents are more likely to bike to work?

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

That's great to hear, CANDO! Hopefully other NAs will follow suit.

Thanks also for the Census research. It's interesting that walking has also declined from 2013 to 2014 - though these changes might very well be wobbles and noise within the margin of error rather than real trends.

Jeff Schumacher said...

SCAN also voted to pass a resolution in favor of the payroll tax. Some in our group think that transit should be self-sustaining (run it like a business!) yet there isn't a single aspect of transportation (auto, air travel, train, bike, walk, bus, etc.) that is self-sustaining - it's all subsidized to some extent.

I'm particularly fascinated by the Chamber's support of the 3rd Bridge vs. their opposition to the payroll tax. The payroll tax is intended to generate about $5MM a year, and the 3rd Bridge would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500M. That's quite a disparity.

Obviously I understand that the payroll tax hits the Chamber's members directly and that is certainly the Chamber's basis for rejecting the payroll tax. And I suppose their support of the 3rd Bridge makes sense because it hits all residents of Salem but greatly benefits a few select industries in Salem (home builders, developers, real estate agents). But it begs the question - why are the Salem City Councilors so beholden to this special interest group? The Chamber clearly doesn't operate on the concept of doing what is best for the citizens of Salem; instead, it wants to do what is best for its members and expect everyone else to assume that whatever benefits accrue to its members will somehow trickle down to the citizenry. It would be nice to have a majority of councilors that actually analyzed issues and tried to implement the best policies rather than take their cues from this outdated lobbying group.

Anonymous said...

The decline in walking make some sense because the majority of new homes are not being built in walkable settings that are near employers.

I do think the increasing numbers of cyclists is a trend. Salem added just over 5000 new commuters and just over 200 of those are cycling. About 4% of new commuters are cycling. I think that is significant.