Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cherriots to End West Salem Connector Project

Shoot. The special Board meeting for Cherriots on the 24th was followed closely by a regular meeting on the 27th, and it had at least one topic of real interest. But we missed it! (Full meeting agenda and packet here.)

A Year in Review
The biggest news is the cancellation later this year of the pilot project for "flexible transit" in West Salem. The Connector service never seemed to thrive (see notes on one year anniversary here), and recently a project in Kansas City, Bridj, also was cancelled (here, here, and here).

Fixed route transit has real advantages, and it remains to be seen where and when TNC-ified shuttle transit can thrive.

So Cherriots is going to go back to the drawing board and see if there is a combination of routes that makes sense in West Salem.
Staff recommends that the Board accept the results of the Connector Pilot Project and officially close the pilot project period. During the transition period, extend the operation of the West Salem Connector through the end of December 2017 to allow staff the time to further develop a fixed-route replacement, work with the community, and implement the replacement on January 2, 2018.
Here's the current concept for the fixed-route replacement laid over a map of Connector demand. Route 16 is re-routed; 26 and 27 are new. They would offer one hour service only, but would be staggered, one on the hour, the other on the half-hour, so at least the Orchard Heights and Glen Creek corridors would have half-hour coverage. (The 17 already serves the Edgewater district with 15 minute service.)

This is the leading concept for replacement -
but it's still very conceptual!
There will be more to say as the new project develops.

It is important to remember that the challenges still remain.

From the 2016 year in review
Our commitment to free parking, and our lack of interest in tolling or congestion pricing, are probably also elements that should be included in the "challenges." As long as we subsidize auto travel so heavily, transit here will be at a disadvantage. The larger context, too, of cross-river mobility may not be considered adequately. It looks like the 26 and 27 would loop out of the West Salem Transit Center, and require transfers to go downtown. Is there an opportunity for a rush-hour express? (It may have been considered and rejected already, however).

Because of its relation to the Salem River Crossing debate and expense, Salem City Council should have a special interest in this problem, and want to help configure a transit program of maximum effectiveness for West Salem. That will be way cheaper than a new bridge!!!


Susann Kaltwasser said...

If the West Salem routes were consistent and I could get from my house to Wallace Road and back in a hour, I think it might be something I could use.

cherriotsrider8 said...

I think the new routes will work well, although I don't like the huge loops. West Salem doesn't need an express as the 17 only makes a couple stops from Glen Creek Transit Center to the transit mall.