Sunday, December 8, 2019

City Council, December 9th - Public Art Commission Report

Council meets on Monday, and there aren't really any transport issues on the agenda. So bullets:
Maybe there is a little to say on the Art Commission.

The Eye of Salem Sauron

Adorable critter art
The report's lead image is a rendering of the new art for the Police Station. On the next page is the cricket/grasshopper bolted on to one of our alley building walls.

Public art should be accessible, not conceptual. Why don't we have more critter art?! People love the Peace Mosaic. If we want art that is "welcoming and livable," we should have more art that offers easy delights.

Addendum, on Transit

So Kansas City's new fareless transit system's been in the news. Cherriots is of course distinct from City Council, but I don't think I am going to write about it separately, so here's a brief clip and note.

Our new Board Chair for Cherriots - via Twitter
Our new Board Chair for Cherriots said "I'm not sold on a fareless system for a community like Salem..."

The article he cites, "Should Transit be Free," says
What we heard is that most low-income bus riders rate lowering fares as less important than improving the quality of the service. This suggests that if a transit agency had to choose between devoting funds to reducing fares or to maintaining or improving service, most riders would prefer the latter. The idea of making transit “free” turns out to be less appealing to the public than making improvements to transit.
Boosting levels of frequent service (service with fares), for example, would be more useful than making infrequent service fareless.

I can't find it at the moment, but several months ago there was a twitter thread circulating in which a transit advocate looked at the increases in ridership when systems went fareless, and it wasn't as big as you'd expect. The fare itself was not the main barrier to transit use, and "free" turned out not to be the great inducement. (Update: found the thread and added link.)

There are better ways to make transit more useful for Salemites.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Added cherriots note on fareless transit

Anonymous said...

Corvallis has had a fareless system since Feb 2011: "Corvallis Transit System (CTS) is the fareless public transit service for the City of Corvallis, Oregon providing riders with safe and reliable bus service."

Look at this page ( on CTS ridership statistics from 2011 to today. A year after it went farelss in 2011, ridership increased by 28 percent, and has continued to stay at about 1.1 million rides per year.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

I used to cite Corvallis (see posts here in 2011 and in 2015, for example), but have been persuaded by a larger set of examples that fareless transit does not offer the big hit in increased ridership that "free" seems to promise.

You point to a 28% increase - but shouldn't we want more? Shouldn't we aspire to much larger increases?

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(Found the twitter thread on fareless effects and added a link.)

Anonymous said...

The blog post ends with "There are better ways to make transit more useful for Salemites." I'm sure this blog has had many suggestions over the years (I didn't do a search). The extra funds from the state for weekend service (Saturday service started at the end of summer, and I think Sunday service starts in May) is the biggest improvement to make transit more useful. The improved bus shelters and new sidewalks to get to stops and shelters are making it more useful, especially for people with disabilities (and for everyone who walks or rolls, be it a long-boarder or a parent with baby carriage). What will really be useful is when Cherriots develops a mobile application that shows real-time bus arrivals; I believe they are working on that but it may take a year or two.

I'd be interested in reading what the blog owner thinks should be the next major investment (i.e. service enhancement) by Cherriots.