So my Intercity Transit Ballot Measure Fact Sheet just came in the mail, along with my ballot. I decided to read over it, to give the measure proper consideration instead of just automatically voting one way or another. I came up with some interesting questions based on the graphs and figures on the Fact Sheet.
First, the figures in the fact sheet are for 2010. The figures I have found for other transit agencies are from 2009, so they are not nearly as directly comparable. I actually ended up using figures from the spring 2010 performance report here: IT Spring 2010 Report
That pegs the cost per fixed route service hour at $107.40. Page 20 of the King County 2009 Annual Report here puts the median at $110.38, so I think our transit system is relatively efficient: KC 2009 Annual Report But the bottom half includes cities with similar cost-of-living that have per-hour costs as low as $90.83. How are they doing it? Do we have something to learn?
Originally I looked into this suspecting that our transit system was inefficient compared to others. I now see it is not, but still feel we can do better. Any ideas on this would be welcome.
Remember the debate around the proposed public art for the new city hall? Boy, that was fun, wasn't it?
With everything big thing the city builds (capital projects), some of the money goes to public art. Which is a great idea, but then you get stuck debating the quality of the proposed art. Now, with the city moving to do a major remake of Boulevard Road (about time), they're considering what kind of public art will go into the project. Specifically, the roundabout at Log Cabin and Boulevard.
Check it out:
Here's the artist's description:
I plan to carve twelve, eight foot tall, naturally fallen cedar sculptures, ideally from one old growth naturally fallen tree which comes from Southworth, WA. The trees are cut in half or quarters because of the massive scale. Ten of the carvings will be placed in the roundabout in a circle, spaced approximately 12 feet apart, creating a contemporary Northwest “Stonehenge” effect. The remaining two sculptures will be placed on the southwest sidewalk, so viewers could have a closer look at them (these sculptures will have shallow relief carving to deter climbing.).
The process to approve this art included six seperate steps, including two to bring in the neighbors of the site.
More from the artist:
From the South Capitol Neighborhood email list. Coolest thing is that since she doesn't own a car, she's totally dependent on busses:
Eve Johnson, our neighbor ..., was recently appointed as a community representative to the Intercity Transit Authority Board. With no automobile, Ms. Johnson relies upon the public transportation system. Her responsibilities include speaking for senior citizens and bus riders along with the regular business of the Authority.
Intercity Transit is governed by an eight-member Board of Directors, consisting of five elected officials and three citizen representatives. The Authority sets policy and direction for the agency.
Ms. Johnson moved to this neighborhood when she returned to Olympia in 1997. Prior to that time she lived in Washington, DC.
As past president of the League of Women Voters Thurston County, she chaired the Water Realities in Relation to Planned Development Study. While president she created and produced Debate Watch for the League, the City of Olympia, and The Olympian.
Since returning to Olympia, Ms. Johnson has also participated in the Washington State Legislature's Heritage Caucus and has been a member of the Washington State Historical Society.Congratulations to Eve for her distinguished service to our local community!
I remember back during Snowapalooza issues of access to public transportation were discussed. While this survey from WSDOT won't keep the snow from falling it might help take care of some other impediments to travel. Please share freely.
At some point, most of us have experienced some
difficulty with traversing a badly cracked sidewalk or trying to cross
a busy street. Imagine the added challenge of these situations for people with disabilities.
Since we can’t address a problem that we don’t know about, WSDOT has
created a new Web tool that will help us to identify, evaluate, and
possibly fix these trouble spots.
A new on-line survey has been created for people to report their experience regarding the accessibility of public roadways and roadside features, such as:
I saw the film FUEL earlier tonight at the Capitol Theater. It was good. I recommend it. It's an important film because it clearly shows the very serious problem that we, as a humanity, face in regard to the global economy's addiction to petroleum as a source of energy. But not only that, it also provides a clear analysis of some of the potential solutions to the deeply harmful and horrible aspects of reliance on fossil fuels.
The rumor is, according to the Olympia Film Society person who did the introduction, that the film run has been extended into next week. This is an important film. Please, if you have any interest at all, make an effort to see it.
Here's the trailer:
Information about what's already going on about Transportation includes:
Anyone out there with ideas about transportation? Now's your chance to tell our President-Elect what you think. In one year, the legislation that decides how the federal government funds and supports transportation will end.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AASHTO (ash-toe), has created a website, IToldThePresident.org where you can see what your fellow citizens are saying and submit a comment or even a video!
Intercity Transit is currently working on a strategic plan for 2009-2014, and a new budget for 2009.
Strategic Plan (PDF)
Here are some of the highlights of the document (Click topic to read more):
Consider an increase of .2% in the local sales tax rate for public transportation (currently 6 tenths of 1 percent) in 2009 or 2010;
The Puget Sound is in serious danger. Pollution has wreaked horrible consequences on this majestic waterway. For example, 92% of wild salmon runs are no more, and several stocks of other species are collapsing as well. Why is the Puget Sound in danger? Ask an expert.
Take it from William Dietrich. He published an article in the Seattle Times yesterday. It's about this very subject. It's very well written and it's titled: "Puget Sound: One man's indictment, love poem and call to arms", here's a link: seattletimes.nwsource.com/Read more...