Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anti-transit agenda chasing economic development out of Troy

It seems like the present generation of conservative political leadership is against mass transit for no reason other than because most liberals are for it. Certainly it can't be because of the things that conservatives stand for in theory, such as a subsidy-free society, or championing the cause of business, that conservatives would favor car culture over mass transit. Here in Michigan, we have Troy mayor Janice Daniels, elected on a Tea Party platform, and determined to make a name for herself as an incendiary firebrand for whatever causes that implies. Naturally, when it came time for the Troy City Council to vote on a new transit center, it would be charitable to call the objections NIMBY—the rhetoric was bordering on that of social cleansing. For example:

Councilman Wade Fleming said he had "reluctantly" supported the transit center, but now he's unsure. "I'm trying to evaluate the merit of it," he said. Fleming said he worries the 24-hour center could lead to more crime. "It could be a place where people who don't have another place to go hang out," he said. "If that's the case, it's going to require more police."

Mass transit is a key part of future economic development in this area, and the actions of the local government are alienating, among others, major players in the local business community:

Magna International is so disappointed with Troy leaders that manager Frank Ervin stated in the letter he is recommending their company no longer consider the city of for future job creation.

h/t Eric B.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tea Party hacks are Oil industry agents

Oakland County | New mayor, council members try to halt Troy transit facility | The Detroit News: "Troy— After a decade of planning, a transit center tying together train, bus, taxi and future light rail service in Troy appeared to be near fruition this fall.
The facility is supposed to open by October 2013, but a shakeup at City Hall has put construction in doubt. Mayor Janice Daniels, elected last month on a tea party platform, and several City Council members want Troy to halt the project, forfeiting $8.4 million in federal funds and ownership of the 3-acre site."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 years of #transit projects shovel-ready. See the map.

Mapped: How Federal Funding Fails to Match Demand for Transit in the U.S. | Streetsblog Capitol Hill: "Reconnecting America found strong demand for transit projects around the country but a dearth of federal support for such projects. “There is a huge backlog of federal funding through the New Starts program,” the organization says. If all of the transit projects in this map were funded through the federal New Starts Program at the current spending rate, it would take 73 years to fund them all."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Traffic avoiding traffic

It seems the killer app for your Garmin nüvi is something they call "traffic avoidance." If this isn't a textbook example of tragedy of the commons, I don't know what is.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Guest commentary: Public transportation can be life-changer for region | Detroit Free Press | freep.com

Buses wait for passengers at the Rosa Park Transit Center in Detroit last week, following a work stoppage by bus drivers over safety concerns. / WILLIAM ARCHIE/Detroit Free Press
Guest commentary: Public transportation can be life-changer for region | Detroit Free Press | freep.com: "Momentum is building toward creating a network of connected, convenient public transportation options throughout Michigan. Success will mean a huge and sustained injection of vitality to businesses, downtowns and hundreds of thousands of residents for whom alternatives to personal vehicle ownership are limited."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Without buses, rail will fail

Jeff Gerritt: With buses turmoil and Detroit in crisis, Bing could learn from Coleman Young | Detroit Free Press | freep.com: "But rail and rapid transit buses won’t mean a thing if leaders can’t get basic bus service right. That's the top job now. You have to crawl before you can walk. "

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

March to The Spirit of Detroit to protest the transit cuts and inefficiency of Detroit public transportation.

Join Occupy Detroit on Friday, October 28 @ 4PM for a march from Grand Circus Park to The Spirit of Detroit. More details at the Occupy Detroit website.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

michigan municipal league

Inside208 | Inside 208Inside208: "LaHood made the announcement in Detroit where he noted that investing in America's transit systems, rails, roads, ports, and airports will help to put people back to work and rebuild our nations' transportation system. "

'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Public #transit terrible in motor city -- hmmm.

Jeff Gerritt: Waiting, waiting, waiting ... for a better bus system | Detroit Free Press | freep.com: "Riders at crowded Detroit bus stops boil with frustration and anger -- much of it aimed at Mayor Dave Bing. Sometimes waiting for hours, they miss work, classes, job interviews, medical appointments.

In the last four months, city bus service has crumbled into a crisis, stranding many of the nearly 30% of Detroit households that don't have vehicles. If this debacle had happened to anyone but Detroit's poor, politicians and pundits would scream for action."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

$700 home to go with your $2500 car

Every day, more or less, Shlok Vaidya posts a list of interesting links pertaining to resiliency (not quite the same thing as sustainability, but not unrelated) at the Global Guerrillas website. One of the items for September 19's bulleted list is:

  • $700 home to go with your $2500 car.

It turns out both the home and the car are products of Tata, a car company. Needless to say, it's not unheard of for houses in Detroit to go for less than $700, although it's doubtful anything in that price range is anywhere approaching being up to code, but such things exist. Now a $700 home situated somewhere where a car-free lifestyle is actually feasible, that would be cheap-living utopia...

In America, at least, there seems to be an Iron Law of Economics to the effect that walkability is inversely proportional to affordability...

Friday, September 16, 2011

AATA lays out aggressive agenda for next 12 months, including launch of airport shuttle service

AATA lays out aggressive agenda for next 12 months, including launch of airport shuttle service: "The AATA's governing board approved a $30.4 million operating budget for the new fiscal year at its meeting Thursday night. With revenues at $29.4 million, the agency is dipping nearly $1 million into its reserves to fund the many projects outlined in its 2012 work plan.
AATA officials said the approved budget allows the agency to maintain and improve its core services, properly fund the 2012 work plan, and move the agency toward implementing its countywide transit master plan, which was approved by the board earlier this year.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Employee free transit passes a huge success

getDowntown Blog » Blog Archive » go!pass bus pass ridership has another record-breaking month: "I am pleased to report that we have broken our August ridership record for the go!pass! For the month of August, 55,093 rides were taken using the go!pass, which is the highest ridership level ever reported for August since the go!pass program began in 2000.

On average, go!pass levels have increased by 20% this year over last year.

We currently have 511 downtown organizations participating in the go!pass program and have distributed more than 7,000 go!passes for this go!pass season.

More information about the go!pass is here: http://getdowntown.org/bus/gopass/index.html


'via Blog this'

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What do you want for Michigan transportation?

LINK to SITE: "Join Let’s Save Michigan and the Michigan Municipal League for Michigan’s Transportation Vision: A Twitter Talk at noon on September 13, 2011. We’ll explore solutions that have developed in other states, bold new ideas, and what changes Michigan must make. In this time of high energy costs and slow job growth, we don’t need transportation to be another impediment to economic growth. We need a transportation system that supports Michigan’s business and its people.

Follow @LetsSaveMich for live tweeting during the event on September 13, 2011.

Between now and September 12, tweet your questions to @LetsSaveMich using #MiTransVision and we’ll do our best to answer them."

'via Blog this'

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ann Arbor - "Now is no time to hang back"

The Ann Arbor Chronicle | AATA Taps Berriz, Guenzel to Review Plan: "Transit has an important role to play in the economic development of the community, Krieg said. Now is no time to hang back.
...Krieg said he felt that opposition to investment in transit is generally based on a lack of information. There needs to be a strong voice for each transit project. So Wake Up, Washtenaw! proposes to continue support for Partners for Transit, a citizen group promoting the transit master plan. The group will also engage civic and business leaders in Washtenaw County and surrounding counties. He also suggested convening a roundtable discussion of transportation funding alternatives, that would involve business leaders, transit officials and the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). He suggested that the discussion should include alternative legal and financial structures that could bring public transit closer to being self-sustaining. Krieg concluded by inviting people to email him at wakeupwashtenaw at gmail dot com."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wake Up, Washtenaw!: Yes Folks, Some Government Spending Really Is "Investment"

Wake Up, Washtenaw!: Yes Folks, Some Government Spending Really Is "Investment": These days, we hear politicians earning "points" by always using the word "wasteful" along with "government spending". Yes, some of it is wasteful. But I'd like to point out one example of government spending that's really an investment.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Editorial: A modern public transit system is within reach | Detroit Free Press | freep.com

Editorial: A modern public transit system is within reach | Detroit Free Press | freep.com: "With nearly 30% of its residents without vehicles, Detroit cannot afford to take more money from its bus system, which has already reduced service by at least one-third over the last five years. Nor would the FTA, which is paying for more than half of the rail project's construction costs, permit the city to do so.

'We're not interested in building a rail system that's going to starve the bus system,' FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff told the Free Press on Monday. 'For transit to work in this city -- or any other -- you need both."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

TheRide Sees Surge in Ridership: High gas prices, stepped up outreach efforts cited for increase | Facebook

TheRide Sees Surge in Ridership: High gas prices, stepped up outreach efforts cited for increase | Facebook: "Overall ridership on TheRide fixed route services was up 3.1 percent in April, 8.7 percent in May
and 8.3 percent in June from the corresponding months a year earlier, an overall average increase
of 6.7 percent. Routes with notable increases include:

#17 Amtrak-Depot St. route: 50 percent increase
#2 Plymouth route:14 percent increase
#4 Washtenaw route: 11 percent increase
#8 Pauline route: 10 percent increase

Between April and June of this year, the A2 Express service to Chelsea and Canton surged an average
of 34 percent over the same period last year. TheRide’s Manager of Community Relations Mary Stasiak
attributes the growth to increased outreach efforts for the new express bus service.

“We’ve been emphasizing the A2 Express in our outreach campaign and how public transportation
benefits riders and helps the economy,” said Stasiak. “It’s great to see that message resonating,
because we all benefit.”

Stasiak also pointed out the benefit to the riders of the A2 Express, noting that a rider on the
Chelsea service who travels on a daily basis can save about $1,200 a year."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mass transit is a drop in America's transportation bucket

Objet : Re : A message from Congressman Levin
De : Lorraine Lee (u8ɔɥz@ʎɐɥoo.ɔɐ)
À : rep.sanderlevin@mail.house.gov;
Cc : u8ɔɥz@ʎɐɥoo.ɔɐ;
Cci :
Date : Ven, 22 Jul 2011 22:47:22

I completely agree with you about the importance of strengthening our nation’s transportation systems. I was supportive of the appropriations bill for 2011 drafted by Congressman John Olver in the last Congress, which would have funded federal transportation programs at $500 billion over six years, and provided $3.9 billion above the President’s request for the Federal Highway Administration. These increased funds also would have allowed states to complete infrastructure projects while spurring the economy and creating tens of thousands of jobs. Further, this bill would increase public transportation funding by $508 million in order to help address the nearly $80 billion maintenance backlog that face our nation.

$508 million is just over a tenth of a percent of $500 billion; a literal drop in the bucket. I guess mass transit is the ugly stepsister in our transportation portfolio.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let's Save Michigan

The key to Michigan’s survival is redeveloping our cities so they will attract and retain today’s highly mobile, highly skilled workers. The people who can transform Michigan’s economy want to live in places where they can enjoy themselves—places with public transit, parks and recreation, good municipal services, and walkable downtowns filled with enticing restaurants, clubs, and stores. Why do so many talented professionals want to live in Chicago and New York and Minneapolis? It’s not for the weather. People are attracted to those places because of the lifestyles they allow and the opportunities they present.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sprawl fat cats still powerful

Detroits Sprawl King: Transit Expansion Plan Would Be a Job KillerThere seems to be a growing understandingin the Motor City that bikeability, walkability and improved transit service are imperative to remake the economy and reverse the city’s infamous urban decay. So much so that private investors have put forward much of the funding for the city’s new light rail line.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wake Up, Washtenaw!: The basics of Highways and Rails

Wake Up, Washtenaw!: The basics of Highways and Rails: "So it's time to go over some of the basics about the cost of rail travel. I put up a comment; here's a version for you, dear blog readers:

It's true that railroads cost taxpayer money, but so do roads and so do cars. Here are a few facts:

Even toll roads don't pay for themselves; the Illinois Tollway Authority is requesting money from the Illinois State Legislature.
Americans sent $254 billion to other countries for oil in 2009, much if it to unfriendly governments. If American 'patriots' woke up and realized how much they're subsidizing our enemies by hanging on to their SUVs, they might think investing a little of their tax dollars in rail passenger service was a really good deal."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thousands rally to recall Snyder

Eclectablog: "Several thousand people rally in front of Michigan's Capitol building. A great turnout and LOTS of Snyder recall petitions being signed."

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Rapid millage increase approved by 136 votes | MLive.com

The Rapid millage increase approved by 136 votes | MLive.com: "Voters in the city of Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids overpowered suburban voters to pass The Rapid transit millage property tax increase by what appears to be 136 votes.
...The transit millage will pay for extending service later into the evening on most routes, expanding some routes, decreasing wait times between buses, and operating the Silver Line high-speed bus line on Division Avenue."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Energy barons want to convert public property to private use

The connection between Michigan's EFM power grab, Rep. Fred Upton and Big Oil/Gas | Eclectablog: "There are others who have benefited, too, of course. There is one family in particular, the McClendons, who own four lots along Ridgeway Avenue. And there's a very close connection between the Uptons and the McClendon's: Fred Upton's cousin Katie is married to one of them, a man named Aubrey McClendon. Who is Aubrey McClendon? He is the owner of Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest natural gas companies in the U.S. and, in 2008, was the highest-paid CEO at all S&P 500 companies. His company is involved in hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking' for natural gas. McClendon is also a developer. While he himself does not live on Ridgeway Avenue, his family does. And those that live on Ridgeway Avenue benefited mightily from the Harbor Shores development."

Friday, April 29, 2011

What a modest transit tax increase will do for the Grand Rapids area | MLive.com

Guest Column: What a modest transit tax increase will do for the Grand Rapids area | MLive.com: "The answer to The Rapid transit millage on May 3 is obviously “yes.” The proposal will expand services throughout the metro area and provide riders with more travel options, faster connections and ultimately more convenience. The funds will be spent only on transit operational expenses such as hiring drivers, fuel and maintenance. The funds will not be used to build facilities, purchase buses or hire more administrative staff."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Private auto is choking Michigan economy

A proposal in Lansing would slice $20m from transit and give it to highways.

State Transit Cuts Would Harm Struggling Families | Our Voices: "Legislators in Lansing are looking at two proposals that would cut $20 million from vital public transportation funding. The proposals, from the House and Senate Transportation Subcommittees, if not amended in the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees, would reduce Governor Rick Snyder’s recommendations for transit spending by 8 to 10 percent."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Michigan is not broke, the money is just concentrated in the hands of the rich

There is plenty of money in the U.S. and Michigan is no exception. Millions of dollars are wasted everyday in supporting the auto-and-sprawl system. People burn valuable energy in traffic and spend thousands maintaining an auto to get to work. How does the fossil-fuel-controlled government respond? Cutting public transit and converting public property to wealthy private hands. The crisis is a fake. Fight back.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oiligarchy can no longer allow democracy

Blogging For Michigan:: UPDATED: And so it begins. Emergency Financial Mgr. fires entire government of Benton Harbor.: "As you probably know, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation passed by the Republican-dominated House and Senate that gives State-appointed Emergency Financial Managers (EFMs) historically broad and sweeping powers. These new powers allow the EFM to cancel or modify contracts (including with unions) and even to fire the municipality's government."

Friday, April 1, 2011

USA not ready for rail

Wake Up, Washtenaw!: Is the climate really right for trains?: "M. Bachant stressed the need for transportation to work together as a system - seamless connectivity between high speed trains, airports, regional expresses, and locals, buses, and taxis. This is most certainly true: public transportation must integrate seamlessly in order to compete with the automobile. In a car, you can go from the slickest, fastest freeway to an unpaved, rutted road, without getting out of your vehicle. Not so in a high-speed train. In order to come even close to the same level of convenience, public transportation must be very well planned and coordinated."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Benzie Bus Yes! | Vote Yes on May 3, 2011

Benzie Bus Yes! | Vote Yes on May 3, 2011: "Please mark your calendar and be sure to vote in the Benzie Bus funding election on May 3, 2011. It’s important to vote and have your say!
Benzie County voters will consider the following proposal, summarized here (not the exact language):
Proposal: Do you approve 0.50 mills (a “half mill” just like in 2006 ) to renew and restore operating funds for the Benzie Bus system for five years?
(Note: The proposal would renew the current tax rate and restore the small tax increment rolled back by the Headlee Amendment since the initial election in 2006.)
If approved, this measure will raise about $541,000 in the first year & cost the owner of an average home* about $37.50/year or about a dime a day."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Grand Rapids sells land for Amtrak rail spur to The Rapid Transit Center | MLive.com

Grand Rapids sells land for Amtrak rail spur to The Rapid Transit Center | MLive.com: "GRAND RAPIDS – City officials are clearing the path for a new railroad track that will bring the Pere Marquette Amtrak train to The Rapid Transit Center.
City commissioners this week approved the sale of city-owned land at 150 Logan Street SW to the ITP for $1,050. The land is needed to build the rail spur that will replace the current station used by Amtrak at Wealthy Street and Market Avenue SW."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Transit plans are key to improving region | freep.com | Detroit Free Press

Transit plans are key to improving region | freep.com | Detroit Free Press: "Within Oakland County, we are working to implement a vision for a unified linear city along Woodward Avenue -- from 8 Mile up to Maple Road -- to include strategies to integrate Complete Streets, Transit Oriented Development, and future expansion of rapid transit investments beyond 8 Mile Road."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Divorce Your Car!

Divorce Your Car!: "My daily commute to campus is 5.6 miles and takes about 30 minutes using two buses. The timing is perfect: I have almost no wait in the transfer and I arrive on campus at exactly the time I need. SL statistics say the same commute would take about 15 minutes in a car, not including time to find a parking space. However, I usually spend that time on the bus checking my schedule, emails or Facebook on my phone, something I couldn’t do driving a car in city traffic. So really, those 15 extra minutes on the bus are actually 15 minutes I would have spent sitting at my desk anyway."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Part of massive autosprawl subsidy documented

Transportation Riders United (TRU) - Archived Blog: "Highway advocates often claim that roads “pay for themselves,” with gasoline taxes and other charges to motorists covering – or nearly covering – the full cost of highway construction and maintenance. They are wrong."