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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Do It For Richard

Today is the last day to comment on the Port Authority's Transit Development Plan (TDP). Speak now or forever hold your peace.

Of course, if you are not internet-saavy, would you even know about the plan which portend huge changes for the bus system?

If you're my retired neighbor, Richard, the answer is a resounding "No." Sure, Port Authority has advertisements in the City Paper saying "Tell us what you think." They even have regular advertisements on the buses themselves reiterating the same statement.

However, they don't happen to mention: "Tell us what you think OR your bus route may be eliminated." And that's the case with Richard. He doesn't own a car and takes the bus every day. But until I mentioned the TDP to him yesterday, he had no idea that Concept 1 means a drastic elimination in service from our street. However, Concept 2 means a drastic increase in service from our street.

I implore you all to give your opinion and tell Port Authority you want Concept 2 (specifically increasing service on the existing light rail line #52 through Allentown.) If you can't work up the motivation to do it on your own behalf (or for the reasons expounded upon here, here, and here), do it on behalf of Richard and all the folks like him.


MH said...

Don't they already have a special service to transport the elderly?

Paz said...

MH, there's a difference between Access and PAT. Access is geared more toward people for whom regular bus transportation is difficult (usually those with disabilities).

I would have liked to have seen some kind of TDP kit that could be sent out to the public libraries, where more people could have access to it.

MH said...

My guess is that the PA already decided what they are going to do and that the whole public comment process is just for show. They don't have the resources to provide adequate services to all areas and any new resources they get are going into a hole in the ground (under the Allegheny).

MH said...

I tend to assume any large scale public works effort to construct new transit is likely to be a pork-laden white elephant that provides no benefits to me or anyone I know (see tunnel under the Allegheny). This may or may not be a common attitude, but it is clear that support for public transit drops pretty quickly once you start asking for money and more support is what the Port Authority needs.

Obviously, the best way to get support is to run an effective transit system that meets the needs of the public and encourages them to become transit users and therefore to support funding for it. Since that is clearly out of the question, I think the PA should use negative advertising.

Instead of saying that good bus service is needed to keep older residents from being trapped at home, the PA should run ads that suggest better bus service is needed to keep older drivers from blocking two lanes on 5th Avenue at rush hour with a twenty-year-old Chrysler. Instead of running ads in the City Paper trying to tell students how great the bus is for them, they should be running ads in the Trib suggesting to older residents that it might be better if kids stupid enough to pierce their noses could get to where they need to be without the rest of us having to share the road with them. Instead telling self-indulgent yuppies that the bus is much more fuel efficient than a hybrid, suggest that the bus is the perfect place for anybody without $30k to blow on a car.

The unstated motto: “It’s good enough for them”. I’m guessing that there are dozens of people who could figure out the right, non-insulting code words for this and that are going to be short of work between now and the 2012 election season.

Adam said...

"I tend to assume any large scale public works effort to construct new transit is likely to be a pork-laden white elephant that provides no benefits to me or anyone I know (see tunnel under the Allegheny)."

I think I can surmise from your commentary MH that you have not come remotely close to looking at the plans on the table.

MH said...

That I have not. I'll start to pay attention when I see "Plans pushed by somebody who won or looks like they could win an election" or something similar.

I have absolute confidence that there are people who can (and possibly have) designed useful transit systems for the region. Very possibly you can name these people. I'm also certain that there are brilliant designers at GM. But, GM made the Aztec and I'm guessing that whatever comes out of regional transit planning won't be that good.