Monday, May 12, 2008

Boss Godfrey Announces a Secret Transit Study Plan

Soon Emerald City "naysayers" will all be singing Kumbaya

Seemingly out of the blue, Boss Godfrey's eerily grinning portrait peers out from this morning's Standard-Examiner front page, along with a public transit-oriented story, reporting Godfrey's prediction that everyone in Emerald City will soon be singing Kumbaya. Godfrey reportedly has been visited by a new public transit brainstorm/vision, one that's already being greeted with some skepticism however. We incorporate Ace reporter Schwebke's introductory paragraphs below:

OGDEN — Mayor Matthew Godfrey says the city council should be pleased with a proposal he will unveil this week to study the feasibility of a local streetcar system.
“I think they will be thrilled, and we will be singing ‘Kumbaya’ at the end,” said Godfrey, who intends to present the plan during a council work session Thursday night.
But City Councilwoman Dorrene Jeske is skeptical of Godfrey’s proposal. She believes the plan is a diversionary tactic to prevent a formal, more extensive transit alternatives analysis of the corridor between the intermodal hub at 23rd Street and Wall Avenue and Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital.
“It’s a way to waste time,” Jeske said.
As Ace Reporter Schwebke reports (and as reported on WCF last week), Godfrey remains opposed to initiating an "alternatives analysis," a formal process which, according to our understanding, would be a mandatory stepping stone toward federal funding of a street car system such as is being contemplated for Emerald City. Street cars are too expensive, he insists. Thus Godfrey apparently has schemed up another tactic which, it appears to us, wouldn't put an Emerald City Streetcar project anywhere near the federal funding fast-track.

According to the Federal Transit Administration website, the completion of an alternatives analysis is a mandatory prerequisite for federal funding:

Alternatives Analysis -- To specifically qualify for New Starts funding (49 USC §5309), candidate projects must have resulted from an alternatives analysis study (also known as major investment study or multimodal corridor analysis) which evaluates appropriate modal and alignment options for addressing mobility needs in a given corridor. Alternatives analysis can be viewed as a bridge between systems planning (which identifies regional travel patterns and transportation corridors in need of improvements) and project development (where a project’s design is refined sufficiently to complete the NEPA environmental process). The alternatives analysis study is intended to provide information to local officials on the benefits, costs, and impacts of alternative transportation investments developed to address the purpose and need for an improvement in the corridor. Potential local funding sources for implementing and operating the alternatives should be identified and studied, and New Starts criteria should be developed.
We also invite our readers to view the handy flowchart on the FTA site, which shows where an alternatives analysis fits within the "formal" federal funding scheme. To our dismay, we don't see "Boss Godfrey Brainstorm" anywhere on the chart.

And there's another element to today's story we mustn't forget. Godfrey's continued dawdling also places local funding in jeopardy:

If an alternatives analysis isn’t undertaken soon, Ogden may lose out on its share of proceeds from a Weber County quarter-cent sales tax earmarked for transit projects, City Council Chairwoman Amy Wicks said.
Admittedly we haven't yet had an opportunity to hear Godfrey's new "plan." True to his persistent "mystery-style" of municipal governance, he's keeping his new tactic close to his vest until Thursday night, when "all will be revealed."

We'll therefore try to keep an open mind for now, until we can find out exactly what Godfrey has up his sleeve (although we'll forthrightly confess we're feeling the irresistible compulsion to go along with Councilwoman Jeske's assessment.)

And what say our gentle readers about all this? Has Boss Godfrey come up with a way to cut the red tape... and save taxpayer money... or is he merely still dragging his feet?

27 comments:

Bob Geiger said...

Bob Geiger said...
Dan S-

I think that the street car proposal will ultimately break loose and begin moving forward.

I think that it is a good idea so long as it is financially feasible.

I look forward to forthcoming studies and analysis that helps us better understand the financial feasiblity of the streetcar.

One thing we all agree about is that the most important corridor to service is the downtown to WSU corridor, so I think it shouldn't be a problem to get this project going if it proves financially feasible.

My discussions with the Mayor have been very optimistic about pursuing further analysis of the streetcar, and the Mayor's responses have been encouraging.



Based on the quote below, I think that you can see some action being taken that is consistent with the above statement that I made last week.

May 08, 2008 4:13 PM
OGDEN — Mayor Matthew Godfrey says the city council should be pleased with a proposal he will unveil this week to study the feasibility of a local streetcar system.
“I think they will be thrilled, and we will be singing ‘Kumbaya’ at the end,” said Godfrey, who intends to present the plan during a council work session Thursday night.




I think this morning's article is encouraging. I think that it shows that the Mayor is open to looking at all ideas. Certainly the oppenness is there, as I am encouraged by the Mayor's decision to move forward to study the streetcar.

I would ask you to consider how open you and the others here would be to the hypothetical Standard Examiner headline stating the following:

OGDEN — WSU President Ann Milner says the business community should be pleased with a proposal she will unveil this week to study the feasibility of a gondola at WSU.

“I think they will be thrilled, and we will be singing ‘Kumbaya’ at the end,” said Milner, who intends to present the plan during a chamber of commerce meeting this Thursday night.

I certainly would not respond cyncially to such an announcement from President Milner, and I wonder about your oppeness to such an announcement by your University President. Would you rush to try to disuade her or to begin undercutting her efforts to investigate the Gondola? Or would you encourage her in her fact finding effort?

Never the less, that's just a hypothetical. In reality, I'm encouraging the Mayor to give the Streetcar a fair shake. And...I'm not the only one. There are quite a few. You'd be surprised at the list of folks who have offered their encouragement of the Mayor's decision to pursue more fact finding with regard to the Streetcar. You'd also be surprised at their sincerity in seeing a streetcar realized and their reasons and optimism for getting some trax laid in our streets.

All in all... should be a good day for you. The Mayor seems to be taking steps to investigate feasiblity of the streetcar.

Tec Jonson said...

Bob,

I have a hard time believing this is anything but more runaround. You keep saying "if financially feasible".

Just how expensive will your gas fillups have to get before this seems feasible?

We are talking about transit infrastructure. It will be extremely costly as are freeways. Leadership is needed now to get us on the fast track.

Why is Godfrey shuffling around the issue and just get on with cooperating with the experts at our regional and federal transit authorities?

This corridor is the backbone to our transit future. Any other route or conveyance does not represent a backbone.

Backbone is the foundation of a structure. That is where we need to start and NOW.

anonymous resident said...

Bob-I'd be worried about anyone who would be interested in the ride to nowhere

Tec Jonson said...

Bob, Your hypothetical is laughable. First of all, a university president is willing to defer to experts and damn if not a single expert could be found to endorse an urban gondola. I ask you again as I have several times before to consider that not a single urban gondola has been constructed in the world besides the one in Medellin which serves a very specific use unique from other transit routes. It's a mountainside community it serves that could not be served by rail going up switchbacks. We have a relatively flat city and no engineer would find a need for a gondola here. Get with it and push the streetcar. Godfrey has NEVER produced an expert endorsing an urban gondola.

Tec Jonson said...

Gondolas are slow. I can make that route in 6-8 minutes by car. 30 by gondola.

Gondolas are meant for lifting up steep mountains.

Gondolas are expensive to build. Stations are massive(see the MONSTROUS boulevard straddling station in Medellin I showed you and your pop over a year ago) We would need at least 4 of them at over 5 million each. That alone boosts the minimal investment to near 50 million. Have yet to factor utility reconfiguring for DEEP pylons.

Gondolas are a confined space. Who will police who hops on with your daughter if you have one. Should strangers be required to share a car for a full 30 MINUTE ride. Not me. On a mountain gondola everyone is there for the snow and paid plenty. Not in an urban setting.

fly said...

I have to agree, who is the one or ones to say if its financially feasible or not?
I just dont trust the Mayor after the many rotten deals he's been involved with.
And I dont trust a spokesperson who speaks for the Citys' business who isnt on the payroll as an official spokesperson.

Tec Jonson said...

Bob, I've ridden more gondola hours than you and your pals combined. I have nothing against them. I do consider myself fairly well versed in gondola specs and technology. I also have done plenty of research on transit and I will suggest I have also ridden more transit than you and your pals combined. Streetcars and trains work and have always worked. Hundreds of cities are scrambling to deploy streecars TODAY. Just search google news with "transit". We are falling behind and Godfrey is to blame. I welcome anything that gets the streetcar on the fast track so he better not disappoint Thursday. People are now looking at transit as a reason to locate in communities. You guys are the 500 million crew. Only streetcar transit will get you your goal.

Bob Geiger said...

Geez-

I just mentioned the gondola as a hypothetical. Don't get too exercised. Your response though clearly displays how you would react if Ann Milner were to discuss studying the gondola. NO CONSIDERATION OR OPENNESS FROM YOU. That is clear.

In this particular case, the study that is going to be done is for a street car not the gondola. We support him in his effort to study the street car. The council will be involved, and they'll be able to provide feedback and information.

It isn't a runaround.

Also...Feasiblity is decided by one thing...Can we pay for it? If a massive tax increase is necessary, then I'm sure there will be a vote. If the feds cover the cost, then certainly it is feasible and a go.

Just wait to see what the costs are and how they will be covered.

I'll tell you what...If it comes down to a community tax, I'll agree not even to vote. I'll obstain.

If the citizens of Ogden must tax themselves in order to do the street car, and they are willing to pay the tax, then again, I'm for it. I'll not stand in the way.

But, if Ogden citizens must pay the tax, and it is too high for them, then so be it. The people will speak.

Please just calm down a bit. My statement of the gondola was a hypothetical and it is true that the financial feasiblity of the streetcar will be its deciding factor. It was by far the most expensive option. That was the major drawback of the street car, and will be something that will have to be sufficiently addressed in order for it to come to reality.

Let the information come in. Let the financial analysis be done. Let the financial contributors make themselves known. Let us surmize how this will ultimately be paid for, and let us make a decision.

I'm not saying no. In fact, I'm saying "Yes". But it will come down to cost, and I'll obstain from any vote or debate regarding cost.

As I said though, the Mayor is moving forward with analysis of the streetcar, and it is sincere.

The gondola statement was just a hypothetical. No need to overreact to a hypothetical. SHEEZ.

chop shop said...

how about a new lift ogden campain. www.liftthegeigersoutofogden.com ill donate the first thousand !!!!

John Spencer said...

If Godfrey had put 1/10th of the effort into working for a streetcar that he's put into his gondola delusion during the last 3 years, we'd be well on our way to FTA funding.

Some people still think the little twit has vision. When gas prices reach $7 in the summer of '09, the citizens of Ogden, even those cretins who voted for him in the last election, will be screaming to ride him out of town on a rail.

We're hearing now from Bob Geiger that Godfrey has embraced the streetcar vision. Better late than never, I suppose.

Bob Geiger said...

John Spencer-

Now that's the spirit. If we work together, we can get things done.

Heck, if you all had supported the Gondola, we may already have a transportation system between downtown to WSU completely paid for without any tax increase and operated at the expense of Chris Petersen.

We'd also have a resort in Malan's Basin that would be attracting more business and tourists to our town.

But, in the spirit of compromise, we're glad to go to work on the streetcar.

Better late than never for all of us I suppose. It's about time that everyone start working toward one goal.

Connect downtown to WSU with mass transit!

Let's gett'r done.

City Hall Snitch said...

Don't be fooled, people of Ogden. Godfrey's plan is to jury rig a bogus study panel, composed of experts of his own choosing. It will be rigged from the start, with an object of producing a "report" which will validate Godfrey's original conclusions:

"Streetcars are too expensive"

A full "alternatives analysis" is the next obvious step in the Ogden Public Transit Planning Process.

Hopefully the city council will see through this most recent Godfrey ruse, and vote soon to mandate the immediate initialization of a full alternatives analysis study.

Time's a'wastin!

Big Sue said...

I can't help but laugh about this. Little Bobby Geiger, the head of the now apparently defunct "lift Ogden" just said:

"I just mentioned the gondola as a hypothetical."

I'm laughing my ass off!

Southsider said...

Bob,

If you think that:

"Heck, if you all had supported the Gondola, we may already have a transportation system between downtown to WSU completely paid for without any tax increase and operated at the expense of Chris Petersen.

We'd also have a resort in Malan's Basin that would be attracting more business and tourists to our town."

then 'you're more delusional then the Mayor.

No need to listen to anything more that you say.

Bob Geiger said...

If you want to see a jury rigged study panel, you should see the e-mail correspondence that we have from the panel Ann Milner put together for the Gondola. It's pretty darn interesting. Those who have seen the e-mails often do a double take, even a triple take, as they cannot believe what they are reading.

As for now, let's just see where things take us.

Linking downtown to WSU truly is an important and exciting issue. It is the prime regional transit corridor of the Wasatch Front Regional Council. It will be a good thing to create a transit link between downtown and WSU. I'm in favor of doing it, and I'm in favor of making sure that the transit vehicle is impressive and cool.

It is true that the Mayor is truly concerned about the true financial feasiblity of the street car, but that doesn't mean that we can take a good hard look at how we can solve the immense cost of that system. If there are sufficient funding sources to relieve the citizens of Ogden of an oppressive tax burden, then we'll all be walking arm in arm toward the construction of a street car.

And, like I said earlier, you won't find me petitioning against a street car based on cost. If the price is sufficient for the citizens of this community, then it is sufficient for me.

Bob Geiger said...

If you want to see a jury rigged study panel, you should see the e-mail correspondence that we have from the panel Ann Milner put together for the Gondola. It's pretty darn interesting. Those who have seen the e-mails often do a double take, even a triple take, as they cannot believe what they are reading.

As for now, let's just see where things take us.

Linking downtown to WSU truly is an important and exciting issue. It is the prime regional transit corridor of the Wasatch Front Regional Council. It will be a good thing to create a transit link between downtown and WSU. I'm in favor of doing it, and I'm in favor of making sure that the transit vehicle is impressive and cool.

It is true that the Mayor is truly concerned about the true financial feasiblity of the street car, but that doesn't mean that we can take a good hard look at how we can solve the immense cost of that system. If there are sufficient funding sources to relieve the citizens of Ogden of an oppressive tax burden, then we'll all be walking arm in arm toward the construction of a street car.

And, like I said earlier, you won't find me petitioning against a street car based on cost. If the price is sufficient for the citizens of this community, then it is sufficient for me.

dan s. said...

Bob,

Thanks for offering me a ride downtown today. I enjoyed the walk.

Since you're so knowledgable about the mayor's intentions, perhaps you could explain why he's proposing a feasibility study at this time, when we already did a feasibility study three years ago. I'm all ears.

Tec Jonson said...

Bob,

Your hypothetical was an attempt to flame the issue. It was meant as a jab to those you call naysayers. It was meant to demonstrate somehow that those who are against the gondola are so because they are against Godfrey. That is utter nonsense. You still slip in the occasional insult despite these attempts at positive communication.

Anyway, my response was to demonstrate that your hypo is nonsense because it will never happen. Cooler heads prevail where learning and fact is the modus operandi like on a university campus. Granted, IF a particular transit mode was backed by the university I would take notice but as it is they seem to be interested in streetcar so they are the right track. The university seems to be comfortable with th e reginal transit authority who are doing things quite well in SLC. Why are we lagging behind? The answer is on the 9th floor.

I am only attempting to put the gondola nonsense to rest once and for all but it is your camp who just can't wipe the gondola sauce from your lips.

Like Dan, I can see no reason to launch another feasibility study. Godfrey just seems to be setting up the streetcar for failure by injecting budgetary constraints into the issue while also considering such stupidity as an ass tower(oops ICE tower). Incidentally, We haven't heard your take on the ice tower, Bob. Worth voting for..or against. Worth writing letters to Matty about.

Bob Geiger said...

Dan,

Let's just see what the Mayor says this week.

I said that I thought you'd see things begin breaking loose for the Street Car, and there is reason to believe that this may be the case.

I've also said that I am in favor of a financially feasible street car, that I'll let the financial feasiblity be determined by the city or by a vote, and that I won't petition against any tax increase that may be necessary to fund the street car.

I don't know what else I can say, and as of today, I don't know what else the Mayor can do.

As of today, I support a street car, and the Mayor is prepared to propose a fact finding plan for considering a street car for Ogden.

Overall, that ought to be pretty good news to you.

Bob

Get Real said...

"I don't know what else I can say, and as of today, I don't know what else the Mayor can do."

Here's what you and the Mayor can say (and do):

"We're sorry we held up rational public transit development in Ogden for three years. We apologize, and will now work feverishly "to repent" and set things right.

blcc said...

I think it is very important that as many people as possible show up at 5:15 on the 3rd floor of the city building and find out exactly what Godfrey is proposing. This is also a means of showing support for your council members.

blcc said...

Oops! Forgot to add that it is on Thurs, May 15th (this week). I know it is a work-session for the council, but the presence of bodies does intimidate the mayor, some what. At the last work-session I attended on the annual budget proposals, it was actually fun to see Godfrey chewing on his tongue making sure nothing harmful to him would be said by himself! Come and enjoy the fun!

dorrene jeske said...

WSU, UTA and Ogden commissioned a transportation feasibility study done in 2005 (as stated by Dan S. above). WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER FEASIBILITY STUDY DONE! We need to move on to the next step which according to the Wasatch Front Regional Council, UTA and transportation consultants is the alternative analysis. I am going to list the objectives and process for an alternative analysis and you will see that one will answer impartially ALL questions that Bob Geiger and the Mayor are saying the Mayor’s proposed feasibility study will answer.

Objectives:
1) To validate the need for a transit system,
2) To study all alternatives
3) To determine the mode of transit locations for stations/stops
4) To determine the locaion of business development along the corridor,
5) To determine frequency of use,
6) To determine cost to build and operate,
7) To provide a studied estimate of ridership,
8) To determine land use effects,
9) To determine capability to meet the community’s travel needs,
10) To determine whether there is public support.
The Process:
1)Involve stakeholders:
a.Business leaders,
b.The public
(1)By serving on steering committees and citizen committees who meet two or three times a month,
2) Hold two open houses,
3) A questionnaire to determine:
a. The mode the public will support
b. The placement of stations/stops.
4) Educate community leaders and the public
5) Guide community leaders in the process

This Alternative Analysis is Supported By
a. Weber State University – they stated such at the WACOG meeting, 5/5/08.
b. IHC – they stated such at the WACOG meeting 5/5/08
c. The City Council – most Council members have indicated such
d. WACOG – is going to make a recommendation as to which projects will receive priority preference for a part of the quarter cent transit/transportation and corridor preservation tax to the Wasatch Front Regional Council in the next few weeks. Also will put Ogden on the Wasatch Front’s transportation projects list and make it possible for Ogden to be eligible to receive federal funds.

My question is: WHY does the Mayor want to waste time and
money on another feasibility study when all the experts say we
NEED the alternative analysis? (That actually is what I told Scott Schwebke instead of it was “a way to waste time.”

The alternative analysis will look at several corridors, different modes of transportation (not just one) and it will determine which one the public will support and use. It will involve the public in the decision-making process
and educate everyone interested about the many aspects of such a big undertaking.

Authors of information: Fehrs & Peers Transportation Consultants, WFRC

Ogden risks the chance of losing millions of dollars if we don't act and do an alternative analysis NOW!!

Bill C. said...

Could it be that short deck's new found interest in streetcars is an indication that he'll be appointed to the neww lying little matty, hand picked citizens advisory committee on mass transit to be announced thursday? Will they be charged with commissioning the study? Will their administrative liason be Montgomery, Johnson, Patterson? Will chamber guru Hardman be on this committee? How bout Zingerboy Chapman?

disgusted said...

new japanese street car tec that godfrey is supporting. is this something gieger bumped into while at corp head quarters or something that he now plans on being a company rep for.
does this mean that the residents of ogden will finance a trip for the administration and his wife to japan.

Tec Jonson said...

Here's a great site to brush up on the issues of LRT



Light Rail Now

Jason W. said...

Again, anybody else here buying Short-deck's bullshit? How transparent is The Hairplugs' latest foray into enemy cyber territory? What a crock of shit; it's like me, logging on to douchewad.gondola.com and saying to the pants-making-pee-er himself, "We'll walk arm in arm toward THE GONDOLA." Gimme a goddamn break; if any of you eggheads buy this bullshit, I will personally storm your libraries and remove your copies of all Jean Paul Sartre works. You, Short-deck, are full of it, and everybody knows it, even Daddy! Say hi to Daddy at work tomorrow, and ask him why he had to call the mayor on his cell phone two summers ago because someone used a curse word at him at the golf course because His Onionness was trying to get signatures from patrons of the very property he and Thorazine-addled, vest-wearing douchewad Wayne were trying to steal to allow them to steal it. Give it up; your name is mud here, sir; oops, your name is Geiger. Act as such.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

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