Wednesday, May 07, 2008

More "Gondola Talk" From the Utah Blogosphere

Utah's premier public transit blog joins the discussion re gondolas
City Councilwomam Jeske chimes in with some pithy comments in the lower commmnets section

Fine article yesterday from Transit in Utah, under the headline, "Godrey still wants to play with aerial gondolas in Ogden..." Blogmaster JMD springboards off of yesterday's Kristen Moulton article, provides a couple of additional informational links (including one from WCF), adds some thoughtful analysis, and then offers up conclusions which bear a striking resemblance to much of what we've been saying at Weber County Forum for the last three years:
What it comes down to is a gondola is good for point to point transportation especially for situations that involve huge elevation changes. What it is not designed to do is blend into the urban fabric of a community. How will 25th Street benefit from the Gondola? Instead imagine a streetcar traveling along the street bring people from FrontRunner to shop and dine in Ogden.
What Godfrey should be working on is bringing a new vision to the city, one that focuses on the character of the city, provides the opportunity for independently owned retail stores and restaurants which would give residents of Salt Lake City an alternative to the chain stores and restaurants of Gateway and other developments. Ogden could build something really unique that would cause people to want to travel to the city. Between the river walk, 25th Street, and Washington Blvd Ogden has an outstanding opportunity to develop a unique destination that will bring new life to the city.
Or will Godfrey take the opportunity that Ogden has and squander it on some pipe dream?
"Pipe Dream?" Where, gentle readers, have we heard that terminology before?


We welcome Transit in Utah's entry into the discussion of urban gondolas, and hope this excellent public transit-oriented blog will continue to follow Boss Godfrey's ongoing antics, as the lumpencitizens of Ogden fight the good fight for rational public transportation alternatives.

Transit in Utah is listed in our Utah blogroll (right sidebar), BTW. We read it regularly, and urge our readers to check it out. We consider it, in fact, to be the premier public transit blog in Utah.

13 comments:

Jason W. said...

I just returned from my annual debauched golf fest in Las Vegas, Nevada, where I staggered off to Wolfgang Puck's in the MGM Grand to ask him about his dinner with THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE, how many onions the latter consumed, how he feels about the community-saving powers of GONDOLAs, and if the famed Bayou chef still planned on opening up that onion cheviche bar in the mountains above OTown in a castle without a sewer and guarded by magical dwarves. Puck was not available when I asked the hostess, and she seemed a might disturbed that I would venture such a question, but I did see two dwarves from the dinner show at the Excaliber who said they may be looking for work soon and asked for Wayne Peterson's Famed Squirrel Patrol contact info. I told them only THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE is privy to such data, although they could call any Patagonia outlet and ask if a vest-wearing, Thorazine-addled douche was in the house, talking about the power, wonder, beauty, functionality and amazement of GONDOLAs.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Dorrene Jeske said...

I was at the meeting Monday when Godfrey attempted to sabotage Ogden on a viable mass transit solution. The reasons expressed by the Mayor in Scott Schwebke’s article in the SE today are exactly some of the questions that an alternative analysis answers. The estimates given by the Mayor are huge exaggerations of what others more expert with transportation issues have stated. I have listed below the objectives of an alternative analysis. What was so amusing is that just about two weeks ago the Mayor tried to tell me and the Council that we didn’t want an alternative analysis which we would agree to when we learned what an alternative analysis was. What he didn’t know was that Council members Caitlin Gochner, Doug Stephens and I had attended a meeting that week with two representatives from a firm that does alternative analysis and had just completed a couple for other Utah cities.

The City has been told by the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) and UTA that the next step towards a mass transit system is to have a transit alternative analysis done along with an environmental study in order to be placed on a priority list in order to receive federal and state funding. The longer we wait, the farther down on the list we’ll be and the smaller the amount of funding we will receive. Other reasons why we need to make a decision immediately is because the Weber Area Council of Governments (WACOG) is deciding which projects will receive part of the quarter cent transportation/transit tax that was recently approved by voters. The downtown to WSU and McKay hospital transit corridor is the # 1 priority on their transit list that will be forwarded to the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) to determine which will be approved and receive UTA and federal funding. The Council set aside $200,000. last year to help fund the analysis. The information that has been forth coming from WSU and the hospital because they are big stake holders is that they are willing to help fund the analysis and UTA will also provide 50% of the cost of that study for a limited time.

Ogden needs to move NOW, but the Mayor is stonewalling the process. WACOG is on the WFRC’s agenda May 20th for their priority list. Ogden is meeting with the Mayor and administration May 15th. Hopefully a consensus for the alternative analysis can be reached, so that Ogden doesn’t lose out on million of dollars of state and federal funding. Please write letters to the editor and call or email the Mayor and let him know your point of view and concerns before May 15. If he is truly concerned with Ogden’s future and it’s growth and progression, he will agree to a transit alternative anaysis.

Below is the information provided by representatives of a Salt Lake City firm who perform Transit Alternative Analysis state the objective is:

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 runs,
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 includes involving stakeholders, business leaders, the public by having them serve on steering and citizen committees who meet two or three times a month, two open houses, and a questionnaire to determine the mode the public will support and the placement of stations/stops. The firm will guide and educate the public as well as community leaders as was done with the water/sewer rate increase. They also said that after the study has begun and other monies obtained, an environmental study could be added and done along with the alternative analysis to save time. They said that several cities along the Wasatch Front have had them perform transit alternative analysis which has placed them on the WFRC’s list and eligible to receive some of the very limited transportation funds from the Federal and State governments.

Since he portrays the image of someone who is for progress and growth, one wonders why he is opposed to moving Ogden forward with the next step of a plan for mass transit. Could it be that he fears an informed and educated public because he won’t be able to promote his idea of the gondola as the best mode for mass transit and what Ogden needs.

Fly on the wall said...

Thanks for the information Dorrene. I believe that the people of Ogden take for granted what an asset we hve to have such an honest woman representing us on the council.

I extend my deepest gratitude to you for the way you conduct yourself and look to do what is right in Ogden.

Bill C. said...

Nay, nay, nay, nay, nay. Doesn't anyone get it? The message is clear as a bell, it's devine, it's from the Almighty, recieved directly through the heavenly metaphysical receptor implanted in lying little matty's oversized forehead. Ogden's only salvation can be delivered through the installation of the GOLDEN GONDOLA to EXACTLY NOWHERE, accompanied by the worlds only GIANT ARTIFICIAL INDOOR/OUTDOOR SELF CONTAINED ICECICLE topped of course, with a three sided pyramid.
Any of you ratioal transit minded folks are in bed with the devil. This isn't about what the community needs, it's what the Almighty wants, as interpreted by the precious little chosen soul with the oversized forehead and constantly extending nasal orifice.
Damn the torpedo, full steam ahead.

Dale said...

Just checking my facts here:

WFRC did a study and decided #1 priority for Ogden was downtown to Weber State/McKay-Dee. They like streetcars (historically significant part of O-town's past) or BRT.

Both the University and hospital are on board for transit from downtown.

Members of the city council are in favor of moving forward. Federal funding is available, but nobody knows for how long. The county has $$$ to spend on transit. So does the State.

And I need to convince the MAYOR that ground level federal/state/county funded mass transit is a GOOD idea?

OK, I'm trying to be nice here because I was taken to task for a blue comment last week (you were right, Mr. Curmudgeon, by the way), so politely, I'm calling out EVERYONE who is responsible for four more years of the Mayor, including the Mayor himself, to please explain why ground level mass transit from downtown to the University and hospital is a BAD idea!

And, while you're at it, please explain why a gondola which the federal government won't help pay for is a better idea than something proven that the government WILL pay for is.

In the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo, somebody's got "...some 'splaining to do"!

And, off topic, but still a concern...anybody hear about legislation that may have passed that would allow private contractors to take over public operations like golf courses, swimming pools, rec centers, etc...so they don't compete with private companies? They were talking about it the other night on KSL Nightside, but I only got part of the conversation.

gondolas everywhere said...

Godfrey will tell you every time it's the cost. Gondola is cheaper than the other methods. That's his story and he's sticking to it. Plus he wants to help outhis pal Chris Petersen.

disgusted said...

on fox news last night the salt lake city or county voted to support a trax line from downtown slc to the airport.

interseting in the story was the point that the city or county would only need to put up $35 million. suggesting that the rest of the cost was eligible for federal funding. now the distance from downtown slc to the airport is a far greater distance than from downtown ogden to wsu and the mckay dee hospital.

if $35 million will get you to the airport surely we could get to wcu for a lot less. maybe less than even the gondola.

godfrey wake up and start doing what the people want and what makes sense in the long run.

Curmudgeon said...

Dale:
Good questions, all.
As for this: legislation that may have passed that would allow private contractors to take over public operations like golf courses, swimming pools, rec centers, etc...so they don't compete with private companies? I think it was proposed last session, but did not pass. It will be back, if the Wingnut Troika [Bramble, Curtis, Valentine] returned with their majority intact, as they will.

As someone pointed out when it was being discussed last session, wouldn't it mean public schools would have to close. There are private schools after all, and public schools compete with them.

George K. said...

Disgusted,

Now you know why Dorrene said in her abve post: "The estimates given by the Mayor are huge exaggerations of what others more expert with transportation issues have stated." Just another case of "Lying Little Matty" lying again.

Do you want to know how you can tell when Godfrey is lying? -- His lips are moving! (I can't take credit for that brilliant observation -- a friend said that.) What a jewel we have (not) for a mayor!

UtahTeacher said...

Dale and Curmudgeon,

There were three different privatization bills, all sponsored and co-sponsored by Rep. Frank and Sen. Stephensen, two of which passed. HB 75 established a state "Privatization Policy Board" composed of 75% legislators and business interests. They review everything done by any state government office--they even take requests from private businesses on what to evaluate--and determine if the government function competes with private business, as determined by the business-heavy board.

The law requires that they recommend a minimum of three services every two years for privatization. Their recommendations automatically become part of the governor's budget proposal, unless specific actions are taken to oppose a specific cut. Rep. Frank has talked this bill up extensively in his cottage meetings lately. He neglects to mention HB 76, which didn't pass and would require counties and cities to do the same thing under even stricter rules on what is allowed to "compete" with Gold's Gym. He caught some flak about loss of pools and rec. centers and tried to lie on his blog, ignoring HB 76.

So SB 45 was passed which just requires cities and counties to inventory all of their activities which could be construed as competing with private business and "identify efforts that have been made to privatize aspects of the activity." There is no forced privatization in this bill...and of course this innocent little list will not be used by later bills to enforce the privatization of our city recreation center because the state legislature scrupulously respects the autonomy of locally elected governments.

drewmeister said...

How can we expect these throngs of people from Davis County and southward (presumably, since most of the crowd in Brigham City/Tremonton that would come probably already do) to arrive on FrontRunner after paying their overpriced fares, and shop and dine in lovely downtown Ogden?

I live in downtown Ogden, and I can barely afford to shop and dine thanks to my robust Weber County wages. If it didn't come from the clearance rack at Wal-Mart or the dollar menu at Wendy's, it's probably out of my price range.

Do we really think throngs of people from SLC will come here to check out the lovely boarded up buildings, empty storefronts and a half-assed, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course? Oooh, maybe they'll come to check out the guy with the massively-overloaded shopping cart that migrates around town, or perhaps the acres upon acres of now-barren fields awaiting the creative spirit of His Foreheadedness.

At least if they use our incredibly synchronized transit system, they won't get nailed with a ticket for not using a turn signal in a turning lane.

Ugh, the politics of this city and this state make me ill.

Moroni McConkie said...

Came down to SLC this morning on the 6:31 express bus, specifically to observe whether FrontRunner has alleviated rush hour traffic jams. The jury is still out. While the driver did have to tap his brakes four times, in Kaysville, Centerville, Woods Cross, and on the outskirts of SLC, there wasn't a single dead stop, as there has so often been in the past, where one inches along for 15 minutes or so. Is this to the FrontRunner's credit?

Coming to Ogden on FrontRunner yesterday, at lunch hour, it wasn't crowded at all. The train had to stop twice, each time for about 4 minutes, to let another train pass. Which is too bad, because the UTA's boast that you fly by traffic jams on I-15 goes right out the window: in fact, we were stopped while the cars flew by! Still, the trip to Ogden took only an hour and, with iTunes plugged into the train's electrical outlet, I felt like I was traveling in luxury.

Curmudgeon said...

Utah Teacher:

Thanks very much for the clarification. If I ever knew there were three bills, and that only one of them failed, I'd forgotten. Appreciate the update.

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