Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Public Transit Returns to the Ogden City Discussion Front-burner

Boss Godfrey digs in his heels for "further alternatives"

As warm weather arrives in Emerald City, the local political climate warms up right along with it. This morning's Salt Lake Tribune reports on yesterday's Weber County Council of Governments meeting:
OGDEN - Weber State University students asked the Weber Area Council of Governments to kick in money - and kick-start - a study to determine whether a streetcar or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) should be the transit system linking downtown Ogden to WSU and the nearby McKay Dee Hospital Center.
The WACOG, composed of Weber County commissioners, mayors and city council members of various communities, made no promises at its Monday meeting.
But the group did get a glimpse of how contentious the proposed transit project, suggested by a 2005 feasibility study, has become in Ogden.
Mayor Matthew Godfrey blasted the proposal to build a streetcar or BRT from the downtown transit center - and FrontRunner commuter rail - east along 26th Street to Harrison Boulevard as "fatally flawed" and no longer an option.
"It's out. There is no way to pay for it," said Godfrey. "Why would you pay for a study if there is no way to pay for it?" [...].
Godfrey assured other members of COG that he's not opposed to transit between downtown and the university. "I believe other corridors and methods need to be studied." [...].
Chris Bentley, legislative vice president of the Weber State University Student Association, said Ogden has missed a chance by failing to move on its 2005 feasibility study, funded jointly by the city, WSU and the Utah Transit Authority.
Bentley said a transit system beyond the existing UTA buses would be a boon to students and faculty who travel to campus, and to the county's economy. "It's actually a regional issue, not just an Ogden City issue."
As the price of gasoline soars, and sensible Ogden citizens cast about for viable transportation alternatives (see this morning's Charlie Trentelman article), Boss Godfrey appears to remain fixated on the same debilitating mayoral obsession which has stymied coherent Ogden public transportation discussion and planning since 2005.

As reported in this morning's story, Godfrey will be taking his bad act back to a city council work session on May 15, to discuss unspecified "transit options." According to Godfrey, "Ogden City needs a plan where the administration and council are on the same page." The lumpencitizens of Ogden of course know exactly what that means:

Gondolas to nowhere, anyone?

This May 15 meeting may well turn out to be one that nobody will want to miss. As everyone knows, Godfrey's always at his most entertaining best when pitching his knuckleheaded Godfrey schemes. Fashion accessories like torches and pitchforks are optional as always at city council work sessions; but steely-eyed stares are mandatory, of course.

Comments, anyone?

22 comments:

dan s. said...

Our mayor's performance at the WACOG meeting was truly spectacular.

Remember, this is the body that will decide how to spend $363 million in revenue (between now and 2030) from the 1/4 cent sales tax that we approved last fall. They can spend that money subsidizing sprawl in Hooper and Plain City, or they can spend it on transit, which will focus development on central Ogden. (Actually, they can't spend all the money on transit--but they could spend it all on highways.)

You'd think the mayor of Ogden would be an advocate for spending money in Ogden, but no: He loudly proclaimed that the only serious big-ticket transit proposal for Ogden has a "host of fatal flaws" and just isn't feasible.

The funniest part of the meeting was when one of the commissioners pressed him on what he thought would be a viable option to serve the corridor from downtown to WSU. The mayor was evasive, referring to "other technologies" (if I remember his word correctly). Neither he nor the commissioners could quite bring themselves to mention the g-word.

Curmudgeon said...

And no coverage in the SE. SE dropped the ball on this one.

Is kind of funny that the Mayor suddenly is interested in the feasibility of transportation projects... except of course for flatland gondolas from non-existent hotels to non-existent private gondolas connecting to non-existent resorts.

dan s. said...

Schwebke was there, and left before Moulton. So I don't understand why he didn't get a writeup into today's paper. It'll be in tomorrow's, no doubt.

Moroni McConkie said...

For all who voted for Elder Godfrey: if you doubted that he's delusional, what further proof do you need?

JEF said...

E-mail the city council and stress we need to get going and apply for federal funds. We can't wait another 2-3 years while funds shrink. If the Mayor has private funds for a gondola, show me the money.

dan s. said...

MM: Yes, "delusional" was exactly the word that kept coming into my mind as I listened to him yesterday.

RudiZink said...

Thanks for the eyewitness anecdotes, Dan.

Godfrey's mindless mendaciousness is dazzling.

Aware that the crackpot "gondolas as public transit" concept has slipped below the threshold of credibility in every corner, Godfrey now steers clear of the "g" word, and refers vaguely to "other technologies," particularly when speaking in the presence of his WACOG colleagues. It's as if he doesn't recognise that the smart folks on the WACOG board already know about his obsessive-compulsion.

Elder McConkie may well be correct: Blessed Boss Godfrey may have flipped his lid.

Query: What about the thought of putting a team of highly-paid psychiatrists on Godfrey's "A-Team?"

It might help for the next four years; and it certainly couldn't hurt.

Just a thought.

Jeff said...

Where is Bob Geiger when we're faced with questions like this? We voted him back to provide Godfreys views here on this forum, and now he's gone silent.

Bruce said...

I think it's admirable that Matthew Godfrey is so loyal to his friend Chris, who took Matthew on his very first European Tour in 2005.

Fly said...

Maybe Matts' Father in law could write him a Rx for some medications.

One for OCD, and one for his other behavioral problems.

Curmudgeon said...

And while the Mayor spends hours, days, weeks trying to find ways to satisfy his obsession [flatland gondola], Ogden is passing on ways to increase business down town right now, at minimal cost.

I rode Frontrunner to SLC and back today. I'd heard stories about people getting off in Ogden, and having no idea where to go, which way even to walk, what was where. Today I saw it myself. Six people, three late middle age/early geezer couples got off at Ogden as I did. They had no idea where to go, what there was to see or do, where restaurants were. They located a bus driver waiting for a load. He began to try to tell them where things were. Lots of gesturing [no maps available of course]. Finally they decided to get on his bus and asked "to be let off when we pass a restaurant." He let them off one stop later on 25th Street where they began asking people at the stop about restaurants. And they'd heard Larry Miller built some movies here, where were they for after lunch? Again, gesturing. [They ended up at Roosters, or were headed there last time I saw them.]

Where the hell has the Ogden Convention and Vistors Bureau been the last three years? The 25th Street Merchants association? Asleep at the switch? When the first tourista stepped off Frontrunner at Ogden, he/she should have been greeted by a kiosk saying "Welcome to Ogden," and a map of downtown Ogden, a map of Historic 25th Street ["take the 603 bus one stop and your're there! And the ride is free!"], and a transit map of Ogden. That sort of information about downtown is routinely included in info packets for convention-goers in Ogden. But a tourist stepping off the train is on his own.

Ogden, the Merchants Association and the Convention and Visitors Bureau should have had all this in place the day the first train rolled in. They had three damn years to get read. Nada. Nothing. Just hope tourists find a bus driver who has time before his run to try to help them.

The ride north is spectacular, and the Ogden end, with the canyons visible, is the most spectacular part. Ogden should be promoting Frontrunner as a tourist ride for the much larger number who go to SLC. Take the kids on a real train ride... have lunch on Historic 25th Street, visit and attraction or two, and a cool comfortable ride back to SLC. It's the sort of thing, when we were traveling with our kids, we'd have jumped at. Even without kids, it's a fun half day trip, and Ogden should be promoting the hell out of it as we move into summer tourist season. Are we?

PS: at the SL Frontrunner station, UTA transit maps of SLC are alrady up, several of them. None at Ogden. Why?

Yes, in a year, or two, or three, FR may be making a much bigger impact on Ogden. But it could be having an impact on 25th Street at least, right now. Or should. And part of encouraging that is making it easy for strangers arriving by train to find their way around downtown, to learn what is there and how to find it. Right as they get off the train. We had three years to prep, and apparently, from what I could see riding the train back to Ogden today, we've done nothing to get ready.

[I hesitate to make the suggestions above, since I fear what might result is the Mayor sending someone down to meet the trains who will tell them "that's where the gondola will go, right over there near that abandoned building and vacant lot!"]

Surely the Downtown Merchants Association has a real interest in promoting 25th Street to arriving tourists, and providing them with information --- even as little as "to find Historic 25th Street, turn right when you get off the train." And it should be done now. They're getting off the trains now. The easier we make it for them, the better off we will be, and without waiting half a decade for the results.

wendy said...

So, when is the City Council going to step up to the plate? The Mayor has been doing this garbage for the past several years, he is not going to stop. All he can envision is a ripe ol' gondola. Am I wrong here? Does the Council have authority to move forward with other options? Somebody please save us!

Ed Watcher said...

Matt's father-in-law has essentially abondoned his profession as a Medical Doctor. Although he still runs his lucrative medical office, he's essentially abandoned his medical practice, and delegated his medical practicitioner obligations to a very few para-medicals, and now demonstrates his major obsession to go into politics.

Watching said...

C'mon Captain Geiger. You teased us all a few days ago when you said you were "onboard" re the "streetcar"

You hedged later, and suggested we could have both a streetcar, AND a gondola running parallel along 23d and Harrrison BLVD.

Godfrey says we can't afford even one of these expensive systems.

Please explain to us your earlier suggstion that we can have BOTH.

Thanks in advance, Captain Geiger.

Honesty and straighforward expessions of the truth are the only thing that will sell here on this blog.

Since Godfrey won't spell out his "plan" in plain words, perhaps an insider like you would be inclined to do that.

dap said...

well it was nice to stop by this site and see that all you people do is wander around and complain. Take some action yourselves.

dan s. said...

dap: What makes you think that I'm not taking action? Have you been following me around, watching my every move for the last three years?

Orrin Porter Rockwell said...

"well it was nice to stop by this site and see that all you people do is wander around and complain. Take some action yourselves."

If by that you mean we should all form a possee and tar and feather certain Ogden city officials, rather than just complain... maybe you have a point.

That's how we did it in MY day.

GreenLobbyist said...

Does anyone have a copy of the 2005 feasibility study?
I think by taking action, Dap is suggesting that if you have an idea that has the potential to solve the transportation situation in question, why isn't it on the table?
There is a lot of criticism being thrown around about a variety of topics, but little visible effort to actually incite change.
You can be doing everything in the world to make an impact in this city, but unless someone sees you in action it means nothing.
You want to do something? Prove that Godfrey is wrong about his plans with research and statistics. Show EVERYONE in this city that there is a better way and give them something to support it besides words.
Words are something that the mayor is using a lot of. You don't believe them. Why should anyone believe yours?
Now I am not trying to make problems, but most of what I am seeing on this forum is just trash talking. I think that is what Dap was getting at.

dan s. said...

greenlobbyist:

The 2005 feasibility study is available here.

Curmudgeon said...

Dap:

Citizen comment is called "feedback" in well-run cities. Folks who are out and about on the ground day after day often have a perspective very different from those in policy-making positions, and often see things "on the ground" so to speak that it's hard to see on the elevated floors of City Hall. Grand speeches at opening ceremonies are all well and good. But is the CVB even aware that tourists are arriving on FR with no earthly idea where to go, or what is here, or how to find it, when they step off the train? I don't know. The CVB should be aware, but is it? Are the Ogden development people? Beats me.

I think of de-training in other places, and I recall coming almost immediately onto large panel maps locating me ["You are here."], and providing information about other transit, attractions, locations. Nada at the Ogden station. And I wonder why. And whether anyone who is in a position to act is aware of the lack of information at the station and is at least thinking about doing something to rectify it.

You can call it complaining, I guess. I call it providing feedback. And I have to admit I am surprised. I'm not in business, but I've worked for universities for nearly 40 years now, and the well run ones put a lot of effort into making it as easy as possible for students [customers] to get information about them and to enroll for courses etc. And they're constantly looking for ways to make it still easier. It's just good business.

I have a hard time thinking it doesn't work the same way with retail, restaurants, museums, recreation venues, etc., that the proprietors don't gain by making it as easy as possible for customers to learn about them and what they offer and where they are and how to reach them the fastest easiest way. If I'm wrong about that, Dap, I'd be pleased to know why.

who shot the chief said...

Who shot Chief Dave Hansen?
One witness said he saw the chief pull the clip out of the gun and he saw that Hansen took the round out of the chamber.

So... who shot the Chief of Police?

disgusted said...

in this mornings paper the mayor talks about increasing the city budget by 13.4%. from 120.5 to 136.7 million dollars.
hasn't the mayor been paying attention to the big picture. were in a national economic slowdown. he says well finance the new budget with money from the recently raise sewer and water rate but he wont raise taxes. tilt what are the raised rates. and that we will fund this budget from increased revenues from the junction. didn't we just hear from him that the junction was behind projections on revenue generation and that we would have to subsidize the junction for at least a couple more years.

also the 135 million dollar budget isnt represented in the pie chart that accompanies the story which when totaled only accounts for 43.3 million dollars. where is the rest of the money being spent.

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