Saturday, May 31, 2008

Public Transit Update: Boss Godfrey Takes Public Transit For One Day and Arrives At His Intended Destination One hour Late

Godfrey Mingles with the lumpencitizens, but has a bad experience

Here's the gist of the story from the most excellent Salt Lake Tribune blog, "Out of Context: The Tribune's political writers' blog":

"Who knew that going green would take sooooo long?"

But after sitting for 75 minutes on FrontRunner, waiting 10 minutes for a Sandy TRAX train and then discovering that he would have to march more than a mile to Liberty Park from the 1300 South stop because (contrary to what he was told) there was no eastbound bus, he was a bit agitated.
Godfrey reached the forum -- albeit an hour late.
"We have to have a transit system that works," he vented to the architect crowd.
Godfrey didn't properly study the UTA schedule, and thus arrived an hour late to the meeting. We seriously hope he hadn't been scheduled as a keynote speaker.

If he hadn't been such a half-assed planner as per usual, he'd have perhaps studied the UTA schedule more carefully. From today's article:

The mayor could have stayed on TRAX until 2100 South, where he could have hopped onboard a bus that wrapped around Liberty Park on 900 South.
Also, we're not the ones who will suggest that Godfrey is a complete dumbass, although we will suggest that he should have spent a little more time studying the UTA schedule.

We'll just say that we're sorry to hear that Boss Godfrey had a "bad experience with public transit."

It would have been nicer, we think, if the UTA people had scheduled limousine service for the little fellow when he departed FrontRunner.


Monotreme said...

It's very simple, really.

You go to the trip planner on the UTA web site, and it gives you a complete FrontRunner schedule, plus there's a trip planner that gives you five or so options for the way to get from hither to yon. You can select "fastest", or "shortest walking distance", or "fewest transfers", or other options.

When I've used it, it was clear that you need to schedule in some time for "stuff", as in "stuff happens", and this last trip it did: I got to the Downtown SLC Intermodal at 4:10 pm on FrontRunner, with plenty of time to make my 5:30 pm meeting at the U (including a 20 min Trax ride and a 20 min walk), but all mass transit was being held for the President's motorcade. Finally things got moving again about 4:45 and I just made it on time.

Coming back, I seem to always catch the Trax that leaves the U on the hour, which just misses the train to Ogden leaving at 25 past the hour. The Trax arrives at 28 past. Still, I spent a pleasant 45 minutes at Addicted, a nice little coffee shop/restaurant near the Intermodal, at the Old Greektown stop. The first time there, which was the first time I missed my hourly FrontRunner train, I met the co-owner, Lisa. If you stop in, say "hello" to her.

It's an easy walk, or you can take the Trax back. (I suppose that would be back-Traxing, but I digress.) One could also head back to the Gateway to kill time, I suppose. I bring my laptop with me, and get some work done while I'm waiting, or even on the train (the sign says it doesn't work, but it does).

The first time I killed time alone; the second time, on the 28th, I ran into Charles Trentleman from the S-E, and we had a pleasant chat and dinner while we waited.

So, you need some flexibility and some forethought and planning, but you can make it work.

Also, Mr. Mayor, I'd point out that as a long-distance runner (as you are), that walking a mile is really no big deal. I did it. You can too.

Little Bird said...

Mono, I love the story above about hanging out at the local coffee shop and meeting the co-owner Lisa. This is what makes public transit so great.

Public transit takes time and thus it will never work for people that are so busy that they need to talk on the cell phone as they drive.

But this is good since they will never be at the same coffee shop patiently waiting and taking in and adding too the atmosphere.

Cheers to public transit in Utah!

Curmudgeon said...

Mrs. Curmudgeon and I rode Frontrunner to SLC today for our once a month Caputo's supply run, and to hit the used cheap trashy mystery racks at Sam Wellers. Train ran a few minutes early in both directions. Other than people bellowing out the details of their private lives over cellphones on the train, was a flawless trip transit-wise. Trax waiting at SL to carry us downtown free, and TRAX put us back at the station twenty minutes before the 2:25 left for Ogden. It all worked just fine.

I did notice that in Ogden, and at SLC, UTA had "station hosts" --- UTA employees and volunteers [in yellow jackets] there to help folks with directions, information on the trains and connecting transit, ticket information, directions. I expect if Hizzonah had asked one of them how to get from SLC Central Station to where he wanted to go, he'd have had fewer problems.

However, there was nothing he could do about Frontrunner arriving 15 minutes late. As Mono says, building a little trouble time in is usually wise... however you're traveling. Accident on I-15 South can easily add ten minutes or to a commute or trip to the airport.

So it seems if the Mayor had done his research first, and then made his travel decisions he'd have been a lot better off. But as we know to our sorry, getting the facts before making decisions is not one of his strong points.

Little Bird said...

Curm, "people bellowing out the details of their private lives over cellphones on the train"

I read today in the Standard a Dear Abby letter, although I don't regulary read these it caught my eye. I think the heading was (Europeans and more curtious in public). One of the main examples the writer included was that in Europe if people do take a call, which he/she claimed was seldom, on the train. They politely move to the corridor as to not disturb other passengers. What a novel idea.

slim said...

This goes to show you just how out of touch the Mayor is when it comes to public transportation. Was this his first time ever doing so? From his response, it sure seems like it. No wonder why he cannot see the value, or no wonder why it has taken him so long to see the value in a true fixed transit rail system (since he finally appears to be open to a streetcar). He is way behind the curve.

danny said...

The people here tend to be big fans of public transit.

That's fine, but the fact is if people would ride motorcycles around town and drive fuel efficient cars (I'm talking about cars with very small engines like they have in the rest of the world) the US would be energy independent anyway.

People driving V-8's then waxing philosophical about taking the train once in a blue moon doesn't get the job done as well as greater fuel efficiency would.

Jimmy Carter was right when he said that conservation is a source of energy, just like Ben Franklin said a penny saved is a penny earned.

As far as electricity generation, nuclear is far better for the environment than wind turbines everywhere, and rather than store the spent fuel rods they should re-process it into plutonium and re-use it over and over in reactors.

But it will never happen because America must always push the "dumb" button on everything and take some absurd path to what would have been an easy issue.

Like ethanol - a way to convert natural gas, water, and money into an almost useless fuel that cannot work without gummint subsidy.

Tec Jonson said...

Godfrey is obviously a greenhorn at transit. This is also revealed by his insistence on a 30th or 36th St alignment for our streetcar. He is to self obsessed to to any research and wings it all the time. Then he blames a transit system that doesn't carry him to each and every corner. Wise people who are savvy with transit figure in some time to kill which allows a little time for relaxation when you are ahead of schedule. Kind of like scheduling in some civilized breathing room to an uncivilized hurried lifestyle.

Tec Jonson said...

If the mayor of Ogden has this much difficulty with UTA's transit offerings, how will euro-visitors navigate the "seamless" airport-ogden-snowbasin connection.

Another scenario...
Godfrey wins the gondola battle...builds it...heads out of downtown to speak at WSU and arrives a half-hour late because he didn't realize it took 40 minutes to ride a gondola from downtown to the foothill. What a maroon.

caddyhack said...

It's unfortunate that Mayor Godfrey had a bad experience while trying to be green. Proper planning is a useful endeavor.

I commend the mayor for taking the time, and trouble, to attend the American Institute of Architects Green Development Forum. The fact that he attended could be a good for the future of Ogden and the environment in general. However, I hope he wasn't so angry, because of the delay, that the positive aspects of the forum were forgotten or, worse, ignored.

Hang in there Mayor Godfrey, proper planning combined with appropriate Green Development will certainly enhance the Outdoor Adventure brand for Ogden. Furthermore, the Ogden River Parkway will be a green magnet if it's restored correctly and the surrounding development is complementary and sustainable.

caddyhack said...


I almost forgot. Thanks for the tip, and the story, about the Addicted (great name) coffee shop.

Curmudgeon said...

Comment moved by administrator to main page.

Skip_the_dog said...

I have been using Front Runner, Trax and buses to get to my office on 4700 South in Taylorsville about twice a week since Front Runner began service. The disadvantage is that it takes me as much as twice as long to get to work and back. The advantage is that I can conduct my work on the Front Runner, as opposed to pumping my brakes in I-15 traffic, not to mention the price of gas these days.

After a little research of the UTA schedules, I found that the schedules were very well coordinated between the train, Trax and the buses. When I arrive at the Salt Lake Central Intermodal hub, a Sandy bound Trax is waiting on the other side of the platform, and leaves within a few minutes of my arrival. When the Trax reaches the 4500 South Station, a 4700 S.west-bound bus is waiting at the station, leaving within a few minutes of my arrival. The schedules work the same on my return to Ogden. Overall, very little time is wasted during the transfers.

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