Saturday, May 02, 2009

Ogden Streetcar Study Update: Has the Process Already Jumped Off-track?

The apparent dominance of a few "special interests" and sloppy methodology raise some disturbing red flags

It's been a little over a month since the completion of the March 2009 UTA "scoping" open houses, wherein the lumpencitizens were offered the opportunity to submit their preferences as to the location of Ogden's possible streetcar routes. Not having heard anything on the topic in the news media recently, We contacted Dan Schroeder yesterday, and inquired about the progress of the UTA "stakeholder workshops," which were held on April 15 and April 29. Dan's been attending these meetings and actively participating in the ongoing process, on behalf of the Ogden Sierra Club, of course. Although Dan was tied up with his own personal business yesterday, he did have the time to send us a packet of relevant documents, some of which we'll publish here this morning in raw form.

First, we'll direct our readers' attention to Dan's April 30 letter, which provides a concise summary of developments since the conclusion of the March open houses :
Dan Schroeder 4/30/09 Letter
Sadly, it also reveals that the process may have already run off-track, due to the dominance of a few "special interests" and sloppy methodology. Read up, people. The above document is very interesting.

Next, Dan has helpfully furnished us the series of documents below, which apparently represent the UTA "Stakeholders Committee's" work product to date. Even at this relatively early date it might be reasonably inferred that the "fix is in," and that a few dominant ones on the committee are leaning toward adoption of either of Boss Godfrey's ridiculous 30th or the 36th Street east-west corridor legs:
UTA "Stakeholder Committee" Working Documents
And next in order, we're going to throw in another Dan Schroeder letter, which we believe captures the initial expectations of the lumpencitizens upon initiation of the committee study phase of this project, provides useful background information and further illustrates why well-organized and conscientious committees benefit mightily by having smart guys like Dan onboard:
Dan Schroeder 4/6/09 Letter
Finally, we'll link the most recently updated version of Wilbur & Smith's Ogden-Weber State University Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis/Environmental Impact Statement - Discussion Paper, which has was originally provided to the Federal Transit Administration in February 2009, and was updated as of April 26:
Purpose and Need Statement
The above document identifies the overall objectives and goals of the ongoing corridor study process. We'll leave it to our gentle readers to decide whether it dovetails with the "work product" so far produced by the current UTA study group.

We'll also leave it to up to our readers to decide whether "the fix is in" with the UTA for Boss Godfrey's knuckleheaded $146 million Golf Course Clubhouse/Gondola/Hotel & Condo Project.

Reader comments are invited, as always.

17 comments:

David S said...

I'd like to say first, that I'm not convinced that the 23rd Street rout is better for the trolley. In fact, I wrote to UTA and suggested the 30th Street rout or better yet, the 36th Street route. So the idea that I'm Godfrey's enemy is pure BS.

On the other hand, Godfrey has used his usual dishonest methods to try to force water rate payers to start his $140million golf course redesign he obtained from his home planet, Planet Kooky. He got the city council to vote for a water improvement plan that was vague enough that he could completely change what he told the city council he would do, and instead, he inserted a plan to remove/replace the tanks at 36th Street. But even his own heavily gamed water study states that the new tanks at 36th Street are needed only for NEW development.

Godfrey wants to get the tanks at 36th Street out of the way so he can start shopping the land around to hoteliers, and start taking bribes (I mean campaign cash) from the local builders who he will make sure would get the work.

So he needs a replacement (underground) tank for the existing ones, then a booster tank to up the pressure for the motels and condos he envisions. He wants to be able to point out to the builders that he's already gotten it all paid for and he doesn’t care about the council, the public or anybody but the people who give him money.

Problem is, the city council never approved the remove/replace of the tanks. And they don't want it.

Will they have the sand to stand up to Godfrey and bring him in line and kill these tanks, or will we end up with the master of Godfreyville still doing as he pleases?

In the meantime, given how much and how many times this community has expressed a desire to keep open space, you’d think this would be of interest to the local paper. You’d think the paper’s water reporter, Charles Trentleman, might want to look at this, or how about the local beat reporter, Scott Schwebke?

Think again. Chuck’s told me that he feels Godfrey’s all on the up and up – just lookin’ out for the future, don’t you know? So, with the bulldozers ready to roll on the water tanks then the golf course, Trentleman has assured me he's nobody's dupe, and certainly not mine! Yep, tanks will be bulldozed and replaced with one that is consistent with Godfrey’s condos, then a new booster tank installed to pressurize the motel, and there is no need for the local paper to cover it! Come one, they are no one’s apparatchiks!

Of course, in a few days they'll print a half-page story on Bob Geiger's latest email rant, or run a couple of stories because Sue Wilkerson got pissed when her scams were uncovered by a city council member. Now THAT’S news! Transparent, self-serving (as well as false and poorly written) tirades from Godfreyites are always news. Facts, on the other hand, as well as major community happenings, and conflicts between the deceptive mayor and the longsuffering city council well, these have to be carefully looked over before they can be run. For the SE is a professional bunch, you see!

So get out your wallets, water rate payers. Godfrey’s using your money to fund $6.4 million for new tanks at 36th Street as Step 1 in his new plans for the golf course. Just don’t expect to read about it in the paper.

oldtimer said...

Trentelman must be trying to preserve his job with the Standard so he spouts their party line.

He better think ahead to when there is no longer the Standard and he is on a bread line.

waltzing matilda said...

Did everyone catch the analysis done on the Frontrunner trains not being cost effective which I read about just last week?

If the Frontrunner is not cost effective what on earth would make either a street car or gondola more cost effective than the present bus system to transport Ogden citizens?

grandma janes said...

I don't think anyone understands the financial crisis that Utah and Ogden and the rest of the country is facing makes even considering replacing buses with anything else a mute point at this time.

Get your heads out of the sand and face reality checks.

dubious said...

The fix is definitely in. Do these UTA committee nitwits actually believe that Godfrey' $146 million project will ever happen?

Our whole Ogden public transit options well into the 21st century depend on the pans that are to be made now.

And here we have the little twerp Godfrey, screwing up the whole process, which ought to be focused on providing transportation alternatives to the inner city.

Instead, this A**hole still dwells on his main psychiatric defect, insisting on spending money the Ogden taxpayers don't have, and turning Ogden into a giant amusement park.

Is there no way this Harrisville idiot can be impeached, before he scrws up Ogden City even more?

ozboy said...

dubious

Hate to break it to you but there is no real way to bring the Lil Lord to ground short of catching him with his little tallywacker in the pickle slicer and that ain't likely as she left town last week.

RJ Svengali said...

Godfrey wants 36th street; all else is diversion.

Why, when Ogden city officials bring out of towners in on business junkets, do they not use the interstate up to the 24th or 30th street exits?
Why do they exit at Farmington and then follow Harrison or Washington on in to downtown?
Because of the "Utah Affluence" evidenced along those routes.

Why run the public transportation through the neighborhoods, and up to the doorstep, of the very people who are least likely to use the service?

When was the last time you saw all seven members of a Typical Utah Family board public transportation?
The matronly tongue-clucking that would have to go on between boarding and exiting would be a world record, we are sure.
The "Utah Affluent" would need quite a lure in order to board a public transportation system through Ogden.
The big lure in SLC was the peer pressure of LDS General Conference.

Who rides buses?
Liberals and the poor.

a. Environmentalists ride buses, but they tend not to live in bench/mountaintop areas, as they know that the construction of the house displaced usually sensitive habit and creatures, and the gas used to travel up and down the hill is a huge waste.

b. Poor people ride buses our of necessity, but often at subsidized rates.
Also, poor people tend not to live in the type of gated community that the city planners seem to have envisioned for the area "up there", the end of the line.

Bad planning.

disgusted said...

has anyone seem the revisions to the citys annexation policy that is coming in front of the city council this week for a vote.

does it just cover the property that the cit annexed to the west or is it general enough to allow godfrey to annex any property without further city council input once this revision is passed.

any annnexation policies should require a full vetting of each proposed annexed property for cost / benefit to the city before it is allowed. a vetting on a case by case basis that should require city council vote on each proposal rather than a policy that gives blanket authority to the administration.

city council please be careful on this one as i suspect godfrey wants the lea-way to incorporate chris petersons property into the city.

danny said...

Disgusted,

How would I see what's on the council agenda? They've redesigned the web page, and I can't find where to find the city council agenda.

democrat said...

I think the Street cars and the gondola are just bad ideas.

Where is the money going to come from?

I think Ogden needs to clean up it's crime first.

dan s. said...

democrat,

The funding for the streetcar would come from sources that cannot be reallocated to crime fighting. Chances are, about half the money would come from the Federal Transit Administration and the other half would come from the 1/4 cent transportation sales tax that Weber County passed in the 2007 election. If we don't go forward with the streetcar project, the federal funds will be spent in other cities and the county funds will be spent on highways to subsidize sprawl in west Weber County.

I'm hopeful, though, that a well-designed streetcar will help revitalize central Ogden and perhaps even reduce crime. By the same token, investing in the western part of the county would pull more middle-class families out of Ogden and leave the poor behind, probably increasing crime rates.

disgusted said...

danny

it was in the sunday edition of the se (todays paper)and you can contact the city council staff and they will e-mail you their aganda weekly.

as for the city web page. i cant find squwat on it either. i think its purely intentional.

if anyone has seen the language of the revision to the annexation policy i would appreciate it if they would post it here at wcf.

disgusted said...

as for the street car routing it seems apparent the mayor wants the fastest most direct route to the gondola station at the top of 36th street from the front runner that he can get and the heck to the system actually being something useful to the residents of ogden.

imho this system should run along monroe as much as possible. that it where the city residents that use mass transit live and that is the part of town that needs the most uplift in the encouragement of development activity.

the downtown loop is a waste.

Rebel Weth a Cause said...

Dan S.
Regarding what you wrote in your 04/30/09 letter which was linked to your article of Saturday, May 2:
"In the Development Potential Category, there is no reason why the 26th Street alignment should receive the lowest rating while 25th Street, only a block away receives the highest rating. The presence of errors like this undermine the credibility of the rest of the matrix."
I don't understand your reasoning in regards to the choices of streetcar routes going east-west from Washington to Harrison (or some mid-way street between,if they want to avoid Harrison.)
People preferring the route further to the north (or central area of Ogden) over the 30th or 36th streets, bordering South Ogden, evidently prefer 25th Street over 26th Street. So their voting that way does not seem to constitute an error to me, unless
you believe they should have voted for both 25th and 26th with their two votes. (If that is what each was given,) perhaps that would better show that either would be better than 30th or 36th
streets, but, as it was, their vote left no question as to which they prefer.

dan s. said...

Rebel,

The comment that you're referring to was over a datum that should be unaffected by what people prefer. It was a rating given by the consultants based specifically on the perceived "development potential" of properties along each proposed route. There's no way that a one-block difference would matter much in such a rating.

Curmudgeon said...

Comment moved to upper thread

democrat said...

Dan S,

That makes sence. What are the chances of the street cars really happening in Ogden.

I just am concerned that their too dangerous. Look at S L C..

My personal opinion is that they don't look good and too costly to maintain and dangerous.

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