Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Standard-Examiner Letter: Many Want a 25th Street Streetcar Route

Don't let Utah transportation bureaucrats toss the public input out with the trash

There's not much Emerald City news to report about this morning. Believe us... we've looked. Nevertheless we did find one Weber County Forum-topical item over on the Standard-Examiner website this morning which we believe ought to spark some reader discussion.

Everyone remembers The UTA open houses which were held last spring, where Emerald City citizens were invited to examine preliminary UTA studies and documents , and then to chime in with their own opinions regarding the best streetcar alignments for a new public transportation corridor. We believed these meetings to have been sufficiently important that we published a record-length series of dunning reminders. And as regular readers will recall, Emerald City citizens enthusiastically responded -- these public sessions were well-attended -- and the citizens of Emerald City did dutifully chime in. And according to our unimpeachable sources, a 25th/25th street east-west alignment was the citizens' overwhelming choice.

Word on the street however is that a 36th street corridor is the Utah transportation bureaucrats' preferred route; and everyone already knows that's also Boss Godfrey's top choice.

Well... we caught a disturbing Standard-Examiner letter to the editor this morning, wherein Ogden resident James Wilson offers up his prognostication on what the UTA will do with the data which we so diligently submitted. Mr. Wilson's opening paragraph sets the tone:

After meeting with citizens of Ogden and Weber County in two public open houses earlier this year, to gain feedback on possible streetcar alignments for a new public transportation corridor, our public representatives have rolled up the maps, folded up the comments, and apparently thrown them in the trash. These agencies are on auto-pilot, working against all rational arguments for a 25th street streetcar, and are instead pushing their own 36th street alignment.
We're linking the rest of Mr. Wilson's letter here, for those readers who are now sufficiently steamed as to desire to read on:
Many want a 25th Street streetcar
We don't know whether Mr. Wilson is hooked up with the UTA/UDOT or whether he's privy to any insider information; but his prediction does have a ring of truth to our admittedly jaded ear. What Mr. Wilson is predicting smells like classic bureaucratic behavior to us, where our public servants so often technically fulfill formal public notice requirements, and then proceed to do whatever the hell they want.

Just for good measure, we'll provide the same UTA email link that we earlier published during the springtime public input period:
lscanlon@rideuta.com
What the heck... perhaps a few scathing citizen emails might help. Under the circumstances we doubt it could hurt.

Please feel free to chime in here, gentle readers, with any other suggestions which you might provide to get planning for a reasonable streetcar route back on track.

That's it for now; we'll stand back and await your ever-savvy comments.

14 comments:

Danny said...

I tend to take strong positions, but this one I will take only tentatively.

The 36th Street route seems to have these advantages -

1. It could strengthen South Washington Blvd, both residential and retail.

2. It would leave most of Harrison free from the clutter of a street car line.

I doubt running the street car along 25th would strengthen East Central, but rather, would only strengthen homes and business very close to 25th Street (above Washington).

So do you strengthen Washington, or 25th? I would tend to favor the former. And I am reluctant to see a street car on Harrison north of 36th.

In any case, no overhead wires, where ever it goes. And no batteries. Use underground power.

David DeAngelo said...

If reference to today's S-E article about the Ogden Justice Court. Has the city muffed it again by hiring a security firm that my be insolvent?

curious 1 said...

Sorry, Harrison makes more sense and would allow those inner city folks up 23/25 have public access to transit. The 36th street corridor would help South Ogden gain more tax revenue from shoppers from central Ogden.

Wires and tracks can be a non-issue, look at successful tracks like Portland OR. where they are busy and on schedule. They just recieved a $40M federal funding to expand their system, and a monthly pass for bus, trolley or rail is $84.

Curmudgeon said...

Not to mention that a trolley line on 25th [or one block N or S of that] hits many current transit rider destinations: the main library, the golden age center, the El Rodeo market [lots of people get on/off there; appts nearby serve people without cars in many cases], Ogden High, the main transfer pt at 30th and Harrison. A Washington/36th Street route comes within two blocks of a senior center. And a mortuary.

I ride the 603 a lot, and occasionally I do counts just to see how many get on and off where. On must runs downtown, more people get off along the way, and on along the way, than ride pt to pt, Frontrunner Station to WSU. Many many more. And UTA tells me if a trolley goes in, no matter where it goes in, they will cut service on the 603 route, probably in half. Which means all those people who use the 603 and do not ride it pt to pt, Frontrunner to WSU, will lose a substantial amount of the transit access they now have. And UTA tells me the 603 is the heaviest travelled route in Ogden.

blackrulon said...

Do we know If David Phipps wamts a trolley line goig past his rental home on 25th street?

dReWmEiStEr said...

"cytotec cervical ripening procedure"

Don't mess with that there cervix, son, it's not ripe for the pickin' yet! You pick it too soon, and it's liable to just be green and chewy. At the very least, if you must pick it early, put it in a paper bag your kitchen countertop for a couple of days, that should ripen 'er up.

Rafiki said...

I'd use the trolley if it was the 25th street route. I wouldn't if it went up 36th.

End of story

Pat Dean said...

Good Evening Fine Citizens,
Can we get off the idea that the Trolley has to be a Point "A" to Point "B" and return using the same route. Let expand our thinking to a possible “Loop Operation”.... For example, Start the trolley system at the intermodal center running it east through the Junction (which would make the Mayor happy) to Washington Blvd. then south to 25th street, then east to Monroe Blvd, then South to 30th, then East to Harrison Blvd., (which will serve Ogden High School) then South along Harrison (serving Mt. Ogden Junior High, Weber State University and on to McKay-Dee Hospital) then returning to Country Hills Drive, then west to Washington Blvd., then North to 25th Street, then west to Wall Ave. and back to the intermodal hub. By completing a loop rather than a “to and from mentality” we would benefit most of the current riders, and expand our area of service to include a major part of South Ogden as well. (Helping to stimulate both Downtown Ogden and South Ogden)
I hope this is not thinking too far out of the box, but we need to come up with a solution and or route that will benefit the most amount of ridership for our system. I’m interested in what other solutions are out there…..Put on your thinking caps and let you mind run free….

Curmudgeon said...

PD:

Won't work, unless you intend to run trolleys in both directions over the loop. Otherwise, anyone living between say McKay Dee and downtown couldn't use it to get to WSU w/o going all the way downtown first. And for anyone living east of say Monroe on the line it wouldn't be much use to get downtown --- they'd have to ride all the way to WSU, then to McKay Dee then back to Washington, the downtown.

Running cars in both directions over the loop route might work, but the construction costs of building, essentially, two routes simultaneously would be prohibitive.

Trolley systems tend to evolve if they are intelligently designed. That means an initial high-ridership route to establish use/popularity [downtown to Harrison to WSU and McKay Dee and back], after which, once the initial route proves successful, routes can be extended. Portland's a good example of how this works, but we have one closer: the SL TRAX system. Extended to U. Hospital after initial route went now. Now extending to air port and in other directions as well.

But the key is a high-use initial route, which the downtown/36th street route will not be.

In addition, traffic jams up on the two lane 36th street at the street lights below Harrison. Bad at times. At those places, the trolley will be held up as well as the cars, erasing any time advantage a trolley route might otherwise have.

Conductor said...

Please check out our website www.trolleydistrict.org for more information on the benefits of the 25th Street Streetcar alignment, along with a petition for the route. This decision will be made next week. Now is our last opportunity to weigh in on something that has the potential to affect our community for decades to come!

Conductor said...

By the way, part of the reason the alignment is being pushed south to 36th street is because UDOT plans to expand Harrison Boulevard to 7-lanes and isn't willing to give up any of their right-of-way for mass transit! This would be a disaster for our community. Let's plan for a sustainable Harrison Boulevard by incorporating a vibrant multi-modal (streetcar) solution in the corridor.

Curmudgeon said...

Seven lanes on Harrison? Jaysus. You are right. It would be a disaster for Ogden. It's dangerous enough now for pedestrians to cross it in broad daylight, with a "Walk" light in the cross walks. It'd be, pedestrian wise, like Ogden's own Berlin Walls separating east Ogden from Central Ogden, and no safe way across except on wheels surrounded by steel.

Seven lanes? Whose bright idea was that one?

Bill C. said...

Curm, I know a guy some call speed-bump. He earned that name unsuccessfully crossing Harrison Blvd. with only four lanes, he was in the crosswalk with the light in his favor.

Biker Babe said...

Curm, you said ... "if they are intelligently designed."

But what about those designed from the antics of a little man in mayor's clothing jumping up and down yelling "But, I want it HERE!!!?"

js,

BB

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