Thursday, November 19, 2009

Streetcar Stakeholder Meeting! Very, Very, Very Important! - UPDATED

Please come let them know that you support a 25th Street alignment
UPDATE: Dan S. live blogs from the stakeholders' meeting

From the Trolley District Website
community calender:
When: Thu, November 19, 1:30pm – 3:30pm
Where: Weber Center - 2380 Washington Blvd. (map)
Description: The stakeholder committee meets to determine their preferred route for the Streetcar! This is a very important meeting, since the consultants and UTA are pushing for a 36th Street alignment bypassing the Trolley District. Please come let them know that you support a 25th Street alignment!

And if you haven't yet done so, please sign the petition.

WCF readers who attend this afternoon's event are invited, of course, to chime in with your post-meeting reports.

We'll also extend the same invitation to anyone who might decide to engage in some live blogging.

Who knows... maybe we'll get REALLY lucky.

Update 11/20/09 8:00 a.m.: The Standard-Examiner carries its own post-meeting writeup in this morning's hard-copy edition, which reports that yesterday's stakeholders' meeting was anything but dispositive of the streetcar corridor alignment issue:
Alternative route chosen / Some say their opinion on corridor is being ignored
For our money however, the most concise and accurate thumbnail summary comes from
Dan S.'s 11:09 p.m. remark in the comments section below this article:

The result of today's meeting was that there is no consensus on a preferred alternative, but they will schedule a meeting (or perhaps more than one meeting) reasonably soon in which members of the public can come and ask technical questions and offer their ideas. It's not clear what happens after that; probably it depends on how things go at the meeting(s). In any case, those who are interested should watch for an announcement and plan to attend.
And we also believe gentle reader Conductor pretty much "nails it" regarding the question of "where do we go from here?":

I just wanted to thank everyone for their support in this matter. I do feel like we, the public, have made a difference in this process. We have at least opened the door for more public dialogue to occur before a decision on a locally preferred alternative is made.
The big thing will be to get UDOT to come to the table on Harrison Boulevard, and engage in a Multi-Modal Corridor Analysis.
Special thanks to Dan S. by the way, for yesterday's highly informative live blogging.

We'll now re-open the floor for further reader remarks.

39 comments:

Wade said...

What is with these meetings being held mid week and mid day. Who is going to show up? The unemployed and the retired - should lead to some great input.

Wade said...

Comment didn't come off right - No insult ment. Just seems that a big chuck of people that might us the "trolley" will not make it.

Curmudgeon said...

Is this meeting set up to permit public input? Or is the only option to sit in the audience and glare at the wheeler-dealers? If the former, showing up is I agree important. If the latter, what's the point?

If they've decided to ignore the results of the public input sessions they held last year, and the resulting maps covered with stickers along the 25th Street and 30th Street alignments indicating where the public that showed up thought the trolley should go, why expect them to pay attention to folks merely sitting in the audience glaring?

Or will they be soliciting public comment again?

Dan S. said...

Wade: The meeting is at mid-day because it's for bureaucrats who attend during their working hours, on salaries paid by you and me. They don't want the rest of us there, which is all the more reason why we should attend if we can.

Curm: I'm sure there's no plan for public input at the meeting. Nevertheless, if more than a handful of people show up, it will send a strong message.

Wade said...

Dan S.

I guess I knew that but I always want to assume that it really isn't true.

Sad!

Dan S. said...

Just arrived, late, at the meeting. Preferred 36th Street alternative has just been presented. Now going around room to get reaction from each official stakeholder. Room is crowded with quite a few citizens in the peanut gallery.

Dan S. said...

WFRC offers qualified support to 36th Street. South Ogden likes it but doesn't care all that much. Chamber of Commerce has seat at the table--why? WSU wants it to come into the campus.

Dan S. said...

Greg Scott (WFRC) says keep bus rapid transit as an option and thinks 30th street would be a good compromise alignment.

McKay-Dee wants direct route to McKay-Dee, and supports recommended cross-town route with some concerns.

Benford (Ogden City) makes a vague statement about decision being defensible.

Weber County is concerned about cost and wants a BRT option.

Wicks notes that council has no official position. Says tax increase was passed with hope of a streetcar. Speaks strongly in favor of central city alignment for livability. Very forceful statement.

Gochnour suggests bringing an ombudsman to help find a way to make it work. Also wants more public process. Supports the Monroe-30th route. Why not continue to analyze both routes?

Bill Cook comments on process, wants more public participation.

UDOT says they need more data and analysis before endorsing anything. Doesn't want to be in center of process.

Dan S. said...

More from UDOT: Expanding Harrison to 7 lanes is iffy in any case. Harrison is an issue.

Commissioner Zogmaister: It must go all the way to McKay-Dee. Likes BRT option. COG may not support cost of streetcar. Wants more money for roads.

Godfrey wants downtown loop. Believes proposed project is ineffective. Compares travel time to a gondola. Says a gondola could get to McKay-Dee in 19 minutes. Says east-central residents need to sit down with experts and be heard. Would like to hire somebody to figure out how to lower costs.

Dan S. said...

Mick Crandall (UTA): We don't have consensus. Harrison is inherently difficult aside from UDOT policies. Cost is an issue, as is travel time. WSU access is a priority. Doesn't see how any alignment other than 36th can be built now.

Budget for study is running low.

What is needed for more public input?

Biker Babe said...

Godfrey says the gondola would get to McKay in 19 minutes? Since when did McKay become a high adventure destination?

The 19 minutes of course doesn't include any stops in between the hub and McKay, I'm assuming ...

Is the mayor off his meds?

js,.

BB

Dan S. said...

Sounds like there will be a meeting, soon, to which anyone can come and participate. This will be a fairly technical meeting that gets into details.

get er' done said...

Godfrey has gondola on the brain and needs labodimy to remove it.

Curmudgeon said...

The mayor is pushing a gondola from downtown to McKay Dee?

Jaysus....

Conductor said...

Dan,

Were you typing all that, that quickly on your I-Phone!? Wow!

I just wanted to thank everyone for their support in this matter. I do feel like we, the public, have made a difference in this process. We have at least opened the door for more public dialogue to occur before a decision on a locally preferred alternative is made.

The big thing will be to get UDOT to come to the table on Harrison Boulevard, and engage in a Multi-Modal Corridor Analysis.

three word name said...

Rudi used, for emphasis, the word "very" three times in a row in the title; heh, W.F. turns once in his grave.

BAT_girl said...

Thanks DAN for another great job of on the spot reporting, in real time.

Rudi........as soon as you know when this next meeting will take place I hope you will post it HERE.

Then we can publish it everywhere, even on FB!

Dan S. said...

Now that I'm on a real keyboard...

The result of today's meeting was that there is no consensus on a preferred alternative, but they will schedule a meeting (or perhaps more than one meeting) reasonably soon in which members of the public can come and ask technical questions and offer their ideas. It's not clear what happens after that; probably it depends on how things go at the meeting(s). In any case, those who are interested should watch for an announcement and plan to attend.

I should perhaps explain the mayor's "gondola" comment. In the feasibility study that was finished in 2005 they tried to make an apples-to-apples comparison of streetcar, gondola, and bus-rapid-transit (BRT). Therefore they assumed identical alignments (ending at McKay-Dee) and identical stations (spaced pretty far apart). Under these assumptions, the total travel time for the gondola was about 20 minutes and the streetcar and BRT were both about 15 minutes. The mayor's preferred alignment (straight up 23rd Street all the way to Harrison) was about a minute faster, hence his figure of 19 minutes.

But again, this comparison was assuming the same set of widely spaced stations. A streetcar or bus can stop much more frequently, so now they're looking at a more realistic set of stops to serve more intermediate destinations, and hence a longer travel time. The mayor's point was that now the travel time for the streetcar is potentially longer than what was predicted in 2005 for the gondola. But this isn't a fair comparison because it's a different alignment with a lot more stops along the way.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

So far as I can recall, no gondola proposal put forth by Hizzonah, however tentative, envisioned a gondola that would link McKayDee and downtown. The several variations I recall all had the city gondola either entering the WSU campus and terminating at the Union building, or going to another transfer point on campus [to meet Mr. Peterson's private up mountain gondola], or going up 36th Street to roughly the present trail head parking lot, there to meet Mr. Peterson's up mountain private gondola.

In which case gondola speed Frontrunner to McKay Dee --- faster than BRT/Trolley, slower, the same --- seems howlingly irrelevant to those who live in the real world. Que no? Not to mention that a gondola that "stopped" only once between downtown and McKay Dee [or WSU], which as I recall was the plan, would be nearly useless as a generator of Transit Oriented Development along nearly all of its route.

I cannot believe he... and we... are still discussing the damn fool gondola scheme.

Biker Babe said...

Dan & Curm,

LOL -- really, now ...

js,

BB

A little birdie said...

Curm,

Even stranger...Chris "sell me the golf course so I can build a golf course and low elevation west facing ski resort" Peterson was at the transit meeting yesterday.

Seriously.

In the flesh.

A poorly typing little birdie said...

I meant to say Chris "sell me the publicly owned golf course and surroinding open space so I can build a GONDOLA and low elevation west facing ski resort" Peterson was at the transit meeting yesterday.

Sorry. I have a hard time even typing the ridiculous word.

I su

Dan S. said...

Curm: As you say, the mayor himself never actually wanted a gondola going to McKay-Dee. His goal is a gondola going up the mountain and a way to get people to it. These urban transit studies are merely a tool by which he is trying to accomplish that.

Dan S. said...

Little birdie: Correct. He was also at the last meeting of the same group, back in July.

Dan S. said...

The Standard-Examiner's take on the meeting is here.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

Does UTA have any data on where people in the downtown-to-Weber transit corridor actually get on and off the 603 bus [the only single ride route that goes from the Front Runner station to WSU and McKay Dee Hospital]? I have no trouble believing it is the highest use transit route in the city, but I wonder if UTA knows who gets on and off where, and if most of the traffic on the route is WSU/Front Runner point to point [which I doubt]? I've seen none. Have you?

Dan S. said...

Curm: I strongly suggest that you come to the soon-to-be-scheduled meeting where you can ask that question. I suspect that UTA does have a good deal of data on the 603 route, but that the present analysis is based more on modeling of travel patterns a couple decades from now. I guess the reasoning is that transit-oriented development will follow the streetcar, and bring riders with it. But I think they need to be looking at the short term as well, and I'm not convinced that their long-term analysis is valid.

Dan S. said...

I've just (finally) took a careful look through a printout of the PowerPoint slides that were presented during the first part of yesterday's meeting, which I missed. These slides contain quite a bit of data that I hadn't seen before. For the cross-town alignments, the consultants are claiming that there are no significant differences in ridership, travel time, or construction cost. The big difference is in potential property takings along the route, which they obviously want to avoid--not because we can't afford it, but because it's an unpleasant process for all involved.

I think we need to look much more closely into the ridership, travel time, and cost estimates. We also need to look at these potential takings in detail and see if they can be avoided. My understanding is that the vast majority of them are very close calls, where it's hard to tell from an aerial photo whether or not a building is within a certain minimum distance from the expanded road right-of-way.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Cant believe we are still discussing the Gondola?

A guy with hundreds of millions of dollars, with a potential loss of tens of millions, and a loss of accompanying face, will not stop just because a few peasants in the village below his castle on the hill make a fuss.

The principle pro-Malans-gondola players are quietly and carefully putting the last pieces into place as we speak; daily the plot.
Soon, they will move all those pieces, on the same day, and everyone will see how all of the seemingly unconnected proposals and projects go together to create Petersenville.

Conductor said...

I'd like to re-focus this conversation.

I think it's important to note that ALL of our City officials made a point of asking for public input before finalizing the decision on the alignment. Without this consensus, the stakeholder group would have made a decision on an alignment and we would be fighting an uphill battle. Instead, we have an opportunity to get involved in the project planning.

We need to be discussing what information: ideas, suggestions, etc that may be useful for us as a community to focus on to get this streetcar project back on track. It seems like the two biggest issues at this point are #1 Cost, and #2 UDOT and Harrison. In a way these are kind of the same thing, because UDOT's requirements for a Harrison Streetcar are driving costs through the roof.

Ideas?

Moroni McConkie said...

I begin to believe that decades from now, when Elder Godfrey finally leaves this frail existence and lays this mortal by, his last uttered words will somehow include that sacred shibboleth, "gondola."

In fact, given how firmly imbedded in his brain this unshakeable scheme apparently remains, I propose a Weber County Forum contest: write the epitaph for Elder Godfrey's tombstone! (Yes, right up there on "mayoral row" in Ogden Cemetery with Farr, Herrick, Peery, and all Godfrey's other lesser predecessors.) We ask only that it allude to his greatest legacy, Ogden's flatland gondola.

"Here Lies Mayor Matt 'Gondy' Godfrey. He Sped to McKay-Dee in 17 Minutes Flat!"

Or ... "R.I.P. Mayor Godfrey. Took That Final Gondola Ride to the Sky."

And so on.

Now don't get me wrong. Like the rest of you devoted fans, I pray daily for the mayor's continued health, strength, and mental agility.

PointlessFakeName said...

On a tombstone shaped like a Gondola Car:


Matthiew Godfrey
b: 1965 d: 2011
A Champion of Developers Rights, He Now Lobbies For A Gondola Straight To Saint Peters Gates; With A Stop Off At Petersen's Folly.

blackrulon said...

While reading about the meeting and the mayors support for a 23rd street route for a gondola i have a question? Who owns the vacant lot on the northwest corner of 23rd street and Harrison boulevard. Until a few years ago it housed Mitchells automotive repair. The business closed and soon after wards the building was demolished. i have not noticed any signs or indication of the future purpose for this property.

what would jesus say said...

Chris Petersen owns the lot in question.

Curmudgeon said...

BR:

The 23rd Street alignment is his preference so the gondola [his preferred mode] can go through the second story lobby of the five star hotel as yet unbuilt at the junction to drop off Paris Hilton and her entourage who he expects to ride FrontRunner in from Salt Lake Airport [never mind that it doesn't go there] so they can ride the gondola [after checking in] to Weber State so they can ride Mr. Peterson's gondola [as yet unbuilt] to his Malan's Basin low level mini-ski resort [as yet unbuilt].

Don't you understand anything? [grin]

googlegirl said...

PJ O'ROURKE - EAT THE RICH

Moroni McConkie said...

Lest anyone think Curm has been smoking something, I hasten to remind you that Mr. Bob Geiger pointed out, right here at Weber County Forum, that Hollywood was coming to Weber State, courtesy of Rupert Hitzig and Gadi Leshem.

So, I swear to God, it's not far-fetched that Paris Hilton, in the greatest theophany since the First Vision, will alight from the gilded gondola at WSU. But not before click-clacking on the parquet floors at the Gucci and Prada outlets at The Junction, which Mr. Geiger certified to us would soon materialize as Ogden's justifiable legacy.

Kimble said...

Although conductor praises the city officials for asking for public input, I still think Mayor Gadfly is the biggest obstacle to a more sensible alignment. If he had a better vision for the City (like Mayor Becker has for SLC) there is a lot more he could have done and could be doing for a better alignment.

UTA hasn't been that great either. This process so far doesn't seem to be all that smooth. I've seen them and their consultants pushing the 36th St. route from day 1. Can't just keep blaming UDOT.

BAT_girl said...

More TROLLEY v BUS RAPID TRANSIT discussion:

BT asked:

Why are buses not being considered? There seems to be lots of disagreement as to where to put this route. If the one route was tried with a new, expedited BUS Route with BUS-only lanes, that would not cost as much money as a TROLLEY route. If sufficient anticipated riders did not materialize on... the first route, the route could be modified more easily with a BUS route.

Are Trolleys just for TOURISM???

Shalea Larsen replied:

Actually, BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) is being considered. The benefit of BRT is that
it's initial cost is much cheaper than a trolley. However, BRT has not
proven to be as good an economic stimulus as Trolleys, and Trolleys are
typically less expensive to operate and maintain. And of course,
Trolleys are more historically appropriate for the district.

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