Sunday, January 31, 2010

Standard-Examiner Editorial: More Debate For Street Car Plans

The Std-Ex editorial board is definitely on a roll this weekend
Ultimately, the Ogden City Council will have to make a final decision. UTA Project Manager G. J. LaBonty is urging the council to have a full public hearing on the streetcar issue. We agree. This issue needs a lot more debate and discussion before a final plan is submitted to the FTA

Standard-Examiner Editorial
OUR VIEW: More debate for streetcar plans
January 31, 2010
The Standard-Examiner editorial board is definitely on a roll this weekend, with the second red meat editorial in a row. Check out this morning's opinion piece, which urges the city council to get down to business and schedule a full public hearing on the streetcar corridor alignment issue:
OUR VIEW: More debate for streetcar plans
Yesiree, we'd love to hear anyone other than the UTA bureaucrats who favor the 36th Street east-west route. As we said on WCF before, let's get the matter on the council calender forthwith. Let's hear the public argument for an "oddball" alignment that skirts our southerly municipal boundary and completely ignores the needs of our inner city.

As an added bonus, we'll fully incorporate this article comment, appearing beneath this morning's online editorial, in which Std-Ex reader Flatlander demolishes the ludicrous proposition that proponents of a 25th street corridor alignment arrived "too late" to the party :

What -- or who --- is driving UTA on this?
So, a "UTA spokesman politely dismissed the group's case, saying that it was, in his opinion, too late to reconsider the Washington Boulevard-36th Street proposal."
Too late? The downtown east to Harrison alignment has been under study by the city and UTA for the last four years, I think. And the results of the various studies [not contested by UTA] revealed that the 25th Street route would draw more riders than the 36th Street route. And serve those going to the Weber County Library's main branch, and to the Golden Age Center, and to the apartment houses along the route, and to Ogden High and to the Plasma Center on Harrison, and to the discount market at Harrison and 32nd Street. [The 36th Street route would serve none of those. ] And it's been reported that the time it would take a trolley rider from the Transit Center to WSU or McKay Dee would be essentially the same by either route. So why is UTA so committed to the less popular, will draw fewer riders, and out of the way 36th Street route? What are we not being told about UTA's odd selection and attempt to ram it through by declaring it's too late to consider the more popular route?
But hey, I have an idea: UTA can make "some overtures" to those who favor the 36th Street route [whoever they are] --- support for a separate 36th Street Trolley line to be built at some undetermined future date after the 25th Street line is built. Sounds like a sensible compromise to me.
(Regular WCF readers will of course remember that a central city alignment was identified as the preferred choice as early as 2005 .)

Have at it, O Gentle Ones.


Rebel With a Cause said...

UTA may be obliging the mayor who has big plans for the top of 36th street. This, and the big, new water tank would definitely be letting the camel's head get inside the tent.

Dorrene Jeske said...

The editorial Sunday was very informative and made some good points, but there are some facts that are not as evident. Some of the less-known facts surrounding this are:

1st: Undue pressure was applied by one of the key players on the Transit Alternative Analysis (TAA) committee with a hidden agenda (the "what" or "who" that is driving UTA).

2nd: Three public meetings are required to gather input from the public. Two at the very most and by stretch of the imagination were held. The result of that “open house” is the corridor that the Trolley District is pushing, but was down-played and ignored due to the political pressure of the key player.

3rd: The chosen corridor should be one with the largest possible ridership. The fact that a number of people living in the Trolley District have made it known that they would support the 25th St. – Harrison route and would provide the necessary ridership has been ignored.

4th: UDOT and UTA have plans for improving 36th St. and UDOT has on their calendar for next year a big reconstruction project planned for Washington Blvd. Upgrading the Washington Blvd. infrastructure is planned to be done during this reconstruction. One of the reason that UDOT and Mayor Godfrey want the Washington Blvd. corridor because these projects would be combined with the street car construction. But I do not see a large ridership supporting this route because of the current businesses and restaurants along the route.

The Mayor has made economic development a big issue for Ogden to increase the tax base. Why then is he opposing the 25th Street corridor which has great possibilities for economic development and revitalizing the area? As Rebel with a Cause indicated, the Mayor does have plans for the top of 36th St. And it looks as though the Council is willing to let him get away with misappropiating bond funds for an approved Capitol Improvement Project which open the flood gates for his multi-million dollar projects at the top of 36th St. and the gondola.

Let your council members know how you feel. Don't stop fighting now -- that is exactly what Godfrey is counting on!

Curmudgeon said...


You wrote: 2nd: Three public meetings are required to gather input from the public. Two at the very most and by stretch of the imagination were held. The result of that “open house” is the corridor that the Trolley District is pushing, but was down-played and ignored due to the political pressure of the key player.

Exactly right. I attended one of those "public input" meetings, the one at which they had large maps of the city laid out on tables and asked people to put little sticky dots on places they thought the trolley line should serve. The downtown-east on 24,25, or 26 street corridor was covered with them. The Washington/36th Corridor was not. Which of course was then ignored in the recommendations.

The problem with the latest UTA guy calling for another public input meeting is that such meetings often are held after the key decisions have been made, and exist only then to create the impression that public input was sought and given due weight. I'm afraid that's all that's involved in the latest UTA claim that it wants to hear from the public about routes. It has heard. And it ignored what it heard.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

The UTA aren't the only ones who do the old public meeting scam. The Ogden City Council has done the same sorry assed game many times in the past. They make up their minds in their secret meetings, then have the legally required public input session and then immediately pass the legislation in question without ever even pretending they considered what the public said. I saw this scam go down with the council a number of times during the process of approving the Junktion and the subsequent zillion dollar public debt.

Dorrene Jeske said...

The council you describe was the old “rubber stamp” council that ceased to exist in 2006. What you and Curmudgeon describe is the meeting that the Mayor held with the patrons of the Marshall White water aerobics classes. I attended that meeting which was a farce and a waste of time. The Mayor did not consider ONE word that was spoken. He had made up his mind long before the meeting was held and he held the meeting ONLY because it was required by Ogden City Ordinance (and was AFTER the contract with OWCAP had been signed - not to receive any input!

He is now doing the same thing with the “amended CIP” ordinance! He is trying to cover up the fact that he misappropriated the bond money that was approved for the 46th St. water tank CIP ordinance. The Council should file malfeasance charges with the Attorney General’s office against him to stop this constant breaking of the City’s laws by him. He is quite a piece of work, some leader!

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