Monday, August 16, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Ogden using $175,400 "Experiment" to Determine Streetcar System Need

We swear we couldn't make this kinda B.S. up
Both trolley replicas would remain in operation for at least a year to collect ridership data for a proposed $160 million streetcar system extending along a busy corridor from the Intermodal Hub to Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital, both on Harrison Boulevard.
Introduction of the trolley replicas will help gauge whether a streetcar system would be successful, said Greg Scott, a transportation planner for the Wasatch Front Regional Council.
"It's a good realistic way to have wheels on the ground to see if it will fly."

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

Despite a seemingly cool reception with the Weber County Council of Governments (WACOG) last March, it appears that the silver tongued Boss Godfrey is achieving his two-year obsession, latching onto a wad of "quarter-cent sales tax" cash, to fund a "loopy" downtown Ogden "faux trolley" loop:
Ogden using $175,400 experiment to determine streetcar system need
This bogus trolley/downtown bus shuttle is part of "a yearlong $175,400 experiment to determine ridership for a possible permanent streetcar system," a "transportation planner" (bureaucrat) for the Wasatch Front Regional Council tells the SE's Scott Schwebke, with a completely straight face.
We swear we couldn't make this kinda B.S. up.

Who'll be the first to knock back those post-weekend cobwebs and chime in?


Curmudgeon said...

How a downtown bus loop that never gets south of Historic 25th Street or east of Washington will generate data about the demand for/ potential use of a trolley route from downtown to WSU and McKay Dee is a poser all right. And yet we're told generating data about the potential use of/demand for a downtown to WSU/MKay Dee trolley is the main purpose of the downtown faux-trolly bus route.

The SE's story does not address that apparent howling discrepancy.

Also interesting that Hizzonah, who succeeded in having UTA buses removed from Historic 25th Street just weeks ago is now championing a return of buses, this time run by the city, to... wait for it... Historic 25th Street.

I do try not to be cynical. Truly I do. But I can't help wondering whether the city purchase of the buses, somehow, benefits an FOM. I may be wrong about that. I hope I'm wrong about that. But given Hizonnah's past performance, it's a nagging little question I can't quite shake off. Not yet anyway.

inside source said...

The Substandard Exaggerator is wrong again. The trolley-buses aren't about to be purchased. They've already been purchased. Typical Godfrey tactic, spending the money before he actually has it.

Everything Is Fake In Ogden said...

It'll be the perfect addition to downtown Ogden, a fake trolley to go with the fake skydiving, rock climbing, etc.

RudiZink said...

Thanks for the info, IS. Notably this morning's photo of the new Faux Trolley bears a striking similarity to the one depicted in this Jul 23, 2008 SE graphic.

Casey Jones said...

Maybe they look the same because they are the same. And did you read the article, the street cars haven't been purchased. The Weber County Commissioners are slated to vote on the allocation Tuesday. Why do the Zapruders here see a conspiracy in everything. What could possibly hurt to have a downtown circulator funded at a fraction of the cost of new bus-trolleys? Your M.O. regarding every administration action is very predictable.

OneWhoKnows said...

We could buy more of these wonderful shuttles, that few will ride, if only Greiner was retired once and for all and saved the citizens some defense monies. Why not ride that stupid kiddie train, "The Jupiter" or bicycles that are usually occupied by unsavory street dwellers or people that have lost their diving priviliges? I know, let's hook a cable on them and drag them up 23rd Street, south on Harrison and then up the mountain side. What a crock of shit this visionary and his friends feeds us! I don't buy a word of it, never did, never will. We've heard all this before and now he thinks he can sell it to us again. NOT

Inside source said...

Casey Jones: The Substandard Exaggerator isn't always right. My source informs me that the vehicles have already been purchased. If that's true, it has nothing to do with conspiracy theories--it's merely a fact.

Casey Jones said...

So who are your sources and how reliable are they? Not names of course, but how high up are they so we can judge if they are credible?

Curmudgeon said...

Casey Jones:

If the Administration wants to run the buses as an experiment for a year to see whether there is a demand for, and likely use of, a downtown-only circular trolley route, then let it make its case for doing that. Or if it simply wants to fund it as an experiment on downtown-only free-for-rides bus service [as, say, a stimulus to downtown businesses], let it say so and make its case. It may, on the latter point, have a good one to make.

But to claim that a, if not the, main purpose of the new route is to garner data on whether a trolley route between the Transit Center and WSU/McKay Dee would be popular and wanted is patent nonsense.

Regardless of what you may think about the wisdom of the idea, I'd think you'd want the administration to make its argument for this honestly. When it says a major purpose of doing it is to generate data about a Transit Center to WSU/McKay Dee trolley --- as the SE reports --- it is not being honest with the public.

If the SE got it wrong, and the Administration did not offer that to the SE as the major justification for the experiment, then we need to know that.

Curmudgeon said...

On the "City has bought/City will buy" the trolley busses matter: I have no hard information and no inside source , but what I think may have happened is that the city signed an agreement to buy pending funding by the WACOG. Something similar to someone signing a purchase agreement on a new a home contingent on the prior sale of his existing home.

Just a guess....

you who said...

I believe that those Trolley/Buses are owned by the people who run the sandwich shop at the intermodal hub and the corner of 35th and Washington at the old bus station. It seemed that a few years back there was something in the paper about them wanting to use the buses for down town as a business possible with support from the city to fund them.
I never saw them in operation however, and they seemed to just sit at the hub for the past couple of years.

player, not a fan said...

Actually, both of these bus/trolleys have been parked at the Ogden City fleet facility on 29th street for the last 6 months. Hmmm

Dan S. said...

Yesterday I listened to the audio recording of the WACOG meeting, at which Godfrey stated that the city had an "option" to purchase the vehicles.

Al said...

I noticed one of the vehicles parked between Union Station and the Frontrunner Station in the parking lot facing Wall Avenue last week. If I recall correctly, it's been there for a while.

ozboy said...

Part of the rationale for this trolley bus idear seems to be to overcome the "parking problem" in down town Ogden.

Hmmmm, is there really a "parking problem" in down town Ogden? I have never seen a parking problem on the occasions that I am around that part of town.

Perhaps Godfrey is going to spend another couple hundred grand of the hard pressed tax payer's money on his own delusional and wishful thinking?

Dan S. said...

Oz-- I agree about the parking situation. As long as you're willing to walk half a block, parking in downtown Ogden is a non-issue. (When there's a big special event going on, you might need to walk a whole block.)

Of course, some customers will complain whenever they can't park right in front of whatever business they're patronizing--and some prospective business owners might likewise want lots of parking right in front of their door. But nobody has that at the Newgate Mall, or at the Gateway, so I don't see why it should be needed in downtown Ogden.

Another part of Godfrey's thinking must be the still-languishing River Project, which he knows will be his major legacy. He's desperate to pump whatever money he can into it to sweeten the deal for prospective developers. So we now have a publicly-funded river restoration effort, a RAMP-funded "adventure park", a city-funded demolition effort, and now a county-funded bus link to the train station and 25th Street.

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