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Old 03-03-06, 08:45 PM   #1
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Poll: How do you want transportation tax money spent

Quote:
Originally Posted by SB Bicycle Coalition
In order to understand what County taxpayers want, the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) Board directed consultant Larry Tramutola to conduct a countywide survey (NOTE: the county is not uniform in its political bias). The results of the survey of 1134 voters determined that people now favor alternative transportation measures (like walk, bus, train and bike) more than widening freeways or paving new roads. For example, these percentages of residents favor spending tax money:

72% Expand and improve bicycle facilities
84% Create a safe routes to school program
84% Increase bus service
73% Implement neighborhood traffic calming
79% Repair and construct sidewalks.

These projects ranked lower for spending our tax money:
68% Construct new local roads
70% Widen 101 from Santa Barbara to the Ventura County line
49% Widen 101 from Santa Barbara to Goleta.
I think that's encouraging, don't you?
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Old 03-03-06, 09:52 PM   #2
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I think it's fairly encouraging. The sad part was that a lot of people still want to build new roads and widen existing roads. It's widely accepted by traffic engineers and urban planners that new roads actually increase congestion rather than relieve it. I hope for the day when people will decide to reduce traffic rather than increase roads.
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Old 03-04-06, 09:39 AM   #3
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Yes, many people do want to do road widening. In this region it's a reasonable desire. The freeway is only two lanes between Santa Barbara and Ventura and since most people who work in Santa Barbara live in Ventura the traffic is horrible. So I can see why they want it. But it's encouraging that they want to fund other transportation needs and aren't totally focussed only on cars.

My co-worker says he would ride a bike from Ventura at least once a week if they had a bike path that went the whole way so he didn't have to ride on the freeway, which is what you have to do now. That would be an over 20 mile ride for him.
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Old 03-04-06, 12:01 PM   #4
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Where it makes sense - Light Rail or other rail transit. In highly congested cities, rail is necessary, because it offers another venue for travel, whereas buses use the same roads and "contribute to" and "deal with" the same traffic. Monorails would accomplish the same thing, but I understand they're very costly. I strongly support the conversion of existing roads into light rail thoroughfares. I also support dedicated bus lanes and nature trails for cyclists and pedestrians.

I'm against: 1. Expanding roads. 2. Using Sales Tax revenue for anything associated with roads. 3. More parking lots.
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Old 03-04-06, 07:52 PM   #5
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Traffic should be reduced by making neighborhoods have a balance of jobs and residents. In neighborhoods with more homes than jobs, there would be a transportation tax on the homes. In neighborhoods with more jobs than residents, there would be a transportation tax on the businesses.
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Old 03-04-06, 08:35 PM   #6
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The argument against light rail is that people still need their cars to get from their house to the train station on one end and from the train station to their jobs on the other.

If I was a train commuter I'd get a folding bike. I can't think of a nicer respite than a cup of coffee and the paper on the train to work.
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Old 03-04-06, 09:29 PM   #7
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The question not asked of the respondents: how many of you would use alternate transportation after it is funded?
The answer: very, very few.
Most of these people want others to use alternate transportation so it will make their motor drive easier.
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Old 03-05-06, 12:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB HI
The question not asked of the respondents: how many of you would use alternate transportation after it is funded?
The answer: very, very few.
Most of these people want others to use alternate transportation so it will make their motor drive easier.
We'd use it. When travelling in Italy, Australia, and Mexico; we've used it extensively. We enjoyed this so much more than driving. In Italy, we found that Italians were very quiet, until you spoke to them on the train. Once they opened up, they were like your long lost brothers and sisters. These were the most enjoyable and memorable experiences of our trip, and we would have never had them, had we rented a car.
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Old 03-05-06, 06:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
The argument against light rail is that people still need their cars to get from their house to the train station on one end and from the train station to their jobs on the other.

If I was a train commuter I'd get a folding bike. I can't think of a nicer respite than a cup of coffee and the paper on the train to work.
We have light rail going in where I live - closest stop will be about 2mi away from my house. Your point about getting to/from the stations is very key. I have this vision of folks using bikes to do so. In the system being installed here each car will carry up to four bikes. Not enough to fit my vision, but (unfortunately) probably enough for the reality. Hopefully if the bike storage gets highly utilized that future modifications to the cars can occur to install more.

Right now our busses hold up to a max of 2 bikes and when I used to ride the bus regulary the bus bike rack was very frequently full and had to pass by folks with bikes.

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Old 03-05-06, 10:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB HI
The question not asked of the respondents: how many of you would use alternate transportation after it is funded?
The answer: very, very few.
Most of these people want others to use alternate transportation so it will make their motor drive easier.
This thought made me thing that if a state is using gas tax to pay for road building and maintenance, would using alternate transportation take away money from road building? If so, I can see petroleum motorists getting angry at hybrids for not paying as much road tax. Maybe the traditional road users will rightfully blame deteriorating roads on any alt transportation user.

I wonder how the road lobbies will deal with the loss of revenue from fuel taxes and waning public support.
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Old 03-05-06, 10:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
We have light rail going in where I live - closest stop will be about 2mi away from my house. Your point about getting to/from the stations is very key. I have this vision of folks using bikes to do so. In the system being installed here each car will carry up to four bikes. Not enough to fit my vision, but (unfortunately) probably enough for the reality. Hopefully if the bike storage gets highly utilized that future modifications to the cars can occur to install more.

Right now our busses hold up to a max of 2 bikes and when I used to ride the bus regulary the bus bike rack was very frequently full and had to pass by folks with bikes.

Al
Some light rail trains only have a capacity for 6 bikes, or less, in two cars of the train. If 40 people show up at the station every day, they're going to start driving again. Two miles would be an easy walk. One of the key changes would be to start running the buses much earlier, so people that travel farther would have the option of not driving.
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Old 03-06-06, 09:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
Two miles would be an easy walk. .
Two miles is an easy walk, but if you do it twice a day vs. cycling the 2mi that is almost an hour more of exta commute time. Also keep in mind in the summer the AM commute temp is just about 100F and the PM can be 115-120F.

Each light rail car has a capacity of 150 people, only four of those can bring a bike. I really don't know if this is enough bicycle capacity or not.

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Old 03-06-06, 12:18 PM   #13
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Isn't it likely that if (when?) the number of cyclists increases, the public transport companies will respond with increased capacity for bikes?
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Old 03-06-06, 12:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slagjumper
This thought made me thing that if a state is using gas tax to pay for road building and maintenance, would using alternate transportation take away money from road building? If so, I can see petroleum motorists getting angry at hybrids for not paying as much road tax. Maybe the traditional road users will rightfully blame deteriorating roads on any alt transportation user.

I wonder how the road lobbies will deal with the loss of revenue from fuel taxes and waning public support
.
If auto traffic decreases, the cost of maintaining roads will also decrease, so governments will deal with waning motorized traffic.

The best solution would be to drastically increase taxes, first on cars and subsequently on fuel.
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Old 03-06-06, 12:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Isn't it likely that if (when?) the number of cyclists increases, the public transport companies will respond with increased capacity for bikes?
Sure. To be clear this isn't an issue for me at all as I don't have any data or experience to know if the capacity is sufficient or not and if demand turns out to be higher than capacity then as you point out there would probably be support to get capacity increased.
But on the flip side the two bike per bus capacity is very often insufficient (always during rush hour), either no one is complaining and trying to get it fixed (most likely), or perhaps some efforts have been made, but there is no solution or funding for a solution.

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Old 03-06-06, 01:24 PM   #16
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The root problem of adopting mass transit to US metro areas that don't already have multi-faceted system is that population densities are too low. Americans are just not going to walk very far to catch a train or bus. So, the train/bus stations need large parking lots to accommodate the cars and most folks, once the are in the car are just going to drive to work unless there is a real good reason not to (like a high cost to park their car at work).

Mass transit needs to adapt to this issue. One way would be for transit services to allow bikes on the bus or train (this is done is some places - DC for one). Another way would be to have a lot of smaller shuttle-buses circling the neighborhoods picking up riders and dropping them off at the bus/rail station.
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Old 03-06-06, 01:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
It's widely accepted by traffic engineers and urban planners that new roads actually increase congestion rather than relieve it.
Sorry don't buy it. Since 70's population has more than doubled and roads may have increased 5%. New roads don't increase congestion, it's the lack of roads that increase congestion.

Fallacy: it's too expensive to build new roads. Response: it was more expensive in the 40's than it is today, and they managed to build roads. Why are metro roads expensive? cause they need "sound walls" to protect the value of homes and businesses within 500 feet of roads and to bounce the noise 1000-1500 feet from the roadways.

Fallacy: there's not enough land for roads. Response: And what percentage of land is restricted/public land which is forcing up land values in limited areas.

Fallacy: too many cars is the problem. Response: actual cause of the problem is lack of a vision and implementation of
a reasonably priced people/cargo moving system with emphasis on flexibility and effeciency.

Fallacy: transportation tax money goes only for transportation. Response: tell that to your local elected hog.

Fallacy: light rail, heavy rail, car pooling will solve the problem. Response: get these down to local software emporium and buy a copy of SimCity. Unless you more than double financing for transportation you can't rail the world.


So, where is their hope? Watching for local opportunities to suggest transportation alternatives that are cycle friendly.

Highest bang for the buck:
1. $100/month sent to each person who cyclocommutes at least 12 days during the month.
2. Bike locker multi-units at each major grocery store.
3. Bike locker multi-units at each entrance to shopping centers, or even inside the entrances!!!!
4. Add remote control circuit to traffic lights, so click would activate the cross walk button and lease/loan mini-remotes to cyclocommuters
5. Cyclocommute for a year, and get a free new bike.

Bottom line, those ideas are low cost and would go a long long ways towards moving a community from annoyed by cyclists to one that embraces a new method of getting around.
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Old 03-06-06, 06:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
The root problem of adopting mass transit to US metro areas that don't already have multi-faceted system is that population densities are too low. Americans are just not going to walk very far to catch a train or bus. So, the train/bus stations need large parking lots to accommodate the cars and most folks, once the are in the car are just going to drive to work unless there is a real good reason not to (like a high cost to park their car at work).

Mass transit needs to adapt to this issue. One way would be for transit services to allow bikes on the bus or train (this is done is some places - DC for one). Another way would be to have a lot of smaller shuttle-buses circling the neighborhoods picking up riders and dropping them off at the bus/rail station.
But 99 % of people who ride buses walk to the bus, or ride a bike, as opposed to Park'n'ride.

I question the current passion for light rail over buses. Buses are much more flexible than rail. If usage patterns change, you change bus routes almost for free, versus millions of dollars to change a rail route. And a bus stop is located within a block of your house, while the train station is probably a few miles away.
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Old 03-06-06, 06:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB HI
The question not asked of the respondents: how many of you would use alternate transportation after it is funded?
The answer: very, very few.
Most of these people want others to use alternate transportation so it will make their motor drive easier
.
You're right, IMO. In fact, if you asked poll respondents if hey would use mass transits, many would claim yes, but when push came to shove, they really wouldn't.

It makes economic sense for people to use cars now. When will larger numbers of people abndon their cars for sane transportation? Only when the perceived convenience of a car costs more than it's worth to people.
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Old 03-06-06, 07:04 PM   #20
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How about educating motorists about the need to share with all road users... Teach them the 21200 - 21208 vehicle code. Teach them how to properly merge. Teach them how to use turn signals.
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Old 03-06-06, 07:42 PM   #21
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How about educating motorists about the need to share with all road users... Teach them the 21200 - 21208 vehicle code. Teach them how to properly merge. Teach them how to use turn signals.
I assume you mean that you want to use tax dollars for this purpose? Sounds fine to me, but I suggest pilot studies first to see if it works.
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Old 03-06-06, 09:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
But 99 % of people who ride buses walk to the bus, or ride a bike, as opposed to Park'n'ride.

I question the current passion for light rail over buses. Buses are much more flexible than rail. If usage patterns change, you change bus routes almost for free, versus millions of dollars to change a rail route. And a bus stop is located within a block of your house, while the train station is probably a few miles away.
I am sure there are local variables. For a fact there are some huge parking lots around major bus and rail stations. One of the biggest impediments to mass transit use is the time it takes to get someplace. Buses are slower than rail trolleys. Buses get stuck in the same traffic jams same as cars making it harder to keep to schedule. Surface rail trolleys/light rail are able to switch the traffic lights. The Baltimore Metro area had a rail trolley (electric street car) system up into the 1950's. It not only served Baltimore but the suburbs as well. A complete rail system is needed, though not just one or two lines (like the current Baltimore's subway). Ideally several options are necessary for mass transit to work - plus high gas prices!
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Old 03-07-06, 09:32 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
Buses get stuck in the same traffic jams same as cars making it harder to keep to schedule.
My wife used to work in downtown Phx and commute by bus about 15miles. The bus was by far the fastest way to get there during rush hour as it used the HOV lane (much of the route was on freeway) By bus it took her 30min, but car it would take 60.
The bus schedule here on surface streets where there are no HOV lanes takes into account rush hour delays, so they are most often on time. The flip side is that when traffic is light the bus may wait at some stops as much as 5-10min to stay on schedule.
I can take the bus to work (9mi distance) via surface arterials. It involves a short 1/4mi walk, taking one bus, waiting 15min for the next then taking it. Total time is about 1:10hr. Driving takes me 15-20min, cycling (not including shower/change time) takes 25min. The reason I took up cycling is because the bus was so freaking slow.

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Old 03-08-06, 12:28 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
Another way would be to have a lot of smaller shuttle-buses circling the neighborhoods picking up riders and dropping them off at the bus/rail station.
Just like this:

http://www.tempe.gov/tim/FlashNeighborhoodExpansion.htm

Al
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