Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A path to providing more rides to more people at less cost

This is one of the programs that Cherriots needs to be investigating and figuring out how to incorporate into the planning -- a method of using existing vehicles and cellphone capability to match riders with rides. As oil prices shoot up this summer, we're going to be even more hammered on funds ... we need to be thinking ahead about how to serve people without necessarily having to put them into a bus/Cherrylift. In years to come, public transit will be increasingly stressed, caught in the vise of rising costs, diminished funds, and rising demand.

I'm not saying that this particular system (Avego) is the right way or only way this could be done -- but they have the right idea, that's for sure.

UPDATE: Nice op-ed by a local fellow who's asking the right questions. Excerpt:
Now instead of neighborhood circulator buses (an idea that has not worked well in Salem), turn those resources into Super Shuttle-like service from the hubs. Super Shuttles are like coordinated, shared taxis. Riders submit the addresses where they need to go and when a load of people going to the same general area has accumulated, a shuttle van drops them off one by one in the most efficient order. It's not as convenient as regular, frequent bus service, but it is a whole lot better than no service at all — it runs where you need it, when you need it. Unlike a bus system, the vans never run empty.

Would Salem voters support it? I don't know — why don't you ask them?

Clearly asking voters over and over to support more of the same old-fashioned bus system hasn't worked. Now you're asking riders to help you choose between two bus options offering service worse than we have now. Wouldn't it be better to look at a variety of ideas for delivering excellent public transportation?

My vote is for a do over — this time with imagination.

A beautiful day, filled with terrible ideas

How can such a perfect day be so ridden with so many terrible ideas, like the "ram it down their throats" LNG fast-track bill. A truly horrible idea. I'm all for using a lot more natural gas (instead of coal), but this is absolutely the wrong idea. Take action against this bad idea here:
As a constituent, an engineer, and a supporter of increased use of natural gas (to end use of coal), I strongly urge you to oppose HB 3058, which fast-tracks the building of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) pipelines.

The bill allows out-of-state corporations to get wetland fill permits on private land without the permission of landowners. This raises concerns about landowners rights and harms the environment by encouraging LNG projects in Oregon.

LNG terminals and pipelines would bring dirty foreign fossil fuel to Oregon. LNG will emit 30% more global warming pollution than domestic gas, destroy critical salmon nurseries, and create 600 miles of pipelines across hundreds of rivers. These projects need to be fully vetted and not fast tracked.

Fast-tracking LNG undermines the states commitments to building a clean energy economy and our ability to combat the climate crisis.

A wide variety of interests, including landowners, farmers, woodlot owners, and conservationists have come together to fight this bill. Please join them and oppose HB 3058.

Very nice: Reverie Harp -- An instrument to soothe the soul

Reverie Harp
A small company in Stillwater has given birth to a new musical instrument called the Reverie Harp, which is so easy to play that anyone can make beautiful music. The harp is becoming a hit with therapists, patients and their loved ones, who use it to calm stressful times. (05/20/2009)

Just for fun - High-school dropout invents self-balancing unicycle

A self-balancing unicycle.

On a happier note: Spring bicycling calendar for Salem

"Tireless" bicyclist (ho-ho!) Eric sends this great menu of bike happenings. Enjoy!

Special events
Friday, May 29th
Breakfast on Bikes - North Mall Office Building
Between 7am and 9am enjoy free coffee, fruit, and pastries on your bike commute!
Thanks to Cascade Baking, the Coffee House Cafe, and LifeSource Natural Foods

Wednesday, June 3
The Downtown Vision 2020 Bike & Ped Workgroup meets between noon at 1:30pm in the Pringle Community Hall.

Saturday, June 6th - ongoing
Salem Saturday Market Valet Bike Parking
Ride your bike to the market and leave it with the bike valets while you shop! Friends of Salem Saturday Market kicks off this great service the first Saturday in June.

Wednesday, June 10th
Free Bicycle Legal Clinic

Learn about when it's safe to "take the lane," about "citizen-initiated traffic citations" and all about the law and bikes.

Saturday, June 13th
Bicycle Education: Traffic 101
League Cycling Instructors Robert Fox and Gary Obery teach a day-long course on how to be a better and safer bicyclist in traffic.

Sunday, June 28th
Fairview Circuit Races
Bike racing right here in Salem! There are rumors about extra entertainment options, so be sure to look out for more news later in June!
Advocacy Opportunities
Quarry on Skyline Road
Marion County is holding a hearing this afternoon, 5/27, on conditional use permits for a proposed rock quarry to go in just off Skyline Road. Truck traffic may impact bicyclists on Skyline.

Continuing Saga of Jobs and Transportation Act - HB 2001
Track the week-by-week story of the big transportation package.

Commercial Street Restriping Plan
One of the first fruits of the Downtown Vision 2020 Bike & Ped group is a proposal spearheaded by Kevin Hottman and Gary Obery to restripe Commercial through downtown to make it more bike friendly. As it moves to the wider community, it will need your support in June and July. Watch for more!

Bicycle Parking Regulations at the State
DAS proposed new parking regulations this and at a hearing this month, bicycle advocates argued that one of the best ways the State can effectively support its goal to reduce single-occupancy motor vehicle commuting is to supply a plentiful mix of highly visible short- and long-term bike parking. The deadline for public comment was extended and hopefully this will result in improved bike parking options for employees and visitors to State facilities.

End of June
Bicycle Count Project Training and Kick-off
It's almost time for the second annual bicycle count! More riders are everywhere, and let's document the increase! Look for more information mid-June.
Every Sunday at 1:30pm
Salem Bicycle Club Introductory High Wheeler Rides
Check out Club riding! Every Sunday at 1:30 the Salem Bicycle Club offers "high wheeler" rides of approximately 25 miles and few hills. No rider left behind!

Every Thursday at 6:30pm
Salem Bicycle Club Family Rides
Every Thursday the Salem Bicycle Club offers a short ride of 10-12 miles for families. Bring the kids, the tandem, the tag-along!

Help Flush White Cloud! Urgent meeting today, 5/27, 4:00 p.m.

Update: SJ story on hearing. Still time to get your opposition into the record.

And the universe, never one to miss a chance at delicious irony, provides this: after Salem spends another long night debating the terrors of letting residents keep a few hens, this morning's mail provides this warning about a proposed gravel quarry, the "White Cloud Quarry," that will wreak havoc in South Salem.
I am writing to you from Friends of Marion County.

If you are so inclined, you might want to come down to see what's going on at the hearing tonight to fight a huge aggregate operation which could have very negative impacts on Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge. See this link:

[We] have spent the last 5 days helping them after they called us for assistance. We (Friends of Marion County) have been working with the neighbors, Salem Audubon, and US Fish and Wildlife. . . . . This has been in the SJ and on KATU.

If you do attend, you might want to bring a sign saying something like "No Gravel Pit."

Note that the website organized by the neighbors whose lives will be devastated by this monstrosity warns that you need to be at the meeting by 4:00 p.m. to sign in to speak.

Also note that the "Senator Hearing Room" is not in the Marion County Courthouse but in the building called "Courthouse Square," across Court St. from the Courthouse (the one where Cherriots transit mall is).