Friday, August 02, 2013

Blind Willie Johnson


The flawed process of "Better Market Street"

Photo by Sophia Diamantidou

Bob Planthold sent the message below to the Mayor, the Supervisors, the MTA board, and members of various public advisory bodies "in the hopes somebody will read it and take positive action":

Here is the link to my 31 July Beyond Chron guest editorial.

Please read the early comments already sent in.

Feel free to post this and forward it widely.

There are more problems with Better Market Street, though, than just access problems.

Check the BMS website for the link to the BMS Citizens Advisory Committee agenda and minutes.

Violations of the Sunshine Ordinance are evident there:

* lack of minutes for all meetings; 
* lack of attendance information in the minutes, preventing the public from knowing whether a quorum was achieved and who was/wasn't reliable in attendance.

The 17 July evening meeting, held at Parc 55 hotel, was held in a room with DIM light, making it hard to read text on the information boards.

The use of statistics---to say that 85% of attendees favored this or that---is misleading for two reasons:

1] No attempt was made to weed out those who attended multiple public forums, allowing the frequent attendees to be counted and vote multiple times. 

2] Finally, the plethora of evening meetings means it lessened attendance by some from vulnerable populations---single parents, seniors, and people with disabilities. These all are people who might not easily be able to get to an evening meeting due to family responsibilities or energy limits, yet these are the very people for whom planning efforts should be most solicitous and responsive.

Allowing multiple voting and lack of attendance by vulnerable populations skews the so-called public response summary

The prudent thing to do is to START OVER.

Bob Planthold

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Portland's losing war on cars

How about transit in Portland? Wendell Cox in New Geography:

For more than a quarter century, the leaders in the Oregon portion of the Portland metropolitan area have sought to transfer demand for urban travel from automobiles to transit. Six rail lines have been built, five of which are light rail and bus service has been expanded. If their vision were legitimate, transit’s market share should have risen substantially and automobile travel should have declined. Neither happened...Since 1980, before the first rail line was opened, transit’s share of work trip travel in the metropolitan area has declined by one-quarter, from 8.4 percent to 6.3 percent. Overall, the share of travel by car remains about the same as before the first light rail line opened.

With all those transit alternatives, why do people still drive to work in Portland---and in San Francisco? Cox: "According to the latest American Community Survey data, the average work trip by people driving alone in Portland is 23.6 minutes, while the average transit commute trip is 43.8 minutes."

Portland squanders money on rail projects and neglects its roads.

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