They had 3 guest....
- Ray Lopez - City Councilman - District 6 and chair of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's Transportation Policy Board
- Jeff Arndt - President/CEO of VIA Metropolitan Transit .
- Linda Alvarado-Vela - Planning and Public Involvement Manager for the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
They also had two reporters as well
Through out the entire show, they mentioned some solutions like managed lanes, passenger trains and car pooling, everything else other than bicycling and walking. Below are my impressions of some of the guest and what they talked about....
It's funny how they had a guy on who voted against the multimodal system he so championed. I remember meeting him for the first time at this event at the Pearl I think back in 2012. He described rail as part of this 'multimodal system.' He described it as people would get in their cars and drive to the train station and hop on the light rail, then they'll take a bus or a rubber tire trolley to their final destination. What I heard was, "you get in to your car, then you park, then you get into this bigger car to transfer to this ugly car to your final destination.' I doubt that his ideal would come to fruition because even he refuses to take the bus to pick up his kid from school because he would have to wait for an hour for the next bus. Doubt that others are willing to do the same even with a train.
Comparing Dallas to San Antonio
The one thing that got on my nerves is that these people couldn't stop comparing what they have in Dallas, to what can be accomplished here in San Antonio. That's because DART put it's light rail down old railroad right of ways. Houston is a better example of what will happen if they ever put in light rail which is right down the middle of the street. The thing about Houston is that they have these wide streets which I refer to as stroads (see video) to be able to put down these rails without really impacting vehicle lanes.
Another thing that they didn't talk about is that the light rail in Dallas really fails to get people out of their cars. What it does do, it keeps people who can't afford cars from needing to buy a car. When I rode the DART system two years ago, the people I met and talked to seem to have money. That if they lived in San Antonio, they would break down and buy a car. But because the DART system works like a 'glove', they don't really feel the need to buy one. If you want to know why people aren't using the rail in the DFW area, I ask you to go back and read Doing Commuter Rail Right Part I. Apparently even if we get rail, we won't be operating it well either.
SA Traffic Jam Future
You got to love the doom and gloom predictions that Linda Alvarado-Vela along with Ray Lopez put out through the entire show on how 1.5 million more people are coming to San Antonio in the next 20 years and they all are going to drive. To be honest, I don't see that many people moving to San Antonio. I'll be surprises if 500,000 more comes to Bexar County. Let me tell you why their predictions are wrong.
- Young people today prefer transit to driving and with our transportation options limited to driving, young people will move to more transit friendlier communities.
- Driverless cars will be on the market in 5 years and Uber and Lyft are set to pink slip their current rank of drivers. They promise to make owning a new car not worth the effort.
- For the past 20 years, MPOs along with transportation departments have been saying that the growth of VMT will continue to grow forever have been proven wrong again and again.
There's No Money.
With all the solutions they put forward, they left out the fine print, no money for said projects. Adding a vehicle lane or managed lane to the freeway, building a light rail network, all cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Take into account for TxDOT lacking money for basic road maintenance, and you come to realize how screwed we are. You'll hear from the Toll party on how we have the money to fix the problems with congestion, telling you how this politician or that politician is stealing your future away by supporting toll roads. Or you can accept reality that the reason why the MPO and TxDOT were looking to toll roads as a solution was because they saw the budget shortfalls of today coming back at the turn of the century. It is because of the Toll Party efforts that we don't have light rail nor managed lanes on any of our freeways. To say they (our political leaders) are against driving leaves our a simple fact that they to drive cars and like you don't want to be stuck in traffic.
For the record, I do agree with the toll party on public/private partnerships, they tend to screw everyone for profit.
Alas not Least
The one thing that I have dedicated this blog for is the cheaper solution such as bicycle lanes and protected bicycle lanes. I'm also a big supporter of rail transit which isn't cheap and constantly inform people through this blog how it's better than buses. But at the same time, I don't misinform you about such realities of how said systems would work and won't be as advertised. But let's lay out the most obvious fact of all that is not mentioned anywhere, which is our congestion is a sign of our city being a successful place to live. Now before you accused me of wanting to be stuck in a traffic jam, I like you don't want to be stuck in one.
I cannot help the fact that we live in a city where those in charge refuse to provide alternatives and only 3% of the population shows up to vote in city elections. Those 3% of people ate against bicycle lanes calling it graffiti. Since the majority of local citizens aren't showing up at the polls, we'll we deserve to be stuck behind the wheel.