Sunday, January 19, 2020

Weekend Update

Various and sundry you might have missed for the week that was across Tampa Bay and a little beyond.
Same as it ever was
Still won't work
The price is right
We'll make it up in volume
Participation has it's own rewards
Good time to start a valet parking business
The tautology of Ernest Hooper
Noise on noise
Law and Order SVU Brandon Edition
Good to be white
Top ten of the week

Same as it ever was. Tampa Bay's big city mayors agree transit it a priority. What are they doing about it?
It’s the start of another year, with another study showing Tampa Bay ranking last among competitors such as Charlotte, Orlando and Minneapolis-St. Paul on transit. And no surprise, Tampa Bay is toward the top of the list in driving time spent in congestion. The report compiled by the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the United Way Suncoast dryly notes "we are incredibly overdue for investments into our transportation options and infrastructure.'' The drivers who endure the daily commute across the Howard Frankland Bridge would agree in more colorful language.
South Florida, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte and Denver are among Tampa Bay’s competitors with rail systems. Austin, Nashville and Phoenix are among the partnership’s "peer communities'' with some form of bus rapid transit. Tampa Bay.
You know the refrain.

At least one "Walter_Cleaver" had some facts behind his/her/they/ze... comments:
If we can't keep up with roads with our growing population, how are we going to keep up with transit, while disinvesting in roads? That's not much of a plan. 
The "institutional voice" of the Times should know that transit takes longer than driving (source American Community Survey) EVERYWHERE. Auto drivers have over 10 TIMES the access jobs in 30 minutes than do transit (source - governing DOT com). Despite the horrid HART and (soon to be bankrupt) PSTA service, Tampa Bay commuting times for transit and driving are practically the same as Charlotte (source American Community Survey). 
And in Tampa Bay, both HART and PSTA emit more CO2 per passenger mile than autos and light trucks per passenger mile (source National Transit Database, EPA).

So think about it, if we want to improve our mobility with a growing population, we have to invest in roads, which, 87.9% of us drive, and is much more likely to stay that way compared to increasing our transit ridership from 1.3% to an average of 5%, while transit ridership continues to sink.

Still won't work. Red lights instead of flashing yellows make sense for crosswalks.
Walking along many streets in the Tampa Bay area can be dangerous, and the increasing installation of crosswalks with flashing yellow lights is well meaning but can be confusing, particularly at the middle of the block. Does a flashing yellow mean caution? Does it mean stop? The law actually is clear-- drivers must yield to pedestrians in a marked crosswalk regardless of whether there is a yellow light flashing or no light at all. But the finer points of the rules of the road won’t save pedestrians in the same way that a solid red light would. 
Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, has introduced HB 1371, the so-called “Turn the Flashing Yellow Crosswalks Red” bill. Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, filed the companion bill, SB 1000. The legislation would give cities and counties until 2024 to swap yellow flashes out for red lights or to entirely remove flashing yellow light signals at mid-block crosswalks.
In Hillsborough, 311 pedestrians were hit just in the first half of last year, and 33 were killed. In Pinellas, 283 pedestrians were hit, with 20 killed. Of course, not all of those who were hit were in crosswalks, but this points to the danger of simply walking in the Tampa Bay area. In fact, in St. Petersburg last year a person was nearly as likely to be run over and killed as murdered (17 homicides vs. 14 pedestrian fatalities).
Cars bad. Pedestrians and bicyclists good. Ignoring the facts that too often pedestrians don't use crosswalks or bicyclists don't follow traffic laws and frequently at fault.

What about these recent tragedies?

Driver runs red light, leads to crash killing motorcyclist on Ulmerton Road.

26 year old motorcyclist dies on US-92 in Mango.

Driver sought following fatal hit and run in St. Petersburg.  Stolen car, of course.

Not to mention safety concerns of bus drivers.  Citrus Connection bus drivers to carry pepper spray. Feel better riding the bus?

Vision Zero working as designed. Not really saving lives, but increasingly making driving miserable.

The price is right. TECO Line Streetcar carried almost 90,000 passengers in December 2019. The streetcar averaged about 25,000 riders a month in fiscal year 2018 before it became free. We can assume that 65,000 additional riders a month since then value the streetcar at $0.00. Thanks to FDOT, you're paying $2.67 million for the freeloaders, not to mention $1.577 million for operating costs (FY 2018). Not to mention another $2.7 million for streetcar refurbishment. According to my math, $6.9 million dollars for the streetcar is not quite free.

We'll make it up in volume. From the January 17, 2019 PSTA email newsletter (link not available), The Latest from Pinellas Transit.
National ridership numbers across the board in public transit have been declining. But Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority's solution to make select routes free resulted in a 24% increase in ridership in Lawrence, Massachusetts. 
Math is a terrible thing to waste. Take note for PSTA's future plans.

Participation has its own rewards. TPA named first bike-friendly airport in the United States. I can't tell how excited I am to schlepp luggage 25 miles on my bike.

Good time to start a valet parking business. Tampa City Council member John Dingfelder requests a staff report on parking minimums.  Parking in and around areas near downtown Tampa is worsening due to lack of parking. We have reports of residents not using their cars as they'll risk loosing their parking spot. Limiting business parking results in more traffic and competition for limited parking. Sounds like we have a plan.

The tautology of Ernest Hooper. You create diversity by creating diversity. 
As a male writer, I now make it a point to seek women if, say, I'm looking for experts to interview or I'm listing civil rights heroes. Maybe that seems awkward and stilted to you, and maybe it is. But here's what I've learned: As a human being, I am a creature of implicit biases. So I can't trust my own good intentions. 
Please don't ask me to trust yours.
We don't trust yours either. Perhaps Hooper should not follow his good intentions and seek diversity of thought, perhaps from Thomas Sowell?

Noise on noise. Tampa condo tower to Park & Rec: Yes, you are a nightclub. Downtown residents complaining about noise. As more residents settle in downtown, the quieter they'll want it. Kind of like the suburbs.

Law and Order SVU Brandon Edition. Brandon man who killed wife's lover killed her months ago. He was acquitted the first time. But apparently had some unfinished business.

Good to be white. Endangered white rhino born at ZooTampa.

Top Ten of the Week. Tampa airport makes TSA's top 10 list for most guns confiscated in 2019.

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