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Monday, March 3, 2014

Provo fumbles on BRT

Provo has dropped the ball on BRT.

Full out NIMBY attack force, and the Provo City Council quails, flails, and crumbles.

The Federal Funding is contingent on project quality. By eliminating dedicated lanes, and eliminating two major stops, Provo has seriously impaired it's capacity to complete for funding. It has cast serious doubts on its own commitment to the project. They've certainly and now with the closure screwed around long enough. The project has been in process for 15 years. If they wait too long, their environmental documents will expire, and they will have to start again from scratch.

A major regional transportation project should not be held hostage by a handful of people.

Lines like this drive me mad: "It's a cultural change where people are willing to give up their cars for mass transit". No one is coming to take their cars away. No one has to give up their cars. Transit makes it possible to drive less. POSSIBLE. Not mandatory!

Surprisingly thoughtful article from UVU student paper.
Nice to see not everyone is off their rocker.

City of Provo documentation for before can be seen here.
The level of analysis is clearly intense. This project has been studied to death. Concessions that significantly impair the quality of the project have already been made.
However, despite these significant changes to the project, many residents living east of 900 East still remain opposed to the 900 East alignment, and have proposed a new alignment
If you aren't prepared to trust what your consultant tells you, don't hire one. The are incredibly expensive. As is, they are already in preliminary engineering, paying money to have the facility designed, when they have not even formally agreed on the route!

Alternatives proposed by NIMBY residents are typically to the sole benefit of those residents, to the detriment of all other stakeholders.
ProvoBuzz talks about the new 'Route 0' in balanced terms.

A ways back, the LRTP proposed extending TRAX south into Orem. At the time, it seemed insane. But with the Provo portion of the BRT so unstable, other alternatives need to be considered.
But it seems ProvoBuzz has the full, sordid backstory...1999 visioning study, 2005 Alternatives Analysis by Carter Burgess...then proceeding to a full EA, lasting from 2007-2011. Which, to me, is a big red flag. An EA should take about half that long.

BYU sends up another red flag, by failure to yield ROW. Donating ROW (in lieu of cash) is the transit planning version of putting your money where your mouth is. 
  The transit planners’ initial preferred alignment was to take BRT across the BYU Campus on East Campus and North Campus Drives, but because these were privately owned streets, the University would need to grant a permanent easement and allow improvements to be made for stations.  BYU declined to give permission, which led to the option of moving the alignment to 900 East during the EA process.
Nor was BYU alone in such behavior. Provo kept shifting its preferred alternative, from 100 West to University Avenue.

Extremely notable in all these articles is the lack of maps. Does no one know how to make maps? But that may be deliberate--maps are specific. They tell you exactly where things are located in space.

I find this unbelievably:
 Because the City is not a project sponsor and has no financial obligation to the project, the Municipal Council’s recommendations are not binding on UTA; they simply express whether or not there is local support for any given alignment. 
First, I'm scandalized the Provo isn't kicking in any money. Any city getting the benefit of a fixed guideway transit facility needs to put in its pound of flesh. Secondly, the lack of non-binding resolutions means that the Provo city council is dodging any accountability for decisions made. 

Details here

And maps! Beautiful maps!