What is it about trains and Boise mayors?
Brent Coles flitted around the globe riding the rails and came home with the famed “REGGIO SPRINTER” which was doomed even before the city spent $250,000 on a sales pitch.
Now Dave Bieter wants to sell locomotives for local trainmaker MotivePower. He appeared in a video wearing an engineer’s striped hat and proclaims that “rail must be a part of any transit solution.”
We all like trains and most guys over 40 even had one as a kid. We like
horses, donkeys, llamas and camels as well. Some people say camels have bad breath, and llamas spit . Fact is, none of these critters are practical transportation in today’s world and neither are trains.
The GUARDIAN well recognizes we have a major traffic problem in the Valley. It has been created by local governments overly friendly to developers and businesses–those creating jobs and those selling retail. Eagle Road is one place that qualifies for FEMA disaster funds.
There seems to be an overwhelming consensus on the part of all these frilly “planning” agencies that we need to stop building roads and start building tracks for trains. First off, we have had both local and regional planning for well over 30 years and it has done nothing to prevent the transportation mess.
To name a few: Association of Idaho Cities, Ada Council of Governments, COMPASS, VAL TRANS, Treasure Valley planning“retreat”, Chamber of Commerce government parties at Sun Valley, Blueprint for Growth, Smart Growth—the list goes on.
QUICK FIX TEST
The solution is to take all the existing buses we can find and make trial runs for a month or two from Caldwell, Nampa, and Meridian “park and ride” spots like the Idaho Center. Here is how it is done and it can start in a week:
–Buses will make dedicated NON STOP runs to big employer spots like MICRON, HP,
CAPITOL MALL, DOWNTOWN, and PARK CENTER offices as an example.
–Each bus will have a strobe light like the fire trucks to turn the traffic signals green (get behind a bus and cut your commute drive time).
–Buses will leave every 15 minutes for their assigned destinations during rush hour…same thing for the return run from Boise.
–Each full bus will eliminate close to 50 cars on I-80.
–Take the buses off the circuitous routes and pay for taxis, mini buses or commuter vans for the poor and infirmed.
–All of this will be far cheaper than trains which run ONLY ON TRACKS, duh! You still have to get people to their destination off the tracks and there isn’t enough money in the combined budgets of every town in the valley to pay for mass transit via train AND an efficient bus system along the train route.
Bottomline. People probably won’t use mass transit no matter how frequent or convenient. At least by experimenting with existing buses taxpayers won’t be on the hook for a massive expense for something folks won’t use.
If it works, refine the system and make it permanent. Buses NOT trains.
The valley is too spread out. Schools, government, shopping, work, and recreation are all on different points of the compass. Big City we ain’t no matter how hard we try.
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