Better Buses Buttress Baltimore Business

Just in case you still hadn’t had enough on the Desire Named Street Car, a GUARDIAN reader sends us an interesting link about using–would you believe– BUSES to serve downtown Baltimore.

Before any money is pumped into a Boise trolley, we think some buses would be much wiser. Apparently the folks in Baltimore, Bolivia, and Grand Rapids all support the GUARDIAN view based on news reports we have seen.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Julie Loome
    Jan 18, 2010, 7:02 pm

    I have been reading your site for a while and have enjoyed much of your content. But your obsession with the street cars is getting a little Rush-like.

    EDITOR NOTE–Julie, Gotta give me a pass on this one. A reader sent the link and it really is a sound alternative. Also, please sent a letter to TEAM DAVE. If they will stop pushing it with their CeCe spokesperson, spending the PR money, and appearing at the City Club for a “discussion,” I will gladly clam up. I am sick of it too, but when they keep pushing it under the guise of “education,” I feel compelled to respond. Timeouts apply to both sides! 🙂

  2. sam the sham
    Jan 19, 2010, 12:34 am

    A streetcar is cool. It will make those who rule the city feel as if folks will come from all around the country just to ride on our street car!!!
    Buses are not cool.
    Look at the proposed route. No one needs to drive downtown just to hop on a bus to ride a few blocks. And that is all it’s for…. riding a few blocks.
    It’s foolishness. We would love to drop it, but TEAM DAVE will not let it rest.

  3. I have been trying to get the city to look at electric buses since this whole silly streetcar thing came about.

    Chattanooga, TN is the model for electric shuttle buses that have been in use for well over a decade.

    From the article:

    “This technology has proven to be an effective way to move people around downtown Chattanooga. In 1997, the electric buses will carry nearly a million people on buses that operate sixteen hours a day, every day, at five-minute intervals. The benefits of electric buses include a quiet ride, no need for tune-ups, reduced wear on roadways and brakes, no exhaust smell, lower operating costs, decreased dependence on foreign oil, a low floor design that offers an alternative to expensive floor lifts for persons with disabilities, and environmentally friendly transportation.”

    Here is a link to the Chattanooga bus website:

  4. Baltimore still has a safe downtown? Is that the place where the bus driver is locked into a protective plastic booth? Gosh, not the kind of downtown I ever want to see here in Boise… and I just can’t wait to ride on a bus like that again.

    I think we should take DB’s Fed money pipe dream and build a tramway right up to Bogus Basin… feds will pay because it reduces pollution and we get a bonus in future years if we put a bikerack and politically correct community messages on it like they do with the buses. The Feds pay, Dave can have something that kinda looks like a train, and we will have something we want to ride on more than once. Win Win Win!!!

  5. I am familiar with the transit systems in Baltimore, Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, San Diego, and San Francisco. In Baltimore, I arrived on AMTRAK’s Acela Express at Pennsyvania Station. I had the option to ride the light rail system, but opted to walk to my hotel near the Inner Harbor as I only had one suitcase and my computer. While a bit long, the route was very pleasant. In Portland, I have ridden most of the light rail system and the new Street Car from Portland State to the Pearl District. Both are very efficient and comfortable. The Street Car has had an amazing positive impact on redevelopment of the Pearl District. I have used much of the bus system in Seattle, years ago when I attended the University and recently while in the City to attend conventions. I am looking forward to checking out the new light rail system this summer. In Piladelphia, I used the commuter train between the airport and and AMTRAK’s 30th Street Station. I also used the city bus system. San Diego has made the transition from a freeway centric city to having one of the best integrated public transit systems in this country. One of the best features is the ability to go on-line and plan a trip utilizing the buses, light rail and commuter rail through an integrated web-site. When my wife, daughter and grand children spent spring break in San Diego and LA, I was able to pre-plan all of their travel over the system before they left Boise. The week passes good on all portions of the system add to the convenience. They were able to travel to Sea World, Balboa Park, Lego Land and Disneyland totally by public transit with no trouble.

    While it is true that the initial leg of the proposed Boise street car route is not very long, every system has to start somewhere. Some cities have built the light rail portion first, others have put in the heavy rail commuter trains first. While a bus network is an important part of any successful public transit system, fixed rail systems are the backbone and provide a permanence needed to motivate investments in critical corridors.

  6. Baltimore, Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, San Diego, and San Francisco. Are all cities which are many times the size of Boise with significant road congestion. We don’t have the people, money, or need for this. And what need there might be is likely getting less as the tech business moves to Asia.

    Sidebar, a member of the US house has suggested that some of the $787 simulus money will be spent on political elections/campaigns next year; which would explain why they’ve not spent it on usefull projects yet.

  7. You covered it exactly Just Facts!
    “FROM Portland State TO the Pearl district”!!! Do you see the glaring difference here? FROM somewhere TO somewhere! Those places have it! WE DON’T!!!! From nowhere, to nowhere! That is the “mantra” of Team dave! (small case on purpose)

  8. Please continue with comments/coverage of the streetcar issue. As long as this inane $60 million proposal remains on the table and is hawked to the public, it is fair game for perusal and criticism here and elsewhere. The people of Massachusetts made their voices heard a week ago and derailed another unsound proposal and overly-liberal candidate. Now, miraculously, the focus is on jobs and the economy! Way to go, Massachusetts!

  9. Boise is going to grow. During this period of retrenchment, we should be planning and preparing for thefuture growth. The valley has nearly 1/2 million now. We can be like San Diego and Seattle and let the valley sprawl first and then spend huge sums of money trying to correct the problems after our roads and freeways become choked with traffic, or we can determine the more efficient pattern for our future growth and layout the framework to direct that growth now.

    EDITOR NOTE–JF, we could also PLAN to not grow. Keep the city within the current bounds, improve schools, roads etc., but not encourage growth. PROGESS is not to be confused with GROWTH. City and state now use our taxes in efforts to increase population. CCDC encourages growth. Growth for sake of growth leads to current BUST.

  10. Planning to not grow is the same as planning to fail. Boise can only control growth within its own boundaries. The fastest growing areas in the valley are outside Boise’s boundaries Meridian, Eagle, Kuna, etc.) Unfortunately, these people still drive within our airshed and use our congested streets. The more Boise restricts development within its boundaries, the more the valley will sprawl. Sprawl means more congestion, more air pollution, and a lower quality of life for all of us. It has been proven in many cities where artificial restrictions have been imposed in the central city.

    EDITOR NOTE–Pregnancy is inevitable unless you take precautions. Do you believe in more kids than you can support? Those cities to the west can’t keep up with services, especially when the economy burps.

  11. JF

    There seems to be one fact you overlook in your zeal to get a rail system of some sort built in the Valley – population density. Something we lack. Thank heaven.

    All the cities you have cited have significantly higher population densities than Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, and Caldwell. Heck, the entire Valley for that matter. Boise, itself, barely has the population density to support a basic bus system let alone any type of rail system. The other cities in the Valley are even worse. And COMPASS transportation planners have admitted in public meetings they don’t see any significant change in Valley population density in the next 20 years.

    I agree with you that we should be planning and preparing for growth. That’s why I support preserving the rail corridor between Boise and Nampa and preserving the Highway 44 corridor. Both would lend themselves quite well to bus rapid transit (BRT) which is a heck of a lot cheaper to build, operate, and maintain than a rail system. Oh yeah, let’s not forget about using those new HOV lanes on the freeway for BRT also. Rail, no way. Not enough people – now or in the future.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: