Sunday, February 18 , 2018, 2:05 pm | Fair 60º


Letter to the Editor: Efficient Core Transportation Routes Is Planning 101

Cars Are Basic's 17-year position on bus transportation continues to support core routes and the elimination of expensive little-used routes and shuttles. To justify "alternative" transportation, cities demand failed feeder routes since they rationalize "mitigated transportation" as a justification for intentional street congestion.

South County MTD is the odd duck in the world of government. It is not an elected body, like a city, with an appointed Board of Directors from an association of elected officials (South County Transportation Committee). Purely for political purposes, MTD was appointed as a voting member of the Couth County SBCAG. This happened shortly after its former director and half the board were forced to resign for conflict of interests.

MTD as an organization has specific interest in seeing private transportation fail! Auto failure will benefit its operation, yet it is allowed to vote on projects and directions in transportation! This is a grantee (getting funds) acting as a grantor (issuing funds) that has immediate and significant impact on money grants and planning. MTD reported it lost 170,000 riders last year, making it a questionable operation.

A local paper ran a piece about how MTD is changing its scheduling. At the beginning of the article, MTD is quoted as stating its change of timing and numbers on certain routes is primarily due to street congestion. CAB has repeatedly stated that the failure of MTD and "alternative transportation" is evidenced on the streets of South County and particularly Santa Barbara and Goleta.

What is the MTD answer? Add more buses on the streets at rush hour with shorter head ways (pickup times). MTD states that buses are delayed by congestion. MTD buses contribute to the congestion because of their size. (Many cities have narrowed traffic lanes for bikes adding to congestion.) Why not keep the headway times where they are? Add an extra bus to handle increased passenger pickup, thus making the congestion footprint as small as possible?

Planning by cities and counties not including adequate street capacity, maintenance and parking is a recipe for congestion leading to terrible business and residential environments (bad planning = 19 bedrooms and 7 parking places).

CAB predicted this issue a decade and a half ago. Government planners intentionally ignored reality for projected unrealistic outcomes. Reality is "today" not failed goals of a past decade. MTD cannot exist at its current size without increasing government subsidy draining the taxpayer pocket (cap 'n trade diversion). Isn't it time to stop tax-'n'-spend politicians and create a lean bus system? Do you need increased taxes for fantasy goals?

Scott Wenz, president
Cars Are Basic

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