Caption: Mayor John Engen visits with Community Medical Center chief executive officer Steve Carlson and manager of business development Geoff Peddicord, from left, as they surf the Internet while riding on Mountain Line’s route 5 during the unveiling of free Wi-Fi on the bus system Thursday morning. Photo by LINDA THOMPSON/Missoulian.
1. The Mountain Line transit system in Missoula, Montana has added wi-fi service to its buses. Now for me, I can't read in typical transit buses and cars, because of my eyesight, and that extends to computer screens. But I still think it's a great way to reposition the idea of transit as forward looking and of today. See "Wi-Fi rides Missoula's bus line, free to passengers" from the Missoulian newspaper.
2. Conservative groups in Washington State are complaining that Sound Transit, the Puget Sound transportation agency, which runs bus, light rail, and commuter services, is spending money and time marketing transit to children. See "Classrooms may become next stop for transit: Sound Transit is set to spend money for curriculum and materials for school classrooms as part of a plan to "demystify transit" and turn schoolchildren into transit users" in the Seattle Times. From the article:
The school program is being criticized as "indoctrination" by the Washington Policy Center and the conservative Sound Politics blog. "Sound Transit taxes are supposed to be used to build a regional mass-transit system, not to groom children as young as 5 to use a particular government service," says Mike Ennis, WPC transportation analyst.
Why is it that transit agencies doing marketing are promoting propaganda, but car companies spending money promoting automobility are merely engaged in normal business practices.
3. The Canadian Urban Transit Association is sponsoring a series of regional conferences to engage young adults in sustainable transportation policy. The first edition of the program, Leading the Way Youth Summit on Sustainable Transportation, was held this past week in Edmonton, Alberta. See "Youth transit meet looks at other roads" from the Edmonton Journal.
Four more programs are scheduled, in the Atlantic Provinces (Deadline = May 13th), British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.
4. The Post continues to editorialize against a better situated subway station at Dulles Airport, "The risk of relying on higher Dulles Toll Road revenue," while the Washington Examiner argues that everything in Loudoun County is fine so that they don't need better transit anyway, "Loudoun County should bail out of Dulles Rail."
The thing about the Examiner article that's out of touch is that the most able developers recognize the need to have a more robust mobility paradigm, one that allows for greater intensity and isn't auto dependent. And hey, I'd be happy for Loudoun County to bail out of the transit system, as I care more about the center city anyway.
Although given that the Examiner's owner made his first fortune in oil production, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
What bugs me about the Post piece is that it argues, in effect, for grim, crappy infrastructure. Usually the local newspaper argues for greatness in civic investment, unless its own taxes are impacted, which in this case, aren't.