Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Update: The Six Reasons Why People Don't Ride Metro

In this blog entry, I laid out what I thought were the four primary reasons why people don't take Metro. Well as Dr. Transit said earlier today, transportation education never ends (what Dr. Transit avoided admitting is that more or less, he is just beginning the "residency" part of his education).

Talking with someone who lives a different life than I opened my eyes a wee bit wider to a couple other issues. So already it's time to update the list of why people don't ride Metro:
  1. It doesn't go where they need to go from where they are.
  2. It's not time-efficient.
  3. It's not cost-efficient to take Metro compared to driving.
  4. Metro goes where they need to go, and they would ride, if they could get to the station somewhat efficiently. Otherwise, it's easier or faster to drive. (This is related to but subtly different from [2]).
  5. Metro can't be counted on; it is no longer reliable when planning time-sensitive trips, and therefore another mode is chosen.
  6. Transit riding isn't conducive to the requirements of the trip (parent with children, transporting something big and bulky, etc.)

I'm not going to deal with the first four, because we discussed them earlier. And I have written too much today to delve into this as much as I would like...

Metro is no longer reliable when planning time-sensitive trips, can't be counted on, and therefore another mode is chosen.

Well, this is a big one. In Metro's defense, more than a decade ago, the Planning Division prepared a memorandum which predicted the current decline in service, unless new funding commitments were obtained that would be directed to the maintenance of a system that was about to begin aging (moving from the opening to the operating phase of most of the system). Without such funds, service and reliability would eventually face serious declines.

Well, you can't say that the area's political leadership wasn't warned. Lucky that they aren't really being held accountable for the result of not acting. Then again, many of those people aren't in office any more.

But we deal with the consequences, and Metro's reputation, justifiably, declines.

Transit riding isn't conducive to the requirements of the trip (parent with children, transporting something big and bulky, etc.)

If they have a car, people are going to drive most times in such situations, unless they don't have a car. We can divide this category into regular and frequent versus occasional and/or intermittant trips. For occasional trips of this nature, car sharing services like Flexcar and Zipcar are good options.

The article, "Clearing the Roads: Would you give up your car if you could share one instead? How a hot concept could ease gridlock discussed" appeared in the February 21, 2005 issue of Time Magazine and among many points made in the article, it asserts that every shared car takes 10 other cars off the road.

By providing support to this complementary form of transportation, Metro helps to address this issue and contributes to the reduction of car trips.


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