How do we promote public transit in a community that depends so strongly on automobiles?
How do we create a streetcar system which can best encourage a vibrant mixed-use development pattern, enhance the tax base, connect active areas together and be compatible with its surroundings?
Give us your thoughts -- click "comments" below:
I don't think this is a very popular idea, but one way to encourage use of public transit is to make it easier and cheaper than to drive/park. As in, raise the price of downtown parking, increase the price of parking violations, and
More realistic (and friendly!): Locate "errand" type businesses (grocery, dry cleaner, etc.) as well as child care and activity programs at designated park and ride areas. Same maybe with a gym or takeout restaurant, etc. -- all those things you run around doing on the way home. Also, where appropriate, make these locations accessible on foot to nearby residents who may wish to just use the "ride" part of the "park & ride."
I think a lot of folks with kids who live remote from their workplaces would feel a lot better knowing that their car is available right near where their kids are.
A rail-based streetcar system (e.g., light rail or trains) is better for longer-term development than a bus type system, in which routes can be cancelled or moved. I'm not sure if that's what you are talking about here when you say "streetcar."
Train or metro would be more apealing. However, currently downtown isn't really large enough to require such. I think you will find when you have a larger population of downtown residents, it won't be as difficult to get people to use public transit. But you also need to consider that the transportation must be timely, safe, and fairly inexspensive.
I think we need to show people that public transportation can work for people who usually drive cars. We might try a "special events" bus schedule. For example, on Gallery Hop nights, or on nights of Dash games or events at the Stevens Center, there could be buses coming downtown from several nodal locations. I'd be pleased to take a bus downtown to go to the symphony - if it were convenient and relatively cheap - maybe 2-5$?
If people patronized such service and liked it, they might think about using buses for their daily commute.
Nora Streed mentioned the need to have access to wherever their kids are. If I were working downtown and suddenly had to get to my child's school, I'd be stuck if I took the bus to work. The county might make a deal with the local cab companies to give reduced rates to bus commuters.
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