Hey folks. Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I spent Thursday and Friday getting a lot of schoolwork done, and the remainder of Friday and today recuperating. So anyway, with that out of the way, I have something saved up from Thursday.
The Riverside City Council's Transportation Committee meeting.
There were a few items on the committee's agenda of interest. Two dealt with the city's regulation of taxicabs. The first would have required cab operators to begin purchasing "green" vehicles for their fleets- no more detail was given, as this issue was not voted on at the meeting, but continued for 2 months. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Second, cab fares in Riverside are probably going up. The committee voted to recommend to the City Council that fares be raised to $2.60 per meter pull, and $2.60 per mile. According to testimony at the meeting, this will both bring our fares in line with the rest of the region and help out cab drivers, who have been feeling the economic slowdown as much as the rest of us.
The big ticket item on the agenda at the meeting was the Mid-County Parkway, a new freeway project that RCTC has been working on for... longer than I've been aware of it. They've completed the EIR statement (which is available for public view on their web site- in printed form, it weighs more than a small car...) and are seeking comments from the public until January 8th of 2009. I can't find any fault with the road portion of the project, and I see a lot of value in providing that link between Perris and Hemet/San Jacinto that gets people off of the 60/215 and 91. However, one disturbing point came up: No provision for HOV lanes, bus, or rail service.
Major credit to my councilman, Andy Melendrez, for bringing this up with the RCTC rep Cathy Bechtel. Her response was that traffic numbers in their study don't warrant it. Huh?
Cathy- You yourself said that we have to build for the future. You gave 2035 as a date, incidentally. So you should know that your shiny new road is going to get congested, and quick. That part of the county has subdivisions sprouting like WEEDS. It's only a matter of time before that carpool lane is going to look really nice, and it's only a matter of time before bus service will be just as slow along the highway as general traffic if you don't add in a carpool lane. How many years can Southern California's transportation planners simply ignore mass transit? I figured you'd've learned your lesson by now.
After the agenda items were complete, I rose to bring up the real reason I was there- The City's abuse of Greyhound. Councilman, and committee chairman, Adams responded to my concerns by stating that Greyhound was "inappropriate" for our city, and that the 82,000 boardings there more likely referred to trips "through" the city. He assured me that "Metrolink or RTA" service would be provided to passengers going to San Bernardino, but that the Riverside station attracted a "criminal element" and was therefore unsuitable for the City. Thanks, jerk. I came to your meeting as a citizen looking for answers, not a bunch of patronizing bullshit. What's more interesting is that Adams is the councilman for Ward 7, encompassing the wealthy La Sierra neighborhood on the south side of the city. It's a sea of housing tracts, Mercedes, and big box stores for as far as the eye can see, and I'd bet quite a bit on the proposition that not many of those residents take the Greyhound.
Once again, serious kudos to Councilman Melendrez. (You've got my vote, man!) While he refused to comment directly on the downtown station location (as a matter of conflict of interest- he stated he owned property within 500ft. of said location), he did rattle off a list of communities not served by commercial airlines, and said he hoped the Council would reconsider their plans. Thank you Councilman. I hope you know I appreciate it.
The City Council meets next Tuesday, at 15:00 and 18:30, with a public comment section during both sessions. Stop by and tell them you want to save Greyhound. I'll be there.