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Thread: Tennessee bans bus rapid transit anywhere in the state

  1. #1
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Tennessee bans bus rapid transit anywhere in the state

    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    wow! but then again I should not be surprised.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    And I thought it was going to say the Democrats stopped it

    Public transit money = bad.

    Increased highway budget = good.

    Got it.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Koch lobbied against.

    In related news:

    Study: The U.S. Is an Oligarchy
    Hamilton Nolan
    A new study by researchers from Princeton and Northwestern Universities finds that America's government policies reflect the wishes of the rich and of powerful interest groups, rather than the wishes of the majority of citizens.

    The researchers examined close to 1,800 U.S. policy changes in the years between 1981 and 2002; then, they compared those policy changes with the expressed preferences of the median American, at the 50th percentile of income; with affluent Americans, at the 90th percentile of income; and with the position of powerful interest and lobbying groups.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus dvdneal's avatar
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    It's mind blowing what elected idiots will do for a couple bucks. Next we'll ban apartments because those are bad too.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  6. #6
    It's ALEC funded by the Koch Brothers. There have been other states that have passed questionable laws because of this. They are also probably behind other states that have preempted local government from passing laws regarding minimum wage, etc.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    So I live in Tennessee (in Nashville, in fact), and the Wired article is sort-of correct. Several bills have been proposed, and, if I understand correctly, multiple bills have passed the the two State houses. Essentially, what the state legislature has been consistent on is that Metro Nashville government will not be allowed to use the center lane of a state highway for the AMP (BRT) project. The leading opponent of the project is a well-connected car dealer whose large dealership happens to be on the proposed route.

    The state legislature here does strange things.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    In Wisconsin we also have had attempts by the Republicans to pass legislation that would make it difficult to fund public transportation. In addition to shifting transit funds to road builders (one of the state's largest lobyying groups), the legislature tried to require a voter referendum on any local transit taxes such as for an RTA. But this is the same state that gave back $800 million in rail funding at the height of the recession because a portion of it would have been used to support an eventual high speed rail line betwen Chicago and Minneapolis.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    My head just exploded
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  10. #10
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    What's next? Statewide bans on new urbanism or higher density housing? Reminds me of the law in Florida when I was working there that prohibited municipalities from removing billboards through amortization, or requiring removal as a condition of approval for a development; a big WTF with no public benefit, intended to bolster one specific industry or business.

    FWIW, New York State bans density bonuses for conservation and cluster subdivisions. The loophole: a UDC, or placing the bonus in zoning regulations. We also have to deal with SEQR, which considers localized impacts more so than the big picture. An unintended impact: under SEQR, a denser new urban development will be considered to have a greater environmental impact than a conventional large lot subdivision.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  11. #11
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    I'm in Nashville. FWIW, the session ended Thursday and they passed a bill that doesn't explicitly ban BRT on state routes, so it allows Metro to keep some autonomy over the project with the blessing of the General Assembly.

    http://www.tennessean.com/story/news...l-amp/7825799/

    But it's so disturbing that this project could be a simple local control matter turned into left v. right via the Koch brothers. And actually, there are some legitimate concerns about the proposed route that have nothing to do with public transit = bad. The debate is now poisoned, and that is unfortunate. Also, now that I'm a member of the state planning association as a student, I found out via our legislative newsletter that many bills that would streamline the planning process were held up and put off to next year making current work frustrating.

    The region needs some type of transit. Now.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Doberman's avatar
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    I would love to sit here from Alabama and talk crap about Tennessee but it just can't happen. My agency is probably the shining example of transit in Alabama and that is a sad state off affairs because we are strangled by regional/racial politics, and a culture strongly against transit.

    Atlanta seems to do well with new light rail services being added, but for the most part the south is vehemently against transit.

    In Alabama it is a statewide law that is part of our bloated constitution that no state funds can go to transit.

  13. #13
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    "In Alabama it is a statewide law that is part of our bloated constitution that no state funds can go to transit. "
    That's exactly how it is in Georgia. In fact, MARTA is the only major public transit system in the U.S. that does NOT receive any state funds. Crazy.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Doberman's avatar
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    I'm genuinely impressed with what MARTA has been able to do despite the environment they operate in.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Doberman View post
    Atlanta seems to do well with new light rail services being added, but for the most part the south is vehemently against transit.
    Unfortunately MARTA doesn't do so well and needed emergency funding a couple years ago in order to keep the lights on so-to-speak. As was pointed out, MARTA is solely funded by those counties and cities for which it serves so no state or federal dollars are used, to my knowledge at least. MARTA needs to be able to tap into state and federal dollars to expand its rail light into more suburban areas but unfortunately racial divide rears its ugly head, (the disgusting acronym for MARTA was Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta) and we do not have elected officials, state or local, that have balls enough to say, "we are expanding MARTA light rail service for the betterment of the region." It is extremely aggravating to live in a suburban area of Atlanta and know the benefits of having light rail but the uneducated populous continue to run scared from the thought of it.

    I can only dream of the opportunities that light rail could bring to Georgia and the Southeast if it ran from Atlanta to Augusta, Atlanta to Macon, Atlanta to Columbus, Atlanta to Chattanooga and Atlanta to Birmingham. And then grow from there. But alas, it takes money (lots of it) and political will.

    MARTA got such a bad reputation in the early 1990's that Cobb and Gwinnett counties (two of the largest Metro Atlanta counties in land size and population) opted not to allow MARTA to serve within their counties so they began their own bus service, a duplication of services and waste of money. I think a name and brand change for MARTA would do wonders for marketing.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Doberman's avatar
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    If you don't mind me asking, do you work for MARTA?

    I see your point and I think we are in the same boat in many ways. I have always felt that Birmingham is a microcosm of Atlanta. There are the same racial tensions and nonsense. In the suburban communities the country club elects the officials and in the city they are elected by churches.

    We are in need of a huge marketing and PR overhaul. In the 9 months I have been here, a bus has erupted in flames, and a driver has ran over a special needs girl. How do you market a bus service like that in addition to incidents of grown men urinating on buses, dirty diapers being left, and people defecating on the platform?

    As a transit planner, I honestly feel caught in the middle. On the one hand I see the snobbishness of "over the mountain" communities, on the other hand I see our riding conditions as deplorable in many instances.

    I am currently working with nearby Shelby County to try and expand a commuter service there, probably as a Park and Ride, and I am not even entertaining the thought that these peak hour buses would even come to Central Station to connect with any of our existing routes.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    No, I work for a city outside of Atlanta but have been in the area since 1989.

    The problems with your bus service is exactly why many in the suburbs fear public transportation; the other people riding it. The solution to preventing the urination, dirty diapers and defecation isn't easy as it is an individual problem and lack of respect for one's self and others and it has nothing to do with race or socioeconomic status. The stigma of public transit has been that it is only for those inner-city and the poor. If you look at places like Charlotte and Denver, I use them for example because they have recently invested millions and grew their public transportation, those places are positive examples of public transit in the 21st century and blows that stigma out of the water. Are there problems? I'm sure but the positives outweigh the negatives.

    Park and ride is a good solution to introducing public transportation into an area that has been fundamentally against such however if the routes are spread out it limits the passengers to making their trips based upon the P&R service. What I've personally experienced is a P&R lot and bus service has established a route 30 miles east of downtown Atlanta and they run two buses into downtown in the mornings (two because of demand) and two buses out in the evening. If you miss the bus, you're stuck and if the bus doesn't drop off near your destination you've got to start walking or riding a MARTA bus. While this isn't ideal, it is an option and it has become a very popular mode of transportation for those traveling into Atlanta Monday through Friday.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Doberman's avatar
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    Thanks. What are the times of those buses coming inbound? I know many people don't have to be at work until 9 so I would think you would still need to be hitting your furthest suburb at 8AM in addition to 7AM.

    I agree there is always the risk that you will miss your bus. But once we get access to this county we can extend fixed route (non-express) service outbound. There may also be a way for our shuttle service to pick them up if it's just a handful.

    Right now I feel like I am playing a double role. On the one hand, we are promoting urban renewal and trying to bring the middle class back into the cities by servicing areas the city is revitalizing. On the other hand, we are trying to expand service into the suburbs.

    I think that many planners in the suburban commuters should (and some do) realize that the urban renewal is the latest trend and you're going to see an increasing number of people moving back into the city from suburbs. With rising gas costs, growing population, and recent planning trends, suburban communities can embrace transit now or later to remain competitive.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally posted by Doberman View post
    If you don't mind me asking, do you work for MARTA?

    I see your point and I think we are in the same boat in many ways. I have always felt that Birmingham is a microcosm of Atlanta. There are the same racial tensions and nonsense. In the suburban communities the country club elects the officials and in the city they are elected by churches.

    We are in need of a huge marketing and PR overhaul. In the 9 months I have been here, a bus has erupted in flames, and a driver has ran over a special needs girl. How do you market a bus service like that in addition to incidents of grown men urinating on buses, dirty diapers being left, and people defecating on the platform?

    As a transit planner, I honestly feel caught in the middle. On the one hand I see the snobbishness of "over the mountain" communities, on the other hand I see our riding conditions as deplorable in many instances.

    I am currently working with nearby Shelby County to try and expand a commuter service there, probably as a Park and Ride, and I am not even entertaining the thought that these peak hour buses would even come to Central Station to connect with any of our existing routes.
    Can you shoot me an email? I'm a Birmingham native, and I'd love to talk to pick your brain. I intend on moving back once I have started a professional career in planning.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by shell_waster View post
    Unfortunately MARTA doesn't do so well and needed emergency funding a couple years ago in order to keep the lights on so-to-speak. As was pointed out, MARTA is solely funded by those counties and cities for which it serves so no state or federal dollars are used, to my knowledge at least. MARTA needs to be able to tap into state and federal dollars to expand its rail light into more suburban areas but unfortunately racial divide rears its ugly head, (the disgusting acronym for MARTA was Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta) and we do not have elected officials, state or local, that have balls enough to say, "we are expanding MARTA light rail service for the betterment of the region." It is extremely aggravating to live in a suburban area of Atlanta and know the benefits of having light rail but the uneducated populous continue to run scared from the thought of it.

    I can only dream of the opportunities that light rail could bring to Georgia and the Southeast if it ran from Atlanta to Augusta, Atlanta to Macon, Atlanta to Columbus, Atlanta to Chattanooga and Atlanta to Birmingham. And then grow from there. But alas, it takes money (lots of it) and political will.

    MARTA got such a bad reputation in the early 1990's that Cobb and Gwinnett counties (two of the largest Metro Atlanta counties in land size and population) opted not to allow MARTA to serve within their counties so they began their own bus service, a duplication of services and waste of money. I think a name and brand change for MARTA would do wonders for marketing.

    Honestly - with MARTA, I think it's a matter of the older generations dying off before things start changing. (It sounds harsh, but really it's a matter of demographic shifts).

    I do think the viability of rail to Cobb is on a somewhat near horizon. At the very least to the new Braves stadium. And that ties in with the changing demographic in that area as well - as more people from elsewhere move in, and it moves from Old South to Urban professionals, the demands for transit increase.

    My city was gutted, when the Marta Rail came through - and white flight took the population off to train-less bus-less areas. Now it's being re-populated with new generations of urban professionals (myself included) that demanded access to a train station within walking distance. Gas prices will only continue to go up.

    Perhaps as a County the only way we can move forward with viable Public Transportation is to get rid of gas subsidies, so people really get an idea of how much it costs to drive everywhere.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by shell_waster View post
    The problems with your bus service is exactly why many in the suburbs fear public transportation; the other people riding it. The solution to preventing the urination, dirty diapers and defecation isn't easy as it is an individual problem and lack of respect for one's self and others and it has nothing to do with race or socioeconomic status. The stigma of public transit has been that it is only for those inner-city and the poor. If you look at places like Charlotte and Denver, I use them for example because they have recently invested millions and grew their public transportation, those places are positive examples of public transit in the 21st century and blows that stigma out of the water. Are there problems? I'm sure but the positives outweigh the negatives.
    Your comment reminded me of this video, which actually blew my mind a little bit. Not because there is a an attack and a fight, but more importantly, that the train is squeaky clean, and 4 cops came out of nowhere in under a minute to sort this out. Granted, it is Canada and probably completely publicly funded, but little things like that, would go a long way in reducing the stigma of Public Transit in the US.

    http://www.break.com/video/possessed...ttacks-2607503

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