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Sioux Falls Earth Citizens, Speak up to help preserve and improve Sioux Falls’ fixed-route bus system.

By Cathy Brechtelsbauer, earth citizen • 8/1/19

A “Core Team” of city employees has been discussing re-vamping the bus system. They presented to city council on July 16 (4pm meeting) their proposal to pilot an “on demand” system, rather than improve the fixed-route service. The proposal would expand service area and hours but admits to focusing generally on current riders. A computer system would determine routing for 9 buses (down from the current 26) picking up and dropping off people at locations within 3 blocks of their start and destination.

Public transportation plays an important role in confronting environmental challenges. Public transportation can:

• Improve air quality

• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

• Facilitate compact development, conserving land and decreasing travel demand

• Save energy

• Other benefits (such as affordable mobility, congestion relief, economic development.) [Federal Transit Administration website]

Our concerns:

1. Sioux Falls has not expanded bus service to match the growth of the city. Nor has Sioux Falls tried a major bus ridership campaign.

2. A new plan must be able to start from day one serving at least current riders. We sure don’t want to lose riders.

3. Transportation is now the #1 source of greenhouse gas emissions. Any plan must help SiouxFalls do its part to turn the tide on climate change. It must have strong potential for increased ridership, even if part of the service is devoted to hard-to-reach places and times. Fixed-route systems have more potential for environmental benefit than on demand systems. The proposal, as presented, includes no goal about increasing ridership or about reducing our carbon footprint.

4. On demand transit is being piloted in a number of cities, with results so far that question efficiency and financial stability. Compare typical 10-40 passenger trips/hour for our fixed routes (Only one route in Sioux Falls averages less.) to on-demand pilots, which yield up to 3 passenger trips per service hour.

5. A fixed-route system is needed for those who can manage fixed route buses but cannot handle changeable routings. For example, people with cognitive impairments can learn where and when to catch the bus to get to appointments and also to get home, as can people without phones. Their independence is diminished if fixed routes are lost. With fixed-routes, riders can know arrival times needed in order to plan their rides.

“The number of people who use transit is directly linked to transit’s ability to provide environmental benefits.” [Federal Transit Administration website]

A 3-City Bus Ride Snapshot: Arlington, Missoula, Sioux Falls Arlington TX and Missoula MT were the only other cities mentioned at the July 16 City Council informational meeting, where an update on the Core Team’s progress was presented and seemed decided to pilot an on-demand system for Sioux Falls.

Arlington TX did not have public transit until starting its on demand “Via” system in late 2017. (A 4-route Trolley system serves only hotel guests.) Arlington uses 13 Via vans and also contract vehicles during peak times. They also have Paratransit. Population: 396,394 Average rides on Via, April-June 2019: approx. 16,000/month

Missoula MT “Mountain Line” uses a fixed route system that has been Zero-fare since 2014. Local businesses and organizations are “partners” by donating funds to cover the fares. They also have Paratransit. Population: 73,340 Average fixed-route rides in 2018: approx. 131,000/month

Sioux Falls’ Sioux Area Metro (SAM) has both fixed-route and Paratransit. Population: 176,888 Average fixed-route rides in 2018: approx. 65,000/month

This snapshot gives us pause about the on demand proposal and the confidence to suggest that the Sioux Falls planning team consider a ramped up, even a zero-fare fixed-route system.

The Core Team has given time and energy so far, and we hope there is willingness to keep considering more ideas. In addition, the City Council should insist that our bus system both meet needs of vulnerable citizens and expand service and ridership enough to reduce our carbon footprint.

How to contact City Council: www.siouxfalls.org/council/members has names, phone and email contact info. Emails: jbrekke@siouxfalls.org, cerickson@siouxfalls.org, gneitzert@siouxfalls.org, mselberg@siouxfalls.org, csoehl@siouxfalls.org, pstarr@siouxfalls.org, tstehly@siouxfalls.org, rkiley@siouxfalls.org, PTenHaken@siouxfalls.org

Public input at Council meetings the first 3 Tuesdays each month, 7pm. One letter can be sent for all the council: City Council, 235 W 10th St, Sioux Falls SD 57104

UPDATE: Petitions to start circulating today!

I got word this morning that Triple Check the Charter will start circulating petitions today. They had a few things to smooth out with the city first, but it looks like a green light.

I would expect them to be at the SE Fair this week and at Levitt this weekend. Remember, the quicker they get the proper signatures the sooner we can have a special election.

You can download the petition instructions and petition HERE.

Look at the data where past mayors have broken tie votes HERE.

Belfrage weighs in on the topic this morning.

What’s going on with the Bunker Ramp?

At the Sioux Falls city council meeting Tuesday Night, Bruce and I asked what is going on with the Bunker Ramp. I specifically asked why we haven’t gotten an explanation of what is going on with it, why we haven’t received an apology for such a horrible mistake and I suggested anyone involved on the council should resign and any city employee who assisted Mayor Bowlcut and Bucktooth to ramrod it be terminated.

Sioux Falls City Council Meetings, July 9, 2019

Happy 4th from Pheasant Country?

Before all the military people go ballistic, I want to say, I think what this charity does is wonderful! Helping veterans to relieve stress while enjoying the great outdoors is awesome.

This is more of a critique of artwork on the trailer, and not just this trailer, but I see this often on other veteran organizations vehicle wraps.

Is it okay to create patriotic themes with the cross? I don’t know, not sure what the rules are on that. But pheasants flying out of a cross? Um . . .?

Big Band at Levitt

Another great night at the Levitt Friday!

I guess they have been counting the crowds with clickers the best they can, I await to hear the numbers.

JJ’s now has a full-liquor option for basic cocktails, and they serve up until 9 PM instead of 8:30.

It’s Up! Can we handle the influx of tourists downtown?

Click to Enlarge

City of Bell Scandal

With all the crap going on with the Parking Ramp, someone today in city government reminded me of this STORY. I had read it a few years ago, and it just shows when the stars align anything is possible;

The Bell scandal involved the misappropriation of public funds in Bell, California, United States, over a period of several years in the late 2000s. In July 2010, the Los Angeles Times published an investigative article on possible malfeasance in the neighboring city of Maywood, revealing that the city officials of Bell received salaries that were reported as the highest in the nation.[1] Subsequent investigations found atypically high property tax rates, allegations of voter fraud in municipal elections and other irregularities which heightened the ensuing scandal.[2] These and other reports led to widespread criticism and a demand for city officials to resign.[3][4]

In the end, seven Bell city officials, including former mayor Oscar Hernandez, former city administrator Robert Rizzo, assistant city administrator Angela Spaccia, and four city council members were convicted on graft and corruption charges, and were given sentences ranging from probation to twelve years in prison.[5]

This is a great example of why closed government, in any form is a NOT good thing.

Big Yellow (pink) House across the Pond

I will have to give props to Minnehaha CC Barth for sending me this story;

At Diter’s trial in January, the assistant public prosecutor Pierre-Jean Gaury said the work he had carried out on the property was a “pharaonic project, delusional, totally illegal and built in an illegal manner”.

It had been built in violation of urban planning regulations as well as of safety and environmental rules by an owner whose “only concern is money”, he said.

Sound familiar?

Daylight savings time. Why?