Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Transit' ↓

Is the City of Sioux Falls using public transit to REDLINE Sioux Falls?

If you watch the presentation and look at the map above you will see there is a plan to move bus routes out of the ‘lily-white’ neighborhoods permanently, especially North Harrisburg (SE Sioux Falls).

Is this a backdoor way of making sure likely riders of public transit would not have options in affordable or accessible housing in these neighborhoods?

Public transit has been used in the past to redline neighborhoods.

The city council took the opportunity to NOT talk about this obvious glaring problem but to take up most of the Q & A time to complain about batteries for electric buses, because, you know, climate change is a hoax.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Neitzert says transit is like a free toaster

I never tried to drive a toaster to work;

“There’s been this argument that — and I don’t know if it’s provable — that if you give the rides away for free that kids will use it and they’ll become lifelong riders,” Neitzert said. “I guess I would say if you give me a free toaster and it’s awful, I’ll use it once and then I’m going to throw it away. I’m not going to keep using it. And so we have to improve the toaster. And that’s going to take a lot more work, and it’s a lot harder than just giving away free rides.”

Of course Greg voted against the FREE youth rides with a convenient argument;

Councilor Greg Neitzert was the sole vote against the proposal, saying the thing preventing people from riding the bus was not cost, but the fact that it doesn’t meet their needs.

I would ask Greg ‘As the legislative and policy body of the city, what have YOU done to improve it?’ Not a DAMN thing!

The first step is improving the marketing of the transit system. While it was good this passed, there should have been an amendment or resolution supporting a new marketing strategy encouraging youth ridership. If minors don’t know it is free, they will not ride. The school district, along with the city and even Lincoln and Minnehaha counties need to promote this.

We also have the money to do this. When we are spending tax dollars on ice ribbons, tennis courts, butterflies, zoo exhibits, cornice on the Pavilion roof, bunker ramp parks, etc. We have a couple of grand to market youth ridership.

Transit ridership is down because the city has virtually ignored improving it, expanding it or even marketing it. I have felt this has been done on purpose, and like the EC task force, the city blames Covid for the stalemate. I call BS on that!

I sent a letter to the Secretary of Transportation last month asking the DOT to reach out to the city with assistance in helping us make it better. That could be anything from promotional ideas, to better planning and MONEY! I am not sure if they have reached out, but I am hoping they do since our councilors are only good at making silly comparisons to kitchen appliances instead of actually digging in and doing the work.

If I was given a FREE toaster and it didn’t work right, I would either try to fix it or give it back for a different one. There are certain councilors that I would certainly like to ‘throw’ off the council for their awfulness and inability to work.

We care about the SF bus system

This post was sent to me by Bread for the World Sioux Falls Chapter;

Transit survey:

Have you taken the online transit survey? SAM is developing a Transit Development Plan update and says this survey will help. Find it Here.

Public input meetings are next week. You might have thoughts about where routes should go, or how often, or other ideas. Four meeting options:

  Monday, Aug.1, 10:00am

  Monday, Aug.1, noon

  Wednesday, Aug.3, 3:30pm

  Wednesday, Aug.3, 5:30pm

They will be at the new City Center Building, 231 N Dakota Ave, Cooper Room. You can park across the street at the downtown library, where parking is now FREE.

They want local public participation, so please come.

Please choose one of these meetings and RSVP to BSchweitzer@siouxfalls.org .

Kids’ rides. Thanks for your support for getting more kids on the bus. If you haven’t weighed in with city council, there’s still time. They will on this at the council meeting next Tuesday, Aug.2, 6pm.

Email for City Council: gneitzert@siouxfalls.orgmselberg@siouxfalls.org

csoehl@siouxfalls.orgpstarr@siouxfalls.org,  

AlexJensen@siouxfalls.orgRich.Merkouris@siouxfalls.org

Sarah.Cole@siouxfalls.org,  David.Barranco@siouxfalls.org

PTenHaken@siouxfalls.org

Public transit is a critical part of a city that works for its people, as well as for a more sustainable environment.  Thanks for your interest in improving our public transit system.

Washington Pavilion, Transparency and FREE youth bus rides

During the Informational meeting yesterday I spoke about the Pavilion’s slow growth in concert revenue and memberships as well as charging to attend regional art shows. (FF: 49:20) Below is a graphic of the current annual report.

During the city council regular meeting I talked about transparency in government (FF: 7:00) and the FREE youth bus rides (FF: 15:10). For clarification, several advocacy groups have been pushing for this for over a decade. Last Fall a couple people from those groups reached out to me to blog about it. I then reached out to former SF School board president Cynthia Mickelson who currently still serves on the board. She thought it was a good idea since the school district has been struggling with their own bus system and she reached out to councilor Curt Soehl and they have been working diligently to get it pushed through the transit board. A big thank you to both of them for their diligence.

Mayor TenHaken walks out of the Council Meeting during public input to Tweet

Ironically, PTH had nothing to do with this move. This was recommended by the Public Transit board last month and was actually in partnership with a recommendation from former SF School Board President Cynthia Mickelson after I texted her on November 20, 2021. Cynthia reached out to Councilor Soehl about it and I never heard a peep until last week when it appeared on the agenda.

I’m happy they are moving forward. Many former board members have told me they have been working on this for around a decade.

Sioux Falls City Council will finally approve FREE youth bus rides all year long

UPDATE: Public Transit advocates have told me they were aware of the changes, BUT were never given a timeline when they would go in effect so it comes as a pleasant surprise to them.

If I am reading this correctly it looks like the mayor wants to give free rides to youth on public transit all year long (item #35);

I’m glad to see they will be attempting to make this change. Rapid City has done it for several years. This will also alleviate some strain on the School District’s bussing system. While the mayor is the sponsor, I don’t think there will be any no votes on this.

It is a little disappointing that the council did not bring this forward considering they are 1) the policy body and 2) been urged by advocates for several years to make this change. Apparently the mayor got the message while the council is still hanging out in the cornfields looking for ways to getting out of forming policy on things like the bunker ramp and tornado sirens.

UPDATE: Public Transit in Sioux Falls gets worse

UPDATE: Notice the CIP that was released today (the mayor dropped it in the councilors mailboxes at Carnegie). While their is plenty of money for NEW streets and pools no mention of public transit.

It’s bad enough that transit routes don’t go throughout the entire city, NO Sunday service and now this;

Saturday service will end at 3 p.m. for SAM’s two Saturday crosstown routes, as well as SAM On Demand rides and paratransit services, shaving about two and a half hours of of the service’s Saturday hours starting July 2.

I have often argued that a city of our size should have a transit system that runs 7 days a week, runs throughout the entire city and allow minors to ride for FREE all year long. In Kansas City they have been running a program that gives free rides to people who maintain employment status and other circumstances.

It often surprises me when we dump millions into special interest sports and parking ramps and virtually ignore improving public transit.

Mayor TenHaken’s SOC Address ends in a very unusual way


You won’t see it on the end of the video we downloaded (it was edited out) but as you can see from the screenshot below it had an unusual ending;


The city did eventually upload to their YouTube channel, but before that it was ONLY on FB. Bruce Danielson who owns and operates the SouthDacola YouTube channel that I link to frequently downloads from FB videos. He does NOT and never has had a FB account, so he was surprised when at the end of the SOC address video post on the City’s official FB page an ad/video for some kind of butt spray paint appears. Not sure why that happened, but it makes you wonder who uploaded the video to FB:) Was it a city employee or one of Paul’s campaign goons? And Bruce, if you are secretly looking for butt spray paint, we need to have a serious heart to heart conversation. LMFAO!



MAYOR TENHAKEN WANTS TO GIVE FREE YOUTH RIDES

I guess I missed this in his address;



TenHaken announced he will be proposing to the Public Transit Advisory Board and City Council to make the public transit system free to kids citywide.


Hey great idea, wonder where it came from? Oh that’s right, I wrote about it here. I won’t take credit, I was alerted about this from a citizen advocate, Cathy Brechtelsbauer, and after I blogged about it I contacted Sioux Falls School Board President Cynthia Mickelson about Cathy’s idea and she started collaborating with a couple of city councilors, as far as I know they have already been trying to draw up an ordinance to do it, but like most of Poops ideas he lifts them from other people, you know like precincts, uh, I mean, report-to-work stations 🙂

Should we Scrap Public Transit for E-Bikes in Sioux Falls?

My little slice of Heaven

I made this joke a couple of months ago to some people, “Maybe the city should just sell SAM and buy current transit riders an E-Bike.”

Imagine my surprise when I heard about this NY Times Article today;

I’m no stranger to bike commuting, I have been doing it on and off, depending on the job since 1993. But like the article mentions, you get sweaty. I have been putting off getting an E-Bike, because up until this point, I don’t think many models are worth a crap (there are only about 3-5 brands that are worth a damn) and I have quite the non-ebike collection now, mostly cruisers I have fixed up or saved from the junk pile that are wonderful for leisure rides and short commutes and as I lovingly call ‘My Children’.

My 1957 Schwinn ‘Cotton Candy’

I first started with an E-Scooter (that only rides on the streets) 2 years ago, which I love. But it is heavy and you cannot pedal it.

E-Coco, made in Turkey

So after visiting San Diego in May and riding a certified throttle E2 I was sold and finally narrowed it down to my Ariel Rider (top pic). The bike I chose is not for everyone. It has a center bar and is made for shorter people. But it rides and handles like a motorcycle, and I won’t even tell you the speed I get out of it, but I have been riding everyday since I got it a month ago and it is amazing and the charge is good for 40 miles. The only thing I can suggest for you is to do your research (I watched hours of video reviews and read tons of data about batteries and motors). I don’t see myself driving my car at all next summer except for when it is raining (but this is an all-weather bike you can ride through most weather events except for like a blizzard or ice storm). Other brands like RAD and Himiway are also year round E-Bikes that are actually very affordable and tough as nails. The other advantage of having a bike VS. a car is that it can be included on your homeowners or renters insurance.

The ride that sold me on an E2

So how would it change our perception of Public Transit in Sioux Falls?

I’m not naive, I realize that there are many people who ride SAM that cannot bike or walk to work. But what if we reduced the size of SAM to targeted pickups and simply buy anyone who qualifies a good E-bike with a tool kit and access to affordable parts and a trade-in program? It would be life changing and you might even be able to diversify the workforce in Sioux Falls. If the city bought durable E-Bikes at a bulk rate they could probably get the bikes for under $1,000 a piece. They could probably even get a Federal Transportation grant for it out of the infrastructure bill. You could also exchange the FREE bike for a one-time volunteer opportunity to pick up trash along the river and bike trail or any other number of community projects.

Here is an example, through Federal housing grants it already costs around $300K to build one multi-family home in Sioux Falls. Can you imagine how many working people you would impact if you spent half that on FREE E-bikes Instead? It would be enormous. You could also set the program up so they could trade the bikes in for an upgraded model in a couple of years and make sure the bikes are specially marked from being sold to Pawn Shops, etc.

There are a lot of details to be worked out and YES some people may abuse the system but I can tell you from my experience of getting on a true E2 for the first time in California, once you ride one, you are sold. Many of these bikes can also fold up and be very compact for a small living space, and like my model, the batteries are detachable for recharging in case you have to store it outside. Let’s just say besides saving public tax dollars in transit costs it gives recipients of these bikes enormous FREEDOM they did not have before standing and waiting for the bus.

I think when it comes to commuting to work in Sioux Falls, we really need to think outside the box, and big clunky buses really are NOT cutting it anymore.

I grew up always having a bike, and I can’t imagine what it would be like NOT having one now, especially to someone who is working poor and cannot afford a vehicle. Instead of blowing millions on parking ramps, tennis courts and ice ribbons, maybe we should be investing in reliable transportation for workers. Just a thought.

Should the Sioux Falls School Board team up with City Council to offer FREE public transit rides for minors?

As I reported in August, Rapid City decided to extend a FREE public transit ride program to students. I think Sioux Falls should do the same, and our cost would be minimal if anything. We already do it during summer months mostly so food insecure kids can eat in the summer.

Recently Congress passed an infrastructure bill that has billions in it for public transit. Sioux Falls could take advantage of this by hiring and training more drivers and extending routes and time of service.

Now, don’t be fooled, this cannot just happen with a stroke of the pen. The devil is in the details. I encourage the school board to sit down with the city council in a public work session to discuss how to move forward. Let’s face it, there would have to be some route changes and other logistics, but it’s doable.

A candidate for mayor put it best recently in a FB post;

Regardless if it’s a “public school issue,” the shortage of bus drivers is a community problem. Many SFPS students also use public transportation, and as our city grows, the need for a robust public transportation system is a must.

A lack of planning on critical issues like this is why we end up with parents being asked to drive school buses. We can and will do better.

As they point out, different branches of local government CAN work together on this for a solution. I reached out to a school board member and a city councilor last night about the idea, hopefully talks will happen soon.

Some may not know this, but I actually consulted and encouraged a city councilor to start the FREE summer youth rides when they asked me if their idea was worth pursuing. It was then and a broader approach should be pursued now.