Entries Tagged 'Transportation' ↓

Rapid City offers FREE transit rides ALL-YEAR long to youth


While Sioux Falls only offers this service during the summer so kids can get to their friends house across town to play video games, Rapid City offers all year so kids can get to school;


As parents and students scamper to buy school clothes, sneakers and supplies, one of the key boxes on the school checklist that impacts many families is reliable transportation to and from school.
The City and Rapid Transit System (RTS) is again offering the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program for the 2021-22 school year.

What a concept! I have felt for a long time it should be all year and anyone 17 and under should be able to swim for FREE at the outdoor pools. Instead the city has cut their transit routes and are looking to cut back on our bus system more and more each year. The reason ridership numbers are dwindling in Sioux Falls is because we have terrible service. Maybe we should just terminate SAM, sell all the assets and buy anyone without a car or driver’s license an E-Bike?

Update: Public Transit Advisory Board meets in person on Monday

Update: the meeting was cancelled because it was not properly posted.

I was forwarded the agenda by an official, but when you go to the city website, the agenda is NOT posted.

As of 3:40 PM, July 25, 2021

I’m not sure if they legally can have the meeting since the agenda is NOT posted on the city website (24 hours in advance). I’m sure they will argue like they did in the past that the agenda is available upon request, but I still think it should be on the city website. We will see if the meeting happens.

City of Sioux Falls Tidbits

After an incident over the weekend where SFPOs were caught cussing out suspects, the Chief of Police claims there is nothing to see, move along. As I have been saying for years, further proof we need body cams, but as he said last week, no policy changes. Shocker. They also need some diversity training and paid physical fitness time.

Sales taxes are in the crapper, but no surprise. As about 15% of the workforce in Sioux Falls lost their jobs and nobody was spending any money – we saw this coming. I just hope the budget hearings that start tomorrow prepare for this.

Speaking of money, the city could get up to $41 million in Covid money but Mayor Multi-task doesn’t think we need it. The covid crisis is far from over, and as you noticed, the cases in SD remain on an even keel and are NOT going down. If this continues into the fall and winter, we may need some of that money to combat the crisis further. Nothing wrong with planning ahead, wait, this administration doesn’t know what that means. Let’s just keep the libraries and pools closed, that’s the ticket!The Public Transit board met today but no one really knows what is on the agenda because it wasn’t posted on the agenda page. Of course this is a violation of open meetings laws not having the agenda posted (except in this mysterious zoom document). But they have been violating those rules for a couple of years now, why do anything differently?

UPDATE: Advocacy Group to Speak at PTAB meeting on Monday

UPDATE: I have been hearing from several sources and city officials that the on-demand service may never happen. The first problem is that the guy who cooked it up left. The second problem is that many in the innovation office are dropping the ball, and skipping important meetings. Thirdly there isn’t any real funding for the program in the transit fund for it, so they will have to subsidize it somehow. And lastly the union representing SAM says there is no deal on running a pilot on Sundays unless their contract is revised. They basically are saying if anyone would be willing to work, it would be like holiday pay. But the biggest problem is they really don’t have enough staff to administer it. So if all of these issues are solved, they will pretty much have to contract with another private transportation provider to accomplish the pilot program. My guess is this thing will die quietly in the night. Oh, and the below meeting has yet to publish their agenda online, which will be a violation of State Law. That seems to be a habit lately with the city, and the Sioux Falls School District, who didn’t have ANY public input at any of their public boundary task force meetings. I think it is time to start filing some complaints with the Open Meetings Commission. They could probably have hearings for about a week with all the violations.

The Advocacy Collective will be doing a presentation at the PTAB (Public Transit Advisory Board) meeting, Monday, February 24th, at 3:45 at the new City bldg.  

The presentation will be in support of enhancing our current fixed-route system vs. implementing an on-demand system which is scheduled for a pilot project this summer..

I know, I know….. ‘the train has already left the station’, esp. with PTH wanting to promote the on-demand system as ‘his plum project’ for the Harvard Bloomberg Initiative.  In spite of this, we will be continuing to speak out against this ill-conceived revamping of our public transit.

Many in our community are not even aware this major redesign of Sioux Area Metro is taking place. We have been speaking out (PTAB meetings, Stehly Report, etc.) for the past several months.  Those who will be part of the presentation Monday are individuals who have amassed decades of advocacy for SF vulnerable populations.  These are the people who have had ‘boots on the ground’ for many years working with segments of our city’s population who are reliant on SF public transit for both their work and personal lives.

The meeting will take place at 231 N. Dakota Avenue across the street from the Downtown Public Library.

AARP features a story on Mayor TenHaken

I was actually surprised they were able to track him down for an interview, wait, the article came with a photo shoot, so of course he showed up;

After the summit, TenHaken created a Department of Innovation and Technology, hiring as its leader Jason Reisdorfer, who had previously worked in sales. Reisdorfer got to work on redeveloping the city’s transit system. Among the city workers he and TenHaken picked for the Core Team, only one had previous transit expertise. The diverse team included a firefighter, a police officer, a librarian and a health care worker.

“We didn’t want to have a bunch of people in the same room who said, ‘This is how we’ve always done it,’ “ Reisdorfer says.

So he headed this team up with a former tool salesman (who BTW just quit) that came up with a plan that has failed in other communities across the continent. Seems like a good thing for the AARP to write about.

TenHaken allowed the team freedom to work on its own. “When a mayor gets involved in any sort of meeting, his or her voice trumps any other discussion in the room,” he says. But his presence was felt. The team communicated using a messaging app, and TenHaken frequently chimed in with uplifting emojis.

That’s because one of the first things PTH did as a Mayor was give his COS executive authority so he could jet set all over the country and world. As of right now I guess he is in Haiti trying to set up more missionaries over there with a team of local bankers and businessmen. While I am all for charitable work, all the mayor has to do is drive about a mile east from his city hall office to Whittier neighborhood and see people right here in our community that need charity and help.

If the pilot works, part of the bus fleet would be replaced with vans and cars.

TenHaken embraced the idea, but also the possibility that it might not work. “We’re experimenting and we’re innovating on a very public stage,” he says. “The alternative is to do nothing at all.”

And it won’t work, or it will work but help very few people. There is an alternative, fix paratransit and the fixed route system first, get ridership up and make it more affordable, than screw around with taxi apps.

Sioux Falls Transportation MPO meeting happening on Jan 14

I encourage people to attend this meeting on transportation;

The MPO is holding this meeting on Tues. January 14th from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the Downtown Library.

I also received this email about some of the plans for public transit in Sioux Falls, and concerns (I edited the content to be more specific);

The Planning Department suggested to have bus rapid transit from downtown to the Events Center and than to the Pentagon FARE-free, for conventioneers, sports fans, tourists, but NOT our most fragile residents.

As I have mentioned before, we must first fix paratransit and make it easier to use, faster, city-wide, and yes, more affordable before we start tackling who can get to the dead zone called the Events Center campus or a Skyforce game. It seems this town has plenty of money for those who already have the means to pay for their own transportation but not for the less fortunate. Do I think public transit for everyone should be totally FREE? No. But I do think we can provide better service and make it extremely affordable to almost FREE. We need to concentrate on the economic impact of public transit and getting people to work. If we can provide an efficient, hassle free and affordable way to get people to work the economic impact of it would pay for itself. While we are dinking around with TIFs for parking ramps and bailouts of historical movie theaters we are neglecting the people who make this city spin, OUR WORKERS of every economic stripe and status.

SHAKE, MY, HEAD.

On-Demand Transit Pilot RFP

I was able to find the RFP on Friday when it was released.

LINK TO ENTIRE PDF DOC

As we look at Transit as a burden, KC looks at it as an investment in workers

What a concept! KC has made public transit FARE FREE and said it will only cost them $8 million a year, but the economic impact is well worth it. DUH!

“I think it would make the bus system stronger, not weaker, and would probably bring in more revenue, not less.” 

I also loved this quote from the Editorial board at the KC Star when people asked where they will find the money;

“A good first step would be to stop giving away tax revenue to developers.

Yeah, maybe the AL Ed board should send the same message to our city leaders. Stop the corporate welfare in this city and we can find the money for all kinds of public programs.

Transit Presentation

I was finally able to get a copy of the presentation from Monday’s meeting. It wasn’t emailed until Thursday. It is STILL not available online. The city attorney’s office and the clerk’s office needs to have a serious conversation with ALL department heads about the open meetings laws. Two of the attendees (city managers) should have known better since they have both worked for the city for over a decade.

Here is link to what a ‘REAL’ transit study looks like (Done for the City of Missoula, MT)

Important Sioux Falls meeting on Monday about Transit Changes

This email was sent out today from concerned citizens about the transit meeting coming on Monday;

You might want to come to the PTAB meeting on Monday (Oct.28), 3:45pm, if you have an interest in climate change and/or how our bus system might be changed. The “Core Team” (a group of city employees) will present their plan to pilot an “on demand” bus system next year.

Some concerns:

1. If climate change is real, our city’s transit goals must include increased bus ridership, along with more walking and bicycling. Why? Transportation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. As far as has been described so far, the plan has NO GOAL or plan for increasing ridership or reducing our city’s carbon footprint.

2. “On demand” plans have been tried in other cities enough now that we know they are less efficient than fixed-route systems. With rare exceptions, few carry more than five riders per hour. Yet our current bus system has only one route averaging less than 10.

3.  $190,000 city funds will be used to develop software and education for the on-demand system on Saturdays. Might we ask for matching funds for promoting ridership on the fixed-routes Monday thru Friday? Sioux Falls has never tried a creative, extensive ridership campaign.

4. . . . You may have other concerns, questions, etc.  (people who don’t speak English, people who don’t have phones, people with cognitive  disabilities, children. …)

At least we will learn more about the pilot project plan (and maybe a better idea of how our city views public transit than was expressed in the Argus* article this past Monday).

The meeting is in the new city building on Dakota Ave, across the street from the downtown library, conference room on the main floor. The agenda and maybe even materials should be posted here by tomorrow (Fri) afternoon:

The bus is too important for people who need it to get to work and get around, and how we do transit is too important to the climate, for us to let this matter slide by. 

Thanks for your attention to this even if you can’t come on Monday.

*This line in the Argus article has many citizens concerned;

A team of city staff tasked with revamping the Sioux Falls public transit system of fixed-route busing is readying to launch a pilot program to test whether a request-based ride structure could replace the city-provided service that’s been hemorrhaging taxpayer dollars for decades.

A citizen who sent me the above email had this response to the use of the word ‘hemorrhaging’;

Buses are a city service. Riders’ fares should not be expected to cover the cost. Bus riders are helping to save wear on the streets, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, keep our air clean, reduce traffic congestion, and help reduce the need to use city space and funds for parking. As such, the bus system is a service to all of us. Its costs are costs, not losses, and for sure should not be put in such a negative light as “hemorrhaging”, any more than the costs of streets, police dept, libraries, and other city services.

I would agree. I would also add that a viable transit system adds to economic development. Having a way for people to get to work who can’t drive (for whatever limited reason) saves tax dollars in less government subsidies.

I can’t attend the meeting due to it’s (unfriendly) citizen participation time and a form of ‘soft’ censorship, but I encourage others to let the city know the importance of public transit, and how the ‘big cities’ across this country have found a way to make it viable and useful.