Entries Tagged 'Transportation' ↓

City of Sioux Falls announces this morning transit system going to shuttle service

Not sure if this will be a short term experiment, but the Innovation office announced this morning in a DTSF meeting (According to councilor Stehly) that they are going to an on demand shuttle service using phone aps.

While I know they have been discussing this for places that are NOT served well by the bus routes, I don’t think going ALL shuttle service would be a good idea. You are going to still need fixed routes, and what about people with NO phones?

Also, what would be the cost of eliminating full-size buses and moving to shuttles?

It will be interesting to hear the details of the plan. I guess we will find out in an informational in July.

Sioux Falls Transit Innovation Meeting • 4/5/2019

The meeting was set. The Romantix Annex was the place. The date was set. The reservations were made. The reason was transit. The subject was buses. The facilitator was Bloomberg. The audience was well, there. The result was a lot of Post-it notes.

So the cameras showed up to the reserved 1st floor meeting room only to find a small note posted on a door saying the meeting was moved to the “unused” 3rd floor of the Romantix Annex City Center Administration Building.

It was interesting to read some of the Post-it Notes and hear the thought processes. We’re still wondering what the actual report is going to be. There were many preconceived thoughts still floating about the room based on the ideas perpetuated by the previous administration’s desire to quit wasting resources on anyone who couldn’t live in the southeast part of town or high in the sky apartments. It is always interesting to hear where policy makers are heading with their thoughts, whatever they may be.

You remember the building, our last mayor insisted was needed back in 2015 to use up our 2nd penny road, transit and infrastructure funds. This was our first time seeing the “empty” 3rd floor. Here’s a thought, as long as the town has paid for the space, why not put a decent set of speakers in it and start using as an actual meeting room? The walls have painted drywall so make it a flexible use room? The room worked well for this kind of meeting except for the sound. Don’t put a fancy ceiling in the area so it can remain flexible. Just a thought…

City version below;

What has Councilor Rex Rolfing learned in 7-1/2 years? Not much.

Take off your hat and listen to my genius.

I guess I didn’t have too many high expectations out of a retired insurance salesman anyway.

At the council meeting tonight during the parking ramp debate, Councilor Stehly showed an image of her postcard she recently mailed out that listed all the councilors contact information (city email addresses and phone #’s NOT private). Rolfing, being the ignoramus he normally is reiterated to the public that he has told Stehly not to use his public contact information on her mailings she pays for personally.

Not up to you Rex, it is public information. The tax payers pay for that service and we OWN your public email address and phone number, you do not. And since you don’t own them Rex, you have NO authority to tell Stehly whether she can use them or not.

What’s that saying about a mud fence?

Who’s on Second? Right on Red?

I often tell my fellow bike riders in Sioux Falls, you must ALWAYS ride defensively. Why? Because like there is bad golfers and bad fisherman, there are bad drivers. Sure, if some of these people would put down their cheese burgers, stop yelling at their kids or put down the cell phone, they may be better. But I can’t change that. And little white signs can’t change that either.

Many people are still butt hurt that the red light traffic light cameras were taken down. “Don’t you understand? Someone died.” Yes, ONE person died because ONE other person was a careless driver. My assumption is that careless driver was charged with a crime. So why punish the rest of us who are good drivers, or good pedestrians or good bicyclists?

The cameras were essentially taken down because they were not photographing the license plate with the driver, so there was constitutional law stuff going on.

But either way, as I have always understood it, whether there is a camera, a light or a sign, state law permits you to turn right on red AS LONG AS you come to a full stop, and yield in both directions before proceeeding. I have never waited for a light to turn green before turning right on red and I have never caused an accident or ran over anybody. Why, because I follow the very simple law of stopping and yielding before proceeding.

Yes it is tragic that pedestrians and bicyclists get ran over and die from reckless drivers, but why punish the good drivers for their crimes?

Solar Speed Signs just make sense!


Besides people shooting themselves over a meth deal in Sioux Falls these days, we have another epidemic, speeding in residential areas. If I hear one complaint more from residents about crime, it is people who speed through sensitive areas (mostly school zones). There is a solution, and it is quite effective, and rather inexpensive. Small towns across South Dakota have been using solar powered flashing speed signs. Not only are they pretty frickin’ handy, they can also be moved quite easily using a bracket system.

Councilor Stehly is pushing for ‘testing’ these signs. She was voted down during the budget process, but she tells me that she is still pushing for them. Like snow gates, Theresa won’t give up until they are implemented or at least tested.

Our chief traffic engineer responded to a series of questions from Theresa;

From: Hoftiezer, Heath
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2016 10:52 AM
To: Stehly, Theresa <TStehly@siouxfalls.org>
Subject: Responses to Speed Trailer Questions

1. You indicated that we are using the speed safety signs on poles within school districts only. The city currently does not own any for residential areas.

That is correct, so far we have limited usage to School Zones.

 2. We talked about the areas that are high complaint areas.  Right now, how often do we put the speed trailers out. How many speed trailers do we have and how long do you let them sit in an area? How do you decided who gets to have the speed trailers?

There are three speed trailers that are moved around to different locations on a weekly basis from Spring thru Fall.  A list of speeding complaint areas that is generated by calls to Police, Public Works, City Clerks, Mayors Office and received CRM’s is used to determine where the trailers are placed.

 3. We talked about the speed trailers we currently have sticking into the roadway. It is also my understanding that they are bulky and labor intensive to move.

Depending on location on narrower streets the trailers can influence traffic quite a bit due to protruding into the driving area (this can be good and bad).   The trailers generally take up a parking spot in order to be placed so they are not able to be placed at locations that do not have parking.  It takes approximately one day for a person to pick-up and deploy the three speed trailers that the City currently has.

 4.  You seemed to view the addition of pole mounted solar speed signs in notorious complaint areas as a possible benefit for our community. You said you would appreciate it and they would be used  if they were available.

That is correct.  We have explored the concept of what you are proposing a couple of years ago and our biggest concern was what the expectation would be for relocation timelines.  The 3 month rotations that you were talking about would be reasonable to work with.

 Please let me know if you need anything else.

 Heath R. Hoftiezer, P.E., PTOE • Principal Traffic Engineer City of Sioux Falls

Stehly also got an estimate from a traffic control company;


Price estimate for 10 solar 400 speed signs for Sioux Falls South Dakota.

Dimension 4ft 5ft


Signs 10 $–3,595 per sign $35,950

Brackets Included

Postage 160 per sign $1,600

Traditional speed limit sign $25 per sign $250

Customer Discount -$5,000

Total cost $32,800

Warranty……..2 years

Easy to Move

Low Maintenance

Tracking information available for $ 250 per sign / $2,500

Can be mounted on light pole or traditional pole



FREE Summer Transit rides for youth a success?

I would think so, with 10,334 rides provided and 358 passes obtained (that’s an average of about 29 rides per pass!) this was a great introduction to the transit system for our youth. Another program recently implemented was FREE rides for vets, which I also think is wonderful.

Councilors plan to revisit the program next year for the entire summer.

But isn’t this a little ironic that we are talking about paratransit being self-sufficient and raising rates while we are giving youth and veterans free rides, which I am all for. But let’s be fair and realistic. The paratransit ship can be tightened up without raising rates.

And speaking of FREE summer youth programs, whatever happened to the Huether Family indoor tennis facility providing free lessons to underpriviledged youth in our town? I haven’t heard about one single session held all summer. I think maybe it is time the city council requests the $500K in taxpayer money be given back to the citizens so we can spend it on something more wise.

Should Paratransit rates be increased?

Seems like a harmless debate? Right? Well it is a bit more complicated than that.

While I think a very ‘small’ increase is okay, ever expecting Paratransit to be self-sufficient is a bit far-fetched. There are those who would argue both sides of the coin, but those who want Paratransit to be self-sustaining are just not being realistic.

My arguments are very simple. A transit ride, whether that is by train, bus, or paratransit bus is transportation and infrastructure costs, no different than fixing our streets or maintaining our bike trail. There is no toll or fee to use our streets and bike trail, but we do pay a (regressive) retail tax to have them repaired. We also receive Federal funding for our roads.

Who pays a retail tax in our community? Well, anyone who purchases ‘stuff’. This not only includes us planet choking auto owners but it also includes children, the homeless, people who are disabled, etc. etc. In some respects you could almost argue that paratransit and SAM rides in general should be free to anyone who pays retail taxes, but I won’t go there.

There is also an economic view of providing an affordable paratransit service. People with disabilities who want to work CAN. And instead of the Federal government supplementing their entire income and health benefits, they actually contribute to our community by working. Making paratransit unaffordable to those who need it most, the ones that depend on it for employment transportation, would be detrimental to that whole sector of individuals in Sioux Falls. Some may think this may be a way to drive the disabled out of town. That’s just crazy talk, many disabled people live and work in Sioux Falls because they are close to healthcare services and can be gainfully employed. You won’t drive them out of town.

I look at a ‘subsidy’ of paratransit necessary and no different then ‘subsidizing’ the street department to fill pot holes and fix our roads.

If you look at this through the eyes of government being prudent with our money, I couldn’t find many other things that are close to it. We have a choice, subsidize the rides so people can work and contribute to the tax base in our community, or make it unaffordable so these people have to use way more Federal resources which costs us way more of our Federal contribution.

As for how Paratransit operates, there are many, many, many things that could change to make it more efficient operational wise that would save us money in the long run. One suggestion would be to put in an efficient dispatch system. This would save in man hours, fuel and make the rides more timely.

While the city council and mayor may be beating their heads against the wall about fee increases, the bottom line is subsidizing paratransit just makes economic sense, now if they can concentrate on running it better, that would show some true prudence and business acumen.


While everyone sits on the edge of their seats about the Sioux Falls city budget, the big meeting is tomorrow

The audit committee tackles several hurdles on Wednesday. While the Zoo gets a clean bill of health (Bravo! I had the pleasure of meeting the director this summer and having a great convo over BBQ, and hope to follow up soon on her invitations!).

The crime lab has issues with cash storage 🙁

But the most interesting audit was the Transit (Doc:Transit-Audit-9-2015 ) it’s full of ‘concerning’ points (an example below)


It seems the biggest problem with the transit system is not cash flow, but customer service.

Is the FREE Youth Bus Passes a Success?

I guess time will tell, but the first numbers seem promising, considering there has been pretty much zero promotion by the city except for a few news stories, an online flyer and a press conference;

“It’s really been going pretty well,” Sam Trebilcock with the city planning office said. “We have about 433 tags that have been provided this year. Where as in comparison to other years we’ve had more like 200-225. People certainly are taking advantage of it.”

Trebilcock says bus drivers haven’t had any issues so far. Kids ages 11-18 can get on a bus without a parent while those between 6-10 need an adult with them.

“We know where some of the routes, where they are being used the most. East side we see quite a few people using that on Route 7. And then they’re using several of the other routes too,” Trebilcock said.

On June 30, Sioux Area Metro had 114 dog tag riders for the day. Last Wednesday, that number was up to 143. The top route on both days was Route 7 in the northeast area around Washington High School and Dawley Farm Village.

When the program ends, it will be interesting to see the ridership numbers. If the current numbers continue, SAM could see over 8,000 rides for the summer!

Comparing Sioux Falls proposed Transit Fee hikes with Ft. Collins, CO

The city of Sioux Falls is proposing bus fee hikes (Item #21-1st Reading)


Let’s compare our fare increases to Ft. Collins current fees.

• It is called “TransFort”

• Ft. Collins population is about 150,000.

• Find it at www.ridetransfort.com
• The basic fare is $1.25. The 31-day fare is $25.
• Children and college students ride free all year. (Colleges pitch in for this, I think.)
• Transfers are free.
• They have a program called BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), a modern system that gets bus routes connected faster. Their BRT”MAX” has free wifi, and its stops have screens showing arrival time.  There is comprehensive coverage of the city, unlike our routes provide.
• It’s not perfect, but the Ft.Collins system provides far more value to its riders for their $1.25 than our bus system can do next year for $1.50.
The proposed bus fares in Sioux Falls are too high considering the service available on SAM (even as wonderful as our buses and drivers and passengers are). I have been to Ft. Collins and plan on visiting again soon. Yes, it has a large college there, but the size of the city is comparable, but it is much more progressive (oh, and Mary Jane is legal there). When I visited I was impressed by the progressiveness of the transportation options.