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The best bus ever
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Thursday, June 21, 2007

New service from Middleton to Boise

From the Idaho Statesman:

Commuters across the country are being asked to keep their cars in their garages Thursday and use public transportation as part of the second annual National Dump the Pump Day. Middleton City Council member Loni Parry, Star Mayor Nathan Mitchell and Eagle Mayor Nancy Merrill will participate by taking a ride on ValleyRide’s new Route 44 Express to the Park & Ride lot off East Riverside Drive in Eagle, where a celebration of the new intercounty route will take place. The Route 44 Express provides service to Caldwell, Middleton, Star, Eagle and Boise. The celebration will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Park & Ride lot.

Sounds good. Here's more info on the Route 44 Express, which will run free the rest of this month.


Bikeboy said...

Wow! I wondered why the streets were EMPTY this morning... everybody took public transportation!

Of course I'm being facetious. As I bicycled under the Connector on 15th, like every weekday morning, the "parking lot" above was in full swing.

I heard that gas prices will be headed upward again soon... just in time for my summer vacation plans (end of July). Spoze to be around $3.50 before all is said and done. But I can't grumble too badly, since 80% of my annual gas purchases are over a week or 10 days each summer, as I check out America by motorcycle. Money well spent. Too bad all those other folks are skewing the supply/demand curve so badly.

Julie in Boise said...

Yes, I was one of TWO people on the #29 Overland down to BSU at about 8 this morning. Just took the bus back home for lunch and I was the only passenger.

At least Valley Ride thanked us, er, me. There was a sign at the front of ths bus that read "It's Dump the Pump Day. Thanks for saving the environment by taking the bus."

Late July, eh? Bikeboy, are you going to Sturgis? Or do you like to avoid that crowd, too?!

I hear you: I will have driven fewer than 2,000 miles this year by the end of June - and about a quarter of that on two Idaho road trips - but I'll add another 1,500 or so in two weeks next month. Money well spent, as you say, and once we get where we're going, we'll park the car.

nl said...

My bus this morning in Seattle was jam packed and it was a 60' articulated bus. Seems people here take dump the pump day seriously. Glad to see the Statesman report on it.

Julie in Boise said...

Good to hear it, nl! Of course, Seattle buses are packed *most* days, right?

Bikeboy said...

Sturgis? Surely you jest! I've been to the Black Hills / Rushmore area, but NEVER when the crowd convenes. (I ride a m/c to get AWAY from crowds!)

The plan is to ride to the Washington coast (Hoquiam, via Yakima and Rainier), then north around the Olympic Peninsula, ferry from Port Angeles to Vancouver Isle (never've been there), spend a couple days, then back over to Vancouver, up around Whistler, across southern BC and back to Boise via eastern WA / northern Idaho.

That's a lot of gas... but since it's been almost 2 years since I spent a PENNY on commute-gas, I guess I can splurge.

A columnist out of Atlanta predicts gas will be $6 by 2016, thanks to a meddlesome Congress:
(My bicycle-transportation costs will remain relatively steady. Hope I can still pedal in 2016!)

wolf21m said...

The 6:45 #8 Chinden/Five Mile bus had the usual 15 people on it. I didn't see any new faces today. There are a few new people over the last month or two.

nl said...

Yes, this is true our buses are packed most if not everyday. Weekends have high ridership. We also have a commuter rail line we call The Sounder that goes from Everett-Seattle-Tacoma and it is usually standing room only as well. Although, we pay more for gas usually than anyone in the pacific northwest so that may explain it as well, and the fact it is available helps too. I wonder, has anyone heard of Boise using the rail line that goes by the Depot? That would make a nice commuter rail line if I remember correctly. Doesn't it go Nampa-Meridian-Boise?

Julie in Boise said...

nl, you asked about the rail line by the Depot. There has indeed been talk of using that for a light rail service linking Boise, Meridian, and Nampa. But the local consensus seems to be - especially given the lack of funding - that we need to beef up the bus system first.

The main argument against light rail is usually that the Treasure Valley doesn't have the population density to support rail. However, as you know from Seattle's experience, light rail takes a long time to put in place. We may not have the desnity now, but will we have it in 10 years? 20? If so, we ought to start acting now, to at least preserve the rail corridor for future use.

The bill defeated in the Idaho Legislature last year would have allowed local option taxing authority to fund a much more robust bus system, as well as rail corridor protection. It'll probably be floated again next year, but this being Idaho, it's hard to say whether it'll have a shot.

nl said...

One thing people in Seattle,San Francisco, and others(for that matter) have noticed is that density usually comes after transit is in place. One of the major topics in Seattle Transit Blog as well as the SF blog, is density. Think back when NYC built their subway, there definitely wasn't the density at that time. Chicago didn't have the density either. In my opinion transit oriented development is a way of getting people to reduce their dependence on foreign oils and get out of their vehicles. For example, in Seattle the South Lake Union area used to be for the most part run down buildings and warehouses. Now they are building a modern streetcar line that will connect to downtown and eventually to UW. It sets Seattle up for an easy way to expand. The density since they started the project has gone up immediately. Granted a lot of condos and highrises are being built, but it is that idea that once in place there will be decent transportation. I agree Boise should beef up the bus service before anything else happens. In fact, to get any help from the feds, Boise will need to prove that they are capable of having a transit system. Besides, speaking economically big companies won't consider cities without transportation systems. It is an economic loss not having transit.