The best bus ever

The best bus ever
Jason Sievers' awesome Art in Transit bus

Monday, September 24, 2007

We're doing something right

There was a fascinating collection of transit-related articles in today's Idaho Statesman. A cover story featured the Ada County Highway District's van pool program which - who knew?! - is the "oldest multi-employer vanpool program in the country." It's been rolling since 1976 and currently has 65 van pools serving more than 700 people. Many users of the program live in Canyon County. In fact, more than 13 percent of Canyon County residents commute via carpool or vanpool, compared to 10.7 percent nationally. The number is rising as growing numbers of Canyon County workers (many of whom work in Ada County) have commutes nearly as long as people in Seattle.

A sidebar to the article gives a handy overview of the current transit situation in Idaho which, in a word, is bleak. Disappearing federal funds, $1.7 billion in unfunded transportation needs, and lack of local funding mechanisms are all conspiring to put the Treasure Valley farther behind on meeting existing needs, never mind preparing for the future. The article adds that the same transportation coalition that worked for a local option tax will be back for the 2008 Legislature, and that if lawmakers balk again at allowing southwestern Idahoans to vote on a local option tax, transit backers will take the matter to voters via an initiative.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Three minutes early

I've been either missing or waiting on buses a lot these past few days.

Last Saturday, I wanted to catch the 1:15 bus from downtown to the Hyde Park Street Fair. I had to be there by 2 to help out at a booth. When the bus didn't show up by 1:30, I decided I'd be better off walking.

Yesterday, I took the State Street bus to meet friends for lunch. The bus back downtown was two minutes early, but fortunately, I was at the stop in time. I transferred to the Vista bus downtown, only to sit on the bus a full five minutes past departure time before the driver showed up.

Today, I was running a little late to catch the Vista bus downtown, but it's usually pretty much on time, so I wasn't worried. But I watched from a block away as it pulled up at Overland three minutes early. It was a little too far for me to run, so I missed it- and since the Vista bus only runs once an hour at mid-day, I decided to drive instead.

My lessons (re)learned? It's always wise to be at the bus stop five minutes early. Still, I can't help but think about the people who miss these buses by a minute or two, but who are not riding the bus by choice, like I am, but out of necessity. I hope the days comes that Valley Ride can run all its city routes every half-hour minimum, and preferably every 15 to 20 minutes on the major routes. If people know they can rely on another bus to be available in a reasonably short time frame, they'll be much more likely to give bus riding a try.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Green show

Tune in Monday, September 17, as KBCI Channel 2 in Boise airs its latest Project Green special, this one focused on Treasure Valley transportation options. Yours truly even makes a cameo appearance.

The show airs at 7 p.m. Monday, and I believe it will repeat at 10:45 p.m. on September 18 and 19. Click here for more on Project Green.

Update: Here are the airing times, straight from KBCI:
7 p.m. Monday, September 17
10:30 a.m. Saturday, September 22
10:35 p.m. Sunday, September 30

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pro-transit blogs, everywhere!

Check out the new addition to my blogroll, the "City Transit Advocates" blog aggregator. Just launched last week, it features 38 blogs that cover transit issues in cities across North America. Let the Seattle Bus Chick to tell you how "it is possible to lead an active, fulfilling, fabulous life without a car." (It's actually pretty easy in Seattle, compared to here.) Marvel at the cool "transitography" visuals - from way beyond Florida - at Transit Miami. Read about the Illinois State Legislature's failure to pass a transit bill at the CTA Tattler. (Nice to know we're not alone ...)

Thanks to Pantograph Trolleypole of The Overhead Wire for including the Boise Bus Blog in this notable and compulsively readable effort.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

No parking at Art in the Park

This weekend is Boise's annual Art in the Park, one of our city's favorite festivals. The main entrance of Julia Davis is closed to traffic during Art in the Park, and parking anywhere in the immediate vicinity is extremely limited. So take Valley Ride downtown on Saturday and save the hassles.

If you must drive, or if you plan to attend the festival Sunday (when no Valley Ride buses run), park downtown and either walk the short distance to Julia Davis Park or catch the shuttle bus that's circling from the park to the heart of downtown. Shuttle bus service also is available from the north side of the Boise Towne Square mall, near Dillards. The shuttle buses will be running from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Have fun at Art in the Park!