The best bus ever

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

Monday, January 21, 2008

Transit is focus at City Club

The City Club of Boise will focus on public transit at its meeting this Thursday (January 24). Kelli Fairless of Valley Regional Transit and Lane Beattie of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce will keynote a panel titled "Public Transit: First Horses, Then Cars - What Now?" Here's a description from the City Club website:

City planners from Portland to Denver favor public transportation for its economic and air-quality benefits, but they hit roadblocks convincing Westerners to leave their cars. What will it take for Idahoans to embrace buses and trains? Will politicians ever raise taxes to pay for them? Salt Lake City overcame similar obstacles and now boasts one of the nation’s best public transit systems. Learn how it happened from developer Lane Beattie, initially a skeptic and now a leading advocate. Then hear an update on Treasure Valley transit by Kelli Fairless.

The session is set from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at The Grove Hotel, or you can catch it on BSU Radio after the fact. The cost to attend in person is $14 for members, $19 for non-members, or $5 without lunch. Reserve a seat through the City Club website.

Update: I just read about another public forum that will include transit among its topics. "Emerging Issues in a Growing Idaho" is set for 1:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30, in the Hoff Building's Crystal Ballroom. Cost is $10 for sponsors or $20 for non-sponsors. For more info or to reserve a seat, email


Bikeboy said...

Julie - "Public Transit: First Horses, Then Cars - What Now?" is woefully incomplete!

A quick study of U.S. transportation history will reveal that starting around 1890, and for at least 25 years, bicycles were the cutting-edge mode of transportation.

The "safety bicycle" came out around 1890; the double-triangle design is the basis for most bicycles built 100+ years later.

At first, its high price tag relegated it to the upper-class, but Schwinn and others started mass-producing bikes, and soon it was the preferred transportation of all classes of folks. It made horse-powered transportation seem so primitive by comparison!

The bicycle was the main impetus for improved roads, and pavement. If it weren't for bicycles, it could be argued that the infrastructure wouldn't have been ready to support the "horseless carriage" when it started being somewhat common, probably in the 1920s.

Of course, any "seasoned citizen" can EASILY remember when "single occupant vehicle" wasn't the standard mode of transportation. I'd say that's a phenomenon that has emerged in the last 40 years or so. (Before that, family members shared a common vehicle... and before that, most folks walked, rode bikes, took the bus or the train or the trolley, etc.)

There is a LOT of history between "horse" and "car."

Julie Fanselow said...

You are correct, sir - as usual!

I remember learning a few years ago what a marvelous streetcar system the Treasure Valley had 100 years or so.

Between bikes and streetcars, I'd love for us to go "back to the future," maybe with a few new twists like bike-equipped light-rail cars!

I plan to attend Thursday's session, and I will be especially interested in what Beattie has to say - particularly since he helped sell tax-averse Utah on transit.