Brains Up Their Asses

Brains Up Their Asses

August 20, 1997              Anti-car crowd hates the easy and correct answers

 

Domrzalski

 

“There's a way to get people on buses that's simpler than rebuilding and rezoning the city. It's called putting more buses on the street and keeping them running day and night so that people have a system they can rely on to get them around quickly at any time of day.”

 

 

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           There is going to be a push in the coming months and years to get people here out of their cars and into buses. To accomplish that Albuquerque should:

            A. Spend money to develop a 40-year, intermodal, homosapien/multi-seat motor vehicle interface plan.

            B. Spend years turning the zoning and development codes inside out and writing pages of new regulations that force businesses to order their employees to get to work without a car or truck.

            C. Densify.

            D. Seek answers from Brazil.

            E. Put more buses on the streets, run them at short and regular intervals and keep them running past 6 p.m.

            If your answer was any or all of the first four you're on your way to becoming a government planner. If it was the last, bureaucrats will regard you as a simple-minded fool and you will grow old and senile waiting for the city to do something so simple.

            The out-of-the-car movement isn't a bad idea. Fewer cars on the street will mean less air pollution and a safer and less stressed-out population. Life's a lot happier when some glaze-eyed punk isn't trying to gun you down because you frowned at him after he cut you off in traffic.

            And anybody with brains would happily take a bus to work. Why grind down your car in daily traffic and have it in the shop undergoing expensive repairs when you need it to drive to the tavern?

            But the planners and bureaucrats, as usual, are going about it the wrong way. They're dreaming up complicated plans, schemes and rules to get people out of their cars.

            One idea is to limit parking spaces or to make parking prohibitively expensive. Planners are already demonizing our cherished automobiles. They're gushing about the latest development fad, which is to cram people on top of and next to each other in crowded urban villages, and they're babbling about how people will soon walk to work. Sure.

            Give planners enough time and they'll have us parachuting to our jobs.

            The dense villages are needed, planners say, because Albuquerque sprawls and isn't crowded enough to support mass transit.

            They're wrong.

            There's a way to get people on buses that's simpler than rebuilding and rezoning the city. It's called putting more buses on the street and keeping them running day and night so that people have a system they can rely on to get them around quickly at any time of day.

            Albuquerque's bus system is a joke. It shuts off at 6 p.m. and some of the routes are screwy things that snake over different streets.

            I've always wondered what you're supposed to do if you take the bus to work in the morning and then get stuck working late on something that the boss couldn't finish because he or she had to get home on time and you get to the bus stop at 6:01 p.m. Do you wait there all night until the system starts up again at 6 a.m.?

            And what if you work at night as so many people in the retail industry do? Should you float home?

            The bus system is unreliable. That's why almost no one rides it.

            Planners, if you want people to ride the bus, give them buses. Run buses on every major street until midnight every night and run them at a minimum of 20-minute intervals. Make sure that people can get anywhere in this town quickly on a bus. Then advertise. They'll ride.

            It'll cost money, maybe a doubling of SunTran's $16.1 million annual operating budget. But I'd rather have a quarter-cent sales tax increase go for a reliable bus system than for a hot-air balloon museum.

            So planners, drop the complicated schemes for new, restrictive laws; more plans, counter-plans and updated counter-plans; chaotic zoning changes and for trying to force or trick people out of their cars.

            It isn't complicated. Just give them buses.

            Staying simple is easy, planners. You can do it. Practice by saying to yourselves:

            One and one is two, two and two is four, my nose is on my face and my brains are up my...

 

© Copyright 2003 Dennis Domrzalski All Rights Reserved