"With the price of gas approaching $4 a gallon, more commuters are abandoning their cars and taking the train or bus instead." -nytimes article
The Ped Summit has been realized. A big round of applause for the Built Environment Committee and especially Nina Walfoort for seeing this through.
Now brace for random rambling...
During the course of the many break out sessions, I finally realized something about the "public participation process", which is the most important part of the process is not the power-point, or the brainstorming. The most important part is making lateral personal connections at water fountains and doorways. Many such opportunities arose today.
Another big advantage we had today was getting officials to sit down and listen to Mark Fenton gently nudge them in the right directions on stuff. He's good with language and speaks with experience that more insular residents of Louisville can't summon.
The TARC Board of Directors today gave tentative approval of a $68 million budget for Fiscal Year 2009 that includes a combination of fare increases and service reductions. The board considered several options for making up a $4 million shortfall resulting from rising gas prices and other costs before giving tentative approval to the budget proposal.
Under the proposed budget reviewed today, the base fare of $1.25 would increase by 10 cents and $1 million in service would be cut. The board recommended considering an increase to 25 cents and reducing the amount service that would be cut. If the fare increases to $1.50, about $500,000 in service cuts would be made.
“We don’t like increasing fares and we don’t like cutting service. It’s not the direction we want to go in,” said TARC Director J. Barry Barker. “But when you don’t have enough revenue, you have to do something.”
CART To REACT,
A pedestrian-friendly community is one that accords the same priority and respect to pedestrians as to other travelers. Walking is transportation, and it is a vital part of our economy and our city. The time of considering pedestrians as second-class citizens on our roads should end now.
Have you ever wished you knew more about bicycling? Bicycling for Louisville is offering a comprehensive bicycle skills class that will help you:
This class is perfect for adult cyclists of all levels. It will increase your confidence, comfort, and safety. The next class starts May 20th and classes will be forming all summer. Check bicyclingforlouisville.org/classes or call 582-1814 during business hours for more information.
In recent weeks, airlines around the world have been reporting substantial losses, declaring bankruptcy or completely shutting down. So far the losses have been mostly of small airlines, but many of the large ones have started to thrash around for merger partners. At $3.71 a gallon, jet fuel is now the single largest expense an airline faces.
In 2000, the airlines fuel bill was $14 billion. It is now pushing $60 billion and climbing. Southwest, the most profitable carrier, recently announced that this year’s fuel bill will be $500 million more than last year and equal to 2007 profits. During the first quarter of 2008 American airlines lost $328 million; Delta lost $274 million; United lost $537 million; Continental $80 million; Northwest $191 million; and US Airways $236 million. Only Southwest Airlines, which did a better job of hedging its fuel than the others, made a profit.
It is clear we are going to see major changes in air travel shortly.
Airlines are continuing to raise fares -- the average ticket is up 10 percent over last year -- but at some price point the airlines will drive away discretionary travel and they will be left with only essential business and personal travel that is unlikely to fill many planes. On top of the fuel prices is the current economic downturn which is likely to start impacting discretionary travel before the year is out. In short, airplanes simply can’t make money while charging affordable fares at current, much less prospective, fuel prices. The era of 500 mph travel for most people is nearly over.
Ped summit registration is full. To be placed on the waiting list, call 574-6209.
A bill which passed this legislative session will allow a new, innovative transportation model for seniors to begin providing services in Lexington.
How does it work? Essentially, it's like a private taxi service. Folks pay an annual membership fee of around $50. They then pay a per-ride fee of $4-7 plus $1/mile. Individuals who don't have much money can donate their car to the program's vehicle pool, and then they get ride credits for the value of the car. Afflilate groups in the 8 other cities that have adapted this model have also gotten businesses, such as pharmacies, banks, and doctors' offices, to sponsor the service for low-income folks.