Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Car Free Week

Leslie Newell Peacock over at the Arkansas Times ran a short piece yesterday about Mayor Stodola kicking off his week-long challenge with a mixed mode bike- and bus ride to work Monday morning. It generated some great comments. Other than a few negative rants and a short side conversation about where Orbea bikes are made, the comments in general were quite positive and well-thought. Here're some highlights from the commenters... 

"while there are people who can’t utilize the bus system because of limited hours or coverage. Most people can. Hopefully all the Arkansas Times Blog readers are going to try it out just for this week!"

"With CATA and a serviceable bike, there are very few places you can't go in Pulaski County.
And kudoes for supporting Orbea, a local business... even if their bikes are really made out in the Pyrenees."
(ed. note: it was later decided that Orbeas are made in China and assembled in / distributed from NLR.) 

"The must-have for any future city I move to is that it's possible to live well without a car.
I'm sick of driving a car: the gas, the pollution, insurance costs, maintenance costs, etc."

"'No public transportation system in the world operates at a profit. Not in any major metropolitan area in the US, England, Japan, France, etc.'
This includes our roads and highways which cost way more to maintain than any public transit system."

"Way to Go Mayor Mark! ...[t]he people on the bus are no different than anyone else. They are headed to work or to school or to the doc or to the bank or spend money in a store. They are polite and friendly. You hear about Road Rage. You don't hear about Bus Rage. It's a Big City thang to do, so try it sometime."

"I'd love to see central Arkansas invest in bus rapid transit rather than continue to dedicate all this money towards freeway expansion."

"Jane Holtz Kay really nailed this in 1997 book "Asphalt Nation". Read her book to learn how the owner (or leaseholder, in most cases) of a BMW is subsidized by his or her countrymen much more than a humble, planet-saving bus rider!"

"Lots of the cargo bikes staring to show up around town... Saw one fellow the week before last at the commuter fest who was hauling his polo bike on the back of his cargo bike."

"Kudos to the Mayor, everyone should take a few minutes to really plan how they would get around if they had to bus/ride a bike, just as an exercise.
I would be interested in knowing how to best be a squeaky wheel to get longer hours/more frequent stops. Like ArkFiddler said, it would be really difficult, but I would like to do something besides bitch about it to friends.
I walk to work and rarely use my car, but I could really cut the car out if the bus system improved. Being almost car free and road rage free is a wonderful way to be : )"

"I applaud Mayor Stodola for bringing attention to mass transportation in Little Rock. After spending a week taking alternate forms of transportation it will give him the insight he needs to really make CAT into a service that more of us can use. I would love to see Little Rock develop a mass transportation plan (and implement it) that will reduce the growing grid lock of cars from Cantrell, Markham, I430, and I630. We don't need to spend more tax dollars on widening roads that just encourage people to move farther out of the city, we need better mass transit to give us alternatives to driving everywhere making it easy to move around Little Rock. Hopefully, the staff at CAT also took the Car Free Challenge this week!"

"The problem is not with CAT's lack of wanting to do or lack of initiative. The problem is the lack of money for CAT to do anything with. CAT does alot with what little revenue it has.
So the question should be how to get CAT the funding needed for the services desired."

"Until there is a moratorium on building more parking lots in Little Rock, we will continue to have cars be used for an hour in the morning and another hour at night, usually at the busiest period of road use to spend the balance of the day parked. Get some express bus routes from Conway, Benton/Bryant, and Cabot to Little Rock and back out and maybe we wouldn't have to continue to widen those asphalt parking lots called I40 and I30 and 67/167.

St Louis set up a system on their light rail that you can ride for free from 11 am until 2 pm in the business district. Since parking is minimal in the downtown area, it keeps major traffic jams from occurring. How much business could the River Market area take at lunch if there were express bus services from Chenal, past Baptist and Children's Hospital to the district and back out. Lots of new business and no additional car traffic. Might make people actually want to visit downtown. Could run it past Park Plaza on both ways for people who work downtown and want to shop out in the centers at lunch without driving."


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  2. (Pardon the typo... previous comment was removed)

    I love the express bus idea too, however, as long as there is gridlock on major corridors and buses have no way around the traffic. Public transport provides absolute no advantage over driving.

    Perhaps HOV lanes could be a good temporary solution to providing better public transport? It would get buses out of traffic and make them an attractive alternative.

    If we are going to add lanes, make them HOV lanes.