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nowyano

Public transit in Alabama

Would You Use Rail Transit?  

54 members have voted

  1. 1. Subways, Light or Commuter Rail in Alabama

    • Only in Birmingham
      21
    • Only in Mobile
      2
    • Only in Huntsville
      2
    • Only in Montgomery
      0
    • In Any of Them
      6
    • Not At All
      23
  2. 2. If There Were A Rail Transit System In One of the Big 4 Alabama Metros Would You Use It?

    • Yes
      34
    • No
      12
    • Sometimes
      8


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^Tennessee really isn't that far away. 25 minuutes to the border from NE Huntsville.

We can thank our friends at the AL Roadbuilders Association for the lack of public transit funding. I guess they love to see congested roads- I guess it gives them something to do.

Even if most people here would not get out of their car, Huntsville really does need a better transit system. The Shuttle is alright, but only if you live downtown or in Five Points. And since it's a city-run system, there's no service outside the city. I think Huntsville's big enough for a Regional Transit Authority. I would like to see Madison, Morgan and Limestone Counties, along with cities like Arab, Guntersville, Scottsboro, and Fayetteville be part of the RTA. Maybe it's a dream, but if the region comes together now, when the metro hits 1M in 25-30 years, we'll be ready.

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Dime boost in gasoline tax mulled for transit

A bill has been drawn up by a Senate transportation subcommittee led by state Senator Linda Coleman (D-Birmingham) to have a referandum in November of this year on a 10-cent increase on the gasoline tax to fund both road projects and public transit. This proposed bill does have the support of the Alabama Road Builders Association, who has been major opponents of reallocating any state funds towards public transit. It would be a start, but we have to try somewhere.

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For us to ever have any real transit options (I dream of light rail and/or bus rapid transit in our 4 major metros and a high speed train along the I-65 corridor), ALDOT must be reformed. We need to clean house at ALDOT and install leadership committed to transit. Current leaders are openly hostile to anything but highway expansion. Our constitution will have to be amended as well, so that ALDOT funds can be used for transit.

While progress can be made, it won't be easy. The road builders and their sprawl-profiting allies (developers, realtors, home builders, etc.) are committed to killing transit bills in the legislature (maybe Senator Coleman's bill signals a change), and they have the big money for political contributions. Jim Carnes and Alabama Arise can't buy that kind of influence.

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But I can tell you something funny, there is a conference to be hosted by ALDOT in Montgomery on April 18 on this very subject. I might be able to attend it if the EARDPC allows me to, but here's the website:

www.transportationmeansbusiness.org

It costs $35 to attend.

Yeah, ALDOT needs to seriously clean house because they are basically a bunch of incompetent imbeciles.

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If only we could get our politicians and ALDOT officials to take public transit seriously...

Unfortunately, Americans are unlikely to ride the bus again in great numbers due to its stigma, but LRT, streetcars, BRT and such are cool. Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery all had extensive streetcar systems in the past, so it shouldn't be that difficult to get Alabamans to utilize transit options once again.

Montgomery's Lightning Route streetcar line was actually the first American city-wide electric trolley system when it was established in 1886. Montgomery is now planning to re-establish part of the Lightning Route streetcar system between the capitol and Union Station on the river, along Dexter and Commerce I think.

The Montgomery bus system is a recent success of note. Under the previous mayor, the fixed route Montgomery bus system was actually shut down in 1998 and replaced with a worthless demand system. Under current Mayor Bobby Bright, the fixed route bus system was re-established in 2000 (only 3 routes initially), and there are now 16 fixed routes. Ridership increased 347% since the first year, and is growing substantially every year. More routes are planned and a couple of additional daily hours of service are being added.

I mentioned the Montgomery bus system as an example of what good leadership can do. The bus system practically ceased to exist under a reactionary do-nothing mayor, but has become a smashing success under an active, progressive mayor.

Birmingham should already have a transit system in place or well under way by now. Sadly, area residents voted down the MAPS proposal in the 90's, and local officials refused to come up with matching funds for tens of millions of federal transit dollars more recently secured by Senator Shelby. Birmingham desperately needs a good mayor and other area officials who actually have a clue.

One would think that Huntsville would be most receptive to new technology and would be the first to implement an LRT or commuter rail system. Huntsville has progressive leadership, and with Congressman Cramer in the majority now, hopefully transit will get funded soon.

The city of Mobile and the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission sponsored a joint feasibility study in 2004 for express service from downtown to the Mobile airport and for passenger ferry service across Mobile Bay. The resulting 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan calls for Bus Rapid Transit from the GM&O intermodal center downtown to the airport via Water, Government and Airport Blvd; and passenger ferry service from the yet-to-be-built Maritime Center on the waterfront to points across the bay in Baldwin County. Hopefully these projects will get funded and implemented.

Regarding transit funding, our state constitution prohibits ALDOT from spending money on anything but roadways, so local governments have to rely on their own operating budgets and federal funding. Senator Shelby has done a great job over the years of obtaining much-needed federal funds, but now that he is in the minority and our idiotic junior Senator Sessions is actually trying to eliminate those kinds of funds; it remains to be seen whether we will get any worthy projects funded in the near future.

Let's all go out and lobby our elected officials for a new constitution and to fund transit programs. If they hear a public outcry, things are likely to get done.

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Yes, but the cities with the exception of Birmingham are not densely populated enough. For instance people In Huntsville commute all the way from Tennessee up to an hour or more away for some people, you cant have a transit system that goes that far. I just don't see people here giving up the convenience of driving their own car, now if traffic continues to get worse like it has been than maybe something like this will be possible one day just not today.

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This isn't some huge anouncement of the state getting it's act together. That'd be amazing though. Rather, I'm creating this to see everyone's opinions of a statewide mass tranist system. Not a network of highways, but, intercity rail, bus routes, etc...

My idea:

Initially, I think there should be an intercity, or rather inter-metro, bus service. Bus routes that go daily, or multiple times daily, between all of the metro and micro areas. Nothin fancy, just a bus service that takes people where they need to go. To a central station, no huge branches in each city, but, the bus route ends at the city's main transit center.

Hubs:

There should be two main hubs:

Main Hubs:

Birmingham

Montgomery

Secondary Hubs:

These branch off from the Hubs

Decatur

Tuscaloosa

Anniston

Auburn

Dothan

Mobile

Focus Cities:

Huntsville

Florence

Gasdsden

Phenix City

Enterprise

Troy

Demopolis

Jasper

Atmore

There would be multiple drives between the Main and Secondary Hubs, and depending on ridership there could be any number of trips between secondary hubs, focus cities, and local stations.

This all seems huge, and I have a map to along with it, but, other states have bigger systems than this. The only reason it seems big to us is cause we have none. So, just take a bit mull it over.

Of course, this isn't just about what I think at all, it's about what everyone things. Do we need rail, bus, highways, etc... Opinions anyone??

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I think that a light rail system that ran above Airport Blvd (and Government downtwon) that ran from the Regional Airport to Downtown in Mobile would be amazing. Major intersections would be University, the malls, and at the convergence of Airport and Government.

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I think that a light rail system that ran above Airport Blvd (and Government downtwon) that ran from the Regional Airport to Downtown in Mobile would be amazing. Major intersections would be University, the malls, and at the convergence of Airport and Government.

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According to an opinion piece in the today's Montgomery Advertiser, Alabamians drove 286 million fewer miles through July of this year than during the same period a last year. However, our ability to cut back is limited because few of us have transportation options other than automobiles.

The days of cheap gas are coming to an end, and that makes automobiles increasingly expensive for routine travel. DOT reports a nationwide increase of 11 percent in mass transit use in July. But because of underfunding, Alabamians do not have access to convenient and reliable public transportation. It's time for the state to get on the bandwagon and fund mass transit, even if it means cutting back on highway projects. Light rail and efficient bus systems are far more important for our future economic competitiveness than widening projects and new outer loops.

Time to get going on public transit

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According to an opinion piece in the today's Montgomery Advertiser, Alabamians drove 286 million fewer miles through July of this year than during the same period a last year. However, our ability to cut back is limited because few of us have transportation options other than automobiles.

The days of cheap gas are coming to an end, and that makes automobiles increasingly expensive for routine travel. DOT reports a nationwide increase of 11 percent in mass transit use in July. But because of underfunding, Alabamians do not have access to convenient and reliable public transportation. It's time for the state to get on the bandwagon and fund mass transit, even if it means cutting back on highway projects. Light rail and efficient bus systems are far more important for our future economic competitiveness than widening projects and new outer loops.

Time to get going on public transit

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Representatives from the Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery and other transit and planning organizations met in Montgomery this week to discuss the creation of a statewide association and a state commission on public transportation. State Rep. Rod Scott of Fairfield plans to introduce a bill this session to create a state public transit commission that would release recommendations in 2010.

While progress will probably be slow, this is a good first step to try to get state level support for transit programs. It's good that the representatives quoted in the article understand that transit systems are economic engines and not just social services. Hopefully they'll play hardball in getting this message across.

Transit systems representatives meet to eye creation of state transit association

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