:FAN: Transit Policy Resolutions ( & Work Session 2017-10-08 )

FAN’s members will consider their impact on Austin’s Strategic Mobility Plan as well as input to Project Connect through its Multimodal Community Advisory Committee.

We want to outline measures that Austinite’s wish to see in their neighborhoods when high capacity and multimodal transit plans are applied across the city.

FAN is also putting together an in-person work session to create the working draft of one or more a transit policy resolutions to come from those ideas:

WHAT: Transit work session
WHEN: October 8th, 12pm
WHERE: Pioneer Bank Community Room ( Google Maps Link )
623 W 38 th St, Austin, TX 78705

FAN Leadership will place the resulting drafts of any resolution here in the forum for members to give further input before taking it to a vote of the full membership for adoption as an official position.

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I toyed with the idea of writing something up this weekend but had no time. Focus points would be suburban vs urban equity; holding Capital Metro accountable for their plans; judging transit by typical national standards instead of local wiggle room.

For me to invest the time to produce a new document for this, though, I’d need to know that you guys intend on taking a less credulous and more honest position than AURA already has. Is that likely, given the groups are moving towards one another and now share sponsorship of events?

As a board member of both organizations, and [I think] a main force behind pushing the organizations closer together:

For what it’s worth, I at least don’t have a problem being significantly more critical of CapMetro and skeptical of its processes than AURA has been. In particular, I’ll prefer that we come out strongly against I-35 BRT; I’ll prefer we demand Guadalamar rail; I’ll prefer demanding typical national standards or actual rigorous models (which the “quantitative” side of at least their PC2.0 metrics are not).

That said, I also intend on at least considering the substance of what AURA’s working on in this space. For example, you have significant differences with some of the AURA folks on the route changes that are coming up. I’m not personally convinced either way on this yet. Happy to hear you out on the substance along with them. Any counterpoint you have to that perspective is going to be really helpful – at least to me – when we get together and then later as we discuss on the forums.

But as always, we’ll be taking this back to the forums for more discussion and ultimately putting it to the membership to vote.

A start, an outline if you will. I’ll judge my desire to invest further time based on how this is received / responded to. (I’m not likely to take time away from my family to show up in person this weekend on this).


Thanks for that.

Again, just one person here. But for myself:

  1. Agree with calling for better governance and leadership at CapMetro
  2. Could support calling for requirement that CM board members ride transit once a week or so; pretty lukewarm on that though. Think it’s better for optics than for actual incentive alignment – but it’s not a dealbreaker for it to mostly be about optics.
  3. Strongly support calling for any new leadership / board members to have significant transit expertise. I think it’d be helpful to have some more specific criteria here.
  4. Not convinced that calling for top leadership to be honest/ethical gets us any more honest or ethical behavior from them, no matter what level of honesty we’re starting from.
  5. I’m open on RoundRock service. Generally skeptical that it could add value for Austin. Think I’d need to know more about the specifics of that arrangement (I think I’ve seen, but not been able to evaluate, the claim that the incremental cost of it is covered by incremental RR revenues of some kind). I’m not interested in the question of whether they’re getting a “good deal” or “better deal than Austinites” or anything like that – I am interested in the question of whether Austinites are made better off, worse off, or neutral relative to the counterfactual of no RR service, and not yet convinced either way on that.
  6. I have no problem calling for reducing subsidy amounts to periphery, but think we should measure changes with marginal subsidy impacts instead of average subsidy where possible. I.e., in deciding whether and how much to cut Red Line service, only count the costs you actually cut by doing so, not any sunk costs.
  7. More than happy to demand more Rapid stops. Happy to say e.g. “we need fifteen new stops on the dense portions of the 801. The two we might get next year are a tiny bit of progress but nowhere near enough. Having infill stops ASAP is far more important than making sure they can be ‘branded’ all fancy-like when they open.”
  8. I think we disagree on the actual number of people better/worse off from the Rapids as they are, and I don’t find your particular personal accusation compelling. I could as easily say you hate the Rapids because you happen to be in the minority of people made worse off by them, while thousands of people in dense housing near a Rapid stop see better service. That said – definitely think we need tighter stop spacing for the Rapids, at least between North Loop and Oltorf.
  9. I’m not (yet) well-versed in C2025 in particular. Willing to hear both you and proponents out on specifics.
  10. Generally I’m fine with making claims that directly contradict/refute/debunk claims made by CapMetro/Campo/etc, as long as we can support our claims adequately. I’m a lot more hesitant to call them names. Happy to have us say “CapMetro claims A, but the data shows B for X, Y, and Z reasons”. Going to push back against “CapMetro claims A, but the data shows B for X, Y, and Z reasons – why is CapMetro lying to us?”

Ugh this thing collapses my responses into 1-based even though I only answered specific questions. Changing formatting now to try to avoid…

(response to #2): That’s not what I had in mind.
(response to #3): Hard to get specific here without it being gamed.
(response to #4): This is critical to me; and I will not support any effort that doesn’t first demand better from Cap Metro than we’ve been getting up to this point.
(response to #5): Round Rock service is a bad deal for Austin because they don’t contribute to overhead for the agency. Incremental cost of providing the service is covered by incremental revenue, at least directly, but nobody’s paying to keep the lights on at HQ from Round Rock, i.e.
(response to #6):. Arguing more here for charging to park cars at park-and-rides and giving Austin residents a discount or something like this.
(response to #8):. Key to me. I’ve made the case on repeated occasions that NOBODY who actually had 1/101 service before is tangibly better off and I stand by this. The key here is that there’s a small set of people who have 803 service who didn’t have any express service before - they are better off. AURA president is one of these. I don’t find it a coincidence that they are surprisingly absent on the huge number of people who got completely screwed over by rapid bus. I am also not made worse off by Rapid Bus; I don’t ride the bus on a regular basis. I’m concerned about my neighbors who do; not about myself.
(response to #10):. Very important to me that Cap Metro be held to a reasonable standard of truth. If you are not willing to do that, you are my enemy. Devolving this to “name-calling” is not helpful, and it paints you the same as the people in AURA who I will no longer work with. Todd Hemingson lies to the public about transit planning. So does Javier; so do other key leaders. That’s not name-calling; it’s just refusing to pretend that the emperor isn’t naked.

Overall this first reception has not incented me to further contribute. Change your answers on #8 and #10 at a minimum if I’m to be expected to provide any more unpaid labor to this endeavor.

Any word on the workshop? Did you guys have it?

The notes from the workshop are posted on this FAN blog entry. The group did not come to conclusions but did brainstorm and discuss a number of possible issues that FAN could address. Feel free to continue the discussion here.