Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chuga Chuga Woohoo!! Is passenger rail a Legacy we can afford or sustain in Fort Wayne?

I know that I would love to take a day trip to Chicago or Indy: museums, movies, plays, shopping, etc. and not have to worry about driving back home after all that walking, with all those packages, after eating a really really big meal, and partying/drinking up at Boystown or Gregs respectfully. Having a Red Light Shuttle back to Fort Wayne would be amazeballs and I could sleep and sober up on the way back get in my car and drive home too.

The other problem I have is the area surrounding the old train station is already log jammed with CitiLink, Parkview Field/Harrison Square, and Greyhound Bus Service. The Businesses around there and especially Powers Hamburgers, all at the same intersection and not enough inexpensive short term or long term parking to make it feasible for development that will actually be used. And God forbid it if they try to close down After Dark Nightclub (Dont piss off the Drag Queens!) or St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store to provide more parking or eliminate one more bar from their site plans for that area or turn it over to one of their cronies at a profit.

It would be better to use the midsize buses or full size vans on an isolated path road (like I dont know an interstate or state/federal highway) and become more diverse in both travel destinations and fuel economy. Rail for passengers outside of Chicago, Indy, Columbus or Toledo, and Lansing, anything outside of a two hour window, then I would consider it necessary. However, Fort Wayne is also a central location for all of those Cities mentioned above and that is where you achieve the rub of two competing interest groups: travel from the Summit City and commerce coming to the Summit City. Where we need transportation service isnt just to and from the larger Cities it is the small towns within an hour or two or three from here like Columbia City or Syracuse or Defiance, etc. and that is where the CitiLink Service buses could be best used, out on the open highway saving the smaller buses and full size vans for in City and small town driving.

The other obvious objection would be to the use of $200,000 dollars of Legacy Funds, that expense should be covered from the surrounding businesses that will be affected by the expanded tourist dollars and travel lodgers first, and then paid by all the tax revenue that Harrison Square is allowed by law to retain under Special Zoning for maintenance and development, not the rest of the City for a project that by its own record wouldnt even consider turning a profit let alone be self sustaining until at least 2030 by its own speculations.

Besides there is always something else to waste $200,000 on like non supported QR technology (via Dan Turkette's Angry White Boy, October 2013) on street signs. (Really, City of Fort Wayne? Get with the times! You dont even have full wifi blanket across downtown and you want to use something that is three years out of date.) Maybe we could start by actually hiring a consultant that knows what they are talking about for a change? I suggest we start with rotating groups of students in college and/or high school whom have the latest technical knowledge in a particularly given field and pay them a thousand to five thousand bucks each (in scholarship grants partially), depending on the scope of the project and detail to which they are responsible to put together the proposal, action plans, and finally oversee implementation, even if it does or doesnt require a professional directly in charge of the project fruition. They will get it done a lot quicker and for a lot less money and it will last because they will want to show it to their grandchildren.

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1 comment:

Robert Enders said...

Passenger trains are like dial-up modems. They were really great when we didn't have anything better. Today we have cable modems, fiber-op, and smart phones. We also have buses, planes, and interstate highways. A charter bus has more route options if the road gets blocked. When train tracks are blocked or damaged, you'll wish that you brought more stuff to read. When a flight is delayed or canceled, at least you are at the airport where there is stuff to do. A train can get stuck in the middle of cow country. Hope the guy sitting next to you has something interesting to talk about!

You want to talk about high speed rail? You can only go as fast as whatever is in front of you. Try spending some time in New Haven and watch those freight trains sit on the tracks for hours at a time.

Unlike dial-up modems, trains still have a couple things going
for them. They are much more fuel efficient for sending freight long distances. And passenger trains make economic sense in highly population dense areas like Europe, Asia, and the East Coast. Passenger trains don't make economic sense in the Midwest.

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