Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hop on, hop off

I know who/what MetroTransit is but not exactly how their day to day operations are handled. I don't know their budget and even if I did...I still don't have the metro budget's of other cities to compare it to. I don't know MetroTransit's goals or even all their resources so in my opinion, they could be doing as good as they can with what they have...all that to say, I think those Spirit Trolleys are the most ineffective forms of public transportation I've ever used.

All the glory that MAPS 1 receives (and rightfully so) ends on this 9th project.

I have been fortunate enough over the past 3 years to be a traveler quite a bit (68 day 14,000 mile road trip in the U.S., 29-day Plane-Train-Bus trip to 13 diff cities in Europe and the opportunity to live in Madrid for 8 months at the mercy of public transportation)...from a traveling point of view, those Spirit Trolleys would be the biggest pain.

When I would go into a new city the first thing I want to do is "look" around. I can either: 1- walk 2- find public transportation

The first can happen without any guidance but the second leaves me with finding a bus/streetcar/trolley.

I honestly right now can only tell you where ONE trolley stop is and that is because it was by my apartment when I lived in Regency Tower (A "stop" in front of the Memorial).

The Spirit Trolleys are phantom. I see them occasionally around Bricktown... I don't see signs pointing to where any stop is, occasionally I'll stumble upon a trolley stop sign but it doesn't tell me any information.

Color the sidewalks marking each stop, show the trolley route, show VISIBLE signs pointing to a trolley stop, show VISIBLE trolley stops with a bench with Bricktown/downtown map, play music that the street can hear, have a destination where a trolley will always be waiting (for passengers and the next trolley), be timely and something useful for crying out loud.

I have not seen anything productive implemented from this MAPS 1 project but I think going 8 for 9 is incredibly good considering the vote almost didn't pass.
A big part of the "romance" in living downtown is the dream of not owning a car. I probably will never be in that position ever again but I'll settle for never "needing" my car.

I know I have been a huge proponent of the Core to Shore Park but this new street car system has some great potential. The citizens got this one right when they listed (better public transit) as a top priority. We will be able to see the track, see the route and if better signs and reliability come with it then living downtown will become more more desirable.

We will see less parking hassles, less traffic, less intoxicated drivers, more options for dining (because getting to your parked car and driving somewhere and finding a parking x2 takes too much of an hour lunch break).

I gotta say it...I get a little giddy when it comes to thinking about OKC in about 5-7's time to bring those travelers to OKC.

All or none of the issues the trolleys have may not be MetroTransit's fault, but I'm hoping whoever runs the proposed streetcar system learns from absent Spirit Trolleys.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

When is history...history?

I recently had a conversation with one of my friends about an e-mail he received from district (he's a Putnam City school teacher).

He told me that no teacher was not allowed to show Obama's speech on education in class unless they had permission from every parent from every student in the class...really??

I have not seen/heard his speech. I want that said before I even start typing my opinion on the whole topic.

Why are we banning the speeches of president of the United States of America? I am NOT saying that the teachers should be forced to show the speech. I am NOT saying the district should insist the speech be watched...but come out and ban it?

A popular response I hear is, "Well it's not part of the curriculum."

Sooooo are we saying that if the president called the principal of a school and said, "Hi, this is President (any president) and I'd like to come speak at your school. Would it be possible for me to have 5-10 minutes to speak on education to your students?" that the principal's "proper" response will be, "Sorry, it's not in our curriculum."

Not a chance.

Don't they teach U.S. History in school? Is what the President of the United States says not considered a part of our U.S. history? I heard countless "historic" presidential speeches growing up... I realize that but I don't have kids so my opinion might fall on deaf ears.

I do know that the seniors and juniors in high schools today will have a vote in the 2012 presidential elections and a longtime common theme has been that the young voters just don't vote....THIS SURE ISN'T HELPING IN REVERSING THAT TREND.