The Jackson/Teton County Integrated Transportation Plan (ITP) was adopted September 2015 by the Board of County Commissioners and the Jackson Town Council. Have you read the ITP? And if so, what would your top three priorities be toward Plan implementation?
Yes, I have read the ITP in its entirety. Having our residents and visitors be able to safely, efficiently, and economically move within our community and region by many modes of transportation is a great goal. First, understanding who is on our roads and focusing on reducing those travelers is key; reducing local single-occupancy vehicles is essential and will require the use of both “carrots and sticks”. Second, START updates must be done in tandem with other area updates, such as zoning, land development regulations and used with both incentives and regulations. Research shows that by getting people off roads and onto buses or whatever else, people see less traffic and start driving again — bringing us back to square one. Prioritizing ease, sensibility, and predictability of START bus routes is a key, which is presently in the works. Currently, using the buses for random or non-uniform travel is often out of the question because the system as is, is not intuitive. We need a Broadway Line with an express option and a Snow King Avenue Bus with common hubs at the end of the line, ideally at parking lots. Thirdly, all of these improvements need to be coupled with pedestrian friendly streets to be effective, which the Town is already doing. We shouldn’t put the cart before the horse – we need ridership first -- which, as I’ve been saying for months now, requires both ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’. And, people value what they pay for - why not implement a bus pass system like any other place, with student and senior passes discounted or free and charge for parking in town, like they do at the village; it’s all regressive but it works and those who can afford to pay will do so generating revenue.
Do you support hiring a full-time transportation director to oversee implementation of the Integrated Transportation Plan?
This is a tough one, especially in light of revenue shortfalls - it makes sense to hire someone to oversee the implementation of the Integrated Transportation Plan - but not if we’re going to micromanage this person or prevent them from implementing the Plan as it’s been approved.
Do you support the 1% local option sales tax for housing and transportation? If not, how do you propose to fund the goals set out in the Integrated Transportation Plan?
Yes, absolutely. Having a steady stream of income that is built in makes a lot of sense - especially when we have budget cuts statewide and revenue is an issue. Visitors to our town pay the lion’s share of the sales tax - which does not include food - and we need revenue to mitigate the costs of their presence and to improve our housing and transportation situations. Additionally, we should charge people to park in town - and a novel idea suggested by a friend at the senior center is to have people get bike licenses/plates.There are many people who resent the pathways because they don’t use them and it’s only fair to ask bikers to contribute to maintaining the system. I’d be happy to get a bike license and/or plate, which would also solve the issue of ‘borrowed’ bikes!
Do you support Bike Share as a program of START? Will you fund a Bike Share program in the 2017/18 Budget?
I’d rather see the town sponsoring bikes for community members, like what the Town Hall does in Bordeaux France. However, I fully support bikeshare programs - they are wonderful - for visitors especially. We used the bike share in Philadelphia this summer getting to and from the DNC; it was great cruising past all of the car traffic. But other infrastructure pieces must be in place. As for funding a bike share program in the 2017/18 budget - that will depend on what our revenue situation looks like at that point in time. We have a growing list of issues that need to be tackled and progress on those issues will determine funding priorities in the future, as well as dwindling state budgets. It’s unlikely a bike share program would generate revenue; I believe New York City’s bike share program is through a public-private partnership with no funding from the city, and the private company is running it in the red. In short, we’ve got bigger fish to fry at this point in time.
When was the last time you rode a bike, and where?
I rode my pink granny bike with my son’s empty front child seat, to see Terry Tempest Williams at SH/FT at the Center for the Arts - talk about an inspirational evening; highlights: we need to learn to speak the language of ‘we’ and we need to put people before profit. A lot to think about on the bike ride home…
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