October 3, 2005

TRANSPORTATION FOR THE MASSES:

Options for Commuters Developing: Grantham Park and Ride, Claremont Bus on Tap (Kristen Fountain, 10/03/05, Valley News)

A long-awaited park-and-ride lot next to I-89's Exit 13 in Grantham has been designed and is slated for construction this fall or spring, said a New Hampshire Department of Transportation engineer last week.

Transit advocates see the 52-space lot, in the works for more than six years, as an essential stop for a new commuter bus service that they hope will begin running next year between Claremont and workplaces in Lebanon, Hanover and Hartford via the highway.

The 400-foot long lot will run between the northbound I-89 on-ramp and the Grantham Greenway, said NH DOT engineer Doug King. There will be 38 paved spaces and a 15-space gravel overflow area that could be paved later if necessary, as well as a three-sided shelter for the bus stop, he said.

The lot will be used as soon as it is open, said Susan Berry, coordinator of the Upper Valley Rideshare, which connects people for commuting carpools. Around 220 people who currently share rides into the core towns through the program live in Grantham and surrounding towns, she said.

“There are so many people from the Grantham area commuting up into the Upper Valley (core). There are a lot of roads that come into that area. It's a great spot to meet.”

The NH DOT originally planned to build a park-and-ride at Exit 17 in Lebanon, and later at Exit 16 in Enfield, but in both locations, the projects were opposed by town elected officials and residents who feared the effects from additional traffic and that the lot would require regular police presence and place a drain on public safety resources.

In contrast, the Grantham selectboard and administration has year after year expressed solid support for the project. Town leaders see the park-and-ride lot as a resource for their residents, primarily for commuters but also for retirees who may not want to drive and teenagers who can't drive yet, said Town Administrator Tina Stearns. [...]

Signs of movement on the Grantham park-and-ride lot have encouraged Community Transportation Services of Claremont to resubmit an application to NH DOT for funding to begin a commuter bus service from Claremont, stopping in Newport, Croydon and Grantham. The funding is federal money distributed by the states.

CTS currently provides local bus service between Claremont and Newport, Unity and Sunapee. There is no transit service in Grantham currently.

The bus would leave Claremont at 7 a.m., arriving in Hanover at just before 8 a.m. after a stop at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and return along the same route leaving at 5 p.m. A third run would leave Claremont at 11 a.m. and return from DHMC at 12:30 a.m., according to the application. The fare is likely to be set at $2.50 per one-way trip, though discounts will be available for those who need them, according to the application. [...]

The New Hampshire I-89 bus service would fill a major gap in the region's growing bus transit network that operators say has received a large spike in ridership in recent weeks because of rising gas prices.

Within the last two years, commuter buses have started running on I-89 between Randolph, Vt., and the Upper Valley core towns, with stops in Royalton and Sharon as well as on I-91 from Springfield, Vt., with stops in Ascutney and Hartland and from Wells River, with stops in Newbury, Bradford, Fairlee and Thetford. Fares on those routes are $2 from Springfield; $3.50 from Wells River; and $2.50 from Randolph.

Each route drops off in downtown Hanover as well as Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Centerra Business Park and the Veterans Affairs Hospital in White River Junction.

“You are starting to see the spokes of the wheel coming in toward where a lot of the jobs are,” said Len Cadwallader, Executive Director of the non-profit Vital Communities.


Automobilephiliacs hate that kind of wheel.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 3, 2005 2:56 PM
Comments

Automobilephiliacs hate being referred to as "the masses" by ruling-class toffs.

Posted by: joe shropshire at October 3, 2005 3:14 PM

while sitting in a traffic jam packed in steel like sardines....

Posted by: oj at October 3, 2005 3:28 PM

Must be some other time zone where that happens.

Posted by: joe shropshire at October 3, 2005 3:38 PM

I didn't know that about automobilephiliacs. But I did know that commuters hate taking a one-hour bus ride that operates only twice a day on a fixed schedule in place of a 20-minute car ride to a place with plentiful parking; and that taxpayers hate subsidizing an unused bus.

Posted by: pj at October 3, 2005 3:53 PM

there's no parking at DHMC or most of the businesses around here.

Posted by: oj at October 3, 2005 3:59 PM

Park and rides are great!

We have one about a half-mile from here. The whole idea is that drivers from the far suburbs come down the Interstate, park for free, of course, and ride into town, leaving the rest of the expressway uncrowded for drivers from the near suburbs. It's a win-win situation.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 3, 2005 4:18 PM

Lou: Does it pay for itself?

Posted by: David Cohen at October 3, 2005 4:20 PM
there's no parking at DHMC or most of the businesses around here
Thus proving OJ's point that only his personal experience has any bearing on his public policy perscriptions. On the other hand, I have yet to live somewhere were there wasn't plenty of parking near most or all of the businesses "around here". Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at October 3, 2005 4:52 PM

AOG:

Options for Commuters Developing: Grantham Park and Ride, Claremont Bus on Tap (Kristen Fountain, 10/03/05, Valley News)

Posted by: oj at October 3, 2005 5:08 PM

If all the expenses for maintaining the automobile road system was directly paid for by registration and license fees, people would complain. But because the subsidy is hidden through general taxes, people think cars are cheaper than they are.

If costs were properly allocated, people would have a better basis to decide whether they desire to use private or public transportation. Considering the externalities car have in regards to the environment and foreign policy (because of oil), this would be the sane thing to do.

Once people look at the true bill, and still want to use their cars, more power to them. Convenience is certainly worth something. But what they really want, it seems, is more subsidies. Conservatives do not oppose subsidies as long as they perpetuate their current lifestyle.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at October 3, 2005 5:16 PM

Roads are also heavily used by trucks bring us things we need to survive. Different types of fuel to heat our houses. Food from the countryside to feed our faces. Building materials for building our houses. Roads to take the furnace repairman to our houses at all times of the hour so we stay warm. I could go on.

Posted by: AllenS [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 3, 2005 5:32 PM

Allen:

Trucks and buses only seems a logical compromise.

Posted by: oj at October 3, 2005 5:36 PM

In other contexts you recognize that, this being a democracy, the people get what they want, and they want a social safety net.

Similarly, the people want to drive their cars. This being a democracy, that's exactly what they're going to do.

Posted by: Timothy at October 3, 2005 6:50 PM

Driving is not subsidized, nor does it have any externalities by any sensible definition.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 3, 2005 6:58 PM

Except for social, environmental, national seurity and infrastructure costs.

Posted by: oj at October 3, 2005 7:05 PM

David: I don't have the figures, but how could the savings not have been substantial?

The costs, to begin with, were minimal: just a couple of ramps and signs, and an expanded parking lot.

The economic savings are manifold. We have the value of the time and fuel otherwise wasted in traffic jams, which benefit accrues to not only the users of the park and ride but also to those who formerly competed with them for use of the expressway. To this we may add the cost of center-city parking over train fare for P&R users, as well as the savings involved in not having had to rebuild or expand the roads into the city.

These are only the obvious economic gains. There is a value not directly quantifiable, the value of freedom. Without economically feasible transportation individuals, real live walking-around individuals, would have been chained back from their choices of neighbors and community.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 3, 2005 8:02 PM

AOG:

Personal experiences are all anyone believes. Subjectivity trumps all.

Posted by: oj at October 1, 2005

Orrin knows well that his universal prescriptions are Orrin-centric. He just can't help himself.

[T]he 52-space lot, in the works for more than six years...
There will be 38 paved spaces and a 15-space gravel overflow area...

New England efficiency in action.

Out West, if we decide to built a tiny parking lot, we finish construction within 90 days.

If the lot isn't even going to be paved, as a third of this over-planned bus stop won't be, we don't even bother to actually BUILD it - we just park on the dirt or grass.

In fact, in rural Texas and New Mexico, we even designate our own dirt Interstate on and off ramps, by simply entering and exiting the Interstate often enough at the same point at the side of the road that a path is worn in the shoulder and berm.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 3, 2005 9:07 PM

In Vermont a while back, the Park & Ride cars were vandalized during the day. The vandals knew no one would notice until 6 p.m.

Posted by: obc at October 3, 2005 9:21 PM

OJ: None of which are subsidized or externalities.

Lou: What about the buses?

Posted by: David Cohen at October 3, 2005 10:07 PM

Park and rides are popular in Houston (we're spread out after all), and buses are an integral part of that equation. We like our cars, but we're not masochists.

Posted by: kevin whited at October 3, 2005 10:21 PM

It largely depends on the value that people place on their time. To OJ, other people's time is of little value, so he sees no loss if they have to spend a few hours waiting for the bus, or if they are forced to plan their daily schedule accoring to the bus schedule.

Posted by: ray at October 3, 2005 10:46 PM

Michael --

Precisely. If there were any demand for this "opportunity," it would have happened long ago, and on a scale that mattered.

Posted by: curt at October 3, 2005 11:17 PM

David: Sorry not to have explained it fully. The park and ride I wrote of is a connection between the interstate and a commuter-train station. By happy coincidence, the station is the one I used to walk to when I took the train into town. The new, expanded lot has free parking, vice meters, so I should call it a win-win-win situation.

On reflection, however, buses instead of trains would still have been an improvement, although not so great as that obtained by using an existing rail facility.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 3, 2005 11:43 PM

ray:

To the contrary--their time is too important to be wasted alone in a car.

Posted by: oj at October 4, 2005 7:55 AM

David:

We subsidize them in order to make cars viable.

Posted by: oj at October 4, 2005 7:57 AM

Lou: Thanks. I was googling around on this topic and discovered that, for the goo-goos, one of the problems with Park and Rides is that providing more parking can turn walks into short car trips, which are the most wasteful.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 4, 2005 8:30 AM
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