In the midst of running my statistical analyses for last week’s post on why fireworks are almost as trash as I am, I caught the statistical analysis bug and wanted to keep running regressions. Naturally, I decided to look at a dataset that I use frequently for my job and which I had recently been parsing through yet again – the American Community Survey’s means of transportation to work data.
One can generally count on Advance Ohio/NEOMG/Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer/whatever they are going by nowadays to defend vigorously the interests of the entrenched powers-that-be. This outcome particularly holds true when it comes to shiny, big ticket mega-projects.
For sustainable transportation advocates, changing people’s commuting behaviors can seem like our white whale. While commutes account for just 19% of total personal trips in the US, they play an outsized role in our transportation system, accounting for 27.8% of total vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Their timing is also critical. The concept of rush hour revolves around our commute patterns. In cities like Washington, DC and Los Angeles, rush hour congestion can make life hell commuters, costing them time, money, and sanity. But in cities that are not growing and have no real congestion issues normally, these rush hour periods are particularly important. For a city like Cleveland, commuting patterns directly influence the transportation infrastructure we end up with. The influx of drivers heading to and from work each day provides justification to expand our already overbuilt road system, which has serious impacts on development patterns, travel … Continue reading → The post Employers play a major role in shaping commuting behavior appeared first on Tim Kovach.
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Earlier this summer, shortly before Republicans invaded Cleveland, the publicly-funded downtown Hilton Hotel opened to much fanfare and self-congratulatory praise. The hotel’s completion coincided with the repaving and restriping of Ontario Avenue – which runs adjacent to the structure – from St. Clair to Lakeside. The project included the addition restoration of an on-road, striped bike lane, the first and only one located in downtown Cleveland (unless you include the stretch on the north side of Superior from around West 6th to the Detroit-Superior Bridge, which, don’t). Here’s what the lane is supposed to look like, courtesy of bike messenger and Twitter-er-er-er Dave Schalmo (@Courier429). You can see the valet parking signs conveniently placed in the middle of the lane, perhaps suggesting that the people at the Hilton weren’t too thrilled about the placement of said lane. Well, that … Continue reading → The post Fun with Cleveland bike lanes! appeared first on Tim Kovach.
“Ozone: Good up high, Bad nearby.” So goes the U.S. EPA’s catchy (?) refrain to help people distinguish between (good) atmospheric and (bad) ground-level ozone. Fortunately, we have gotten some good news on the former in the past few days. A team of researchers has concluded that we are finally building up more good ozone; that is, the massive hole in the protective ozone layer over Antarctica is finally beginning to heal thanks to the phasing out of chlorofluorocarbons under the 1987 Montreal Protocol. It seems like the ozone layer may be on course to fully recover by the middle of the century. Unfortunately, the news is not as great on the latter front, as we are also seeing an increase in ground-level ozone. On Tuesday, NOACA issued an ozone advisory, warning residents of Northeast Ohio that ambient levels of ground-level ozone may reach harmful levels, which … Continue reading → The post Do ‘ozone action days’ actually inspire people to act? appeared first on Tim Kovach.
Pragmatists have long invoked the phrase “Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.” Generally speaking, that’s solid advice. And, as a card carrying incrementalist sellout™, it’s something I can get behind. Most of the time, that is. Some issues are so substantial, so systemic in nature, that tinkering on the margins is unlikely to remedy the problem. And that’s one of our major pathologies here in Cleveland. We seem to try tackling these big, hairy problems with the same tired toolkit of solutions, despite the fact that they haven’t worked yet. There’s only so many times you can run headlong into a brick wall. The problem isn’t that we make the perfect the enemy of the good. It’s that, in Cleveland, we tend to make the facile the enemy of the good. In other words, I mean that we almost always fall back on old ideas, regardless of whether … Continue reading → The post Raising the sales tax is not the answer to GCRTA’s funding woes appeared first on Tim Kovach.
After months of an extended and often contentious debate, the GCRTA Board of Trustees finally voted on a series of measures to help the agency balance its budget for the next year. Surprising no one, Board members approved a series of stepwise fare increases that will take effect on August 16, which should increase annual operating revenues by $3.5 million. Single-ride fares will increase to $2.50 from $2.25 currently and, ultimately, rise again to $2.75 in August 2018. All day passes will increase from $5 to $5.50 and ultimately $6, while monthly passes will jump from $85 to $95 and then $105. For the sake of comparison, WMATA, the Washington, DC area transit operator, charges $1.75 for bus fares and off-peak rail fares; the base fare for on-peak rail users is $2.25. MTA, the transit operator in New York, in turn, charges $2.75 for a single … Continue reading → The post Asking some lingering questions about cutting service on the Waterfront Line appeared first on Tim Kovach.