This past week, the Chesterfield County Committee on the Future released a report on "safeguarding future prosperity for all Chesterfield residents" (PDF). This citizen committe is tasked with forecasting long-range conditions in the county and coming up with recommendations to tackle those conditions. A lot of what the committee's report focused on, as you can guess from the title, is the increasing poverty rate. There's lots of good information in there, like the fact that a Chesterfieldian making minimum wage must work 89 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom rental.
On page 33, they lay out their transit priorities:
- Increase physical connections and opportunities that give people mobility through community design.
- Coordinate current and future land use, job development, and housing policies with transit decisions.
- Prioritize transit investment to maximize economic mobility.
- Investigate the feasibility of a multimodal transportation system in areas with population density high enough to support services.
Two things! First, it's exciting to see any mention of transit in a Chesterfield report focused on poverty and the future of the county. Second, it is important that these physical connections are made through high-quality, fixed-route bus service. On-demand, Uber-like services have no place in connecting people daily to jobs, education, and healthcare. That is a job for public transit, and that is how, in the report's own words, we "maximize economic mobility."
After you read through the presentation linked above, take a second to fill out their survey and write in your desire for fixed-route bus service in Chesterfield County. If you need inspiration, remember, this is the regional transit map we're working towards!
AROUND THE REGION
Over on Twitter, @JacqueVaughan tweeted this picture of the rendering of the Better Housing Coalition's transit-oriented development on Broad street. The rate at which things are already changing along the Pulse Corridor is pretty impressive.
Citizens in St. Louis voted for a tax increase to dedicate "a half-cent sales tax increase toward expanding public transportation and providing public safety equipment." They join the ever-growing list of cities across America choosing to find more funds for public transit. Also of note, on the same day, voters shot down another tax to fund a Major League Soccer stadium. The people of St. Louis have set their priorities!
What happens when a major highway that carries 250,000 cars per day catches on fire and collapses? Traffic as far as the eye can see? A city brought to its knees? CARMAGEDDON??? Nope! Turns out, when this sort of thing happens there's never an intense increase in traffic—it's counter intuitive but true! If Atlanta can survive—with no major impact—the loss of I-85, Richmond will be totally fine with the loss of a couple of lanes on Broad Street for the Pulse.
Calgary's got an interesting idea for helping some of the lowest-income folks afford to get around the city. They've instituted a sliding scale based on income for the cost of a transit pass. A monthly pass costs $95.95, but for those living below the poverty line, it will cost just $5.05.