Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to sell transit? Dumb it down, McCrory says

We've long believed one of Pat McCrory's strengths as Charlotte mayor - and a big reason he was never really challenged in elections here - was his willingness to buck his party on issues he felt were critical to the city's future.

The most prominent example of that? Transportation. McCrory understood the value of mass transit, and he encouraged people to bike and walk as well as drive. Many in his own party railed against his support of Charlotte's light rail system, but he didn't waver, and the system has been an early success.

How did he help get it done? On Wednesday, he told a group of transit managers in Georgia that selling a rail system to the public requires a combination of dumbing down and offering a big picture.

Says the Macon Telegraph:
McCrory's theme was "Mayberry & Metropolis," a discussion of how to get public transit projects done and integrate them into effective community revitalization.

Transit and revitalization efforts alike are not individual projects that can be considered finished at any point, he told the group. They're constant and eternal processes, with each project connected to the others, McCrory said.

And without an overall vision for an area, plus a strategy to achieve it, "you're wasting your time on the process," he said.

When selling that vision to the electorate, planners can't use technical language, McCrory said.

"The public does not understand the written word," he said. "They want pictures."

When selling that vision to the electorate, planners can't use technical language, McCrory said.

"The public does not understand the written word," he said. "They want pictures."

McCrory said those pictures should show not just shiny new stations, but the blight that might come to corridors that don't places that don't take advantage of rail. He also said that for transit systems to succeed, they must be integrated with other developments and have routes that transcend political boundaries.

That's all true, and it's also interesting. As McCrory continues to veer to the right in advance of his inevitable run for N.C. governor next year, he's still championing the thing N.C. conservatives most detest about his policies - rail.

That kind of big-picture McCrory could serve North Carolina well. Or maybe he just didn't think anyone here would find out.

Peter St. Onge




20 comments:

Skippy said...

OK Mayor Sell Out. Dumb it down? Does that mean purposely lying about the costs, lie about the benefits of traffic reduction and lie about the reduction in car emissions while at the same time Climategate Part II has just come out? Shiny new stations and the blight of corridors? Mayor Sell Out, you don't have to convince the color by numbers crowd that we need choos choos so the dumbing down has already been achieved. From the Charlib Nonobservant on the results of the blight that the choo choo has "corrected":

Downturn stalls Scaleybark project
City allocated $2 million for affordable rentals, but builder says he's awaiting tax credit, better economy.

Goal: Curb sprawl

One goal of the Lynx Blue Line was to change development patterns in Charlotte. The idea was to cluster apartments, offices and stores near train stations so residents would be less dependent on cars and to reduce sprawl.

This is nothing more than a war on freedom using our money to transport the 1% that will actually use the choo choo. The only reason why you might be a better Gov than the corrupt Perdue is that you are not an Easley clone but you will not bring fiscal sanity to Raleigh by continuing to support this boondoggle BS.

J said...

McCrory is still dreaming, and I'm not talking about policy. The farmer rednecks will always run this state. All Perdue has to do next year is visit the 99 counties that aren't named Mecklenburg, and tell them, "I'm running against somebody from Charlotte," and her landslide victory is assured.

Garth Vader said...

Nobody does dumb like Mayor Fratboy.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kantstanzya said...

I echo what "Skippy" says. "Dumbing down" to politicians means lying if they have to in order to convince the public that something that doesn't make sense actually does.

Our mass transit systems all cost more than budgeted, had lower ridership than projected and lost more money than we can afford. We are getting ready to do even more. Trains to deserted Eastland Mall and 1 1/2 mile trolly lines.

This is a tactic used by Democrats and apparently by Rinos throughout the country. In California Jerry "moonbeam" Brown and the Obama administation are moving full speed ahead on the bullet train from San Fran to Anaheim.

In 2008 the rail authority sold California voters on a $9 Billion bond package on the pretext the project would cost $33 Billion and the rest financed by private investors and projected 90 million riders per year. Now it looks like the project will cost $100 Billion, only have 10 million riders and nary a private investor in sight. Can you say "taxpayer subsidies"? It gets worse but you get the idea.

McCrory may think he is being sooo smart pulling the wool over the people of Charlotte. But he is pretty stupid bragging about it to people in Georgia. "The public does not understand the writen word" Pat? Well maybe some of the people who ride the trains may not. But the people who pay for them certainly do. I may sit out the Gov. race next year if McCrory is the GOP candidate. At least with a corrupt Dem governor you know what you are getting.

"They'll be no more crosstown Trolly Rides for me and you."
---Les Brown (1945)

DistrictSix said...

Describe success of our Light Rail in terms of how much it costs per passenger per trip?

It would also prove helpful to also include the cost of providing the successful buses, on a per trip per passenger basis.

And tell us what other cities costs are for these services?

We need you to show just how successful this Light Rail System and Bus System has been, and how you quantified that success.

We will see if it matches the numbers we have gleamed from the financials over the operation of this service.

DistrictSix said...

Another great help would be the breakdown of tax income for the first several years.

Most people are unaware of the tax holiday allotted to the many builders and alike, and this would cement your vision of success if the numbers are show.

Or one might hope so, since you said it was so successful.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

District Six:

Early success includes Lynx outperforming ridership projections, as well as prompting more than $250 million in development in Lynx station areas, as of 2010, including housing, retail and office space.

Thanks...

Charlanta said...

Yeah, the light rail has been a total loss. I ride it daily along with tens of thousands and it just sucks having to leave my car behind to save money. I would much rather the idiots on these blogs make decisions like widen every road in Charlotte until you can't maintain it, build more houses away from high traffic zones forcing more traffic and then yell about adding more roads. For the yahoos that say it serves a small fraction don't understand that it MUST be built in phases to eventually assist 20-30% or higher of all commuters (north, northeast and south). If you don't like mass transit, I recommend moving to Souix Falls, Spokane or some crap ass never growing market.

Skippy said...

Charlanta, you are the reason why this needs to be "dumbed down". Congrats.

Skippy said...

Under project success then claim to exceed ridership is the hallmark of liberalism.

DistrictSix said...

"Early success includes Lynx outperforming ridership projections, as well as prompting more than $250 million in development in Lynx station areas, as of 2010, including housing, retail and office space.

Thanks..."

I am sorry to have asked you for the actual numbers it costs per rider, and to verify that the building development has yet to pay taxes, or what that number actually could be?

These would be of such stress to the average taxpayer and that is not what the Observer Opinion Editors want to encourage.

DistrictSix said...

@Charlanta

If you were given around forty dollars a day for your business transportation needs, meaning going only back and forth to work, how would you commute?

Keep in mind this is around eight hundred dollar a month?

The Observer Editorial Board said...

D6: I'd guess that development would ultimately pay taxes, no?

Cost-per-rider is a great way to show that trains are more expensive to operate than buses. But in the greater context of development, that conclusion can change. We'll have our answer in years, not now, but thus far light rail has exceeded expectations.

DistrictSix said...

If only we had your ideas of what constitutes the break even point in incentives for builders?

Oh and you say that expensive mode of transportation can change?

Perhaps you can show us which City is having that success after the initial costs and overruns?

We are sorry you can not provide your readers the information on our Charlotte system.

Since you were so happy with the success and are the only daily major paper in Charlotte, it just seemed you would have that research already in your files.

Peter St. Onge said...
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The Observer Editorial Board said...

Thanks, D6. Let me try:

"If only we had your ideas of what constitutes the break even point in incentives for builders?"

That's an answer that will become more apparent when we know how much development the rail will produce.

"Oh and you say that expensive mode of transportation can change?"

No. The contextual cost of rail changes if it produces more development.

"Perhaps you can show us which City is having that success after the initial costs and overruns?" That's a terrific question, although as I'm sure you know, each city and their transit evolution is unique. Again, though, we come back to context. An initial overrun can be swallowed by eventual impact.

If all of that seems like a "wait and see" answer, well, it is. But the rail is producing development and getting ridership beyond expectations. Will each continue? We don't know.

Thanks...

DistrictSix said...

OK I can see we are never going to get specific numbers from you?

A snapshot of subsidized cost per rider today, would give us an idea of our success compared to the cost per rider in other cities, which are going broke with rail.

I just hope you take into account your shifty response to this matter, when you make such grandiose claims that others need to be investigated.

But as the only daily newspaper in Charlotte you must enjoy the privilege of no oversight immensely.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

D6:

Not being shifty at all. We can find cost-per-rider stats, but the point is they do not offer anything close to a complete picture- yet. We need years to determine if the costs are offset.

DistrictSix said...

Yes you have said that before and if the fact other cities have also done what we have done and waited, only to go broke on rail, then you are right it will show in the long run.

Still it would seem you would not mind showing us the actual cost per rider even for amusement.

Especially since most of these grand developments still have not paid taxes.

Add that to the fact we have tried to get you to report the money diverted from projects needed all areas of the City to South Blvd, for all that infrastructure upgrading and beautification.