“Equitable Distribution” and the ONEN Master Plan

"Equitable Distribution" and the ONEN Master Plan

May 22, 2016

When MMT implemented the bus changes through ONEN on May 1, 2016, some Nevada residents naturally confused these route changes with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Plan that ONEN was actively promoting. This became even worse when word got out that MMT requested that the lane freed by safety-sizing Nevada Avenue be used as a transit/bus lane. The City was also considering reducing the speed limits on Cascade, Weber, and Wahsatch to 30 mph while leaving Nevada at 35. The ONEN board unanimously voted against these suggestions as a violation of the ONEN Master Plan. This raised the question that if adding bus lanes and allowing higher speed limits on Nevada, compared to the other north-south arterial streets, is a violation of the ONEN Master Plan, then could moving buses to Nevada also be a violation?

The following is from the ONEN Master Plan signed as a city ordnance on February 26, 1991.

ONEN_Master_Plan

Although this statement does not specifically refer to buses, it is clear that moving buses from less busy arterial streets to our busiest north-south arterial street is not in the spirit of 2.A4 of our Master Plan. Here are the results of the latest two traffic counts. Note that these count were both taken before the buses were moved to Nevada Avenue.

Traffic Counts in Average Daily Trips (ADT)

Traffic Counts in Average Daily Trips (ADT)
Cascade Avenue Nevada Avenue Weber Street Wahsatch Avenue
2013 Traffic Counts 10,400 (29%) 15,700 (44%) 4,600 (13%) 4,800 (14%)
2016 Traffic Counts 6,615 (20%) 17,564 (54%) 3,417 (10%) 5,181 (16%)

 

 

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Comments

  1. Peter Frantz, June 9, 2016
    To emphasize the point of this blog entry, note that while Cascade had a 36% decrease in traffic, Nevada had a 12% increase. This is already a poor job at "maintaining an equitable distribution." And when the city informed ONEN of its plans to transfer buses from Cascade to Nevada (plus a significant increase in the total number), ONEN replied that they were "not opposed to the consolidation plan's end goals." While many of us Nevada residents appreciate the efforts of the new Transit Committee, it's not hard to see the writing on the wall. Reply
    • Brian Safigan, June 9, 2016
      Peter, I think we are on the same page in analyzing the data; however, I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories for why the buses were moved to Nevada. MMT simply stated that since they were consolidating routes from Cascade and Wahsatch, they felt a move to Nevada would be more central. I believe this was the logic along with an attempt to increase the efficiency of the entire bus system of which the Nevada corridor is only one part. MMT makes changes to their routes twice per year (May and September). We have convinced them to not pour any pads on Nevada until we have time to discuss this further. This is the purpose of the meeting on June 20th. Let's see if we can work with MMT for a better solution. Reply
  2. R. Sullivan, June 9, 2016
    While I hold a certain level of skepticism of City traffic numbers, let's try this: Cascade is reducing volume as drivers avoid the flashing lights through the CC campus; Nevada has gained traffic as a result, but this will change as drivers avoid the congestion caused by the every 15 minute buses; Weber lost traffic to Wahsatch which has gained traffic because it is resurfaced and pot-hole free all the way through the Downtown. Drivers are adaptive and that is why to ONEN plan calls for treating the streets that serve the community through the neighborhood "equitably". The current efforts by the City do not do that. Until a comprehensive analysis with metrics for success have been agreed upon, the City's plan needs to be put on hold. Reply
    • Brian Safigan, June 9, 2016
      I would like to make a subtle, but important, correction to what you said. The ONEN Master Plan does not say that all arterial streets must be treated equitably, but rather that we should maintain an, "equitable distribution of traffic." In other words, it is fine to do something to one road and not another so long as, "no one [arterial] street is excessively overloaded with non-local traffic." For example it would be appropriate to do something special to Nevada in order reduce traffic and make it more equitable with other arterial streets. One more thing, you implied that the presence of buses will cause congestion and reduce traffic counts? I don't follow. I understand diversion of traffic caused by congestion, but I don't see this as a good thing. My point is that some have suggested that the presence of buses will have a calming affect on traffic. Traffic calming and congestion are opposite concepts. Calming is good; congestion is bad. I have searched for evidence that buses actually calm traffic, but I have not been able to find anything on this subject. Let me know if you do. Reply

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