Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Jacksonian Transit

When Jacksonians were polled regarding their current and desired mode of primary transportation, we found that almost 90 percent drive a car (of coarse) and the other 10 percent move about the city by car sharing, bus, bike, etc. The encouraging part is that 45% of the people said they would prefer another mode of transportation.

When we attended the Transportation Advocacy Board meeting at the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, we learned that there is a feasibility discussion for a future with light rail in Jackson.

So, perhaps some day the people of Jackson will have a mode of transportation that is something other than the car, but to do so, we should look at the way we are developing our city.
There is currently a rolling debate on the New York Times website which has opened the discussion for how to achieve carless cities or cities with less cars. According to Witold Rybczynsk, the density needed for mass transit feasibility and a significant drop in the need for a car is approximately 50 people per acre or around 30,000 people per square mile.

1 comment:

TimK said...


This issue really resonates with me. I use a car for much of my local travel, but I also cycle-commute as often as I can (my commute is about five miles each way). For trips other than my commute, I would greatly prefer to use good mass transit, but that's not really an option around here.

Here, in my view, are the factors that limit JATRAN as a serious alternative to the automobile:

- It's not frequent enough.
- It stops running too early (about 6:30 p.m. or so).
- It doesn't run on Sundays.
- It doesn't run to the suburbs.

The first three factors are primarily a matter of funding and efficiency. It would only make sense to increase funding for JATRAN to overcome these factors and improve the system if there were some reasonable expectation that its load factors would improve.

The fourth factor is partly a funding issue and partly a political one. I have the distinct feeling that most of Jackson's suburbs are not interested in entertaining public transit service; they tend to feel that the lack of it insulates them from the things that make Jackson a "bad" place. (If you want to read in some racism here, you'll not be far from the mark.)

Regarding this fourth factor, I would be very interested to know where the city of Ridgeland is on this issue now. Ridgeland, of course, has a cycling enthusiast as its mayor, and so I think there may be more openness to alternative forms of transportation in general than there was in years past. But I don't know if this is true or not.

Finally, here's a fantasy to enjoy: