Street trees are one of those low hanging fruit investments that can make all the difference over time, but too often are neglected. Trees don’t have the political appeal of a mega project ribbon cutting, but in terms of building great cities, I’d argue their return on investment is greater without the potential downside of megaprojects.
Planting trees around stops offers local authorities an opportunity to significantly improve users’ wait time perception, but falls outside the purview of transit providers themselves. The ability of the presence of trees to compensate for the negative effects of pollution and traffic suggests that planting trees or moving a problematic stop to take advantage of existing tree cover can significantly improve the user experience at reasonable costs.
Because many bus stops in Palm Beach County tend to be located in places with wider rights of way and generous swales (at least compared to downtown WPB), bus stops seem like an ideal place to engage in street tree plantings in order to bolster the appeal of transit. Something for cities and the county to work together on as the Palm Tran Service Board moves forward on building a better bus system.
Every city should do a “system reimagining” of their bus network like Houston METRO did.
Back in 2012, a small group of motivated citizens asked their local transit agency, elected leaders and advocates about how they could improve Houston’s bus network. Ridership was down. Buses did not run as frequently as people liked. The routes didn’t go where the populace needed them as the system did not change with the city since the 1970s. Weekend ridership was weak. If you wanted to transfer to another route, you almost always had to take a bus downtown first.
As you can surmise, all of this contributes to more cars on the roads and people not wanting to use transit.
The solution was an extremely ambitious, complete examination of every single bus route in the city, wiping the slate clean and starting from scratch. Through community meetings and years of tough decisions – a new METRO bus network emerged. One that has faster service, more efficient, better routes and one that is already boasting big gains in weekend service. And the changes have been essentially revenue neutral, meaning that all the Houston bus system is running at about the same budget it did prior.
This inspirational Streetfilm was produced in partnership with TransitCenter, which is funding us for a total of four films looking at transit throughout the country in 2016.
Jarrett Walker: Transit is a continuum between ridership and coverage that involves tradeoffs On Thursday, Jarrett Walker, renowned transit consultant and author of the book “Human Transit“, presented to the Palm Tran Service Board and the public on the broad theme of how transit works and why it is important. …
Jarrett Walker, one of the foremost thinkers on the design of public transportation, is coming to Palm Tran this Thursday. This is an exciting opportunity for our bus system to reimagine itself along the lines of a system like Houston, which managed to dramatically increase frequent service with the same …
Palm Tran Director Clinton Forbes: We’re overdue for a comprehensive look at our bus system Inside West Palm Beach, the radio show hosted by Barry O’Brien, recently interviewed Palm Tran Director Clinton Forbes. Barry is a huge transit supporter and has been advocating for better transit service through has involvement …
Avoiding the the “Browardization” moniker requires a more nuanced understanding of the interdepencies between land use and transportation than the “build, build, build” more roads approach. The preservation of Palm Beach County’s high quality of life depends on it.