Thursday, May 24, 2012

Support Transit for Autism: Bumps In the Road

Check out this important post by 
"Support Transit for Autism".

Bumps In the Road

(This affects everyone, but it particularly affects parents who have children with autism since we want them to have transportation options beyond driving when they reach driving age.) 

Two nights ago I hurried downtown to the County Commission public meeting in my shorts and T-shirt/PJ's after being dismayed at what I saw of the meeting on TV. A motion had sprung up, one little motion that would have enormous, enormous consequences.  I went, I said my piece (I was nervous because I had never spoken at one of these meetings before), but to no avail. After hearing from the public, Commissioners voted to take the quarter-cent transit tax's well earned spot on the November ballot,  OFF the ballot.

Gainesville just didn't know what was at stake at this meeting. It seemed there were only the "regulars" there... the professional complainers. I suppose that most of us are just busy. The meetings are on school nights. We trust that Gainesville is a forward-thinking, intelligent town and we trust that the decisions made by our County leaders will benefit the future of Gainesville, so why go right? For the past 3 years, the Gainesville community has been supporting the transformation to transit...which is what made Tuesday's vote to kill the transit quarter-cent tax's spot on the ballot, so particularly outrageous. 

With one swing vote, Gainesville's path turned from an exciting future of clean, efficient transit (busses that look like trains, new dedicated transit lanes, bike paths and clean air) just growing into a city of bigger roads, increasing traffic jams and burning more oil. 

Dedicated Transit Lanes
The transit future was a win-win was/is modeled after the successes of Eugene, Oregon, (see link for info and video below). Eugene is a similar sized and populated college town that has finished its transformation of the same endeavor. I ask you, What city would you rather move to and visit, one with excellent transit and bike paths, or one with lanes and lanes of tarmac and parking lots?

If the tax made it to the ballot and was voted for (which was projected in a poll), then the federal government would have matched the funds raised with the tax, and money would pour in to fund the transformation. There are 3 large new private sector developments approved to build in Gainesville as transit-oriented developments (TOD's). This isn't a pipe dream. This is a very exciting reality but it will be absurd if their transit can't link around town. The lack of meeting our end of the bargain for such innovative plans, also might push these developments away. 

Gainesville citizens should speak out about having their voting voice silenced. Please let your commissioners know how you feel about this. This email address goes out to the entire commission:

Please feel free to share this on your Facebook page and also, please email me with any questions. 

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