There is going to be a push in the coming months and years to get people here
out of their cars and into buses. To accomplish that Albuquerque should:
A. Spend money to develop a 40-year, intermodal, homosapien/multi-seat motor
vehicle interface plan.
B. Spend years turning the zoning and development codes inside out and
writing pages of new regulations that force businesses to order their
employees to get to work without a car or truck.
D. Seek answers from Brazil.
E. Put more buses on the streets, run them at short and regular intervals and
keep them running past 6 p.m.
If your answer was any or all of the first four you're on your way to
becoming a government planner. If it was the last, bureaucrats will regard
you as a simple-minded fool and you will grow old and senile waiting for the
city to do something so simple.
The out-of-the-car movement isn't a bad idea. Fewer cars on the street will
mean less air pollution and a safer and less stressed-out population. Life's
a lot happier when some glaze-eyed punk isn't trying to gun you down because
you frowned at him after he cut you off in traffic.
And anybody with brains would happily take a bus to work. Why grind down your
car in daily traffic and have it in the shop undergoing expensive repairs
when you need it to drive to the tavern?
But the planners and bureaucrats, as usual, are going about it the wrong way.
They're dreaming up complicated plans, schemes and rules to get people out of
One idea is to limit parking spaces or to make parking prohibitively
expensive. Planners are already demonizing our cherished automobiles. They're
gushing about the latest development fad, which is to cram people on top of
and next to each other in crowded urban villages, and they're babbling about
how people will soon walk to work. Sure.
Give planners enough time and they'll have us parachuting to our jobs.
The dense villages are needed, planners say, because Albuquerque sprawls and
isn't crowded enough to support mass transit.
There's a way to get people on buses that's simpler than rebuilding and
rezoning the city. It's called putting more buses on the street and keeping
them running day and night so that people have a system they can rely on to
get them around quickly at any time of day.
Albuquerque's bus system is a joke. It shuts off at 6 p.m. and some of the
routes are screwy things that snake over different streets.
I've always wondered what you're supposed to do if you take the bus to work
in the morning and then get stuck working late on something that the boss
couldn't finish because he or she had to get home on time and you get to the
bus stop at 6:01 p.m. Do you wait there all night until the system starts up
again at 6 a.m.?
And what if you work at night as so many people in the retail industry do?
Should you float home?
The bus system is unreliable. That's why almost no one rides it.
Planners, if you want people to ride the bus, give them buses. Run buses on
every major street until midnight every night and run them at a minimum of
20-minute intervals. Make sure that people can get anywhere in this town
quickly on a bus. Then advertise. They'll ride.
It'll cost money, maybe a doubling of SunTran's $16.1 million annual
operating budget. But I'd rather have a quarter-cent sales tax increase go
for a reliable bus system than for a hot-air balloon museum.
So planners, drop the complicated schemes for new, restrictive laws; more
plans, counter-plans and updated counter-plans; chaotic zoning changes and
for trying to force or trick people out of their cars.
It isn't complicated. Just give them buses.
Staying simple is easy, planners. You can do it. Practice by saying to
One and one is two, two and two is four, my nose is on my face and my brains
are up my...
Copyright 2003 Dennis Domrzalski All Rights Reserved