Archive for Wednesday, July 25, 2007

T hours likely to be cut

Commission looks at more taxes, reduced bus service to make room in budget

July 25, 2007


City commission votes to cut T hours

City leaders move to keep property taxes lower and hours on the bus shorter. A majority of Lawrence city commissioners indicated they prefer to make the T's last run at 6 p.m. starting next year. Enlarge video

Lawrence residents should prepare for a property tax rate increase, reduced hours on the T and a major cut to a touted social service program for students as part of the city's 2008 budget.

Plus, voters may be asked to approve a new sales tax in 2008.

A divided City Commission struggled late into the night Tuesday to shape next year's budget. Here's what they came up with, although several commissioners said they may seek to change the budget when they are scheduled to give it final approval Aug. 7:

l Increasing the mill levy by 0.42 mills to avoid some cuts in service to the Lawrence Transit System. But the mill levy increase does not avoid all cuts to the T. Under the new budget, the bus service would need to close at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. Commissioners heard almost a solid hour of public comment against cutting the hours of the T.

l Eliminating $250,000 in funding for Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center's WRAP program, which places social workers in Lawrence schools to help troubled or at-risk students. Commissioners left open the possibility of restoring that funding if they learn that the Lawrence school district would continue to fund its share of the program, which has been approximately $300,000 in past years. But City Manager David Corliss shared an e-mail communication with Superintendent Randy Weseman, who said the funding likely would not be a part of the school district's budget.

l Providing a 2 percent wage increase for all city employees. But commissioners mainly are using the elimination of the WRAP funding to provide resources for the wage increase. If the WRAP funding is restored to the budget, the wage increase for city employees may be out.

Split vote

The City Commission was anything but unanimous on the budget. Commissioners moved forward on the overall publication of the budget on a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Boog Highberger and Mike Dever voting against it.

But each voted against it for different reasons. Dever said he did not feel comfortable providing the wage increase during such tight financial times, while Highberger opposed the cuts in T service.

Tuesday's vote was just the first step in approving the budget. Commissioners must give final approval to the budget on Aug. 7. At that meeting, commissioners can lower the amount of money they've agreed to spend in 2008, but cannot increase it. That means the cut in service hours to the T is likely to stick.

A crowd of about 50 people came to the meeting, with most there to discuss the possible T cuts. Several members of the crowd told commissioners they would be willing to spend more in property taxes to avoid cuts in service to the T. They said the system was critical to getting people to their jobs, and that a cut in hours would be a hardship for many people who rely on the T.

Highberger and Mayor Sue Hack sided with the crowd, although Hack ultimately voted for the reduction in hours in an effort to move the budget forward. All five commissioners said they supported efforts to merge the T system with Kansas University's transit systems. But Commissioners Mike Amyx, Rob Chestnut and Dever said they couldn't support increasing the mill levy any more than 0.42 mills.

Sales tax proposal

There's an outside chance that the city may not increase the mill levy that much. Amyx was pushing a plan that would eliminate the need for a property tax rate increase in 2008. But it would do so by cutting about $400,000 to $600,000 in funding from the proposed street maintenance budget in 2008.

Amyx said he would be comfortable reducing the street maintenance budget in 2008, as long as commissioners placed a new half-cent sales tax proposal on the ballot for voters in 2008.

Amyx is proposing that the half-cent sales tax, which would expire in five years, be used entirely to fund street maintenance and sidewalks. He's estimating it would generate $25 million to $30 million during the five-year period.

But he also concedes that there is risk to the plan. Commissioners have no way of knowing whether voters would approve the new sales tax. It cannot be adopted without voter approval.

All five commissioners expressed support for putting a half-cent sales tax issue on a future ballot, although they did not specify a date. All five also said they would want the majority of the sales tax to be used for street issues, but Hack, Dever and Chestnut also said they would want part of the money to go toward preparing land for future economic development projects.

But a majority among the commission did not emerge for Amyx's plan to cut street maintenance funds this year in an effort to keep the mill levy steady.

"I'm not willing to gamble on that," Highberger said. "I don't think that would be responsible."

Amyx, though, said he thinks it is the best way to give a sales tax a fair chance of being approved by the voters.

"I don't think we can get a sales tax passed at the same time we have a property tax increase," Amyx said.


karensisson 10 years, 11 months ago

I'll bet not a single one of the commissioners actually tried to find out what the T means to the people who ride it, for example, by actually riding the bus once in awhile and talking to the people.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 11 months ago

If they prepare land for economic development that land then becomes the responsibility of the taxpayer which IMO is a tax increase. Preparing land for economic development deserves an explicit explanation....what exactly is the commission talking about? Details are often in short supply.

4 out of 5 want a sales tax increase. This was not expressed during the campaign yet the issue surfaced shortly after a new commission was seated. I would support a sales tax increase for streets,sidewalks,public transportation facilities and a $17.5 million library improvement IF it grocery and med prescription exempt and were written in stone that the money could not be used elsewhere and could not be renewed without putting it to a citizen vote.

While they expressed interest in keeping a mil levy increase down in spite of the support for a larger increase to keep the T at the current level,provide city workers with a pay increase and fund social service needs we must remember 4 of 5 live in more expensive homes(speculation).

Will merging with KU on bus service have the support of all who expressed the need to do so when an agreement is met? If they want to kill the T why don't they just say so?

average 10 years, 11 months ago

If you're gonna kill it, kill it. Making the T less and less useful, then saying "look, ridership is down, transit never works" is about the same as the Republicans gutting the VA budget, then saying "look how bad socialized healthcare is".

Richard Heckler 10 years, 11 months ago

No Place Like Home

A MONEY/ICR poll conducted in the spring asked 1,005 Americans two open-ended questions about what mattered most to them in a place to live. Here's what they said.

If you were moving, what would be the most important characteristic your new town should have?

14% Job opportunities( Wal-Mart probably not what anybody had in mind)

11% Good schools

9% Low crime rate

8% Good arts and leisure scene

6% Nice weather

5% Quality health care

5% Lack of congestion

What do you dislike most about your current hometown?

16% Too much congestion

9% High crime rate

7% Lack of job opportunities

7% Poor arts and leisure scene

5% High taxes/cost of living

4% People here "aren't like me."

4% Poor municipal services

NOTE: The MONEY/ICR poll was conducted by telephone with a nationally representative sample of 1,005 Americans April 11-16, 2006. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.09 percentage points.

88% of Americans like where they live, with 60% saying they like their hometown very much.

Oddly in 2006 Overland Park made this organizations list of a top ten place to live. Fort Collins was their number one selection.

sourpuss 10 years, 11 months ago

If this commission doesn't reflect what we, the citizens, want, shouldn't we recall them?

monkeyhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

Finally, it looks like we might be getting the "smart growth" we've been hearing about for so many years.

Some on the CC realize that the minority property owners cannot continue to bear the load for the entire city. The valuations are not realistic, and IMHO overinflated. Our property values are at the very best, steady, if not declining. The person who spoke on why property owners should continue to fund more than their fair share obviously did not take these facts into consideration.

The T is an incredible drain in what has become precious resources for our city, and its costs will more than double next year. I do empathize with those who truly rely on the bus as their lifeline, but there may be private individuals who can take the opportunity to pick up the slack. I personally know of one.

I would definitely vote for the sales tax increase.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 11 months ago

"Gee, Richard, I don't see Public Transit anywhere in the first list, nor do I see the lack thereof in the second list.


Hmmmm, indeed. Think maybe the pollsters just didn't include it on their list?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 11 months ago

"To the commissioners, good job in dealing with the mess that the last commission left you with."

This "mess" has been decades in the making. Sure, it might make you feel good to throw out a simplistic one-liner like that, but it has no basis in reality.

x96merrill3 10 years, 11 months ago

Log....You are a tool. Running a 40 passenger bus at 3 miles per gallon for 14 hours a day with 1 RIDER EVERY 6 MINUTES does NOT reduce carbon emissions or slow global warming...IT MAKES IT WORSE. When was the last time you rode the bus? Or do you support the bus so you can feel better about yourself for "helping the poor people" and "saving the environment"?

Let's look at more of your stupid points:

1) Selling off downtown parking spaces No spaces have been sold. Fritzel wants to re-arrange them to make space for more businesses that create taxes to alleviate the burden from the residents.

2) Raising swimming fees for kids Nobody is stealing money from the kids' piggy banks. Raising the fee from 1985 levels to $4 per person will still leave Lawrence as the most affordable place to swim in North East Kansas. But I suppose you would rather jack the property taxes higher for property owners because you believe that won't affect your rent.

3) Sales tax on everything, including medicine and food (highest sales tax in the state) There has been no sales tax hike. Commissioners have been looking into ways to support your ridiculous and unnecessary costs (low cost swimming, worthless mass transit) and sales tax is an option. Of course, again, you believe that unfairly targets the poor. Who do you suppose spends more money...people with more money, or people with less money? Why again is this unfair? Sounds more fair to me than laying out a property tax that causes their rent to go up to a level that, not only compensates for the tax increase but also puts a little more in the pocket of the landlord. Now THAT seems less "fair" to me.

4) Reducing budget of health clinic (who needs medical care?) Why is it the government's job to provide the public with health care? When do we start taking responsibility for our own successes and failures? If I need health care for me and my family, priority #1 becomes finding employment that provides me with it.

5) Approval of Wal-Mart (increased taxes for infrastructure, traffic congestion, diminished quality of life, subsidy to developturd) I can write a nice long diatribe arguing each of the Wal-mart points, but I believe that has been over played on the board, and you still don't want to face realities. If you were into realities, you would look at the numbers behind the budget, taxes, the T, and the incredible amount of sales tax dollars generated by "evil" box stores and the "developturds".

6) Increased use of corporate handouts to generate a bioscience capability (think germ warfare or biological weapons) I could think germ warfare, or I could think medical advancements like stem cell research, cures for cancer, and regeneration of deteriorating organs. But, unlike you far leftists, I'm an optimist and realist. I guess we are just on different pages.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 11 months ago

Godot's comments are right to the extent that the T wasn't designed to fill the needs of very many people, and it has worked as designed. Cutting service so that it's useful to even fewer people will most certainly have the desired result.

I agree with other posters-- either get serious about providing a useful service, or just quit pretending to have a bus service and do away with it altogether. Then all the money going to the T can be funneled as corporate welfare of one sort or another, which is the real purpose for which this commission was elected.

mom_of_three 10 years, 11 months ago

The WRAP program is very important to the students at the schools. But it seems even Weseman doesn't understand the implications by cutting this program. WRAP is for all kids, not just at-risk, but anyone who needs them. Yes, there are school psychologists, but one person for 300+ students is not adequate.

I would hate to see the "T" go away. My kids use it during the summer and school year. I know of people who take it to work, and the service quitting at 6:00 would of great disservice to them. Too bad the KU bus service and the "T" can't work together to provide a service to the community it really needs.

monkeyhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

"At a time when global warming threatens everyone, what does the gang of four propose? Reducing operating hours for mass transit."


Cutting hours for some of the most polluting, non productive vehicles on our roads seems to be quite practical to the reasonable mind.

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

This is a stupid, stupid idea. Two hours will not, really, make a damned difference, except where it really matters: in the schedules of those who actually ride the thing. With very, very little work, the 1/4 (N, lawrence Prairie Park) as well as the 2/3 (Haskell, Lakeview) could be made into one route. You really wouldn't even need two on each route, either. They're pretty much ghost-routes as it is. Trimming them would remove 8 buses and leave 2 that could fulfill the need just as well. In terms of vehicle hours per day, that's a savings of 84 vehicle hours and 6 buses worth of gas and maintenance. Under this plan they save two hours on every bus in rotation, 14 in all, for a savings of a whopping 28 vehicle hours per day, with no decrease of in the number of needed buses.

It's ridiculous. But this is what happens when the arguments are stuck on people whining about their $30-40 a year in lost taxes, and how badly they need it, and a city-commission that can't find their heads with two hands and a flashlight. Disgusting.

toefungus 10 years, 11 months ago

This is just the beginning of a city budget nightmare. The reliance on the city of stable and always increasing property values is going to crimp their budget for the next 5 years. Property values are falling due to tighter credit terms. The flippers are gone. Wages have not kept up with inflation for quite a while, but home values have risen far faster than inflation. The gap between what people make, and what homes cost, will have to close in order for sale to pick up. Higher wages seem far less likely than lower housing. So, this year is just the beginning. Sales taxes, user fees, and dare I say, even a local income tax, will all be on the table.

I urge everyone to tell the city they want fewer services. NO golf course, NO EmpTy, NO funding of every social service program in the city, NO funding for Chamber. Yep, time for a just say NO program. I can think of one Yes, however. Yes to smaller city government.

WWoftheW 10 years, 11 months ago

What happened last night was a ruse. A mil levy increace of 1 would have saved the T and made sure that we had our streets fixed. Why a sales tax instead? One a 1 mil would increase property taxes by about 51 dollars for a year on your property tax for a $300,000 house and it would not increase the value of your house therefore the insurance of your house would not increase. Rob is wrong. A 1/2 cent sales tax would be harder on the low and middle income families, the same ones that just lost their jobs becuase of the cut in the T or are cut off from being a part of the community in the simple ways like shopping, but then they can't afford as much with the 1/2 cent sales tax so why should they shop? We all know that the rich buy their expensive items in KC and Topeka, but the low and middle income families don't or worse can't. Whay the Sales Tax? Figured it out. Because the sales tax is the only way Sue can get her friend's P.L.A.Y. paid for by the low and middle income families. That's why the sales tax.

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

Offtotheright: It's probably because in this, as in most things, the management never listens to the small group of people (in this case: drivers, past and present) who actually know what the f' they're talking about.

And I require my salary in advance.

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

Jonas makes good points. The T does not deserve to be saved as long as it is so poorly managed.

WWoftheW 10 years, 11 months ago

FYI, The T is funded by Fed and State grants and the mil levy, not sales tax. The salex tax will not to help the T get back its hours but to "spread the pain around" to those who would oppose our new feudal system. The Hack, Slash and Tax commission.

trainyardzero 10 years, 11 months ago

If the T put some effort into working out more efficient routes and schedules that appealed to more people, I think it would be a little more viable. Multiple times I've looked into using it, only to see that a route is either impossible or will take me over an our to get across town.

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

Hawk: Right on most, but wrong on one. East Hills business park is one of the primary destinations for the real workers using the system, and the one place in town that could be truly said to be inaccessable without a car no matter where in town you live. It's absolutely necessary for it to be a stop on the system. If you want an inconsequential stop, try the I-70 business center (route 4) and the South Iowa/Lakeview business complex. I drove the fixed routes for well over a year and I don't recall ever dropping a single living human off at either of those destinations.

Of course, both are easily excised from the system. The 3 can turn off at Peterson without making the loop, and 4 can turn right back up 2nd street and leave North Lawrence after a short pass. Doing this would allow both to be covered by one bus in a forty minute loop. Currently, the 4 at least spends somewhere close to 25 of its 40 minutes on that loop on layovers, unless there's a train going through.

Kat Christian 10 years, 11 months ago

How did we get this way? Where does the money go? Why do we overspend when we don't have it to spend?
I don't think getting rid of the T is the answer because we need it. We do need to scale it back - closing it down at 6PM makes sense to me. Not many riders use it past that anyway - I know I was a driver once. Though ridership has picked up somewhat - not nearly as much as it should. It is a waste constantly driving these buses around when they are empty. Perhaps lengthen the time between stops during a part of the day when ridership is empty. But don't cut it out altogether.
Sales tax should not be charged on food and medical items - I totally agree. But before raising taxes and property taxes someone needs to raise salaries so people can afford to pay these things and still live a quality of life.
Already people are suffering in the housing industry - people who once had good credit are losing their homes becuase the cost of living is outsourcing the quality of life. GREED just plan GREED and the government supports it. Thanks Bush

WWoftheW 10 years, 11 months ago

Sunshine; I was not aware that so many people rode the bus that late either until last night. East Hill Business Park needs that later bus for their employees to get to and from work and be able to put in madatory overtime. Some of these people will lose their jobs becuause of this. Also I was not aware about the number of dyalisis (misspelled sorry) patients who rely on the bus after 6. One loss job or someones health threathened only makes the City Commission decsision look as if there is only low, middle and fixed income services that the city can pull funds from. Not once did one City Commissioner say lets take a look at the other entities in this community that get city monies other than our city services. Developers get funds from the city for infrastructure. The Chamber has four fundings sources from the city budget, and so forth.

geppetto 10 years, 11 months ago

this sounds that we, the people, should take power into our hand. I say, let's recall this inept city government.

TheEleventhStephanie 10 years, 11 months ago

If Parks and Rec would stop watering Boog's yard, the city might have more money. God, I wish I had gotten a photo of it.

kmat 10 years, 11 months ago

11th Stephanie - I actually called the city about it. They acted like, "who cares, we'll look into it". Basically,the city govt isn't here for the citizens, only here to make sure that certain people make money.

I must point out that I found it quite amusing that Amyx's shop was selling hair care samples, clearly marked not for resale (marked to be complimentary samples by the manufacturer) at their sidewalk sale. It's ok for Amyx to break the law and illegally sell items (they weren't charging sales tax either!!!!!!!!). My husband had been going there for hair cuts, but no longer. Amyx can start paying some sales tax, then maybe talk about raising it for the rest of us. Makes me wonder if he really pays the city and state the sales tax he's supposed to or does he just fudge his numbers since he wasn't charging tax on items (not for resale) last Thursday? But, he still wants us to pay more. Flippin' hypocrit. Sad, because others in his family are nice, but he's a two faced jerk. Why you people believed his bs and voted for him is beyond me. Spend a minute with him and you wouldn't want to vote for him.

I'm about done with this town. Heavy taxes, poor roads, piss poor city commission that does not give a rats ass about the citizens, etc... Lawrence is a giant joke.

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 11 months ago

A quick, clean cancellation of the T would be more merciful to those who depend on it than this proposal.

adriennerm 10 years, 11 months ago

I don't believe the WRAP program should be cut. It was very useful for my daughter during her sixth grade year. We recently relocated here from a big urban city. I had no clue she was having trouble adjusting to life here. I lived here from 79-87 then from 99-01. During 87-99 I would visit on holidays and summers.So I am very familier with Lawrence.

The afterschool program matched her up with a "special friend" that is what they call the WRAP workers. She is doing very well and is no longer homesice or feels like an outcast. I thank her WRAP worker for the changes. I am pretty sure other parents can agree to the need of this program.

KsTwister 10 years, 11 months ago

W.R.A.P is another redundant program that should never be needed if school counselors are doing their jobs to begin with. The school district has the most funds from taxpayers but it still falls short too. Their waste of the high tax dollars they already receive is just as bad as what the city has done with the 'rob peter to pay paul' mentality. Their new SJHS looks more like an expensive remodel then a new school for the $32 million we are spending. This has got to stop, people are becoming better at seeing the transitions those tax dollars go through. And as I understand it the 3million a year needed for city streets is a far cry from the 30 million that a half-cent sales tax makes over a 5year period. Once in place --how often have you seen a tax removed?? Never, because they will just add to and continue to use it to fund personal projects in the future in addition to raising rates and taxes along the way. NO. If I can find excessive waste in taxpayers dollars under Corliss' management then why hasn't he done more to eliminate the redundant services in his departments? New management needed--now would help.

Katie Van Blaricum 10 years, 11 months ago

Why do they have to cut hours when people are trying to get home from work? Why cut the hours from 6-8pm when you could more easily cut hours during the middle of the day when everyone is already at their respective jobs? Say...between 1 and 3 pm or something like that.

vinividivici 10 years, 11 months ago

Here's an idea......Survey the people that ride the T. You know, what do you use it for? What times? What days of the week? What kind of improvements would make you or someone you know use it more? If they could change the services to accomodate people who would/need to use them, the T would not be eating away the city's pockets.

mom_of_three 10 years, 11 months ago

You have one school psychologist for many students and the WRAP workers are able to fill in the gaps or work with the school psychologist at times. When my daughter was being diagnosed with her learning disability, she spoke to a WRAP worker, because the school counselors were over-scheduled.
I really hate to see the WRAP program cut.
KsTwister, you must not have a child in the local school system or else you would see this program differently.

However, you and I agree that school funds are not being spent appropriately. The district received 2/3 of their state funding back a couple of years ago, but yet the school fees, which more than tripled when the funds were cut) have not been reduced. Where is it all going?

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

jonas wrote :"Hawk: Right on most, but wrong on one. East Hills business park is one of the primary destinations for the real workers using the system, and the one place in town that could be truly said to be inaccessable without a car no matter where in town you live. "

If this is the case, the employers in East Hills should be operating their own bus route for their employees.

Kizzy 10 years, 11 months ago

I keep hearing about this "watering of Boog's yard" claim, so I checked it out . . .

IT IS A CITY TREE IN CITY RIGHT-of-WAY that just happens to be in Boog's yard.

As city trees die, they are replaced (hopefully) and the city must water the trees especially during dry periods to make sure they root properly. I doubt that the city employees who watered the tree even knew it was near Boog's yard. Now, you can get over it.

doc1 10 years, 11 months ago

How about cutting some of the services for the homeless. We pay tons of money so most of them can sit around and drink all day and get free food, free drink, free rides on the empTy, and free services from the hourly police calls to the shelter.

Godot 10 years, 11 months ago

kizzy wrote: "it is a city tree in city right-of-WAY that just happens to be in Boog's yard.

As city trees die, they are replaced (hopefully) and the city must water the trees especially during dry periods to make sure they root properly. I doubt that the city employees who watered the tree even knew it was near Boog's yard. Now, you can get over it."

I have never heard of that, and I have been property owner in this city for nearly 30 years. In fact, once I had a tree on the city right of way that had branches hanging low over the street; the city crew cut the branches back and sent me a big bill for the favor.

I had to plant a tree on the right of way last summer in order to comply with covenants, and I bought the tree, planted it and watered it. Not once did I get any help from the city crew.

Looks to me like Boog is getting some favors.

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

hawk: I guess I misunderstood, then. But, to be honest, I can't say I see the point with that. It would save about one mile at the most per round, no more than three minutes, and would actually be harder on navigation, and on traffic, for them to simply make a u-turn at any of the potential turnaround points at the entrance. Doing so on 10 would be irresponsibly dangerous, doing so at the end of the main entrance drive would be next to impossible with how narrow it is. And I still don't see the problem. Are you simply irked that it's so convenient for them? That seems rather grouchy.

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

Godot: Or, you could, say, have a public bus system that everyone is capable of using, that requires about 30-40 dollars from lawrence employees, on a per-person basis, per year. (I understand that it is not that simple, but that's what I believe it probably adds up to) There are certainly worse things that they could spend their money on.

That's all the time I'll spend on that. Something tells me were just not going to agree.

classclown 10 years, 11 months ago

"One on 6th yesterday, just sat there..for god knows what. In a real city, you get on the bus and it starts moving."


This is not necessarily true. All buses in EVERY city need to maintain their schedules. If they reach a checkpoint on their route ahead of schedule, they have to sit there until the time coincides with what the schedule says.

For example (just pulling a spot and time out of a hat) if the schedule says the bus is to be at 6th and Michigan at 3:02, and the bus gets there at 3:00 due to lighter than normal traffic. not as many stops, or whatever other reason, then it has to wait 2 minutes before it can leave. The purpose of this is so that the bus does not get to ahead of schedule that it causes people to miss the bus due to it coming too early.

One can argue that people should be at the stop in plenty of time, and being an early kind of guy myself I would tend to agree, but that may not always be possible. For example, a person may have just enough time after getting off work to make it to the bus stop in order to catch the bus. If the bus comes and leaves early, then that person is SOL until the next bus comes. Therefore it's actually better to have the bus a couple of minutes late rather than a couple of minutes early.

This is true in ALL cities. Trust me, I've ridden buses in plenty of them.

average 10 years, 11 months ago

"You see any buses in Kansas City driving through parking lots of industrial parks?"

The most direct comparison would be KC bus #25 which indeed drives through the parking lot and to the doors of the Bannister Federal Complex.

"The JO" drives through the JCCC campus, Corporate Woods, and the Sprint Campus.

KCATA also runs busses to the Fairfax auto factory in KCK, the Argentine railyard, and the industrial parks northwest of K-32 and I-635.

TheEleventhStephanie 10 years, 11 months ago

Re: my prior claim of the city watering Boog's yard--

While that is indeed what I saw, a city vehicle parked in front of Boog's house and watering a tree, I was evidently incorrect. I spoke personally with Boog this evening and he told me that it is actually city property, between his sidewalk and the street, and that the guy was simply doing his job.

I'll take his word for it, and I hope you all will too. I apologize for any misunderstanding.

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

Hawk: What in the world are you talking about? The bus in East Hills already turns left off K-10, and it has yet to pose a significant problem. The bus drives down streets, not parking lots, and does not drop them off at the front door of any of the buildings there. There is one stop that it uses for all the complexes, on the street. Are you getting the public buses confused with the para routes? Those do door to door services. Have you even been on this route before?

Thats_messed_up 10 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence loses thousands of sales tax dollars every day to Overland Park and Topeka because the last commission of tree huggers refuse to allow a Lowe's, Sam's, or Costco anywhere near our little utopia of liberlism. This is why Lawrence doesn't have enough money and the streets all suck.

Kristen 10 years, 11 months ago

The T was an absolute lifesaver for my husband and me during the last six years, as we tried to make it in this town without reliable transportation. I've since finished school, and we have a new car that will start even if it's raining, but for those years of no car, and those rainy mornings when our 89 Camry wouldn't start, the T kept us going to work and making it to campus. Is it perfect? No. Could the system benefit from some tweaking from people who actually rely on the buses as a primary mode of transportation? Of course. There are lots of buses that run empty, or redundant routes, and the hour and twenty minute delay to catch a bus from campus to downtown was a frequent source of dismay for me.

But I wouldn't be where I am today if it hadn't been for the 6 and the 8 T buses, six days a week since it started, and if they had cut the T hours a year or more ago, I would have been out of luck, and out of a job.

I knew there was a reason why I didn't vote for most of the people sitting on the City Commission these days.

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 10 months ago

karensisson wrote "I'll bet not a single one of the commissioners actually tried to find out what the T means to the people who ride it, for example, by actually riding the bus once in awhile and talking to the people."

That is a bet karensisson would lose. On at least two occasions when I have been riding the T, the commissioners have gotten on the bus, ridden it a ways, talked to other people who use it ("How often do you ride? Why do you ride? When do you ride? What's the worst part of riding? What's the best part? What would make it better for you?"), and transferred at one of the stops. Granted, I haven't observed that since the new commissioners were seated, but as I said, I've seen it twice in the last four years.

snickers 10 years, 11 months ago

It is hard to read about the comments that are for getting rid of the T. Obviously they aren't considering how it is going to impact the seniors and the disabled in our community that rely on that for their transportation. People are more upset that their children may have to pay a few more bucks to go swimming, rather than the fact that we are cutting back on a very important service. I think that some of you need to get your priorities straight, because you may be relying on public transportation someday.

djalexander79 10 years, 10 months ago

It would would be more economical and environmentally friendly to just have the city pay for taxi rides, I gave this some thought, and the idea is very possable and would be cheaper and have a better service then the T.

If the T's ridership is at 400,000 total, even considering that some rider will have to ride 3-4 buses to get to their locations, actual A to B ridership might be somewhere in the range of 250,000 or less if that is the fact Jayhawk Taxi can do the same job more efficient for $1.5 million.

If the rider has to pay for $1 for their Taxi just as that do for the T that would mean with our rates, at only $7 dollars anywhere in town, would only cost the city $6 per run. and 6x250,000 = 1.5 million. I would also be prepared to up the anty and say that the $6 could support up to 4 people one way.

For 1.5 million dollars Jayhawk Taxi would put out a fleet of 15-20 Hybrid Taxi's making it more environmentally friendly. Roughly 684 rides per day would be given as the current numbers sit, and that is more then do-able with 15-20 taxis. This is a door to door transit system that would run 24 hours a day 365 day a year and would better serve this great city.

The job created would not be minimum wage jobs either. Drivers could passably make $800.00 or more per week plus tips for a 5 day work week.

This is just a very early idea but this very well could be a proposal to the city next year.

Please forgive spelling and grammar this was the third time that I have had to wright this email, long story...


David Jordan Alexander Owner Jayhawk Taxi - 785-843-8294 "The Taxi Service Lawrence Deserves."

mskeys 10 years, 10 months ago

skip the round-abouts and give us FREE bus service.. . the streets need less cars driving on them...less wear and tear===less repairs===cost savings

Godot 10 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Alexander, great post! I totally agree, except for the part about tips. The people who demand free transportation are not likely to be generous with gratuities.

karensisson 10 years, 10 months ago

WilburNether says: Granted, I haven't observed that since the new commissioners were seated, but as I said, I've seen it twice in the last four years. [...talking about commissioners riding the bus to find out what the people think]


Ithe NEW commission does not care what the people need. They want to slash the things the people need, in order to create a big pile of funds to subsidize ever project their developer friends dream up.

Cutting the bus is just terrible. People of all ages use the bus to get to work, and not all of them live in the 8 to 5 dream world the commissioners live in. People who work long, hard hours at tough jobs will be impacted. I know a couple of college kids who use the bus to get to work and, guess what, they don't get off before 6.

thebigspoon 10 years, 10 months ago

Hey, I saw gas prices in Perry, KS yesterday at $2.86 a gallon! Over in Topeka on North Topeka Blvd the price was $2.70 a gallon! Why are we being gouged? Why should gas prices change when the station hasn't had a fuel truck delivery? We are taking up the back end with no fight!

snickers 10 years, 10 months ago

To none2's comment about there "WAS public transportation before the T":

Doesn't using the term "was" mean that the previous service is no longer there? The T came into play to better serve the senior and disabled community. If we cut back on the hours, we are isolating these populations.

We live in a society that once you hit 60, you are shoved aside rather than praised as in other societies. Obviously those that agree with cutting back the hours on the T agree that these populations are a drain on our society. How is a service like the T a "Pet" project when it serves so many people in our community? People need to look at the seniors in their lives and think about what they would do if their transportation service was cut. I bet if your Grandma or Grandpa relied on the T, then you would not want the proposed cut in this service.

coneflower 10 years, 10 months ago

WilburNether says My point was only that several of the commissioners still sitting on the commission have done just that.

Which commissioners, exactly, rode the bus to talk to the riders - and in what year? "Several" commissioners means more than two - right?

Emily Hadley 10 years, 10 months ago

"Gee, Richard, I don't see Public Transit anywhere in the first list, nor do I see the lack thereof in the second list.


From the list: ~~ If you were moving, what would be the most important characteristic your new town should have? ~~

14% Job opportunities -- that means you have to GET there. Obviously living in Brooklyn has job opportunities because you can work in Manhattan, right? Take out the trains and buses, wait a month, and you would not feel safe walking down the street in Brooklyn, much less move there expecting to find a job.

9% Low crime rate -- Ever heard of the Watts district? They cut off bus transit through Watts because they built a freeway right through the routes, a highway that cut Watts right in half. Thousands of residents lost job opportunities because they lost their means of transportation. There is a direct connection between having transportation out of and around your neighborhood and making it a vibrant, living community with money coming IN.

8% Good arts and leisure scene -- But how will you get there? How many others will make it?

5% Lack of congestion -- Again,

5% Lack of congestion !! If 1000 people ride the T every day, that takes a lot of traffic off the streets, out of intersections, and out of your way.

5% High taxes/cost of living -- When you can move to Seattle and sell your car before leaving Kansas, you take a lot of living expenses out of your budget, despite the "higher" cost of living there.

~~ What do you dislike most about your current hometown? ~~

16% Too much congestion

9% High crime rate

7% Lack of job opportunities

7% Poor arts and leisure scene

5% High taxes/cost of living

4% People here "aren't like me." -- Living from your garage to your parking spaces creates a very under-socialized life. No hellos on the street, no strolling down Mass, no hot chick at the bus stop that you work up to talking to for a month... walking downtown here on a Saturday morning is the most amazing experience after you have been driving around all week, seeing and talking to absolutely no one. I have made many friends from neighbors I only met by passing by, folks I felt no connection to from peering at out my car window.

4% Poor municipal services -- like public transportation?

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 10 months ago

karensisson wrote: "Duh!!!!! Ithe NEW commission does not care what the people need. They want to slash the things the people need, in order to create a big pile of funds to subsidize ever project their developer friends dream up."

Sorry to have created the "duh" response, but the original karensisson comment was that "not a single one of the commissioners actually ...rid[es] the bus once in awhile and talk[s] to the" users. My point was only that several of the commissioners still sitting on the commission have done just that. Criticize them for their opinions (please!), but don't criticize them for not doing something they have, in fact, done.

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 10 months ago

snickers asked "Doesn't using the term 'was' mean that the previous service is no longer there?"

Grammatically, no. If the prior service continued, you wouldn't say "there is public service before the T," because that makes even less grammatical sense. This is one of the areas of English that our language doesn't handle so well. The past tense is the best way our language has to describe the situation of a pre-existing condition that may have maintained.

none2's point that emotional appeal should not be used to prevent scrutiny of government service is dead-on accurate. We should never be afraid to examine the services we expect, demand, or receive from our governments. If we find them irrelevant, we should not fear eliminating them. If we find them to perform at unacceptable levels, we should ask why--and respond to the answers, whether the answer is that we were unclear in what we expected or that we were unwilling to support them enough to make them successful or that we put the wrong people in place to execute the programs. Ultimately, all governmental power in the United States derives from its citizens. Ultimately, we are all responsible for the level and quality of the government we get.

I welcome open dialogue on the T, the service it provides, and its value to the community. I suspect an honest discussion in which none of us fear the outcome will result in conclusions that would surprise both the proponents and opponents of this service.

Mike_DuPree 10 years, 10 months ago

I'd like to direct the Commission's attention, and especially the Public's attention to whom the Commission is responsible, to the following article titled "Fare-Free Public Transit Could Be Headed to a City Near You." This just showed up in my email or I would have posted sooner in the debate about the T. If ANY city in the world can make this work, as many are already doing, then Lawrence can too.

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 10 months ago

coneflower wondered "Which commissioners, exactly, rode the bus to talk to the riders - and in what year?"

Of the sitting commissioners, I recall (now) Mayor Hack and Commissioners Highberger and Amyx. I also recall former Commissioner Schauner. I recall it being an afternoon in the summer--so it must have been sometime in summer of 2005. I had taken a day off work for some reason that I no longer recall. I recall then-Commissioners Hack and Highberger talking to me about the questions I noted earlier, and Commissioner Amyx and then-Commissioner Schauner were talking to other riders.

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