According to this recent StarTribune article, a recent University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School study concluded that business and residents surveyed along the BRT corridor were not big fans of the system. As a result, Dakota County Commissioners decided that the best course of action would be to “promote awareness and build enthusiasm,” and help, “direct marketing efforts for the opening.”
From the article (emphasis mine):
The survey found that about 45 percent of 192 people interviewed along Cedar had somewhat positive or positive expectations about how the busway would affect their neighborhood in the next five years.
But about 55 percent had neutral or negative views about how the Cedar busway would affect their neighborhoods. Their reservations included worry about a possible increase in crime and street noise and reduced pedestrian safety.
Businesses showed similar attitudes. Sixty percent of the 40 businesses interviewed along Cedar expressed neutral or negative expectations about how the transitway might affect them. Fifteen percent said they thought it would hurt their business.
Businesses were positive about the busway if they expected customers to ride it, Guthrie said.
“Businesses were positive about the busway if they expected customers to ride it…” This single quote sums it all up right there. Everyone knows that Apple Valley and Lakeville’s businesses are not destinations for anyone, especially not for riding the bus to get there. Besides that, marketing, awareness, and building enthusiasm is NOT what the public sector should be spending money on for this project. They should be spending money on ensuring the system is going to actually be a viable transportation method for shuttling people around to reverse the fears echoed by the businesses above. Unfortunately, as has been repeated time and time again, BRT in Dakota County will not work as intended because it simply does not going anywhere people want to go for a reasonable price. So all the marketing, awareness, and enthusiasm building dollars are going into the same black hole our tax dollars did when they decided to implement BRT instead of LRT and tell everyone it’s trains on rubber instead of what it really is…bustitution.
Hey Dakota County, do us all a favor and go back to keeping taxes low by throwing $90,000 tree houses out of consideration only so the Staff can come back with plans at $60,000 and tell you they’re low and stop trying to waste money on educational endeavors for broken project plans. Fix the root on the problem, don’t just tell everyone it’s great and it’s awesome when it’s neither.
What do you think about the results of this study and the Commissioners’ response to it? Are you surprised at the negative outlook for the line and how businesses simply don’t believe their customers will ride it? Do you plan to ride it? Do you ride other mass transit lines instead? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.