Ballston Journal Online Publisher Angela Mcfarland

Publisher’s Pen: We Didn’t Stop Talking Traffic Already, Did We?

There’s a ton of things that catch my eye and ears on a regular basis, this was a particular stand out as the big picture of development in our area continues to evolve.

Tcdtahe Capital District Transportation Authority has been making changes for some time now. No different than any of us in business, private or public sector. They have stated in other media reports” in the past five years, ridership has increased by more than 3.2 million.”

That’s a LOT of people.

CDTA has been doing a quality job offering information and workshops to the public for quite some time now. The band wagon comes to Ballston Spa in November (see schedule HERE).

But…

It was this letter sent by a public transit customer in the area that caught my eye. The “voice”, the other side of the story, outside of the marketing and packaging.

The timing does seem rather interesting with a new casino headed to Schenectady and the number of low income patrons to be found between the aforementioned and the Saratoga Racino.

I’ve become a conspiracy theorist. This business will do that to you.

Now I’m not saying that is the motivation at all…but I do wonder on the heels of a conversation with my business partner about the deals from NYS for casinos in relation to their decision to amp up marketing for support services related to gambling addiction.

facepalm

We know the traffic on Route 50 can stink during peak hours and, to my knowledge, the NYS DOT nor CDTA is offering any additional corrective measures to keep the flow of traffic improving and moving on that corridor. Getting stuck behind one of those busses while they pick up and drop off, without a bump out or place for them to get out of the way is an issue, agreed?

Here’s the letter:

“Dear Capital Region Media Organizations,

I am writing to you on behalf of Saratoga County residents who may not have access to the internet and may be unaware of the subject of proposed changes in Saratoga County public bus services provided by CDTA(Capital District Transportation Authority).

Recently CDTA posted a link on their Facebook page telling people that they had come up with proposed route changes for Saratoga Springs, NY and that they could see all the proposed change information on their website. I went to their website and noticed that the proposed changes are significant and would very much impact how people take the bus in this city.

It also appears that CDTA is taking needed services away from Senior and the city’s low income housing projects by eliminating service on Jefferson St and services to the Saratoga Racino. So far the only attempt by CDTA, which I have seen, to reach out and notify the public is by their post on Facebook. Their website says they have a few upcoming public discussion meetings planned to start on November 4, 2015.

They may have posted notices on their buses as well as their website but many riders may not have access to the internet or may not see the notices posted on the buses because they posts them in an inconvenient location on the buses.

CDTA riders need to know about these proposed changes and about these meetings CDTA has planned. Riders have a right to be informed and have the right to speak up for themselves about how changes to public transit services will affect them.

I attended one of CDTA’s meetings in the Springs of 2015 and almost none of the changes that CDTA has proposed for implementation in the Spring of 2016 relate to anything we discussed. There is no service to Malta as we asked for, there is no daily services for seniors at Wesley, Stonequist, or Watkins Apartments. Services along Jefferson St. are being shifted to once per week. Direct service from Saratoga Springs Rail Station to Wilton Mall is being chopped in half and that route will only go downtown. Services to Skidmore College altered to run to Wilton Mall. They are planning on eliminating Sunday service for 3 out of 5 proposed routes including cutting Saturdays down to 2 round trips.

I live on Allen Drive which is near their planned service to Kirby Road and if I am employed in the vicinity of Wilton Mall or Wilton Square then I would have to tell my employer that I am unable to work weekends because CDTA doesn’t want to provide bus services from my neighborhood. Right now I can easily take the Route # 472 from 2 West Ave. out to the Wilton Mall/Wilton Square area and it would not affect my or anyone else’s ability to work a reasonable schedule for any business in that area.

CDTA appears to be only looking at financial numbers and NOT taking into consideration what affects if any these proposed changes would have on their riders.

I am telling you all of this stuff because the public needs to know about these changes so they can attend one of CDTA’s meetings and speak up. Not everyone has internet access to the proposed route change information so I am pleading with you to please do a story within your organization to share with your viewers/readers to give them a chance to be informed.

Here is the link to CDTA’s Saratoga Route change proposal information. Please publish all this info on air or in your newspapers and on your websites. The public needs to know what is going on and it is up to your organizations to inform the public and to make sure they have access to important information that affects them. I have talked to some of the CDTA drivers for Saratoga Springs who were not even made aware of these proposals and they have said they think the changes have some positives but a lot of negatives and that they don’t feel as if CDTA has been listening to them or to riders. One driver said “what was the purpose of having survey takers on the buses if the company is going to ignore the riders comments?”.

http://www.cdta.org/news/saratoga-restructuring/11381

Sincerely,
Jean Haynes
Concerned CDTA Rider In Saratoga Springs”

Well Ms. Haynes, I think you raise an excellent topic and consider your plea for public awareness about the CDTA informational meetings heard, and shared.

Angela McFarland
Chief Creative Officer and Ad Whisperer 
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The statements and views expressed in the Publisher’s Pen are solely that of AngelaMcFarland and do not represent, or reflect, the opinions or views of The Ballston Journal Online LLC or NewzMedia Holdings LLC.

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