• Who Rides Bikes? - Biking is an activity and transportation mode that cuts across race, class, and gender lines. But spend much time talking about bicycles, the infrastructure they require, and their place in the community, and you’ll quickly find out that a lot of people hold very a specific idea of what a ‘biker’ is, and that fixed … Continue reading Who Rides Bikes?
  • Plowable Bike Lanes - City Hall needs to figure out how to plow its bicycle infrastructure. No one will use even the best bike lane if it’s buried under six inches of snow. Safe bike lanes aren’t easy to plow, though. The best ones are physically separated from car lanes—by a curb or some other barrier—so a plow can’t … Continue reading Plowable Bike Lanes
  • Transit’s Network Effect - Public transportation works best as a network. When riders can transfer between multiple buses to access more of the city, the service is exponentially more useful than if it consisted of just a single line. And since additional service makes existing service even more useful, Centro should build out the biggest BRT network that it … Continue reading Transit’s Network Effect
  • The Syracuse University Bus Network - Walk west on Euclid Avenue, and from the time that SU’s campus comes into view to when you get to Comstock Avenue, you’re guaranteed to see at least a handful of buses pulling in and out of the University. SU operates as a sort of second Hub, and the buses that originate, terminate, and run … Continue reading The Syracuse University Bus Network
  • A greenway for the Westside - Soon, the Eastside, Southside, and Northside will all have access to a cross-county network of greenways running through two of the three big valleys that intersect at Downtown Syracuse. That third valley—stretching from the City Center to Split Rock through Syracuse’s Westside—should have it’s own greenway too. Abandoned train bridges, a channelized creek, and public … Continue reading A greenway for the Westside
  • A new way to understand the City - Syracuse can be a hard place to navigate. The City is big, it’s streets intersect at weird angles, and it’s just very easy to get turned around and lost. In a place like this, it’s helpful to have a way of simplifying things—some mental tool that makes the City understandable and makes people feel comfortable … Continue reading A new way to understand the City
  • Dismantling Syracuse’s Inner Loop - The I81 viaduct is part of the interstate highway system, but it’s also one piece of a high-speed traffic loop that encircles Downtown. Once it’s torn down, that loop won’t function the way that it’s supposed to, and that will give Syracuse a fantastic opportunity to reclaim West, Harrison, and Adams Streets as local streets … Continue reading Dismantling Syracuse’s Inner Loop
  • Two ways to do a downtown circulator - Centro’s new CEO, Brain Schultz, wants to start running a “Downtown Circulator.” That could mean two different things—one good, one bad—and what form this plan takes will say a lot about whether or not this new CEO is up to the task of building the kind of public transit system that Syracuse needs and deserves. … Continue reading Two ways to do a downtown circulator
  • Treating riders with respect - Public transportation is a public service—like libraries and municipal water—and riding the bus shouldn’t feel any more degrading than checking out a book or drinking from the tap. Too often, it is. There are so many small things that make riding the bus unpleasant—things that are unnecessary, that don’t really save any money or make … Continue reading Treating riders with respect
  • Who will ride BRT? - Talk to non-bus-riders about Centro, and eventually they’ll say something to the effect of “you know a specific challenge that we have in Syracuse is that bus ridership is associated with socio-economic class, and so the question is how do we get people of all classes to ride the bus. How does Centro get me … Continue reading Who will ride BRT?
  • A Countywide Bike Network - Syracuse is getting a huge improvement to its transportation system. Three interlocking projects pursued by three different levels of government are making it safe, easy, and convenient to travel by bike around the metro area. The Creekwalk, Loop the Lake Trail, and Erie Canalway are fantastic projects that will make Syracuse a better place to … Continue reading A Countywide Bike Network
  • Sidewalks: Necessity or Amenity? - How can City Hall say that it’s preserving municipal services that “impact public health and safety” at the same time that it’s cutting the sidewalk plowing program? On the face of it, this makes absolutely no sense. Leaving snow on the sidewalks pushes pedestrians into the way of oversized vehicles that predictably kill and maim … Continue reading Sidewalks: Necessity or Amenity?
  • Frequency and Speed - In public transportation, service frequency depends on bus speed. The faster buses go, the more times one operator can make a run in a single shift. Since the vast majority of operating cost is taken up by operator salary, that means higher service frequencies for little to no extra money. And since higher frequencies are … Continue reading Frequency and Speed
  • Frequency and Spines - Frequent service frees transit agencies to run better, more efficient networks. Centro’s current network is designed around the lineup—a tool that facilitates transfers in when the buses don’t run very often. But there are other design tools—like the spine—that can turn that infrequent service into the high-frequency, high-quality transit system that Syracuse needs. A spine … Continue reading Frequency and Spines
  • Frequency and the Lineup - Frequent bus service makes more of the City more accessible, but it also saves money. Citywide transit systems only work when people can easily switch between different buses to reach any point in the network, but low-frequency service—like what Centro currently offers—requires enormous inefficiency in order to facilitate transfers. More frequent service can pay for … Continue reading Frequency and the Lineup
  • Frequency and Access - When the people in power think about making opportunity accessible by bus, they focus too much on where the buses run and not enough on when the buses run. Centro runs bus lines to every urbanized part of the County, so just about any factory, school, or home is within walking distance of a bus … Continue reading Frequency and Access
  • The Recipe for BRT - The recipe for good public transportation is simple: (1) run lots of buses (2) in straight lines (3) that connect lots of people (4) to the places where they want to go. Do that, and people will ride. The Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council followed that recipe when it designed two new crosstown bus rapid transit … Continue reading The Recipe for BRT
  • Trolley Tracks and Bus Lines - I used to catch the 58 bus at Burnet and Teall. In my head, this was the Burnet Ave bus—Burnet’s a big street, it’s one of the few that stretches from Downtown all the way out to the city line, and the 58 does run straight along its eastern half from Beech Street to Thompson … Continue reading Trolley Tracks and Bus Lines
  • Coronavirus and the Bus - Crises reveal what really matters. Work that used to be forgotten is now understood to be essential. Workers who used to be taken for granted are now recognized as heroes—fighting on the frontlines against this global pandemic—the hospitals, the nursing homes, the garbage routes, the checkout counters. Renewed appreciation for these people and the work … Continue reading Coronavirus and the Bus
  • The Captive Rider Myth - Centro likes to divide its riders into two groups—‘captive’ riders that have to use the bus because it’s their only option, and ‘choice’ that choose to use the bus because it’s the best option available to them. But the idea that anybody has to ride the bus—that people are ‘captive’ to transit—is a myth. It’s … Continue reading The Captive Rider Myth