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I strongly agree with Amy Kamp ["Notes on Kamp: Will Austin Ever Get Smart About Public Transportation?
" News, April 22] and Mary Lou Gibson ["Start Smart Now
," Feedback, April 29] that Austin should prioritize improving our public transit. The Smart City grant application, available online, is focused on high-tech apps and data centers. The references to transit involve improved software and apps; circulators at the airport; electric, and possibly automated, buses; and park-and-rides or “hubs” designed primarily for suburban commuters. While these measures may be helpful, they are by no means the top priorities for improving transit.
The grant application claims that it will address equity, but there are no specifics, and, as Kamp says, people with less money often don't have smartphones and can't afford TNCs or higher-cost transit. Early adopters of high-tech are people of means. I encourage the Chronicle
staff to read the application and ask for details on how it would impact transit and equity.
There are a number of things the city can do to improve transit, including, transit priority lanes and signaling, improved access and shelter at stations, land use designed to improve transit access, bond measures for capital projects, and direct contributions to Cap Metro operating costs, which we did briefly for the Red Line. Directing time and resources toward the Smart City grant (the application includes hiring new staff) would not be the best way to improve transit or transportation affordability.
I picked up the April 29 issue of the Chronicle
, turned to the Editorial, and imagine my surprise to see the subheading first: "When someone is lying to you about something, it is usually best not to endorse and empower them" [“Page Two: The Problem With Prop. 1
”] Wow, I thought, an article about Hillary, and the stories she's spun about a nasty video causing the Benghazi attack, and her cluelessness regarding the coming and going of her email.
Nope, no such luck. It's another in an apparently unending line of articles urging us to vote against Uber/Lyft and for the local taxi monopoly. Oh well; maybe next week.