June 11, 2016 witnessed the rollout of the Minneapolis area’s newest of bus services: The A Line rapid bus. Metro Transit refers to this as arterial bus rapid transit (BRT) service. This project was five years in the making, its opening just before the ringing in of the 11th annual National Dump the Pump Day which arrives on June 16th – this coming Thursday.
“Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), this national public transportation awareness day encourages people to ‘Dump the Pump’ by parking their car and riding public transit instead,” announced the APTA in a written statement. “The tag line is: Dump the Pump. Ride Public Transit.”
Participation activities to include among others transit rides offered the public completely free or at discounted fares, according to the APTA.
National Dump the Pump Day is another great way to promote public transit awareness.
The public transportation association adds: “According to APTA’s June 9, 2016 Transit Savings Report, an individual in a two-person household can save, on the average, nearly $9,500 a year when he or she downsizes by one car and takes public transit instead.”
Assuming two comparable gasoline-propelled vehicles for comparable amounts of distances driven, then downsizing to one such vehicle per household can mean a reduction of half in terms of emissions output.
Whether unaccustomed to using public transit at all or an infrequent user of such, come June 16th, National Dump the Pump Day could be the perfect opportunity to make a change and give air-friendlier public transportation a try.
In other news, June 16th marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of American high-speed rail construction.
Work began in earnest on the building of a viaduct over California State Route (SR) 145, Raymond Road and the Fresno River in Madera County to Fresno’s north. One year into the project and all 16 support columns are either finished or close to being completed and a good part of the viaduct’s superstructure is in place, concrete already having been poured.
Elsewhere, meanwhile, an SR 99 relocation is underway in northwest Fresno, an effort to move the traveled way farther to the west between Ashlan and Clinton avenues to make room for high-speed rail right-of-way placement between the Union Pacific mainline through Fresno at that location to the east and what presumably will be a shifted-over SR 99 to the west. Farther south, trenching work is proceeding. This will allow the high-speed rail double track line to duck under SR 180 and two lines of freight railroad track. And, lastly but not least, preparations are being made to carry high-speed trains over Golden State Boulevard and SR 99 on the city’s south end and over Herndon Avenue, its on-ramp access to northbound SR 99, the Union Pacific Railroad mainline through town in that area and the San Joaquin River.
So, in that one-year span, the California High-Speed Rail right-of-way has really come along and taken shape.
To see photos of much of the related construction activity, go here.
And, in still other news, a seventh round-trip to Amtrak California San Joaquin’s service will launch June 20th, an indication that ridership continues to grow which follows that more and more travelers are taking the train.
The seventh San Joaquin round-trip is a far cry from the days of just one such available round-trip offered when I first arrived in Fresno in 1977. Amtrak service was inaugurated in the San Joaquin Valley, incidentally, in 1974.
The point of which is all such public transit use means air-quality improvement.
Upper image above: Connor Harris
Lower image above: W. R. Howell, Jr.