Archive for the ‘press releases’ Category
On April 5, 2013, Hungryneck Straphangers learned that for over a year, CARTA has been negotiating to sell the planned location of the North Charleston Intermodal center and use some of those funds to purchase the old, existing Amtrak Station East of River’s Ave, off of E. Montague in North Charleston so that location could be converted into our region’s transportation hub. This new plan evidently has been delayed by the Federal Transit Administration for reasons unknown.
Dave Crossly of Hungryneck Straphangers has agreed to lead a study group on this problem with the assistance of Larry Carter Center. Meetings and events will be listed on our Straphanger’s Calendar. The group will conduct an independent rider’s oriented investigation of what has happened and prepare to make sure that rider input is included as the process moves forward. At this time, we have no conclusions to offer.
The reason cited for this is an alleged problem with construction of the necessary railroad siding at the original location. Years of planning and millions of dollars have already been spent on this location. Drainage, parking and landscaping are already constructed. You can see a photo album of the Intermodal Passenger Transportation Center site in N. Charleston.
You may read details in this article in the Charleston Post and Courier: CARTA Plan to Purchase Amtrak Station Derailed
Since I am not a railroad engineer, I can’t evaluate the seriousness of the problem alleged to exist at the original site. Most of you are familiar with the current Amtrak station. Last week we learned that there may be a serious crime problem in the area which preys on train passengers. We will be requesting information from the North Charleston Police Department to determine if those rumors are true. CARTA drivers also inform us that there are serious problems getting buses to and from a bus transit hub at that location due to difficulty of making a left hand turn across two lanes of traffic, up an incline and over two railroad tracks in a distance of 30 feet in a full sized bus. The grade crossing there is also often blocked by trains.
We have a photo album of the current 1950s era Amtrak Station in N. Charleston, which despite its horrific condition, has some wonderful staff who would love to help you go railroading. If you’ve always flown, you don’t know what you are missing.
It’s deeply disturbing that these discussions have gone on behind closed doors for more than a year while input from bus and train passengers and drivers was never requested. A transparent, detailed public exploration of what may or may not have happened here is in order. Our community is investing tens of thousands of dollars in a major, new transportation study now. Progress is impossible when mistakes like this are made and public confidence in planning is eroded.
We have contacted the Federal Transit Administration and expressed our concern. Amy Bernstein, informed us that our input should be directed towards our representatives in Congress.
Fortunately both locations are in James Clyburn’s District, where we have a sitting Congressman to work with. You can contact Congressman Clyburn at https://clyburn.house.gov/contact-me
However we have no current Congressman in SC District 1, which includes most of the Charleston area. We’re currently preparing to elect a new congressman in the 1st. District. We requested their thoughts on this issue last week. Elizabeth Colbert Busch responded on Friday and we’ll be revealing her answer a week from today at the April 15 meeting of the SC Progressive Network at the International Longshoreman’s Hall at 8 pm (the meeting starts at 7 and everyone’s welcome.
Former Governor Sanford did not responded, but we invite all riders to contact his campaign with your input on this issue. Information about how to contact both campaigns can be found at www.busec.org/vote
Next week we’ll begin the region’s first major modern Transit Riders Voter information campaign, distributing 15 thousand information cards in the Charleston area and Beaufort. We’re looking for volunteers who like to ride and talk to people. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping make sure things like the Intermodal Center planning problem don’t keep getting repeated while highway projects go on regardless of the cost or issues which may arise. It’s time for a uniform, higher standard of transportation planning to apply to all taxpayer funded mobility projects.
Update- We’ll be meeting with the press at 11:15 am on Monday, March 25, at the Mary Street Transit center in Charleston (71 Mary Street, across the Street from Hughes Lumber) to urge the remaining Republican candidates to ride CARTA with us this week. Everyone is welcome. Facebook Event Signup, details.
Charleston, SC- On March 19,2013 Hungryneck Straphangers was happy to see Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who took a CARTA public transit ride with us on March 14 aboard the new 41 Coleman Blvd. Route with several other transit advocates receive the Democratic Nomination for SC’s First Congressional district. Colbert Busch has indicated a clear support for public transit in person and online. Her opponent Ben Frasier did not ride.
Unfortunately none of the five Republicans who rode CARTA with us made the run off. Teddy Turner, Elizabeth Moffley, Ric Bryant, Johnathan Hoffman & Tim Larkin. We would like to thank all of them for taking the time to ride and talk with transit riders. Every one of them said it was a rewarding experience for them. We felt so too.
Colbert Busch’s bi partisan transit discussion with Republican Linda Page while roaring over the breathtaking Ravenel Bridge on a bright spring day was an example of democracy at work, reaching across the aisle on the bus. The ride in the freezing rain which began the effort exposed three candidates to US Congress to transit at it’s worst and the wait for the return trip on the bus in the driving rain at an unsheltered, bench-less stop was fiercely educational.
For those of us who ride transit regularly, it was frightening to realize that some of thes candidates had never been on a public transit bus. They didn’t understand how to work the farebox or pull the stop cord. We’re proud that they overcame their qualms and got on board, sitting down to talk to sometimes wet and surly people with real problems. I remember clearly Republican Mathew Hoffman’s attempts to connect with the cold wet riders on the 40. He felt it was hopeless, but I encouraged him to stick at it pointing out that the country was falling apart because people aren’t talking across their differences. He went back to the rear of the bus, sat down with a group of African Americans and bravely asked, “What pisses you off?” Unsurprisingly, a lot of things did.After a little hesitation, a conversation started.
Please join our effort to get the surviving two Republicans to take a ride on the bus with us before the runoff. Just ask them to ride the bus with us. If they prefer, we can arrange for a Republican involved with public transit to be their companion and rides can be scheduled any day, Monday through Saturday between 6 am and 7 pm. We’ll try to accommodate their needs and goals, meeting voters, a good time for them, learning about how the system works or whatever their priorities are.
The Surviving Republican Candidates are:
We’re now preparing an April effort which will empower informed transit rider voting by thousands of riders on systems in the Lowcounty by distributing thousands of transit voter information cards in an effort we’re calling Farebox to Ballot Box. We’ll be supported in this effort by the Charleston Forum of the SC Progressive Network, Americans for Transit and the Amalgamated Transit Union. to volunteer for the effort, contact Hungryneck Straphangers.
Updated Info on the Transit Rider Voter empowerment effort can now be found at www.busec.org/vote.
Mt. Pleasant, SC- Hungryneck Straphangers has now conducted Candidate’s rides on March 7, 13 & 28 and is waiting to schedule more based on candidate’s committments. Our practice is to obtian the first committment for a date of the campaign’s choosing, then invite everyone else. If you want a good time for your campaign, call us first and take your pick. Rides at various times can be worked out including early morning. Full details can be found at www.busec.org. You can reach organizer William Hamilton at 870-5299 or email@example.com.
March 8 Candidates Ride- We’re offering an opportunity for candidates to schedule a ride this week on Friday at 7:00 am Starting at the Express Bus Park and Ride at Oakland Super Walmart in Mount Pleasant (out near Wando HS) into town. Campaigns can either continue on to Citadel Mall to meet more voters or return to Mount Pleasant on the Express or the 40. If no candidates confirm with us, we’ll cancel the ride. Facebook Signup for March 8 Ride.
New- Hungryneck Straphangers has decided to distribute a bookmark type slip at bus stops prior to the primary which lists the candidates which did ride the bus, to recognize their interest in transit. This will need to go to Press a week, March 9 so we can begin distribution on March 11. The last day to ride and be listed on this bookmark slip will be Friday, March 8. We plan to distribute several thousand bookmarks.
A Facebook photogallery of our first two trips with 5 candidates in now online at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10151430911974824&type=1
We expect to schedule several of these trips. We’re somewhat flexible on how many and when, but this 4 pm to 5:35 pm time slot round trip to Mount Pleasant allows candidates to meet a lot of transit voters quickly and still make their evening event. We also do morning join voters on their way to work rides, which are very intense but allow candidates to meet many transit voters who go on to discuss their candidate contact at work.. Bus trips go rain or shine. We’re willing to work with campaign schedules to tailor a trip which meets your needs at these or other times. We promise you’ll meet more voters faster doing this than any other form of in person campaigning. Most candidates over 100 voters per hour.
Information and Questions for Candidates Now Updated, Online
All 16 Republican candidates were invited to ride during the Feb. 16 Freedomworks forum in N. Charleston and given a full information package, including the four that had already taken a ride, since package materials had been updated since their ride. Listed below are the candidates in alphabetical order by party and name and who hs ridden or committed to ride.
The Democrats and Greens have been invited by phone call and email.
Candidates can review our updated information for candidates memo, now with our exact Transit issue questions we’ll be asking candidates to answer.
Transit Issues in this Election
We’ll be distributing thousands of voter information cards in April with the candidates answers to three simple questions. Candiates will have a brief space to explain their answers and we’ll provide links to more detailed information online if they ask.
- Have you ridden CARTA or Tri County Link Public Transit in the Lowcountry recently? We’ll note if this has been a guided ride with a person familiar with transit issues or a self reported claim which we can’t verify.
- As a congressman would you be willing to work to obtain Federal support to complete planning and construction of the Passenger Intermodal Transportation Center in N. Charleston which will combine a new Amtrak Train Station, Greyhound Station, Airport Shuttle, CARTA route hub and car rental services as well as offices and service businesses. We/ve put together an Intermodal information packet for the campaigns. Details on this Public/Private partnership project are available from CARTA.
- As a congressman, would you support returning public transit’s share of the Federal Transportation Budget to 20% or more from it’s current reduced share of 18%? For background on this issue see Stranded at the Station, a natinal report on public transit funding issues.
- There will be a short space for additional comments by the candidate.
Help Get Candidates to Ride the Bus
If your candidate hasn’t been on the bus yet, please contact them and encourage them to ride. Our community will be better for everyone when all of our leaders understand what transit is really like, by seeing it from the inside right here, on a bus and meeting the people who ride every day. You can download printable postcards to help get more people involved in this effort.
- Keith Blandford indicates that he will not be riding, and that he is opposed to public transportation,
- Curtis Bostic or Bostic on Facebook
- Ric Bryant rode in the Morning on Feb. 28, North Charlston Exp.
- ‘Larry Grooms or Larry Grooms on Facebook
- Johnathan Hoffman rode in the rain, Feb. 7, Mt. P. Exp & 40
- John Kuhn
- Jeff King
- Tim Larkin rode on Feb. 13, Mt. P. Exp & 40
- Chip Limehouse or Chip Limehouse on Facebook
- Peter McCoy
- Elizabeth Moffly rode on Feb. 13. Mt. P. Exp & 40
- Ray Nash
- Andy Patrick
- Shawn Pinkston or Pinkston for Congress on Facebook
- Mark Sanford or Mark Sanford on Facebook
- Teddy Turner rode in the rain on Feb. 7, Mt. P Exp.
Here is the detailed Itinerary
Feb. 28 Morning ride- Starts at Kmart Park and Ride in North Charleston at 7 am, at 7:19 Ride Express 1 all the way to James Island, turn around and stay on Express one back to the city. Take Rivers Ave. 10 back to North Charleston. Candidate Ric Bryant commieted to ride all candidates welcome. You can sign up for the Feb. 28 Ride on Facebook.
For a full update on our current efforts to improve Public Transit East of the Cooper, see Going Somewhere Together in 2013
This effort is a project of the Hungryneck Straphangers, an independent Rider’s Advocacy group and is not officially associated with CARTA, a government agency in any way. Hungryneck Straphangers is associated with Americans for Transit, a national Rider’s advocacy group.