Friday, January 21, 2011

Pod Promoters in Newport News

Joe Lawlor has a good article in The Newport News Daily Press titled "Personal rapid transit in Newport News?".

It's sad to read about yet another community wasting time on Personal Rapid Transit, but at least Mr. Lawlor has reported fairly the pros and cons of PRT. Lawlor quotes the indefatigable, pod-promoting Larry Fabian. The article also quotes retired Professor Vukan Vuchic:

"People study it a lot, but when it's closer to actually building it, it never gets done."

Google the following cities with "Personal Rapid Transit"; Daventry, Duluth, Minneapolis, Winona, Long Branch, Indianapolis, Rosemount, Seattle, Cincinnati, Ithaca, Alameda, Denver... all had a similar experience with PRT - the pod promoters came to town with lots of media hype, PowerPoint presentations, promises, demands... and months, years later... nothing.

Recently, the proposal to bring Jpods to Hull, Massachusetts ended in fiasco.

What never happens is any meaningful citizen participation - this is what I wrote in the Winona Daily News:

Boston Personal Rapid Transit promoter Lawrence J. Fabian in his Sept. 23 letter chided the citizens of Winona for their lack of enthusiasm for the PRT plan proposed by the city of Winona.

“If Winona wants to think small,” scolds Fabian.

An interesting criticism when you consider that Winonans never really had an opportunity to comment or ask questions in a public forum about the PRT project.

According to a Jan. 20 article in the Winona Daily News, a meeting where the public could have asked questions was for Winona City Council members only, “While there was little discussion of PRT during the meeting, the vote came after council members examined the system during a pre-council informational session that lasted more than one hour.”

I recall a similar PRT “informational session” for Minneapolis city officials only on March 26, 2005. When a proposal for a PRT project later came up for a vote in committee, the PRT promoters failed to show up and the matter was tabled. More recently, public officials in Daventry, England, complained that PRT promoters would not show up at public forums to answer questions. The Minnesota Department of Transportation held a “PRT workshop” Aug. 18, which cost $50 to attend and was not a public meeting. Why are PRT promoters avoiding the public?

When the city of Winona revisits the issue of PRT, as it has recently indicated it would, I would suggest they hold a free, public forum and invite critics as well as promoters. I would also suggest inviting experts in the field; transit engineers, transit advocacy groups and environmental groups. But most of all, I urge Winona city officials to invite the public.

Grassroots support for any big public project is essential. For it is the citizens who will end up paying for it— and if built, living with it.

Hopefully, the citizens and public officials of Newport News will avoid wasting time and money on PRT by insisting on open and meaningful public participation in the decision-making process.

More PRT Flops and Fiascos:

JPODs Flop in Hull, Mass.

Personal Rapid Transit is NOT Happening in Masdar.

Twitter Reveals Morgantown WVU Personal Rapid Transit's Frequent Breakdowns.

Personal Rapid Transit Is NOT a "New Technology.

The Pawlenty administration wasted at least $150,000 on personal rapid transit .

PRT Conference Newsletter & Website Features PRT Plan by Convicted Felon. Dean Zimmermann also showed up at last year's bizarre MnDOT "PRT Workshop.

PRT is so not happening at Heathrow.

Daventry says "Pods Off!". also see the Daventry anti-pod Facebook page.

Video: Bill James Pitches Jpods Resolution to Hennepin County.

Federal Funding Nixed for Winona Personal Rapid Transit Project

Taxi 2000 lobbyist and Bachmann pal Ed Cain also lobbied for the phony U.S. Navy Veterans Association charity.

No $25 million earmark for PRT pork project in Winona, Minnesota.

The Swedish/Korean PRT prototype malfunctioned recently in front of the media.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.