SRA Board Meeting Minutes
2007 October

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Speaker series 

Klaus H.  Philipsen, a Baltimore architect who specializes in urban design and planning, addressed the problem of public transportation. Although in response to audience polling he agreed that good public transportation has to operate on many levels, including car sharing, bicycles, etc. his presentation focused on the development of a central system of buses referred to variously as  “The Fast Bus”  “Bus Rapid Transit”, Rapid Bus, or “Quick Bus” systems.

An increasing population and the development of suburban and rural lend has made driving the main means of mobility.  The number of driving miles is growing faster than the population growth.

In the late 1960s, in response to the problems caused by massive population growth, the city of Curitiba, Brazil developed a master plan, a significant part of which concerned public transportation. One of the architects was Jaime Lerner who was appointed mayor in 1971, and implemented a plan so successful that it has become a model for public transportation.

The model is a coordinated plan to maximize service most efficiently, and has 12 features

  1. Frequent service,
  2. Bus signal priority,
  3. Headway based schedules
  4. Simple route layout
  5. Less frequent stops
  6. Integration of high speed buses with local bus service
  7. Level boarding and alighting.
  8. Color coded buses and stations.
  9. High capacity buses - double articulated, high capacity.
  10. Traffic lanes for exclusive use by bus, allowing high capacity buses to travel at high speeds at a fraction of the developmental cost of subway construction.
  11. Off vehicle fare payment, (Curitiba has plexiglass tube stations, allowing faster loading and unloading as well as shelter from the weather).
  12. Bus feeder network

Curitiba’s system employs different types of buses. Health care transit buses connect the hospitals.  Local street buses, elevated, regional (commuter) buses, express service, and tourist buses, (which would be of interest to Annapolis).

Many other cities have studied Curitiba’s system.  Los Angeles analyzed the problems of their existing system and adopted many but not all of the Curitiba principles in the development of their “Metro Rapide”.  They have a hierarchy of transit, from local bus to commuter rail. Tickets are dispensed by vending machines in stations prior to boarding. Its “orange line” with the capacity to control traffic lights at intersections, can travel at speeds of 60 mph. LA’s system improvement has resulted in a significant increase in ridership, at a relatively low cost, when compared to development of subways.

Maryland’s MTA (Baltimore calls it QB -Quick Bus) has a hierarchal system as well, with different bus lines traveling at different speeds, and with varying passenger capacities.

Philipsen calling the public transit system in Anne Arundel County “pitiful” encouraged the SRA to be an advocate for similar improvement in public transportation in this area and although comparatively small in population, as with other small cities,  Annapolis could be a leader in innovative transit developments.

Jaime Lerner architect of the Curitiba model has stated “every city in the world can make important changes in less than 2 years. And its not a question of money, its just a question of how to transform every problem into a solution.”

Comments from the attendees followed the presentation:

Danielle Matland, Annapolis City Transportation Director, cited not only the financial problems the city has faced in implementing new plans, but as well difficulties in coordination between the State, County and Municipal governments.

Alderman Sam Shropshire, recently returned from a streetcar conference in Denver, also attended by representatives of Baltimore, envisions a streetcar loop through downtown Annapolis, minimizing or eliminating car traffic.

Heather McColl, executive director of ARTMA Annapolis Regional Transport Management Association noted the region’s currently available public transportation, and discussed car sharing.  Members of a commercial flex-car service (Flex, and Zip, are examples) can reserve a vehicle in the area, paying an hourly rate of $7 –$ 9.  This relatively inexpensive hourly use will optimize its utilization, and reduce the need for an individual car.

How can we effect changes?  Contact politicians, at all levels let them know of concerns.


 

Supplementary Working Board Meeting
October 25, 2007

Present: 

  • Thistle Cone
  • Richard Falk
  • Betsy Love
  • Charlotte Lubbert
  • Patricia Lynch
  • Kurt Riegel
  • Bob vom Saal
  • Bob Whitcomb 

 Called to order by president Kurt Riegel at 7:16 PM. 

Stormwater legislation. Kurt reported that he, Bob Whitcomb and Anne Pearson recently testified before the Anne Arundel County Council on the proposed Stormwater legislation, which would place a fee on all new development.  An alternative to this plan, put forth by councilmen Jamie Benoit, Josh Cohen, and Ron Dillon would impose a flat fee of $25 on all existing properties.  Councilwoman Cathy Vitale has proposed that stormwater managing investments by homeowners should result in a tax credit.  Kurt feels the SRA should support of a “tripod” of approaches to generate more funding for stormwater management.

Councilmen Cohen, Benoit, and Dillon, have invited Kurt and Kincey Potter, President, South River Federation, to a meeting to discuss their stormwater proposal.  

A meeting of SRA representatives with former state senator Gerald Winegrad is scheduled for October 30, 2007. 

Plastic Bag legislation. Kurt acknowledged the SRA position letter on the Annapolis proposal of alderman Sam Shropshire regarding use of paper v plastic bags. Richard Falk suggested SRA distribute reusable shopping bags with printed logo. Betsy Love suggested corporate sponsorship for the bags.  The two will meet to follow up on this suggestion.  

TMDL. The Maryland Department of the Environment’s document, Total Maximum Daily Loads of Fecal Coliform for the Restricted Shellfish Harvesting Areas in Whitehall and Meredith Creeks, Mill Creek, and the Severn River Mainstem of the Severn River Basin in Anne Arundel County, Maryland for Severn has been completed and will be submitted.  

Speaker Series. The next SRA speaker, arranged by Bob Whitcomb, will be Robb Fish, County Recycling project specialist. Bob has heard him speak, and noted he generated a large audience response.  Bob would like to ensure a large audience, perhaps by providing recycling containers to early registrants.

The difficulties of scheduling both business meetings and speakers are not unique to the SRA. the various local river organizations having the same problem. Proposed solutions to minimize scheduling of  extra business meetings and maximize attendance at speaker meetings were:

  • Combined sponsorship of speakers with other organizations.
  • Reduce the frequency of speakers

The pros and cons were discussed, and discussions will be ongoing.

Outing  - The small but enjoyable SRA  raft up on Clements Creek was noted. More will be planned for next season.

Spring Cleanup - Bob Whitcomb. Scheduled for 4/5/2008, on Indian Creek off Sunrise Beach Road.  Bob has already established a cooperative project with Indian Creek School., but as the property is owned privately,  appropriate approval must be obtained.

Mailings  - The yearly membership renewal letter to current members and people who have expressed interest has been prepared and will be reviewed and completed by Kurt.  Another outreach letter will be prepared to send to a broader list.

 

Committee reports

  • Treasurer Bob vom Saal - about  $16K in treasury, reported new community member, Whitney’s Landing.
  • Membership: Bob Whitcomb: will report in March or April to see how many respond to mailings.
  • Fundraising and communications: Betsy suggested the cleanups could be a potential fundraising tool. Suggested various businesses that might be approached for support.
  • Legal matters: Gene Milgram has made an offer of settlement to the developer. There is as yet no response.

Board of Directors vacant positions  – discussed several possible candidates.

Meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm 

Richard Falk, Recording Secretary

(Revised November 2007)