transit hub may bring out critics. let’s bring out facts, figures and sound research

Good day, riders.

Yesterday’s announcement of the $6.5 million in federal grant money for a new transit hub in downtown Des Moines garnered a fair amount of press, on TV, on air and in print, although you can’t find all of the reports online, at least not yet. In case you missed them, here are the pieces that are online, from the Des Moines Business Record,  The Des Moines Register and KCCI.

This project will likely be in the press more regularly now that its construction is no longer a matter of if but when. And as you would expect, the project will surely face its share of critics, as can be seen in comments following the Register’s piece. That’s fine. We won’t shy away from fair criticism, especially here at the bus blog.

We insist, however, that points are debated over facts, figures and sound research, not fictions or fallacies. Studies, data, experts — all are welcome. I’ll be introducing a fair share of them here. Feel free to bring your own favorites to the table, as well; post them in comments or email them to thebusblog@ridedart.com.

First point up for debate: Is there really a need to invest in public transit in Des Moines?

For Exhibit A, let me submit the Iowa Passenger Transportation Study. Commissioned by the state and completed in December 2009, the study found that Iowans needed more public transit everywhere in the state. In Greater Des Moines, DART provided about 4.5 million passenger trips in 2008 while it would have had to provide 6.5 million trips to meet baseline demand and 9.5 million trips to meet choice demand. You can find these figures in the chart on page 26 of the pdf file: Final Funding Study Report 12-15-09

Happy reading, and see you on the bus.