Tag Archives: Transit

Deadline for Transit Citizens Advisory Board applications is March 31

newmallbusThe Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority (also known as MAX), has a transit citizens advisory board, and they’re looking for some committed individuals to apply.

While the application states the deadline would not be extended past its original deadline of January 16, the new cut-off is this coming Monday, March 31. The form is available via the authority’s website and downtown at Central Station.

This new committee was established as part of the House Bill Governor Bentley signed into law at the end of the last legislative session. The statute, the first significant changes to the legislation establishing the BJCTA in nearly 40 years, states the appointments to the advisory board will be made by Jefferson County, the City of Birmingham, and other participating municipalities. A recap of a recent meeting of the committee held in December is available to read through via a blog titled Busrider’s Diary. It is part of a growing national trend to include a more formal representation of voices in the process, including recent applications in southeastern Michigan.

Magnetic strips just the beginning of BJCTA changes

Things have been staying busy over at the BJCTA‘s Central Station in recent weeks following Peter Behrman’s recent departure. One of the most recent changes was the recent introduction of magnetic 31-day transit passes. While the announcement was made back in April, a video announcing the change (which was not accompanied by a fare increase) was posted to YouTube earlier this month embedded in this post.

There have also been ads announcing the new cards visible on buses throughout the city.

The county’s transit authority also started accepting credit cards and debit cards for purchases back in early March and launched a fan page on Facebook (though they may want to also claim one of the two place locations already in existence) as well as a Twitter account to share information about the short range plan. Based on what’s been shared on their page so far, the organization has also been making regular appearances on WATV-AM and WJLD talking about upcoming changes to the system. These outreach efforts follow a series of public hearings held in February giving riders an overview of proposed changes to several BJCTA routes.

There will also be continued focus on the system beginning this summer as the fuel-cell bus demonstration project begins where a hydrogen-powered bus will be operated among the regular fleet. The project is one of several National Fuel Cell Bus Program initiatives taking place across the country under the watchful eye of the Federal Transit Administration. Needless to say that the BJCTA’s board won’t be the only ones watching to see how the area’s transit network is re-made.

Another one gets (forced) off the BJCTA bus

07172006-max-bus-close-upThe announcement that Peter Behrman will be leaving the BJCTA at the end of March was still a surprise to some despite the insane number of recent closed door meetings.

More disturbing is the number of people who’ve held the position. The transit authority has had 25 directors in 25 years.

We decided to take a quick look at the list of individuals who’ve served since 1994 – all nine of them. Why? Because the official National Transit Database website helped make it easy to do so…

The list is a pretty impressive one when you look at where some of them have ended up. Mr. Copling is currently a general manager for First Transit in Washington, DC, the folks responsible for the DC Circulator. Mark Stanley – he just became the executive officer for the Watershed Conservation Authority in California; he’d been serving as the director of planning for the Riverside Transit Authority since 2006. David Hill still serves as the deputy director for transit services for San Fransicso’s Muni system – a position he returned to after serving as that organization’s acting director of transit for just a little more than five months beginning in October 2009. If you want to visit Paul Ballard, just head up the road to Nashville. He’s been RTA’s CEO since January 2002. Looks like they like him a lot too.

Incidentally, you can also read one of Jerry Haight’s short stories about his days as BJCTA general manager on his website or check out Jay Saxon’s thesis (or maybe even this entire day of programming about transit) examining why he believes the system isn’t functioning to its full potential. There are also fleeting references to Alfred Richards and Frank Martin online if you dig deep enough (including how the authority benefited from the 1982 beer tax).

Mayor Bell’s listening tour stops at More Than Conquerors

William Bell headshotBirmingham mayor William Bell is currently on a listening tour – incidentally just before the start of what promises to be as intriguing a budget process as the city has ever gone through. It also happens to be an election year (though it’s still early).

This evening the tour will make a stop at More Than Conquerors Faith Church on the city’s West Side (Dennison Avenue to be exact) starting at 6 p.m. The focus of tonight’s discussion will be on the future of transit and education in Birmingham – two issues becoming increasingly more important than ever.

Perhaps the folks at Black & White will be particularly interested in tonight’s community gathering as a potential beginning to a follow-up of their February 17 feature piece titled “The Decline and Fall of West Birmingham.”

According to one of the tweets announcing the meeting this afternoon via Twitter, the meeting is open to the public.

On the agenda: Sewers and skyboxes

Official flag of the City of BirminghamCouncilor Rafferty’s proposal to reduce the number of representatives from the City of Birmingham serving on the BJCTA‘s Transit Advisory Committee (held over for three weeks already) is back on the council agenda today (Item 6). There’s also a $22,000 bid to re-carpet Legion Field‘s skybox (Item 20).

The major item on today’s agenda involves the city’s storm water management program. Item 14 allows the mayor to enter a contract with Malcolm Pirnie for up to $535,975 to assist with the development of that plan and to help prepare a required report to ADEM. Item 15 puts them under contract (for $89,895) to help address issues brought up during a recent audit of the city’s storm water management system.

The recap will be online later today

On the agenda: Smaller and green

Official flag of the City of BirminghamIt’s a fairly quiet agenda this morning for Birmingham’s City Council meeting. Probably the most interesting aspect of the agenda is seeing that Major Todd Smith, area commander for the Salvation Army Birmingham Area Command will be delivering the invocation. Maj. Smith recently presented plans to the Norwood neighborhood to develop a unified complex on the edge of the neighborhood. The neighborhood voted against the plan 52-0 though it looks as though he still plans to move forward.

Item 4 is a proposal by Councilwoman Kim Rafferty to reduce the number of representatives serving on the BJCTA’s Transit Advisory Committee. The eighteen-member panel currently includes 12 people from Birmingham.

Item 26 is currently on consent and would allow for Alive2Green to “provide information for green energy efficiencies and retrofit within the corporate limits of Birmingham.” Alive2Green would be paid up to $15,000 for the service according to the item. Incidentally, it’s the company behind the Green Building Focus conference.

Birmingham to Atlanta high-speed rail study announced

Earlier today, Birmingham Mayor William Bell joined the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham‘s executive director Charles Ball as plans were formally announced for a feasibility study that could lead to the creation of a high-speed rail link between Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA.

Ball stated during prepared remarks that the study would cost $500,000 with half of the funds available due to a portion of the federal stimulus bull. It will be a partnership between the RPCGB, the Georgia Department of Transportation and Norfolk Southern. The study is scheduled to begin on July 1 and take one year to complete.

The video includes portions of Ball’s comments and all of Bell’s comments to those gathered.