Friday, October 19, 2018

Domino's Pizza Takes over El Paso Streets & Maintenance Department



Dominos Pizza Takes over El Paso Streets & Maintenance Department
"Paving for Pizza" program overwhelmed by El Paso's Streets

by  Satira Sinverg├╝enza
Associated Mess
 


After receiving over 400,000 calls from El Paso residents complaining about potholes and San Andreas Fault-like cracks in their roadways, armed Domino’s Pizza employees took over El Paso Streets & Maintenance Department on Wednesday.


When reached for comment about the continuing deterioration of El Paso’s roadways, City District 8 Representative Sissy Lizarraga stated, “We have a nice baseball stadium. Look at the monkey!”


Earlier this year, Domino’s Pizza started a program in which it would dispense grants of $5,000 to up to 20 locations across the U.S. to help fill potholes and repair cracked roads. This was an effort to keep their delivery drivers from driving over potholes and thus ruining their customer’s pizzas.


However, El Paso proved too much for the corporate giant.


“We kept getting calls,” says Domino’s Pizza CFO Pepe Roni, “that pizzas were being delivered looking like giant tacos, pizzas folded in half or that all the toppings had fallen off.”


“Then the calls started coming in from El Paso residents,” says Roni, “400,000 of them!”


Instead of trying to fill one pothole at a time, Domino’s decided to take the bull by the horn and to fill the over one millions potholes in El Paso’s streets.

Above: Domino's Pizza employees struggle with City of El Paso employees in Street Department takeover.



“We were contemplating giving 4-wheel drive vehicles to all our delivery drivers in El Paso,” says Roni, “but after doing a cost-benefit analysis, it showed it would be easier to just take over El Paso’s Street & Maintenance Department.”


Former City Represented Steve Ortega who predictably was standing nearby said, “This is a good example of a public-private partnership. Oh, and Paul, Woody, call me, you’re not returning my calls.”


Thursday, October 18, 2018

El Paso Streetcars Part 3: Streetcars as Economic Development



Streetcars as Economic Development
Many Streetcar Companies are Mimicking the Same Tactics of Those Wanting to Build Stadiums in Your City



If we look at streetcars as economic development, then we should see them a success.  The Streetsblog says, “The primary benefits of streetcar projects were always intended to be related to development.” (1).


Lauren Fischer and David King published a report in the Journal of Transport Geography in 2017 that looks at the limits of streetcars. The intention is not to improve transit, but to increase economic development.(2).


The trouble with this is that the groups usually pushing for the streetcar, don’t want to pay for them themselves.


They want taxpayers to pay for them.


The illusion is that ridership will fund the running and building of these streetcars.  That is never the case.  Streetcars remain heavily subsidized.  Sometimes the money meant to build the street car line is sent to non-existent companies. 

Yes, let’s not forget the City of El Paso was shammed into paying invoiced to sham companies for work they did not do on the streetcar line. Bliss states:


“Nothing is inherently wrong with a streetcar beloved by developers, so long as developers are paying for it.  But they’re not, at least not on their own.  Taxpayers are picking up most of the bill for the 21st century streetcar renaissance — money which could otherwise support more effective forms of public transportation.  Overall mobility suffers when transit dollars are diverted to projects that are more about real estate than riders.”

(3).


Many cities are jumping on board with streetcars and El Paso, predictably, did a giant leap for mankind.
 
And many streetcar companies are mimicking the same tactics of those wanting to build stadiums in your city: Let’s build something with your taxpayer funds, to make the city’s rich richer, something that will not be self-sufficient, and something that suck funds from your city’s infrastructure maintenance.


1.      Schmitt, Angie. “The Problem with America’s New Streetcars,” StreetsBlogUSA, October 4, 2017. Acess, May 6, 2018.

2.      King, David and Ficher, Lauren Ames. “Streetcar projects as spatial planning: A shift in transport planning in the United States,” Journal of Transport Geography, February 2016. Accessed May 6, 2018.

 

Monday, October 8, 2018

El Paso Streetcars Part 2: Streetcars and Ridership: Expect a Decline After the Thrill is Gone



Streetcars and Ridership
Expect a Decline After the Thrill is Gone
by Raymundo Eli Rojas

This is Part 2 in a series on streetcars. To read Part I, click HERE


We can predict that when the streetcar finally opens to riders, people will flock to ride them. 


The City of El Paso and the El Paso Times (well add Secret and her crew) will market this as a success; they will say, “Look how good we did!”


Then, ridership will decline.


Just last year, several articles were published regarding the under performance of streetcars.


Laura Bliss says in her article “Enough With the  Street Cars Already,” that in Detroit, ridership initially peaked when the new streetcars came out, but “A few weeks after the city of Detroit began charging riders a few bucks per ride on its brand-new downtown streetcar, ridership dropped 40 percent, according to the Detroit Free Press. Sadly, few observers were surprised.” (1).

Forty percent decline! 



Bliss states, “The streetcar, dubbed the QLine, is carrying 3,000 riders per day, short of the projected 5,000 to 8,000 per day required to break even.”  (2).


In looking at Atlanta, Georgia, Bliss said after the city “…saw a 60 percent drop in ridership after its 1.3-mile line, which opened in 2014, started asking for $1 per go.” (3).


The outlook in other cities is not good.   

According to Bliss:

Since it opened in September 2016, Cincinnati’s Bell Connector line has seen about two-thirds of the daily ridership consultants predicted.  Salt Lake City’s Sugar House line has fared even worse, with just about one-third of the passengers originally projected.  Even Seattle, for all of its other transit successes, is seeing about the same sorry share of original predictions.

(4).


According to the Cincinnati Inquirer, as of January 2018, ridership for their streetcar is half of what it was in 2017.  (5).


There are exceptions.  

These are Kansas City and Portland.  Regarding streetcars, Portland has long been used as a model for other cities.  “Overall,” says Bliss, “as critics have often pointed out, the record is pretty poor when these projects are judged as transit.  Which might be the wrong frame.  Actual transit riders aren’t well served by them, but developers and downtown business boosters tend to be pleased.” (6).


Therefore, Bliss states that if we look at streetcars as “transit,” the predictions for success are bleak.

Read Part 3


  1.    1. Bliss, Laura,” “Enough with the streetcars already,” CityLab, September 29, 2017. Access, May 6, 2018:
    2.      Id.
    3.      Id.
    4.      Id.
    5.      Brazeal, Casey. “The Cincinnati Streetcar is Failing,” Planetizen, March 11, 2018. Access, May 6, 2018.
    6.      Bliss, Laura.