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Yolo Transportation District seeks feedback on its 7-year transit plan – Daily Democrat

The Yolo Transportation District is seeking public feedback for its 2024-2031 Short-Range Transit Plan through a brief online survey.

“A short-haul transit plan outlines how a public transit system will operate over the coming years, typically over five to 10 years,” the transportation district’s news release explained. “Both the Federal Transit Administration and regional organizations such as SACOG require an updated SRTP for agencies to receive federal and state transportation funds.”

The survey was launched to gather input on riders’ experiences with Yolobus services, including its fixed-route service, BeeLine and ADA paratransit service, according to a news release. It is available in English, Spanish and Russian and can be taken by visiting bit.ly/YolobusSurvey-SRTP.

The release noted that survey takers who provide their information will be entered for a chance to win a gift card. Winners will be contacted after July 26.

The transportation district’s plan website explained that the most recent plan was created in 2014 although much has changed since then in travel habits, funding and technology. Additionally, it noted that the recovery of riders following the COVID-19 pandemic has been slower than other transit agencies, with only 41% of 2019 riders returning.

Other similar agencies have seen 60% to 76% of their riders return, according to Urban Integrated National Transit Database peer analysis.

The website added that drivers are down on all routes except routes 37 and 138, the Causeway Connection, which started after the pandemic began.

“Travel patterns have clearly changed with fewer people using Yolobus now than before the pandemic,” the plan’s website said. “Understanding these changes will help us better plan for Yolobu’s future.”

In addition, the transit plan found that Yolo County residents make fewer trips in the morning and more in the afternoon and evening, similar to trends occurring across the country.

“With more people working from home, their first journeys will be later in the day,” the plan stressed. “By adjusting our transit schedules to match these new patterns, we can increase ridership on Yolobus services.”

For more information about the plan, visit storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/016fe9a5d00140d2b718d74dcf325a02.

Caltrans faces legal battle over I-80 freeway improvement project

This investigation comes a month after the Sierra Club and the Environmental Council of Sacramento filed a lawsuit against Caltrans alleging that environmental analysis of the Yolo 80 Corridor Improvement Project, which would add two new lanes through Yolo County, is insufficient.

The project, which would widen 17 miles of the highway from six to eight lanes between Davis and Sacramento through the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, was created by Caltrans to alleviate traffic congestion, improve highway operations, support reliable transportation of goods and services throughout the region, improve modality and travel time reliability and provide faster information and monitoring systems for travelers.

The Yolo Transportation District has fully supported the project, arguing it will address congestion issues affecting Yolo County’s drivers and some of its bus routes.

“We have been a key partner with Caltrans District 3 since securing $85.9 million in 2021 federal INFRA grants and have actively contributed to the project’s development,” Autumn Bernstein, executive director of the Yolo Transportation District, said in an email. “YoloTD is committed to addressing the severe congestion on I-80 in Yolo County, which affects all road users, including our downtown transit services such as Route 42 A/B, the Causeway Connection and downtown Sacramento express buses.”

Bernstein noted that the current traffic conditions are unsustainable and create significant delays that affect commuters’ travel times. She argued that the project would increase safety by reducing the high rate of traffic fatalities caused by traffic congestion while addressing the issue of excess traffic diverting onto adjacent residential streets and rural roads, which were not designed for high volumes of traffic.

Additionally, she argued that some opponents of the project misrepresent what the term “induced demand” means.

“The Yolo Causeway is literally a land bridge between the Bay Area and Sacramento regions, as well as a major interstate highway,” she emphasized. “So demand for travel on this highway is driven by much larger forces like housing costs and economic growth in Northern California and beyond.”

She claimed that Caltrans’ 2023 Interstate 80 Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan found that only 16% of the additional travel on the new lines can be attributed to induced demand, while the remaining 84% is due to regional factors such as population and employment growth.

“From a financial perspective, the Yolo 80 Managed Lanes project will provide necessary funding to improve our Route 42 A/B and Causeway Connection services,” Bernstein said. “These toll-managed lanes will allow our buses to bypass traffic making public transport a competitive alternative to cars. We expect this will increase, not decrease, ridership.”

To read more about the freeway expansion project and the induced demand debate, visit dailydemocrat.com/2024/06/07/caltrans-faces-legal-battle-over-i-80-freeway-improvement-project-in-yolo-county.

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