Dusty in here

Posted by Brennan Walter | Sunday, November 08, 2009 | 1 comments »

I'm flying in turbulence, but I'm going to start blogging again. Surprise!

My latest letter to the editor got posted in the Mercury the other day:

To the editor:

The news reported in Sunday’s Mercury about the increase in Manhattan’s federal funding is great news for the community. As our city grows, however, it is important to know how to spend this new money wisely. Manhattanites do not truly know what an additional 20,000 people will do to our town, and that number may well grow higher as new labs and businesses flock to our city. Manhattan already is the largest city in Kansas without a public transit system, and our roads show it. Imagine the stark differences in traffic between Manhattan during the summer and when school is in session- that is the difference 20,000 students- some of whom do not drive- make. Manhattan is in dire need already for a fixed-route transit solution, and we will finally have the means to implement it with these new federal funds.

Transit’s most glaring benefit is to first take vehicles off the roads and consolidate their passengers into one vehicle. This alleviates congestion along major corridors and avoids costly expansion if done correctly. Transit, however, also has benefits beyond traffic consolidation. The most unique and beneficial unforeseen consequence is in developmental patterns. Portland, Oregon’s modern, 4-mile long streetcar system, constructed in 2001 has generated $3.5 billion dollars in urban development within a two-block radius from its route. Similar “Transit-Oriented Development” (or TOD) in Denver and cities across the country are being built next to transit because it provides easily accessible services and access to jobs without the need for a private vehicle. K-State’s landscape architecture classes undertook a study about what an urbanized Manhattan might look like in their “MKS Futures” program this past summer. Included in one of the proposals was a basic, roughly 3.5-mile long streetcar line that connected the campus with Aggieville, a proposed TOD site near the stadium, and downtown. Such a basic proposal would not cost much more than our downtown redevelopment project and could be used in conjunction with a smart, bus-based transit program to provide reliable, useful transit to the Flint Hills region, and to act as a starter system for increased service in the future. What MKS Futures proposed is not all that radical. Manhattan used to have streetcar transit linking the Fort and the University to downtown, and cities our size have been actively considering bringing back streetcars to the streets with the imminent increase in the price of gas. Cities like Kenosha, Wisconsin and Boise, Idaho have already implemented or are planning such systems.

We must be forward thinking as our population balloons. Where are all these people going to live, and how will all these people move given the confines our city provides? These are questions our city administrators must answer. Manhattan can and should be at the forefront of restoring transit to city streets and act as a beacon to good, sustainable, and working transit.

Brennan Walter

831 Pierre Street

I thought it was great, although I'm surprised at how very few comments I've gotten on it at school last Friday. My English teacher noticed it, as did a few of the librarians, but all-in-all I think only 6 people told me they saw that. I wrote one on urban development last year, and I got like half the class to notice it. Oh well.

Went off to debate at Shawnee Heights which is kind of in Topeka. That is, you drive through Topeka and then you gotta drive another half hour to get to the high school. Its in the middle of nowhere, and its huge! I hate going to SHS. You have to drive through suburb upon suburb and then through half of Shawnee County. We had a really nice bus a la USD 383's version of a coach. They call it an "activity bus" and its really nice looking. Apparently the district has two of them, but for a debate/ forensics team we've only gotten to use it twice. Mainly because there were no varsity "sports" going on this weekend. Our football team won the first round of the state bracket and is currently undefeated, so I doubt we'll get to use it again next month. I should have taken a picture.

Healthcare with a public option passed the house. Joseph Cao is my new favorite Republican.I think I need a list of them. The USCCB has some fun things to say about him. At least they support the bill in general.

Don't normally listen to hip-hop, but this has a good message. The Sargonites "Children of the Matrix"

-Thats it for now. I will post again... soon :D


  1. M. C. Pearson // November 11, 2009 at 12:17 AM  

    Hey you! Just a little comment...you may want to take off your address on the letter. Don't want any stalkers. :-O

    Wonderful that you got into the Mercury! BRAVO!

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