Before touring Save Our Seabirds, we heard more about public transit initiatives at the local level. Britten Cleveland opened the discussion with the disturbing news that opponents of mass transit have really started to dictate the debate with an organized campaign, both nationally and locally. As counterpoint, Timothy Martin, from St. Petersburg, shared great news of grassroots organizing by Awake Pinellas to get folks to attend meetings in support of light rail, rapid bus transit, better bus options, and more bike lanes. They mobilized 100 people to ride the bus over to one such meeting. Ann Mesnikoff joined us from Washington D.C. to share her perspectives on the it-could-have-been-worse Transportation Bill that recently passed Congress. She also let us know about the Washington D.C. bike-share and car-share programs. Johannes Werner from the Sarasota-Manatee Transit Group spoke about small changes that could dramatically improve the bus-riding experience, such as increasing frequency and decreasing transfer times along key routes. For some, this was their first time on a Sarasota bus. SCAT (Sarasota County Area Transit) received a thumbs up for this ride.
Without so much as a prompt from me, Ann Mesnikoff pointed out that money-in-politics was a contributing factor to the disappointment of the 2012 Transportation Bill. Will turning out large crowds supportive of mass transit at local meetings help matters? These folks think so!
Manatee-Sarasota Sierra Club,
Sarasota Manatee Transit Group,
Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT),
Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO),
Sierra Club Beyond Oil Campaign,
Well-Attended Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) meeting,
Save Our Seabirds