Light Rail Transit (LRT) continues to attract more ridership in North America than any other forms of public transportation. You can read all of the success stories here. Two million people live in the Portland Metropolitan Area and their LRT system set a new ridership record in May, 2007 by exceeding 110,300 average weekday rider-trips. Mind you, this is just week days and I've been on very packed Portland streetcars and the MAX line on several weekends that I have been there.
In Denver, Colorado they kicked off a regional LRT initiative. The system is carrying an average of 61,000 rider-trips around their metro area each week day, which is 7,000 more rider-trips than the regional transit authority had projected.
In Dallas, Texas a university study that examined the benefits of the Dallas DART LRT system has reported that DART's existing and soon-expanding LRT system will stimulate $8 Billion in economic activity. Yes, that was BILLIONS.
We Need YOU!
Is LRT and the resulting economic development only for the United States and Europe? Once again, Canada (with the exception Calgary) lags behind. Despite the intellectual assets of our people, and an embrace of many things progressive, we see little political will and great apathy from the general public. South Fraser OnTrax now has over 75 people who voluntarily signed up for our e-mail news here. Yet each time we announce another meeting I get e-mails from people that would like to come out but can't for one reason or another. They feel like the issue is too big and they are helpless. So each meeting we get a few faithfuls and then a few people who appear at times. While we are grateful for their participation, the lack of volunteers and donations mean that Nathan and I must handle most of what must be done and shoulder 98% of the expenses. We have recently had to cease our weekly local newspaper ad campaign because of a lack of financial support. I have donated approximately $7-8K since April of 2008. Nathan has supplemented that and shouldered most of the costs related to our recent Township All Candidates Forum. We did receive one-time $100 donations from Rudy Storteboom, Councillor Jordan Bateman, Councillor Charlie Fox and the City of Surrey. We've also had small donations in our meeting bank of $5-20 from time to time. We would like to thank Bill Taylor and Herb Klein for the tremendous job they do in distributing our flyers across the City of Langley and the Township. With the ad campaign on hold, this distribution is vital to our public relations efforts.
If you support Light Rail Transit in our community and our region, then we need your involvement now. Apart from attending meetings and listening to the great speakers, we have many things that we would like to do, but lack the workers to make it all happen. We desperately need people who are computer literate, have knowledgeable of basic office software and own their own laptop or desktop and can lend us a hand. We love for people to attend our meetings, but please consider coming out and being greater involved in the process and events.
We need people that can take a leadership role in fundraising and organizing public events. You don't have to be an expert in these areas, just have some great ideas, enthusiasm and a willingness to give us some of your time. We need individuals and business people to donate funds that we can use to launch campaigns and workshops for the public. We can issue receipts to businesses for sponsorships and these sponsorships can be monthly or ongoing. Just so you know, 100% of the money goes into the materials and programs. We have ZERO administrative costs and no one is on any kind of salary here. So, every dollar given goes right back into the community.
Our next meeting is on Thursday, November 13, 2008 from 7:00pm - 9:00pm at Township Hall. If you join the mailing list here, we will send you all the details. Instead of having a speaker, Nathan and I thought we would produce some slides that review the speakers that we have had in 2008 and basically what they had to say to us. We will then open the meeting up to a discussion and review of 2008, with a further discussion of what we should be doing in 2009. This will help form an action plan for the year ahead. In December we will have Christmas eggnog at my home and invite anyone who wishes to attend, including our past speakers. Even if you have never attended any of our meetings, please consider coming out to our November 13th meeting and voice your ideas for our direction in 2009. Mark your calendars now and be a part of our exciting future. If you have some skills and can lend a hand, please don't wait. E-mail us now and tell us what you have to offer. E-mail us at INFO@SFOT.INFO