The Sacramento Regional Transit District, which began operations in 1973, probides bus and light rail public transit operations across a 400 square-mile service area. That's a daunting task, particularly given transit's place in the transportation funding food chain - just a few notches up from walking and biking. The lion's share of transportation funds is spent on roads for motor vehicles. No surprise there, right? Anyone who tries to drive on Marconi, El Camino, Arden, Howe, Fulton, Watt, Fair Oaks Blvd. or any of the freeways knows our community would be dead without cars. So why don't more people ride light rail, at least? Gee, maybe it has something to do with where the light rail stations are, where the system goes, and how long it takes to travel from origin to destination using the train. You see, transportation systems - whether using roads, trains or any other mode - depend on success at meeting individual's mobility needs in terms of going from Point A to Point B. Our region is, frankly, widely dispersed and beset with bottlenecks: natural ones like rivers and artificial ones like our goofy freeway system. In 1973 maybe everything DID depend on Downtown Sacramento as the prime destination. But that was SO almost-half-a-century-ago. And the system is still stuck in that era.
The RT Board has 11 members: 3 from the County Board of Supervisors, 4 from the Sacramento City Council, and 4 more from the City Councils of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, and Rancho Cordova. With a preponderance of board members from the City of Sacramento (at present 4 City Council members and 2 Supervisors), it is no small surprise that the regional public transit system is oriented to downtown Sacramento. As the system map shows, Arden Arcade has a hard time using transit to access job centers in Natomas, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, Davis and Roseville. The picture gets tougher when you consider mobility needs of seniors, college students and that economically-deprived. And don't get us started about transportation to and from the airport,
Still, we applaud RT for trying. They have recently begun experimenting with demand-oriented bus mobility in Arden Arcade, Carmichael and some other places. Here's wishing them well with that! Meanwhile, consider how Arden Arcade could have an actual direct voice at RT if Arden Arcade was a city. The recall that, since Arden Arcade isn't a city, we have a hard time getting our mobility needs recognized, let alone handled.