Ohio DOT’s Defense of the Transit-Inaccessible Transit Meeting

On Friday, the Ohio Department of Transportation held a meeting ostensibly to gather feedback from transit riders in the Dayton and Cincinnati regions. But ODOT held the meeting in exurban Lebanon — a hour’s trip by car from Cincinnati and totally inaccessible by transit from either city.

What was ODOT thinking?

Is it just a symptom of the agency’s low regard for transit riders? In an attempt to find out, I called ODOT and asked to talk to one of their many professional spokespeople. One of the media representatives politely took my phone number and said he’d ask someone to call me back. No one did.

So, below is the transcript of my non-interview with an apparently too-busy ODOT:

You have been hosting these transit meetings around the state to gather feedback about how the system is functioning. Why did you decide to hold them during the middle of the day? I’ve attended ODOT meetings in the evening for highway projects. Did you decide to handle meetings for transit riders differently and if so, why?

No answer.

Seems like an agency that was genuinely interested in gathering feedback would be sure to hold their meetings during a convenient time. 

Silence.

The Cincinnati/Dayton meeting was especially outrageous. The meeting was held well outside transit service ranges for either metro area. How did you expect to get feedback from transit riders if they couldn’t reach the meeting?

……

Why not hold separate meetings — one in Cincinnati and one in Dayton? 

[Crickets chirping.]

AWESOME speaking with you guys. Very reassuring.

  • Garmin

    I certainly think that they should have held the meeting in Dayton or Cincy or both, but some rural counties do provide transit service.

    Also, is it true that the Cleveland meeting was supposed to be held in Canton?

  • Streetsblog Network

    Yeah, someone pointed out that there were a lot of dial-a-ride transit passengers there. Still not accessible from the major metro areas by regular, old transit. (ODOT provides almost no support for the latter type of transit, but some for the former.) Yeah I think that’s true about Cleveland. Fortunately, RTA’s director insisted the meeting be held in Cleveland.

  • Garmin

    Who pointed that out?

  • Streetsblog Network

    A Cincinnati guy I follow on Twitter who attended. I think he attended remotely. His name’s Derek Bauman.

  • Joe Linton

    My alternative title for this story: Waiting For ODOT

  • Jeffrey Baker

    Attended remotely, you say? That’s interesting. Via Google Hangouts or something along those lines?

  • Phantom Commuter

    Ohio is the worst state ever

  • laldm109

    Wow the road is really terrible next to ODOT’s office.

  • Zmapper

    Your transcript is useless. Where are the names of ODOT representatives contacted? Dates? Title of employee? Audio recordings of the conversation?

    Trust, but verify. I am willing to trust the accuracy of your report, but you have failed to provide any means of verification.

  • John C Miklos

    I’m tempted to agree, but what of New Jersey?

  • Juan Matute

    Slow clap.

  • Anandakos

    “What was ODOT thinking?”

    Um, “How can we screw transit riders this time”?

  • Streetsblog Network

    They broadcast it over the internet for the people who couldn’t attend.

  • Streetsblog Network

    I talked to Brian Cunningham, Director of Communications district 8 in Lebanon, on Friday at about noon. He said he couldn’t tell me much about it because it was being handled by the central office. Cunningham said he’d call them and have them call me back. That was the last I heard. I actually recorded my call with Cunningham but did not save it because at that time I was expecting a call back and I had intended to record an actual interview. Steve Faulker, ODOT’s main spokesperson, has refused to return calls from us in the past. http://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/03/04/ohio-puts-the-squeeze-on-peoples-right-to-walk/

  • Chris

    Oh snap, loving the tone of this. Get ’em!

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