Saturday, November 11, 2017

McKeen w/o Stanwood Records 2,748,450 vehicle operations in 2016

Here’s a little factoid all readers should be able to relate to.  AADT stands for Average Annual Daily Traffic.


Which, at an average of 1.6 persons per vehicle, says that McKeen Street carried just short of 4.4 million passengers in 2016!  That’s pretty damn amazing for a dinky little connector street just slightly over 1.5 miles in length, in an insignificant little town like Brunswick, Maine.

Why, you might wonder, are we bringing this little piece of trivia before you when we could be watching football from our recliner?

Why?  Because we want to use it to make a point.  Even if some might think our point is pointless.

The point is that if you want utilization numbers to look impressive, expand the time period to a year at least.

NNEPRA has been mining this fool’s gold ever since the Downeaster began its passenger service.  Their annual ridership numbers these days are in the 540,000 range, which when compared to your fingers, toes, teeth, or the score in that game you’re watching, is a pretty impressive number.

And most observers, especially the foamers, will simply leave it at that.  WOW!  More than half a million riders on our little train!  Peole want more, more, more!  No matter how much it costs!

Others, like us, tend to break down the figures.  First, 540,000 is an average of 1480 a day.  Just about everyone who rides the train takes a round trip, so in reality, the average is 740 riders per day.  In round numbers, about half those riders travel between points south of Maine, or about 370 of them, and they do it on five round trips, or about 75 per train.  On trains that can carry 300 or more.

The total span of the Downeaster route is 140 miles, compared to the 1.5 miles of McKeen Street.  The 370 or so who ride to and from Maine points have access to 5 round trips from Portland South, of which three extend travel as far north as Brunswick.  NNEPRA no longer reports on “city pair” ridership, but the last time we saw meaningful figures, the average train into and out of Brunswick carried less than 20 passengers.  Well short, we might add, of the glowing projections by the Transit Oriented Development consultants employed by NNEPRA and MDOT to sell the idea of bringing passenger rail back to Maine.

So in reality, that half-million plus number shrinks to less than half a bus full when you reduce it to  individual train ridership in Brunswick.

We went through this boring little exercise to provide context for some recent news.  This item appeared in media outlets all over the place this week, given that AP is a major source of “raw” news for scads of journals, both print and otherwise.  Even our local newspapers carried it as an AP feed.


Wow!  Record annual airport operations!  No wonder our shopping centers are busting at the seams, and development is underway everywhere you look!  1,795 flight operations over the year!  Or just under an average of 5 flight operations per day!

Once again, assuming that just about every aircraft is making a round trip, either from Brunswick and back, or to Brunswick and back, we can figure that on average, about 2.5 aircraft make use of the airport on an average day.

We have no idea what the traffic makeup is like.  How many area residents fly elsewhere for their job and come back the same day, or how many who live elsewhere do the same thing in reverse.  Anyone who fits this mold, even if less than 5 days a week, is obviously, by themselves, a major component of the airport traffic.

MRRA likes to tout the airport’s economic benefit to the area, but we’re not too sure.  Dual, 8,000 foot runways and all that, but we recall looking up the airport’s pilot data and seeing that use is limited to one of those runways, which only makes sense.

In this post of some months ago:

we pointed out the airport has received nearly $13 million in grants from various sources, and that we had talked to a staffer about the number of flight ops in an average day, to which the answer was three or so.  Actual logged figures averaging under 5 a day is not far off from that quickie estimate.

Let’s put it this way, we don’t think the town has received any formal complaints about the furious pace of air operations at the former base, and the noise and air pollution it causes locally.

But we sure as hell take issue with the amount of “free money” being shoveled our way to show just how much the Federal Government cares about us, and just how well they manage the limited resources available to them.  </sarcasm>

We went after some hard data on the latest grant, which exceeds $2 million.  We’ll pass it along before too long; let’s just say it doesn’t “paint” a pretty picture.

We like to keep you in suspense so you’ll come back from time to time, even though in all likelihood you have some idea of what the facts will show.

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