Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, December 27, 2020

After being touted hereabouts for years, state-of-the-art bus rapid transit (BRT) systems are set to be introduced in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

The problem: It’ll be years before the shiny new behemoths hit Tampa Bay roadways.

Pinellas County will get its first BRT route in three years, running from Tampa Bay through downtown St. Petersburg to the beaches. A BRT route along Ulmerton Road is scheduled for 2009 and a north-south route along McMullen-Booth Road will follow a year later…

Although there is no firm timetable, Hillsborough County has targeted seven corridors for BRT. The first will be Hillsborough and Florida Avenues, according to HARTline spokesman Ed Crawford.

Three to five years? Meanwhile, congestion gets worse every single day. The buses will probably be obsolete the minute they get here.

Why do I get the feeling there’s plenty of time for all this to devolve into nothing but empty lip service? The road lanes for BRT need to be dedicated to that purpose, and that’s far from a slam-dunk. With everyone screaming bloody murder to not subtract precious lane space on already-crowded roads, it’ll be a dogfight to secure relevant routes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the BRT being relegated to secondardy roads, where no one will have a need for them. Ridership will be nil, which will discourage further mass transit investment.

Or, perhaps, Tampa Bay’s bus systems will fall to the same fate as that of Washington DC’s: A poor stepchild to the subway, to the point where it’s an underfunded, unaccountable, and disorganized mess. Actually, from what I’ve seen of Pinellas County’s bus service, it’s already in as bad a shape as DC’s, even without a mass-transit competitor; I can’t comment on Hillsborough’s buses. This being the case, Tampa and St. Petersburg ought to just go with commuter rail now and save themselves the years and dollars.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 12/27/2005 10:38:06 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Politics, Society
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Yes, blogs are booming, with some 80,000 of them being created every day. And while the quality level therein is something of a judgement call, a measurable number (1 in 5) are set up as spam blogs, or splogs, according to Umbria Communications.

Feel free to blame Google, from a couple of angles: For fostering AdSense and PageRank targeting, and for providing the easy-access Web acreage through Blogger/BlogSpot:

Blogger’s open API made it easier for computer programs to create splogs, [Umbria CEO Howard] Kaushansky said.

“We noticed a very strong correlation between the date Blogger opened [its application program interface] and when we saw spam starting to explode,” he said.

Splogs are as big a problem as any other digital junk-flooding. Will they kill blogs? Not in whole, but they’ll definitely do in the wide-open free interface/hosting services like BlogSpot. I’ve already seen the blogspot.com domain get blacklisted completely in response to rampant splogging efforts; it’s a clear disincentive to start up a blog on that platform.

When avenues for no-commitment site creation dry up, the rate of blog participation will, naturally, tail off. Bloggers who set up dedicated domains can keep plugging; of course, going that extra step indicates a more-than-casual interest in blogging anyway.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 12/27/2005 09:31:51 PM
Category: Bloggin'
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If you’re looking for pure fluff to accompany your daily news mix, you could do much worse than a report about the current fashion ascendancy of redheads.

Because you never know when a kooky juxtaposition will crop up:

“Caucasians aren’t the only ones with red hair naturally,” [sociology professor Druann] Heckert says. “Malcolm X had red hair.”

I’m sure Brother Malcolm would be thrilled to be cited for such an enlightening purpose.

Pro-black-radical mix, and folical highlighting. Fight the power! (And no, I did not know that he was redheaded.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 12/27/2005 08:12:38 PM
Category: Celebrity, Fashion, History
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The mayor of Daytona Beach, just recently re-elected after a big-money campaign, is named Yvonne Scarlett-Golden.

Yvonne. Scarlett. Golden. Is it just me, or does that sound like the stage name of an exotic dancer? It’s the two garish color-names, I think.

What is it with north-central Florida’s penchant for oddly-named politicians?

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 12/27/2005 07:46:27 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Political
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