This article appeared in the City of Dayton Annual Report for 1942, pages 50-52
What the Transportation Committee Has Accomplished
W. F. Switzer
In March, 1942, the Mayor of the City of Dayton appointed an Emergency Transportation Committee as directed in a resolution adopted by the City Commission. The committee, as appointed, decided that action was called for primarily on four broad subjects:
Alleviation of traffic congestion and speeding up of public transportation service.
Staggering of working hours to spread what appeared to be actual morning and afternoon public transportation peak loads.
Car sharing to save rubber and keep private cars running in an area with very inadequate public transportation facilities.
Recommendations for the alleviation of traffic congestion and the speeding up of transportation for the particular benefit of industry, mercantile interests, and defense workers resulted in the [p. 50] elimination of 216 our of 1488 car stops and the removal of 78 others to more appropriate locations on the various transit lines.
Another accomplishment now in effect, is the elimination of twenty-four-hour daily parking on 23 important thoroughfares outside the downtown area, together with the elimination of diagonal parking in certain other locations. The elimination of passenger car parking on the principal downtown streets between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. was ordered and is now in effect. This necessitated an enlargement of merchandise zones and the elimination lf merchandise vehicle double parking. Merchandise deliveries and pickups are now prohibited between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and from 3:00 p. m. and 6:00 p. m. daily on the 23 thoroughfares outside the downtown area, where parking has been eliminated.
In November, additional recommendations were made and approved relative to selective stops along transit lines, thus eliminating 313 more car stops and increasing the average distance between them from 551 feet up to 770 feet.
Many conferences with transit officials, municipal officials, and representatives of industry were had pertaining to the staggering of work hours. Gratifying results have been obtained through the staggering of hours now in effect in the larger industrial plants and at the several military fields, with more to be accomplished in the opening and closing hour of public and parochial schools. Recommendations have also been made urging retail merchants to consider the changing of closing hours for their establishments.
Car sharing, to save rubber, resulted in the Dayton Area Ride-Sharing Plan as recommended by this committee, which was developed after an intensive study of ride-sharing plans now in effect in other large cities and after the consideration of the plan used as a model for Ohio cities by the State Transportation Coordinator. No other city in Ohio, and very few elsewhere, has as comprehensive a ride-swapping plan as Dayton. It stands us in good stead now that gasoline rationing is going in with its strict “ride-swapping” clause.
It was learned that 70% of industrial employes get to work by automobile and between 20% and 25% of such employes live beyond the City limits and many in towns not directly served by bus or rail. Dayton ranks about third in the country in cars per capita, while public transportation equipment has not been maintained at [p. 51] more than a bare minimum. There are 183 buses and street cars in all and no prospect of additional equipment.
Since there is no legal way for this committee to legally enforce its plan, it was found best to put it into effect through explaining its plan and purpose by the use of much publicity. To do this, funds were necessary and were provided through an allotment by the State and a public subscription.
As early as August, an intense selling campaign was inaugurated. Publicity and advertisements appeared in the daily and weekly papers; spot announcements and quarter-hour programs were broadcast from the local stations; posters and bridgehead signs urged drivers to swap rides. Nearly 100,000 booklets were passed out to employes and posters were displayed in plants, stores, and offices throughout the city. A registration card was then distributed and a gratifying return was had.
As a result of all this work, 138 industrial organizations and 42 retail and office establishments are now participating in the plan. Checks before the plan got under way and after it had been in operation for some six weeks showed some improvement in car sharing, about 1.8 to 2.2 people per car in participating plants. Ere long this will become an average of more than three people per car, and this was before gasoline rationing.
Now with gasoline rationing, Dayton probably comes closer than any other principal city for being “prepared” for gasoline rationing. While other cities have been spending their energy trying to get rationing postponed, the committee has been working on last-minute details with the different plants to get their ride-swapping activities in order.
State OPA officials have said that Dayton is way out in front in organization of Plant Transportation Committees and also in ride-swapping progress. ODT officials in Washington believe that transportation generally throughout the country will pretty well have stabilized itself by January 1, 1943. If that is the case in Dayton, and the few remaining projects of staggering hours have been cleaned up, the work of the Emergency Committee will have been completed.