Driving transportation forward

Driving transportation forward
Our community vision, as outlined in the 2012 Comprehensive Plan, is to “preserve and protect the area’s ecosystem in order to ensure a healthy environment, community and economy for current and future generations.” The Integrated Transportation Plan (ITP) expands on our multimodal transportation goals further and describes capital improvements to our infrastructure and transit system. Transportation – or rather, how many roads we have, how wide they are, and how they do or do not promote bikes, pedestrians, and busses – defines how people and wildlife move through our valley, how much we pollute, and where development will occur in the future. 
We will only succeed in protecting our wildlife, wild places, and community character if we are involved in transportation planning, and part of that is making our voice heard by our local government and by engineers at the Wyoming Department of Transportation. Read on for our comments (or in this pdf) as the ITP is updated (and stay tuned for later comments on the update of the Comp Plan through the Growth Management Program). To get more in tune with transit, reach out to Brooke, our Community Planning Manager, at brooke@jhalliance.org.

Learn more in this article from the Jackson Hole News & guide.

October 28, 2019 

Jackson Town Council & Mayor 

Teton County Board of County Commissioners 

Re: Integrated Transportation Plan update 

 Dear Mayor, Councilors, and Commissioners, 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Integrated Transportation Plan (ITP)At the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, we believe that our community should invest in a better transportation future that aligns with our values of protecting wildlife and community character;provides everyone with the freedom to safely and conveniently get where they need to go on foot, bike, or transit; and prioritizes alternatives to expanding roads and highways. 

According to the Growth Management Program / Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) update, transportation and climate are the most pressing issues we need to address as a community. We have already blown past the vehicle miles traveled target for 2035 in the ITP, and the majority of our climate pollution comes from transportation. Moreover, our community suffers from a dangerous misperception that we are achieving our multimodal transportation and climate sustainability goals, when in fact we are falling short. This does not mean that “the ITP has failed,” but rather that we have failed to fund and implement its transit/walk/bike elements. Now more than ever, we need to redouble our efforts to make it easier to use alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles, instead of building more roads and making it even easier to drive. 

Our 2012 Comprehensive Plan has an excellent vision for a lower-carbon transportation future. Unfortunately, the ITP includes a number of road-building projects that were not called for in the Comp Plan. Decades of research into road expansions and induced demand show that “if you build it, they will come” – if you make it easier to drive, more people will drive. Conversely, if we make it easier to take transit or walk or bike to nearby destinations, more people will be able to leave their cars at home.  

The ITP includes a suite of policies to make it easier to walk/bike/ride transit, like better funding START, hiring a transportation planner, charging for downtown parking, getting all employers involved in transportation demand management (TDM), and giving buses signal priority through intersections. Please start implementing these policies effectively.  

And please clarify the unwritten understanding that the ITP implicitly calls for doing all of this work first, before building more roads. Please add language to the front of the ITP such as: 

Our community vision, as stated in the Comprehensive Plan, is to decrease growth of vehicle miles traveled and climate pollutionIn order to achieve this vision, we and our partners will not build new roads or new lanes on existing roads until after we fully implement the transit/walk/bike tools in this document and can measure the success of those efforts.”   

Phone: (307) 733-9417
685 S. Cache St. PO Box 2728
Jackson, Wyoming 83001