New transportation plan progressive in policy, but not practice
The 2015 Integrated Transportation Plan was designed to implement the transportation vision of our Comprehensive Plan. And just like with the Comp Plan, our community has been updating the ITP for the last year, reinvigorating discussion on the realities of induced demand (build more roads, and more people will drive!), the possibilities of transit, and the need to jumpstart implementation (hard to do when there’s no transportation staffing).
Yet, the new transportation plan fails to deliver on the aspirational goals of our community and the Comp Plan, spending too much time on roads and new asphalt, and not enough on walking or biking. To make the ITP live up to our community values around climate sustainability, ecosystem stewardship, and quality of life, we need five fixes. Read our full letter here.
Before December 7, we need your help in asking for five fixes:
- Adopt a vision that truly honors our Comprehensive Plan: The new vision states that walking, biking, and transit will be more convenient than each of us driving alone in our cars. But to make it effective, we need a commitment to “not build new roads or new lanes until after we fully identify and implement transit/walk/bike strategies and can measure their success.”
- Explore innovative and forward-thinking transportation solutions: The ITP emphasizes new roads while it pays little attention to forward-thinking solutions like rail, snow sheds, fare-free transit, tunnels, or car-free zones. Projects that would primarily benefit pedestrians or cyclists are absent or sidelined in favor of new connector roads and bypasses.
- Improve indicators and benchmarks: Let’s base our decision-making on the best standards in the industry and move away from peak season traffic counts that will only lead us to building roads for tourists that don’t live here and encourage all of us to drive more. [Note: after discussion at the joint information meeting, we are in support of using peak season counts. Peak season traffic doesn’t have much room grow, and will grow much more slowly than in the shoulder seasons, so road improvements aren’t likely to be triggered.]
- Require capital projects to have a positive cost-benefits analysis: Capital investments should have a demonstrated benefit, so that for every dollar spent on transportation infrastructure, it’s one that gives back to the community and gets us closer to our goals. For example, money invested in pathways could lead to reduced road maintenance costs and improved public health, while building and maintaining new roads is costly for our local budgets and the environment.
- Identify and prioritize projects for walking, biking, and transit: Improvements for walking and biking are at the bottom of the priority list, if they are included at all.
Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com!
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.