Buses, Bicycles, Trains, Walking, & Cars

By now, most people who pay attention to transportation policy realize that regardless of the policy infrastructure changes undertaken to restrict the use of cars and encourage the use of walking, bicycling, busing, and light rail riding, people still prefer their cars for most of their daily transportation needs.

They will continue to use them for the simple reason that cars are the most efficient and comfortable means of transporting, shopping, and commuting for the vast majority of human beings, a reality just being learned by the new mayor in Seattle as reported in this story in City Journal.

The Sacramento Business Journal reports on one local agency trying to do the same thing, based on a huge assumption—noted in the last paragraph of the excerpt—that people will respond and quit driving their cars, choosing instead, their bicycles, etc….

If it actually happened, it would be contrary to virtually all of the regulatory attempts in the past to reduce car use.

We love our cars!

And for those whose lifestyle creates the opportunity, and who desire, or are compelled by circumstance, to bike and ride buses and trains, car drivers will largely respond with support; but please remember to base public policy on the needs of the majority while protecting those of the minority.

An excerpt.

“The Sacramento Area Council of Governments  Board of Directors is poised Thursday to adopt what at least one environmental organization is calling one of the most progressive smart growth plans in the nation.

“The board will consider an update to the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, approved in 2008, which details how the region’s leaders should invest $35.2 billion on transportation through 2035.

“The board also will consider an accompanying Sustainable Communities Strategy and environmental document. The SCS is required by SB 375, California’s smart growth law, adopted in 2008.

“SB 375 requires the state’s 18 metropolitan planning organizations to create land-use plans that use compact, coordinated and efficient patterns to reduce vehicle miles travel — and related emissions.

“Regional transportation plans must now include strategies that better coordinate planning for transportation, housing and other land uses.

“For the first time,Sacramento’s long-range regional plan is projected to reduce congestion, despite a growing population. The plan forecasts a nearly 7 percent decline in congested vehicle travel per capita, compared to a forecasted 22 percent increase in the 2008 plan.

“The plan also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles, increases transit efficiency and offers developers potential California Environmental Quality Act streamlining.

“SACOG supported the passage of SB 375, and was part of the team that wrote the bill, in part in an effort to achieve regulatory streamlining benefits delivered through changes to CEQA that apply to housing projects that are consistent with the plan, such as projects that provide greater mobility and transit-oriented housing choices to Sacramento residents, said Mike McKeever, SACOG executive director.

“The plan also forecasts a 32.8 percent increase in transit, bicycle and pedestrian trips per capita, compared to an 8.2 percent increase in the 2008 plan, and a more productive regional transit system.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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