Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Completes Streets Act and Climate Solutions: A Larger Picture

The State of California agrees that it’s time for local municipalities to improve urban environments for pedestrians and cyclists.

On September 30, 2008 a landmark law was signed, passed, and enacted by the State of California called Complete Streets Act, which calls on cities to improve urban infrastructure to make alternative forms of transportation, specifically bicycling, walking, and use of public transit, more attractive, accommodating, feasible, and safer.

The Complete Streets Act commends bicycling and walking for improving public health, relieving automobile traffic congestion from our roadways, improving local air quality, and reducing greenhouse cause emissions which cause global warming.

The new law states that embracing and improving conditions for bicyclists and walkers will help the State meet commitments set in the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

By calming automobile traffic via bike/pedestrian-friendly infrastructure improvements the State of California wants local municipalities to encourage sustainable forms of transportation so that more people will opt to walk and bike.

Section 2 (g) of the act states the following:

In order to fulfill the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make the most efficient use of urban land and transportation infrastructure, and improve public health by encouraging physical activity, transportation planners must find innovative [emphasis added] ways to reduce vehicle miles traveled and to shift from short trips in the automobile to biking, walking, and use of public transit.

We want to apply the ideas of the Complete Streets Act to San Diego, because cyclists and walkers have struggled long enough. Park & University would be an ideal place to start. In fact, the act specifically calls on ‘innovative ways’ to encourage bicycling, walking, and use of public transit. We believe that preserving Atip’s Memorial Bike is an ‘innovative’ way to calm traffic and improve the intersection.

In the global warming era, it’s time to re-assess our priorities. It’s time for change. And now the State of California backs our concerns.

Unfortunately, San Diego has a long and modern history of auto-centric, car-first planning ethos. Many San Diego planners, engineers, and developers don’t want to come to grips with global warming, because it conflicts with their out-dated car-first ideology that has been the basis for our sprawled, auto-dependent, urban design meant to get cars through roadways as quickly as possible.

Let those people know you expect change.

Let them know you want the Memorial Bike to remain.

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