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California Planning for Traffic in 2025

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  • asha.weinstein@sjsu.edu
    ... For those of you interested in taking part in the Transportation Plan 2025 MTC is holding workshops in Oakland on Jan. 30 from 1-4PM at MTC and in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 21, 2003
      ----- Forwarded by Asha Weinstein/SJSU on 01/21/2003 08:35 AM -----

      For those of you interested in taking part in the
      Transportation Plan 2025 MTC is holding workshops in
      Oakland on Jan. 30 from 1-4PM at MTC and in Sacramento
      on February 18 from 8:30-11:30 at the Convention
      Center. See article below featured in today's Merc.

      Caltrans planning for traffic in 2025
      By Jim Wasserman
      Associated Press

      SACRAMENTO - Traffic jams. Lost time. Stalls and road
      rage. Nothing says California like six lanes of idling

      Now the state agency that built the nation's most
      advanced freeways and presides over its worst traffic
      has quietly begun building a new vision to prevent
      catastrophic gridlock in 2025.

      Planners at the California Department of
      Transportation are looking at everything from
      e-commerce that gets shoppers off the road to land
      development that spawns fewer cars and freeway
      upgrades to move more people faster. The state's
      transportation establishment also wants to wean more
      vehicles off gasoline, build new bus rapid transit
      systems and spur all-purpose electronic cards for
      statewide parking and transit.

      All this can't come soon enough for Karen Race, a
      legal assistant from Torrance who calls her 15-mile
      drive to Westwood ``horrible.''

      Two-hour commute

      ``It takes me 50 minutes to get to work and up to two
      hours to get home,'' she says. ``There's too many
      people out here, too many cars, and the bus system is
      horrible, too. If I take a bus it takes me longer. It
      takes me 2 1/2 hours.''

      Santa Rosa taxicab owner Mark Neese adds, ``There's
      probably four or five times the traffic there was 30
      years ago.''

      In a state where forecasters predict 10 million more
      cars by 2020 and nearly 50 million people by 2025,
      Caltrans and the state's 43 regional traffic agencies
      are trying to prod a new generation of policies.

      Airborne Los Angeles traffic reporter Rod Bernsen says
      they're sorely needed.

      ``It ain't working now,'' says the Fox-TV helicopter
      veteran. ``The one thing I see overhead is the lost
      productivity. Look at the hours wasted. You're talking
      about a significant impact on the economy.''

      Three months ago, Caltrans, with aid from such traffic
      watchers as the Automobile Club of Southern
      California, the Federal Highway Administration,
      California Transportation Commission, state
      universities and environmental groups, produced a new
      look at the future called the California
      Transportation Plan 2025. Now the agency has set 10
      workshops across California from next Tuesday through
      Feb. 25 to let commuters, transit riders and truckers
      weigh in.

      The plan will go to Gov. Gray Davis in June and by
      December will be a final blueprint to ``guide the
      state in its investments and decisions about
      transportation over the next 2 1/2 decades,'' says
      Caltrans spokesman John Robin Witt.

      Witt says the plan doesn't identify specific projects.
      Instead, it suggests possible new strategies and goals
      to ease traffic in a state with five of the nation's
      20 most congested metro areas.

      Other obstacles: Only 5.4 percent of commuters use
      transit, fewer still telecommute and the state has a
      $100 billion shortfall in transportation funding,
      according to a 1999 estimate by the California
      Transportation Commission.

      `Smart-growth' strategy

      Many of the plan's ideas are rooted in the emerging
      ``smart growth'' movement, which favors more growth in
      existing cities and less car-dependent suburban
      development. Among them: bus-only lanes, special
      cheaper mortgages for homes near transit, car sharing,
      new materials to make roads last longer, better
      transit connections, more efficient freeway
      interchanges, technology that reduces need for
      physical travel and more clean fuel vehicles.

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