California Planning for Traffic in 2025
- View Source----- 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
EFFORT AIMS AT BROAD STRATEGIES, GOALS RATHER THAN
By Jim Wasserman
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.''
``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
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
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
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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