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Re: WorldTransport Forum population growth and sprawl

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  • Richard Layman
    I don t know anything about Zurich (yet), but wrt your questions, I think you will also find the Arlington County Virginia Master Transportation Plan to be a
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 1, 2008
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      I don't know anything about Zurich (yet), but wrt your questions, I think you will also find the Arlington County Virginia Master Transportation Plan to be a useful document to consider, especially since it comes from a place where the automobility-automobile-centric planning paradigm reigns.
       
      The blog entry below lists the goals and strategies of that plan, and links.  What I like is how it makes decisions about optimal mobility and the policies, regulations, and practices flow from those decisions (goals and strategies).  For the U.S. anyway, it is quite striking.
       
      Richard Layman
      Washington DC
       

      Thursday, May 29, 2008

      Balancing desires and agendas between individuals and a community

      Recently, Greater Greater Washington wrote about how a Georgetown Transportation planning effort seems to be most focused on accommodating automobility. Also see the Washcycle report, "Georgetown Transportation Study" which notes the inadquate consideration of the transportation mode of bicycling within the study.

      Similarly, there is another report (I saw a reference to the WTOP story, "Controversial traffic plan could slow your commute" in email) complaining that plans to make 15th Street NW two-way will significantly and negatively impact commuters.

      I have been thinking about this and have a bunch of thoughts:

      1. Neighborhood plans with resident involvement, for the most part, will mostly focus on automobility, because typical residents involved will likely think automobile first.

      2. The City has inadequately defined the primary goals and strategies for transportation policy, which ends up treating all transportation as equal, and yielding to resident preferences for automobility, so that driving, even though DC's competitive advantage rests in large part on the transit system and infrastructure, is more equal than other transportation modes.

      3. Many neighborhood planning efforts inadequately balance often more parochial concerns with broader community and city goals and objectives.

      4. Maybe the City hasn't built an adequate template-matrix to ensure that all mobility considerations are addressed during the study process.
      --------
      E.g., I wrote about the Union Station Intermodal Transportation Study meeting tonight--I can't attend, so I'll be relying on the reports of BeyondDC, and I have to laugh because during the DC Strategic Neighborhood Action Plan process in 2001, and of course during the H Street Strategic Plan process in 2002 and 2003, but especially in the first study I kept mentioning verbally and in written comments, to no avail, the lack of transit "articulation" between H Street and Union Station.
      --------
      So I think it's very important to look at and consider the Goals and Strategies from the Master Transportation Plan of Arlington County, Virginia, to guide us when considering these issues in DC. The ArCo Plan does not treat all modes as equal. It focuses on promoting optimal and equitable mobility. That shapes decision-making at all levels, in terms of how the County deals with regional bodies and matters, how the County addresses broad Countywide issues, and how the County addresses transportation issues within neighborhoods.

      DC has not laid out Goals and Strategies for its Transportation Policy (the Transportation Element in the City's Comprehensive Plan) in a similar manner. Here is DC's Transportation Goal:

      The overarching goal for transportation in the District is:

      Create a safe, sustainable, efficient multi-modal transportation system that meets the access and mobility needs of District residents, the regional workforce, and visitors; supports local and regional economic prosperity; and enhances the quality of life for District residents.


      I am not being fair if I don't acknowledge a slew of goals and objectives in the
      DC Transportation Element, but without setting a clear vision that focuses on optimal mobility, comparable to San Francisco's Transit-First Mobility policy, which is part of their city charter, you are going to continue to have neighborhoods advocating for parking-first, automobile-first policies, like all the suggestions you hear from people about how DC should build parking garages in neighborhoods, as is done in the Bethesda _commercial district_, without acknowledging that providing parking for shoppers is a distinctly different policy objective when compared to encouraging or discouraging automobile use in the City, which, less face it, has a finite inventory of curbside parking spaces.
      --------------------------
      From MTP Goals and Policies, Arlington County Master Transportation Plan:

      Goal 1 – Provide High-Quality Transportation Services. Provide high-quality transportation services for all users and modes.

      Strategies

      1. Provide and promote affordable, convenient, and integrated transportation choices.
      2. Construct and manage streets to be "Complete Streets." Streets should be safe and omfortable for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, motorists, and other users.
      3. Increase the overall person-capacity of Arlington’s transportation network through the more efficient use of existing street rights-of-way.
      4. Expand and complete the bikeway network with a focus on high-quality facilities, overcoming barriers, and facilitating overall connectivity.
      5. Integrate local transportation facilities and transit services with those of neighboring jurisdictions to enhance regional connections.
      6. Allocate transit resources to emphasize fast, frequent, and reliable service on the Primary Transit Network, and increase neighborhood access with the feeder and connector service of the Secondary Transit Network.
      7. Facilitate car-sharing and regulate taxicab service to ensure they provide high-quality services that complement transit, paratransit and non-motorized travel options.

      Goal 2 – Move More People Without More Traffic. Provide more travel choices and reduce the relative proportion of single-occupant-vehicle (SOV) travel through Transportation Demand Management (TDM), telecommuting, and travel shifts to other modes including transit, carpooling, walking, and bicycling.

      Strategies

      1. Implement land-use policies such as transit-oriented and mixed-use development that result in better access and use of the transportation system.
      2. Focus on minimizing person delay across modes rather than focusing exclusively on minimizing vehicle delay.
      3. Encourage the use of environmentally sustainable modes, including bicycling, walking, transit, carpooling, and telecommuting.

      Goal 3 – Promote Safety. Provide transportation system operations that are safe and secure, and enable prompt and effective emergency response.

      Strategies

      1. Minimize rates of injuries and accidents for each mode and ensure that transit riders, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists feel safe and comfortable at all times when traveling in Arlington.
      2. Optimize the transportation system’s ability during emergencies to execute emergency responses, including evacuation when necessary.
      3. Ensure that the County transportation infrastructure serves emergency responders’ needs to react to disasters and enables people to move away from danger areas.

      Goal 4 – Establish Equity. Serve the mobility and accessibility needs of all residents regardless of age, income, or ability.

      Strategies

      1. Provide safe and convenient pedestrian access on all streets.
      2. Ensure transportation facilities meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, preferably through universal design.
      3. Provide good quality travel options for all residents and workers throughout the county regardless of their location.
      4. Support programs that emphasize the special transportation needs of children, the elderly and the disabled.
      5. Provide a broad array of transportation options that ensure access to affordable travel.

      Goal 5 – Manage Effectively and Efficiently. Fund, develop, manage, and maintain transportation facilities and services in an equitable and cost-effective manner.

      Strategies

      1. Use Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and Transportation System Management (TSM) measures to mitigate expected increases in travel demand and to maintain traffic operation efficiency.
      2. Plan, design, and maintain transportation facilities in a manner that minimizes the life-cycle cost of the facility while providing high-quality service.
      3. Manage motor vehicle congestion by emphasizing transportation alternatives, parking management, and queue management.
      4. Identify and pursue policies and practices that take advantage of new technologies that can enhance the quality and efficiency of transportation facilities and services. Carefully design and implement demonstrations of such innovations.
      5. Plan, measure and evaluate service with a general emphasis on daily and weekly peak demand.

      Goal 6 – Advance Environmental Sustainability. Reduce the impact of travel on community resources including air and water quality, and increase energy efficiency.

      Strategies

      1. Increase energy efficiency and reduce hydrocarbon emissions by encouraging and accommodating nonmotorized travel, public transit, carpooling, telecommuting, and alternative-fuel vehicles.
      2. Minimize the creation of impervious surface area for streets and other transportation facilities, and manage the collection and release of runoff in an effective and environmentally sensitive manner.
      3. Increase planting of trees within street and highway right-of-way.
      4. Respect and accommodate historic and cultural resources


      Michael Yeates <michael@...> wrote:
      From Australia ...

      Southeast Queensland (SEQ) and in particular Brisbane is facing an unprecedented rate of population growth increase from incoming migration ... a "sunbelt" example although also an escape from higher to lower government charges and services than in Sydney and Melbourne and an escape from traffic congestion ... to lower cost housing etc ... also a classic "growth machine" example ... as supply cannot meet demand ...!  Both interstate and international migration is involved ...!

      Planning is based on "predict and provide". Congestion causes pollution and increases costs ... more roads are good solutions to reduce cost and pollution and create more jobs etc etc.

      In many ways, it is the classic Thatcher argument that the economy depends on roads ... and it sure does.

      So the rapid growth in population is requiring massive road expansion ... and lower cost housing at a greater rate ... cheapest on the edges and green fields...!

      And house prices are increasing as are wages and taxes ... and congestion ... and demand for more suburban sprawl ...!

      The current figure is said to be 1500 people per week heading into a population of around 800,000 but was only 1000 about 5 years ago.

      In recent discussions, Zurich and its public transport system and operations have featured strongly.

      However it has been suggested this is not an appropriate comparison or even a reasonable example as Zurich does not have much population growth. Is this true?

      This raises the following general "policy" questions ... (and many more of course) ... but please note, the suggestion is not to completely stop road improvements or extensions but rather to take ALL the commuter growth PLUS some existing commuter trips by public transport.

      The road problem is primarily one of peak hour congestion ... and a perception of poor public transport (although parts are good) ... for information, maps, frequency and timetables etc,  go to http://www.transinf o.qld.gov. au/

      First question ... if cities like Zurich don't have much population growth, where is the growth and at what rate(s)?

      Second question ... are there examples of high growth rate cities that have NOT chosen to expand their roads?

      Third question ... given Australia was dragged into signing Kyoto, what is the international view of a policy from both national, state and local government that funds major roads post signing Kyoto rather than public transport and cycling?

      Final question ... given there is at least some concern globally about Global Warming, Peak Oil, etc, are there any current examples of high growth cities/regions with similar political and socio-economic aspirations to Australia that have embraced public transport and cycling and walking rather more than building more roads?

      Possibly the best source for an update on the projects is via the web ... the local paper is The Courier-Mail  and the national TV broadcaster is the ABC TV 2 Brisbane which had a 30 minute special on this topic on the programme STATELINE on Friday June 30 .... both of which should be accessible via GOOGLE ...

      It was suggested in the STATELINE programme that the state government is spending more than $1.5m per hour 24/7 on roads and other growth supportive infrastructure necessitated by the growth ... with another $100 billion in infrastructure presumably NPV in a new SEQ plan to be released this week ...! Some $6b just announced in road projects near the airport and shipping port and adjacent to the $2b upgrade of the major north-south freeway east of the city. About 90% of freight is by road.

      The Brisbane City Council has about $6-10 billion worth of roads, bridges and tunnels underway in the centre or inner ring suburbs alone.

      In my view, Brisbane and SEQ is a classic example of the North South divide ... as such I would welcome indeed encourage comments to this list but not to me personally.

      The water and the frog are getting hotter ... but the frog still has not noticed ...!

      Michael Yeates ............ ......


    • Kerry Wood
      I haven t seen any response on Zurich so let me have a go. My sole qualification is that I visited in 1994 and was shown the tram depot and some sample routes.
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 4, 2008
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        I haven't seen any response on Zurich so let me have a go. My sole qualification is that I visited in 1994 and was shown the tram depot and some sample routes. I was impressed.

        According to Wiki the population has increased 3.3% in a decade, so nothing very rapid there. But the population figures were in the 300 000s and I seem to remember that the transport zone was more like a million - it might make a difference.

        But is there any real reason why this matters? If rapid growth can be managed by aggressive road building and sprawl (can it?) then why not by an aggressive PT model?

        Some years ago Light Rail & ModernTramway (UK) published a photo of a tram at a suburban terminus in one of the large Dutch cities. It was in the middle of a very large building site. The point was that the transport authority wanted to capture as many new residents as possible and was determined to have the new extension opened before the first flat was occupied. 

        Rapid growth cannot be managed for long simply by extending tram (or bus) routes but here are other options. Reinforcing suburban rail too, so that longer trips can be on a faster mode, reinforcing central area routes for capacity and so on. And of course integrating everything.

        When I was in Zurich they were widening a key link so that the tramlines could be 4-tracked, but two lanes were thought sufficient for motor vehicles.

        k

        Kerry Wood
        New Zealand


        On 2008 Jun, 1, at 1:02 PM, Michael Yeates wrote:

        From Australia ...

        Southeast Queensland (SEQ) and in particular Brisbane is facing an unprecedented rate of population growth increase from incoming migration ... a "sunbelt" example although also an escape from higher to lower government charges and services than in Sydney and Melbourne and an escape from traffic congestion ... to lower cost housing etc ... also a classic "growth machine" example ... as supply cannot meet demand ...!  Both interstate and international migration is involved ...!

        Planning is based on "predict and provide". Congestion causes pollution and increases costs ... more roads are good solutions to reduce cost and pollution and create more jobs etc etc.

        In many ways, it is the classic Thatcher argument that the economy depends on roads ... and it sure does.

        So the rapid growth in population is requiring massive road expansion ... and lower cost housing at a greater rate ... cheapest on the edges and green fields...!

        And house prices are increasing as are wages and taxes ... and congestion ... and demand for more suburban sprawl ...!

        The current figure is said to be 1500 people per week heading into a population of around 800,000 but was only 1000 about 5 years ago.

        In recent discussions, Zurich and its public transport system and operations have featured strongly.

        However it has been suggested this is not an appropriate comparison or even a reasonable example as Zurich does not have much population growth. Is this true?

        This raises the following general "policy" questions ... (and many more of course) ... but please note, the suggestion is not to completely stop road improvements or extensions but rather to take ALL the commuter growth PLUS some existing commuter trips by public transport.

        The road problem is primarily one of peak hour congestion ... and a perception of poor public transport (although parts are good) ... for information, maps, frequency and timetables etc,  go to http://www.transinfo.qld.gov.au/

        First question ... if cities like Zurich don't have much population growth, where is the growth and at what rate(s)?

        Second question ... are there examples of high growth rate cities that have NOT chosen to expand their roads?

        Third question ... given Australia was dragged into signing Kyoto, what is the international view of a policy from both national, state and local government that funds major roads post signing Kyoto rather than public transport and cycling?

        Final question ... given there is at least some concern globally about Global Warming, Peak Oil, etc, are there any current examples of high growth cities/regions with similar political and socio-economic aspirations to Australia that have embraced public transport and cycling and walking rather more than building more roads?

        Possibly the best source for an update on the projects is via the web ... the local paper is The Courier-Mail  and the national TV broadcaster is the ABC TV 2 Brisbane which had a 30 minute special on this topic on the programme STATELINE on Friday June 30 .... both of which should be accessible via GOOGLE ...

        It was suggested in the STATELINE programme that the state government is spending more than $1.5m per hour 24/7 on roads and other growth supportive infrastructure necessitated by the growth ... with another $100 billion in infrastructure presumably NPV in a new SEQ plan to be released this week ...! Some $6b just announced in road projects near the airport and shipping port and adjacent to the $2b upgrade of the major north-south freeway east of the city. About 90% of freight is by road.

        The Brisbane City Council has about $6-10 billion worth of roads, bridges and tunnels underway in the centre or inner ring suburbs alone.

        In my view, Brisbane and SEQ is a classic example of the North South divide ... as such I would welcome indeed encourage comments to this list but not to me personally.

        The water and the frog are getting hotter ... but the frog still has not noticed ...!

        Michael Yeates ..................


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