On Tuesday evening, Heather Werdick, a transportation planner for San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), presented the agency's draft 2050 Regional Transportation Plan to the Community Planning Committee, a group of planning chairpersons from neighborhoods throughout San Diego.
Federal mandates require SANDAG to update the transportation plan every four years. The upcoming 2050 Regional Transportation Plan will be released in July 2011 after SANDAG gets feedback from the public. The purpose of the plan is to develop a strategy for future public-transit projects throughout the county's urban areas as well as to tie development patterns in to existing and future transportation projects. The plan also includes elements from Senate Bill 375, which places greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for vehicles.
During the presentation, Werdick presented a graph that showed the population growth that SANDAG projects for the county. By 2050 SANDAG forecasts an additional 1.2 million people will take up residence in the county, 400,000 new housing units will be built, and 500,000 new jobs will be created.
Werdick went on to explain some of the ideas for transportation in the coming decades. Most of the plans focused on mass transit: extended light rail lines, a new high-speed rail line from Riverside and Los Angeles counties ending at Lindbergh Field, and additional bus transit lines around urban areas and transit corridors. During the presentation, little was mentioned about automobiles and freeways.
"I call this plan the bus, trolley, street car, and railroad plan. It is not a transportation plan," said Guy Preuss, chair of the Skyline-Paradise Hills planning group. "It's quite obvious that there's a need for a third freeway between [Interstate 5] and [Interstate 15]. Why highways aren't on the table when you're talking about transportation is beyond me. [SANDAG] is developing a plan where the communities have to support transportation."
Committee member Jim Varnedore, the planning chair for City Heights, agreed. "Transit is put in places where there are lots of people, which changes zoning so that construction can go in...so that more people can go in."
"Automobiles will be the major transportation mode in the future," said Community Planning Committee chair, Leo Wilson. "You're not going to go to IKEA to buy a table or a lamp on a bus. It won't happen."
Werdick responded to the concerns by assuring the planning chairs that SANDAG is also updating bicycle, highway, and freight networks. "We are still in the beginning of updating our plan."
For more on SANDAG's 2050 Regional Transportation Plan visit sandag.org.