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New criticism of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) plan to manage transportation in the coming decades has arisen as the group prepares to consider a revised transit plan this week.

The Cleveland National Forest Foundation, which mounted a successful legal challenge to SANDAG's original plan three years ago, joins other local climate action groups in lamenting the revised plan's shortcomings.

More Roads, Always More Roads

The crux of the foundation's complaint is that, despite an unexpected leveling-off in total vehicle miles traveled since the initial SANDAG plan was released in 2007, no changes have been made to the total proposed amount of new road construction, largely composed of freeway expansion that includes expansion of bus and carpool lanes.

"The 2015 Draft Regional Transportation Plan (DRTP) has partially responded to these changes by Forecasting much lower growth in VMT [vehicle miles traveled] in the future. In fact, the 2015 DRTP forecasts that 2050 VMT will be lower than the VMT that was forecast for today only 8 years ago," reads a Smart Mobility, Inc., report commissioned by the foundation. "Nevertheless, the DRTP keeps all of the road projects that were in the 2007 and 2011 RTPs."

What has changed, however, is the cost of building new roadways — according to the report, projected costs have soared by 27 percent, and the funding shortfall is to be made up by reducing investment in mass-transit projects, a part of the plan critics argue was already being short-changed.

Emissions Goal Fail

"This [plan and accompanying environmental report] documents that this road-heavy plan will fail to meet California’s 2050 goals for reducing CO2 emissions from cars and trucks," continues the report.

State law enacted in 2008 calls for overall reductions in air pollution with benchmarks to be met by 2020, 2035, and 2050. None of the goals are expected to be met under the existing plan, which anticipates that population growth and increased reliance on personal vehicles will result in greater overall emissions in the future rather than a reduction from current pollution rates.

Drastic Reshaping

Instead of planning for more roads, the foundation says, SANDAG needs to instead focus its attention on a "transit first" strategy, pushing investment in bus and light rail systems, as well as pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly improvements, to the early stages of the transit plan.

"To meet [emissions] goals SANDAG needs to drastically reshape the DRTP by removing all projects that increase roadway capacity" and instead develop a "world class transit system."

SANDAG officials are set to consider the latest transportation plan update later this week.

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Comments

Founder Oct. 5, 2015 @ 12:23 p.m.

CALTRANS is in the BUSINESS of building ROADS and therefore they shy away from spending BIG BUCK$ on "personal mobility" since that does not benefit those BIG Companies that construct them.

I say "personal mobility" because using the term "bicycle" or "bikeway" is elitist since it does not allow for the use of these routes by those that cannot ride a manually powered bike.  The handicapped, and many other commuters will be using electric powered "personal mobility" eVehicles (that may very well include eBicycles) in the near future (in hopefully) ever increasing numbers, so for CALTRANS to say on one hand they are planing San Diego Forward and to actually NOT be planning for what will certainly be a major form of transportation defies logic.

CALTRANS has been build roadways for decades and their track records clearly illustrates that by the time they do get additional capacity built, it is time to build more.  This must stop and now is the time to re-define CALTRANS mission to better reflect what is needed in the future, if San Diego is to improve its transportation corridors.  We need to start building "personal mobility" ways now and then in several years decide where to build even more, that way we can provide for all those that will be using personal mobility instead of their gasoline powered vehicles to commute in San Diego!

BTW: Jack Shu should be on the SANDAG BOARD since he is not yet another local leader that rubber stamps ever more road construction because it is good for ever more donations...

Parts of the above also posted: http://m.sandiegoreader.com/comments/posted/?c=186506 

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jnojr Oct. 5, 2015 @ 3:32 p.m.

STOP... ISSUING... BUILDING... PERMITS!!!

We cannot grow and grow and grow. We cannot become a collection of 200 story hives with 100,000 people packed into each one. There are too many people in San Diego as it is, and not enough water or road capacity for those who are already here. We need a moratorium on building, and we need to let the resulting rise in housing prices send those who cannot afford to live here to somewhere they can afford to live.

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AlexClarke Oct. 6, 2015 @ 5:29 a.m.

Gee that will mean that hotel guests will have to park their own cars, lug their own suitcases and make their own bed. Restaurants will have you cooking your own food, delivering your own food to the table and bussing afterward. Bigwigs will have to have their underlings clean their own offices. Where will Walmart get their low wage no benefit taxpayer supported welfare employees? Or the billionaires/millionaires sports teams find the worker bees to serve $7 beer? I guess they can all ride the taxpayer subsidized trolley from TJ. Your way would force 70% of the hourly workers to move elsewhere. Who would the greedy apartment owners rent to? In reality we grow or shrink. Your attitude is get what you can, can what you get, and sit on the can.

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Richard Rider Oct. 8, 2015 @ 5:26 a.m.

Yes, let's drive up housing costs and rents. Drive out the undesirables.

You know the type -- lower income people, especially minorities that make us white folks uncomfortable. They are not "our kind" of people.

Yeah, let's make San Diego America's Finest City -- drive the blue collar residents (especially blacks and Hispanics) out so we rich white folks can enjoy the beach in peace.

Okay, okay, some Asians can stay. Diversity IS important.

Oh sure, quite a few well-to-do San Diegans will leave too -- for other regions that offer better economic opportunities and far lower housing costs. We don't need their tax dollars to fund some of the most overpaid public employees in the nation. Or their pensions.

Ahhhh, California Dreamin'.

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