This is the Campaign for Sustainable Transit's intial response to the city's draft of the transportation piece of the master plan.
Review of "Draft Transportation Plan"
Campaign For Sustainable Transit
April 15, 2003
This is the transportation plan for the next twenty years, and it must be ambitious and set clear goals that support the desired developments. Transportation must be regional, attractive, accessible, clean, affordable, efficient, safe and competitive with non-sustainable modes, particularly cars. While the Draft Transportation Plan is a modest start to developing a sustainable transportation network, this plan must address more fundamental aspects of the current transportation paradigm.
Citywide bicycle networks that connect residences, work centers, retail, recreation, sporting events, and entertainment areas are vital. They are in high demand, are proven economic generators, proven congestion and pollution reducers, and have ample--almost complete--funding sources.
Additionally, and of vital importance, is our city's reliance on transit--a fact which creative planners will see as an opportunity to capitalize upon with a great transportation policy and infrastructure. For instance, 41% of all households on Planning District #2 do not have an automobile--an increase of 7% over the last ten years. And 26% of the workforce in New Orleans has no access to cars--of critical importance when evaluating economic and workforce development.
This plan also seems to prioritize tourist transportation needs over our own residents. Weighing transportation strategies away from residents and towards tourists is unhealthy and shortsighted.
Many of the most prosperous cities in the United States are redefining their transportation choices--and in some cases such as Boston, are replacing auto-dominated modes with transit, bike and pedestrian modes--to ensure sustained growth and prosperity.
Our well-preserved and community-oriented urban fabric is a fantastic asset that should not be underestimated. Other cities are literally bulldozing whole areas to replace with neighborhoods of our scale and density, and combining such development with sustainable transportation to ensure continued prosperity and vitality. The light rail extension route in Portland, Oregon has stimulated over $2 billion dollars in residential and retail development near the stations that were planned to integrate comfortably with the transportation infrastructure. And in so many cities, the property that commands the highest value is that which is planned with an orientation towards sustainability.
Our neighborhoods and communities are our most valued assets. Our transportation plan should appreciate this and build on these unique strengths with goals that outline a plan for a sustainable transportation network that will ensure neighborhood vitality, economic development, environmental quality, and livability. This will require a creativity and ambition from planners, residents, and elected officials, the scope of which is not yet adequately outlined in this plan.
We envision a city with a safe, clean, accessible transportation system that generates sustainable economic development, and compliments our neighborhoods scale. Our plan should reflect those aspirations, and we look forward to working with the city planning commission and other groups to help increase public participation in the creation of this plan.
GNOGP | Coalition for Sustainable Transit