2015/11/09

MTP-SCS comments

mtpscsSACOG is working on the 2016 update of the MTP-SCS (Metropolitan Transportation Plan / Sustainable Communities Strategy) or Greenprint, with the draft having been out for a month and the deadline for comments on November 16. The last of the public meetings will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, November 10, 6:30-7:30PM, at SACOG Offices, 1415 L Street, 3rd Floor, Sacramento. I hope you can attend.

I have been part of a 350Sac Transportation Committee effort to review the document. I’ve reviewed parts of it, Chapters 1, 4, and 5C, and Appendix A, but have not had the time to review the whole thing – it is massive. The comments below are my own, not the committees. Your comments on the plan are welcome and important. If you can’t tackle the whole plan, pick a small part of interest to you, and comment on that part.

Overall

  • reduction of heavy congestion is not a goal compatible with VMT and GHG reduction, and should be eliminated from consideration
  • the plan encourages a shift in land use and focus on transit priority areas, however, there is little information and no requirement for this transition
  • many of the changes necessary to acheive VMT and GHS reduction are proposed to occur in the out-years, after 2020, whereas many of these should occur in the near term, before 2020

Investments (chapter 4)

  • Maintenance & Rehabilitation: must not include any lane expansion; prior to these expenditures, analysis must be performed to evaluate elimination of maintenance for parking lanes, excess travel lanes, and roads serving private developments; reduce to about $10B
  • Road Capital & Operations Projects: new & widened roads and interchanges should be eliminated completely from the investment budget; some bridges might be retained but must be re-studied to ensure no VMT and GHG increase; reduce to about $3B
  • Transit Operations: $7.1B is insufficient to operate the transit network; it should be at about $10B
  • Transit Capital: $3.5B is insufficient to replace high-floor light rail cars with low-floor cars for level boarding, and revision of station platforms; it should be increased to about $4B
  • Bike/Pedestrian: $2.8B is totally insufficient, given the historical discrimination against and neglect of walking and bicycling in land use and roadways; the investment should be at least 20% of the total, $7B

Transit, Bicycling and Walking (chapter 5C)

  • transit
    • transit shuttles are not an effective response to service because they operate on low frequencies, short days, and often weekday only; in addition, shuttles make sprawl possible, which would otherwise be precluded
    • “more than double” is an unacceptably low target for transit
    • too much of the transit hours increase is in the out years of the plan, whereas it must be in the near term; lack of funding is not an issue that SACOG should accept, but actively try to solve
  • walking and bicycling
    • “SACOG strongly encourages complete streets” change to “requires”
    • does not mention Class IV separated bikeways, though drafts have been available in California for more than a year
  • transit/walking/bicycling
    • subtle biases are built insuch as:
      • in the in-years, a declline in walking and bicycling mode share; these should be reversed, not accepted
      • in the in-years, land use patterns will continue that do not support walking and bicycling; this is unacceptable
      • the plan assumes a huge increase in transit use, but does not fund that increase (funding is essentially flat)
      • a considerable shift from traditional development patterns to transit priority areas is assumed, but there is little explanation of how this will be accomplished

Projects (Appendix A)

  • the list of projects is absurd, there are more project here than could ever be accomplished under any likely funding scenario; as a result, there is no information provided to judge efficiency or GHG reductions
  • all projects that do not have a demonstrated VMT and GHG reduction should be removed from the list
  • conversion of regular freeway lanes to carpool lanes would reduce GHG, however, addition of carpool lanes is an unaccpetable increase in GHG emissions and VMT
  • Capital Southeast Corridor would lead to an unaccptable increase in GHG and VMT, and should be removed from the MTP
  • roads serving single-use areas, such as pure residential and industrial, should not be adopted by any agency for maintenance; these roads must permanently be the responsibility of the developer constructing them; the continual adoption of road maintenance by agencies makes achievement of maintenance goals with available funding impossible

About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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transportation

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