Reflections and Recommendations based upon a life of work and experiences
Topic: Infrastructure & Transportation
Efficiency, ecology and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) replace congestion and waste while stimulating long-term, sustained growth
Infrastructure and transportation (roads, bridges, rails, airports, rivers and deep water ports) have always been the catalyst for development. Additionally, natural resources are the reason why a place becomes a place in the first place.
If infrastructure and transportation were folded into Transit Oriented Development (TOD), this could be the development pattern for a sustainable future. Imagine the cost efficiency and livability of living, working and playing all within close proximity to mass transit connections (train stations, overhead tramways, trollies, moving sidewalks in catwalks making seamless connections between home-work-play). Imagine not worrying about buying a car, insuring it, maintaining it, paying taxes on it and storing it.
This could limit the carbon footprint of both persons and cities. More efficient use of land while preserving open space, planting more trees, creating less pollution and slowing down global warming.
Place a moratorium on 1 story strip mall style development. Mixed use development (primarily residential, office, retail) along bus/electric trolley commercial corridors would be a more efficient use of land and preserve precious resources. These mixed use corridors could also be designed with bike lanes to accommodate pedal bikes, electric bikes, segues, etc. that would truly be safe paths for these alternative and healthy methods of transportation.
Why not have the large scale transit sites (train stations, bus terminals, ferry terminals, heliports and parking garages) accommodate modest and efficient transportation alternatives such as electric bikes enabling commuters to get exercise while safely and efficiently getting to and from their destinations. Why not have safe, secure means of storing your electric bike and create a network of loaner bikes to expedite getting to and from destinations. Why not have more opportunities for commuters to shower and change clothes at their places of business to encourage more physically challenging (and healthier) commuting.
How did I come to make this proposal?
I’m a city planner by training. During the course of my 30 year career, it has been the infrastructure/transportation improvements that get the most bang for the buck concerning public resources and long-term sustainability. Nothing stimulates development better than a dredged harbor to accommodate shipping, a new interchange on the interstate, a new bridge, a new train station and high speed rail connections.
I’m a commuter who rides a bike from my home to the train station storing one bike at that train station and storing another bike at the train station in the city where I work so I can commute from that station to my office. When I mention this scenario to others, they think it’s a great idea and noble cause in terms of being environmentally friendly and healthy. They also note how my commute pattern is the exception to the rule and not something that they would be psychologically willing to do or physically capable of doing . I admit from experience that there are significant obstacles. Constant vandalism and theft at the outdoor bike rack at the train stations, particularly the first train station which has no CCTV surveillance despite the fact that they have security guards patrolling within the station. There is so much theft and vandalism at the first station that for a while I resorted to securing my bike at a bike rack at the City Hall Annex located a few blocks away. That is until an employee of the City Hall Annex told me that I could not keep my bike at that bike rack all day. When I questioned why I could not secure a bike at a BIKE RACK on a daily basis, she threatened to have me arrested for trespassing. So much for encouraging environmentally friendly alternative commuting!
At both train stations, the bikes are stored outside and take a beating exposed to the elements. The trip by bike to/from each train station is a safety challenge. I use a hybrid bike to/from the first train station since I use more sidewalks and cut through parking lots since riding on the road is out of the question.