> Sent: Mon, 24 Mar 2008 8:55 pm
> Subject: We are being railroaded
> Editor: We are being railroaded
I had the pleasure recently (March 24th) of hearing a speech at a meeting of the Urban Land Institute given by one of the Valley s most renowned architect/planners, Vern Swaback. What a breath of fresh air he was. With respect to getting around he advocated things like alternative vehicles that allow for individual choice in time of travel and route. He said heretical things like planners attempt to serve rapidly changing 21st century urban forms with an inflexible, 19th century technology such as rail. He went on to say in his new book Creating Value: Smart Development and Green Design such radical things as proposing rail transit as a regional transportation solution usually requires that commuters accept significantly less convenience on a daily basis and that rail transit is the most expensive and least flexible regional transportation mode.
He continues with comments like The sooner we acknowledge that mass transit will never eliminate our desire for personal mobility, the sooner we will get behind innovations that do more with less especially more mobility with less bulk and greater fuel economy with less pollution. Or how about this: Experience shows that it is not realistic to expect people to give up personal transportation in favor of public transit that starts and stops nowhere near people s multiple points of departure and arrival.
At last, someone understands the needs of real people, and does not genuflect to all the socialist central planners. I think everyone involved in transportation planning in Arizona, from Governor Napolitano to ADOT director Victor Mendez to community transportation leaders like Marty Shultz should read Vern Swaback s book. Maybe there is still time for some sanity in transportation planning. We do not need any more 19th-century solutions to our 21st century problems.