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Aligning S.D. Regional Transportation Plan With Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal

Audio

Aired 4/26/10

SANDAG will hold a series of workshops in late April and early May to gather public input as the agency works on a draft of the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan, a document that sets the course for how the region's transportation network will connect to homes, jobs, and schools in the coming decades. Is the region on track to reduce greenhouse gas levels in line with the requirements set by the California Air Resources Board?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. For those of us who have trouble planning what to have for dinner, the idea of charting out a plan for San Diego in the year 2050, is almost inconceivable. But this is why urban planners and regional development agencies are in business. They look for trends and growth patterns and try to come up with a coherent plan for the future. Right now, though, that task has become more complicated as San Diego joins communities across California in working to reach targets to limit greenhouse gases. That effort for cleaner air and reduced energy use, could spell big changes in the way we live, work and play in San Diego in the year 2050. The San Diego Association of Governments known as SANDAG is about to launch a series of workshops throughout San Diego County to let people see and talk about the kinds of ideas being developed for San Diego's transportation and for developing sustainable communities. Joining us to discuss the future of San Diego are my guests. Muggs Stoll, he’s director of planning for SANDAG. And good morning, Muggs.

MUGGS STOLL (Director of Planning, SANDAG): Good morning. Thanks for having me.

CAVANAUGH: Andrew McAllister is director of programs at California Center for Sustainable Energy. Andrew, welcome back.

ANDREW MCALLISTER (Director of Programs, California Center for Sustainable Energy): Maureen, how are you?

CAVANAUGH: I’m doing great, thank you. We’re inviting our audience to join the conversation. What do you think the San Diego of the future looks like? Are there fewer cars? Are there better freeways? Are there fewer single family homes, more urban areas? Can we all walk or bike to work? Call us with your questions and your comments. The number is 1-888-895-5727, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. Muggs, before we get into the ideas for the future of San Diego, I’m interested to hear what kinds of complaints and comments about transportation and development does SANDAG hear the most right now?

STOLL: Well, I think we have far more need than we have funding for, and I think that’s probably it. There’s, I think, all different types of transportation people are out there looking to improve it in many, many ways and we only have so many dollars to go around. And that’s the reason why it’s so important to do proper planning so that we can, you know, help develop the priorities and get the projects that people most want to be able to address the transportation needs.

CAVANAUGH: I see. Okay, so you add to that the needs that people have to do more, maybe more bicycle paths, more roads, less congestion, that kind of thing, add to that the state mandated greenhouse gas targets that our region has to hit. Tell us about those. What are we looking at for the year 2050?

STOLL: Well, there’s two laws from the State of California, Assembly Bill 32 and Senate Bill 375, which basically kind of operationalizes AB-32, which is the trying to reduce greenhouse gases in various ways over various horizon years. And so this regional transportation plan, we’re working with all of the other metropolitan planning organizations that are responsible for Regional Transportation Plans around the state of California, we’re working with them and the California Air Resources Board, which by law is required to set greenhouse gas reduction targets for the year 2020 and the year 2035, and we’re working collectively. They’re going to be setting a draft target in June and then in September they’re going to set the final target, and we’re working on our transportation plan right now and we’re trying to prepare for that.

CAVANAUGH: Now in terms of reality, in terms of things that people can see, what does – what do these greenhouse gas targets mean for cities in San Diego County for their plans to grow and develop?

STOLL: Well, there’s – there are several ways the transportation sector is going to address greenhouse gas reduction. Some of it is just technology improvements in vehicles and in fuel. That’s going to make a big difference over the future. But beyond that, and what we’re really focused on in terms of our regional transportation plan is testing various scenarios that involve different mixes of transportation projects and land use scenarios, the potential for improving our transportation demand systems, things like van pooling, car pooling, telework, and then finally some potential – looking at some potential pricing strategies such as the I-15 express lanes projects we have up in the North County. So all of these things, we’re looking at and trying to figure out how to combine all of them to be able to give us the best greenhouse gas reduction we can achieve.

CAVANAUGH: My guest is Muggs Stoll. He’s director of planning for SANDAG. And my guest on the phone is Andrew McAllister, director of programs for California Center for Sustainable Energy. And we are inviting your phone calls to share with us your questions and comments about San Diego’s transportation and development needs for the future. 1-888-895-5727 is the number to call. Let me take a call right now and then we’ll go to Andrew. John is calling us from San Diego. Good morning, John. Welcome to These Days.

JOHN (Caller, San Diego): Hi. Good morning. I’ve got a question for your guest from SANDAG. I’m old enough to remember when SANDAG was called CPO, the Comprehensive Planning Organzation, in San Diego, I guess, when it started up in the seventies, and I remember going to a meeting in the late seventies where CPO put together a plan, what San Diego would look like, transportation and land use, for the year 2005. And I know the plan actually came out, I think, in 1979 or ’80. And I’m wondering how accurate was that plan since we’re five years past 2005 and how accurate in general can these things ever be?

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for that question, John. Do you know, Muggs?

STOLL: Well, I can’t tell you exactly what the plan said in the 1970s. I do know all of our plans are based on growth forecasts for the region that SANDAG is also responsible for and was back in the seventies, and our accuracy on those growth forecasts, predicting how many jobs, how many – what the population would be, how many housing units has always been quite accurate. I would just say since the seventies, you think back 40 years, we didn’t have a trolley, now we have a trolley system. We didn’t – Frankly, in 1970, we – the Coronado Bridge had just opened, I believe, and so we didn’t have a Coaster, which is our commuter rail system down the line. Several of our supporting freeway systems were not in place at the time. So we’ve made a lot of progress in the last 40 years and now we’re focused on the next 40 years and the progress we can make there.

CAVANAUGH: So is your feeling that that strategic plan was pretty accurate?

STOLL: Yeah, I believe so.

CAVANAUGH: Let me ask you, the term smart growth, we hear it a lot these days. What are some smart growth strategies that are being tossed around now as you develop this plan for out towards 2050?

STOLL: Well, certainly looking to – looking at our transit systems and the land use around our transit systems, giving people a walkable distance between where they live, where they work and the transit system so that they have a choice. We’re not necessarily looking to get everybody in the entire region on the transit system. We’re trying to get as many people on it as we can so that they have the choice so that it takes some of the burden off of our freeways and local streets and roads. Another option is to make communities near transit much more walkable and bikeable. And we’re going to be coming out with a regional bicycle plan later this spring, probably in June, and that’s going to be a great tool for us to be able to move forward on some very important bicycle projects for the region.

CAVANAUGH: Let me get you, Andrew McAllister, in on the conversation. I know that we’ve talked before on this program about these targets that San Diego has to hit in the year 2020 and up to 2050. Tell us a little bit more about the clean air targets that we have to hit.

MCALLISTER: Well, let’s see, first of all, I wanted to key off on something that Muggs just said about…

CAVANAUGH: Sure.

MCALLISTER: …about bicycling. And first of all, I just want to point out that May 21 is Bike To Work Day, so we all gotta do that.

CAVANAUGH: Very good.

STOLL: Good slogan.

MCALLISTER: And I know that San Diego is consistently voted to be among the best if not the best bikeable large cities in the country. So I think, you know, we have to acknowledge that partly it’s due to our weather but also, you know, our topography and other issues where it’s actually not too bad a bike place already even though we have this very expensive, you know, geographically large area. So I think smart growth is a key element of that moving forward so…

CAVANAUGH: Good point.

MCALLISTER: …there’s that. So the SANDAG has also done a Regional Energy Strategy. You know, energy is my bag and largely what we do at CCSE and, you know, I think, it is a pretty momentous or monumental task that we have in front of us. We really have never, as a region, reduced in absolute terms our overall energy consumption, and that’s what we’re proposing to do. That’s what policy is headed towards in the state and what we have to do here in the region. So, you know, sort of turning a large ship, that is the big challenge here in the next few years and then accelerating that decline as we head towards 2050. So overall, the state has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050, so – and we’re already at quite a bit above 1990 levels, so that’s the scale of the task ahead of us where we have to actually reduce about – to about one-sixth of our current greenhouse gas emissions, so five out of six units of carbon dioxide we’re emitting we have to get rid of.

CAVANAUGH: And, Andrew, how likely is it that we will actually be able to hit those targets?

MCALLISTER: Well, on the one hand, I’ve sort of, you know, put the gloom and doom scenario here in my introduction but I actually think there are a lot of good things going on. The technology developments on the energy side are pretty incredible. We have a lot more interest in the venture capital community, a lot of new technology development going on in the state and elsewhere. We have, as you know, and we’ve talked about on the show before, a lot of solar energy and other distributed generation technologies being installed and that is, you know, related to this overall issue of how people use their physical geographical space. Now we have some legacy development here in San Diego that’s sort of a one-story town. Largely, it’s a lot of fairly sprawly developments and so on the one hand we have to mitigate the impacts of that legacy development. On the other hand, we have a great opportunity to change things going forward and to adapt to it and adjust our communities to be a little bit more self sufficient in not requiring people to travel all over the place to get to work or taking advantage of new technologies to enable us to do virtual meetings and travel a little bit less. I think a lot of research is going on on how to best go about that and what actual impacts, you know, and actual facts some of the different policies might have. Like, do people actually reduce their vehicle amount of travel under given scenarios and things like that. But we’re on the front end of this but I’m actually pretty optimistic that we’ll be able to both use technology to maintain, you know, our quality of life and even improve it but also incentivize changes in behavior at the same time because we’re really talking about things that are at the frontier at the – they both involve technology and behavior, and the behavior aspect is, I think, something that is more difficult to grapple with in some ways.

CAVANAUGH: Right. We’re talking about the ideas of charting out a plan for San Diego in the year 2050 and we’re taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Let’s take a call now from Jackie in Lakeside. Good morning, Jackie. Welcome to These Days.

JACKIE (Caller, Lakeside): Good morning. Thank you. Glad to be here. If the Sunrise Powerlink is as inevitable as they say, then I have an idea that would be, I think, workable, that we should lay it on the ground from Lakeside up to (audio dropout) and run a trolley line along the top of it and provide trolley service (audio dropout) time because the I-8 is so congested at times. I think it would help out (audio dropout)…

CAVANAUGH: Jackie, you’re sort of going in and out but thank you very much for that idea. I don’t think anybody has proposed that. I want to ask you, Muggs, if you can address Jackie’s question but the larger question about expanding the trolley. How – What is SANDAG thinking in terms of that? Because, you know, the outlying areas don’t get trolley service and where are we going with the trolley?

STOLL: Well, a couple of things. Something we’re working on right now, it’s a more immediate issue as opposed to our 40-year plan, is extending the trolley from Old Town up to the University Towne Centre area, which is referred to as the Mid-Coast section of the trolley. It’s been planned for a long time and we, our board, just took action on the alternatives that we’re going to take forward into scoping meetings over the next few months. So that’s a real immediate extension that would tie our trolley system into the University of California San Diego as well as the employment centers up in that area. So that’s something coming very soon, and very exciting. Another thing that we’re doing right now as part of the Regional Transportation Plan is we’re working on an Urban Area Transit Strategy which is kind of an overall top to bottom look of our – at our transit system throughout the entire region with a horizon of 40 years, out to 2050. And we are looking at the potential of adding new trolley sections, adding to the trolley system, as well as testing a lot of other ideas, things like bus rapid transit, adding frequency to existing transit services. We’re working with the California High Speed Rail Authority on the high speed rail that’s proposed to come down to San Diego, down the I-15 corridor and over and connecting in with the airport. So we’ve got a lot of that kind of stuff in our plans. And, believe me, when we have our workshops, we’re looking for ideas. You know, that’s how plans get created. Sometimes things are – seem a little bit out there but it gets the creative juices flowing and that’s what we’re trying to get done.

CAVANAUGH: We have to take a short break but when we return, we’ll take more of your ideas about the future of San Diego. 1-888-895-5727 is the number to call. You’re listening to These Days on KPBS.

CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. The San Diego Association of Governments is about to launch a series of workshops throughout San Diego County to let people see and talk about the kinds of ideas being developed for San Diego’s transportation and communities in the year 2050. And this morning we’re talking about that. My guests are Muggs Stoll, director of planning for SANDAG. Andrew McAllister is director of programs at California Center for Sustainable Energy. And we are taking your calls about your ideas. Where are the schools of the future in San Diego? Will more of us work from home, do you think? How will we be heating and cooling our homes? Will we be shopping at supermarkets or neighborhood gardens? Give us a call with your questions and your comments about plans for San Diego’s future, 1-888-895-5727. And let’s take a couple of calls. Lee is calling us from Spring Valley. Good morning, Lee. Welcome to These Days.

LEE (Caller, Spring Valley): Yes, good morning. Thank you. I just wanted to make a comment about one of the obstacles in the current way the trolley service is set up. I live near – within about maybe fifteen minutes walk of a stop on the Orange Line and I was considering one time using the trolley to commute to the Amtrak downtown to go up into Orange County or LA on the weekend. But what I found out, very frustrating, was that the last trolley heading back east leaves minutes before the Amtrak arrives, the last Amtrak arrives in San Diego.

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

LEE: And I wrote a letter or called someone about that and they said there’s, you know, there’s nothing they could do about that. But that prevents a lot of people who might use mass transportation from doing so on weekends when the 5, you know, even up until 2:30 in the morning can be clogged up.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you so much, Lee. Thanks for calling in. And this is the kind of an example of the kind of tweaking that you’ve got to do to make the system work, right, Muggs?

STOLL: Yes. And we appreciate the feedback and I know our transit operators do as well. We’re always trying to work on schedules, work on the frequencies and matching up the different modes, that’s what we call multi-modal transportation, to make it easy and as seamless as possible to get from one mode of transportation, the trolley to Amtrak to heavy rail, we’re always trying to come up with ideas to be able to do that, and that’s part of what the plan tries to address into the future. The other thing I would say about that is that right now one of our biggest struggles in transportation in the region is just finding operations money for transit. Operations money comes from a lot of sources and the State of California has really cut back in a major way on operations funding and that just pays for, you know, the drivers and maintaining the vehicles and so forth, the day-to-day as opposed to building transit projects, and that’s a real challenge for us.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s take another call. Elyse is calling us from downtown San Diego. Elyse, welcome to These Days.

ELYSE (Caller, San Diego): Hi. Thank you so much.

CAVANAUGH: You’re welcome.

ELYSE: My comment’s on the Urban Area Transit Strategy and I wanted to (audio dropout) SANDAG. I’m the executive director of MOVE San Diego, a transit advocacy group, and continue to encourage SANDAG to plan transit that is fast and provides trip times competitive with driving because, as we know, we’ve heard just a couple of other callers what their impediments were to taking transit but for most people, they just don’t want to spend the time that it takes to do a transit trip when they could drive it themselves in a much shorter time, so being as innovative as possible as we look into the future for making transit fast is something that’s really important for our region.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for your call, Elyse, I appreciate it. Andrew, I want to ask you, how much does our transportation fit into our overall energy consumption. How much of a factor is that?

MCALLISTER: It’s a significant percentage of our energy consumption. And if I’m not mistaken, it’s roughly about a third of it or maybe like 40% of our overall energy consumption. So, you know, we have our homes and businesses where we actually use energy through the electric and gas utility and, you know, transportation is probably the largest single – I believe it is the largest single energy user or sector of energy consumption…

CAVANAUGH: Right.

MCALLISTER: …in our economy actually in this region. It’s actually well above average in San Diego as opposed to other parts of California because we are a fairly extensive transportation heavy economy here in the region.

CAVANAUGH: So as your Center for Sustainable Energy has been looking at the situation, what do you think our transportation future looks like?

MCALLISTER: Well, I mean, I think, you know, Muggs is really – or SANDAG is really the regional expert on that longterm planning, which I think is so critical and Move San Diego and other stakeholders are, you know, fundamental to that discussion. What we do at CCSE is, well, for example, we do activities in transportation. They are largely focused on technology developments and really working on this very interesting issue that is coming up very quickly which is the electrification of the transportation infrastructure.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

MCALLISTER: So we know that plug-in hybrid vehicles and pure electric vehicles are coming and they’re coming quickly. And the first ones will be widely available in the region by the end of this year and they will have some incentives available through the State of California and some federal rebates available as well. So we’re confident that those will be accessible by sort of a relatively large number of people in the near and medium term. The Air Resources Board has a program to provide incentives, rebates essentially, for electric vehicles and we run that program at CCSE and are doing some other research about how best to incorporate electric vehicles into the region. And obviously a key player there is also the electric utility, SDG&E, because they’re going to be responsible for providing much of that infrastructure which is an additional load on their system.

CAVANAUGH: Right. How does that change things, Muggs, with a whole huge amount of electric cars being factored into what the future is going to be for San Diego?

STOLL: Well, I think, you know, we try to – organizations like Andrew’s does do a lot of great work on the technology side, and we have some of our folks that try to coordinate with that and stay abreast of what’s going on on the technology side so that we can accommodate it. You know, from our perspective, moving into more electric vehicles means that we need to think about things like can we work into our projects charging stations that are located at strategic points around the county, that kind of thing. We tend to focus in on the – on kind of the capital building of projects and the operations of the system but we work very hard with the technology experts to be able to get that incorporated and to look forward when we develop our projects so that even though we don’t have the technology today, we’re building things in a way that will accommodate it in the future.

CAVANAUGH: So, in other words, if a development were to start today, you might start to think about, well, where would these charging stations go in the next ten or 15 years.

STOLL: Exactly.

CAVANAUGH: Interesting. We’re taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Let’s go to Eran in San Diego. And, Eran, welcome to These Days.

ERAN (Caller, San Diego): Are you taking my – Are you asking my name?

CAVANAUGH: Yes, I am.

ERAN: Yes, thank you for taking my call. My name’s Eran.

CAVANAUGH: Eran.

ERAN: And I’d like more sidewalks. I tried to walk from Balboa Park to Mission Valley. It took me about two hours. I mean, I had a hard time to find a way to get to Mission Valley, I have cars to right of way (sic). I’d like to have more sidewalks and maybe less cars and also I spend a lot of time in Balboa Park, see cars sometimes traveling at speed of 45, 50. Speed limit is 15. So I’d like to see more walking. Even myself, sometimes I have fear of walking across Balboa Park in the streets because cars are traveling too fast and it’s not very safe. That was my comment.

CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you, Eran. Thank you very much for calling. And would you comment, Muggs.

STOLL: Sure. Part of our regional transportation plan includes walking and biking. And we do – our half-cent sales tax program that will be collecting for the next 40 years, or roughly 40 years in the San Diego region, has money set aside for walking and biking projects. A lot of our local jurisdictions, the 18 cities and the unincorporated county, they work on a lot of projects to improve the pedestrian experience. We’re working with a lot of them on smart growth projects. We have a Smart Growth Incentive program to help some of our jurisdictions work on projects that make neighborhoods more – there’s a concept called Complete Streets, which is a kind of concept of looking at everything, not just moving the most number of vehicles through a neighborhood or through an area, so you look at things like sidewalks and maybe narrowing streets and those sorts of strategies in places where it makes sense to do so. So I think we’ve got a lot of work to do in that area and there’s going to be a lot of changes as we look forward in this 40-year plan.

CAVANAUGH: And one of our callers wanted to know what is the definition of a walkable community? Did you just give us part of it at least?

STOLL: Yeah, I don’t know that there’s a, you know, if you look in the Webster’s Dictionary, I don’t know that you’re going to find…

CAVANAUGH: Yeah.

STOLL: …an exact definition but I think it’s something that’s inviting to someone so it would make people want to walk. The, you know, sidewalks and maybe some street landscaping and things that – We all have been in places. We’ve all been in urbanized areas that we would call walkable. You kind of know it when you see it, and so that’s why we’re looking for those kinds of opportunities to make those kinds of investments where it does make sense. Say, near a transit station where we can try to encourage more walking.

CAVANAUGH: We are taking your calls about the San Diego of the future, 1-888-895-5727. SANDAG is developing – is holding a series of workshops trying to get ideas out about San Diego’s transportation and development future. And let’s take a call. George is calling us from Encinitas. Good morning, George, and welcome to These Days.

GEORGE (Caller, Encinitas): Yeah, thanks for taking my call. I’m wondering where the sewage upgrade for San Diego stacks up in the 40-year plan or is it just defaulting to waivers?

CAVANAUGH: Okay, now I know that your expertise is transportation but can you answer George’s question?

STOLL: Well, our plan, our Regional Transportation Plan, doesn’t – it doesn’t address that explicitly but I would tell you that one of the activities that SANDAG does get involved in, we have what’s called a Regional Comprehensive Plan where we look at more infrastructure needs than just transportation and that’s something once we finish our Regional Transportation Plan in 2011, we’ll be working on that with all of our local jurisdictions, the 18 cities and the unincorporated county where a lot of the responsibilities for the sewer systems lie. But we’re looking at how can we more comprehensively address infrastructure needs in the San Diego region, which could include sewer system as well.

CAVANAUGH: Because one of the things that I know you’re going to be talking about in the workshop besides transportation is sustainable development. And what makes sustainable development different than the development we’ve been doing?

STOLL: Well, I think the law that we’re working with, the Senate Bill 375, requires the development of a sustainable community strategy and that’s something to work with and you put that into your Regional Transportation Plan so that’s things like can we develop land use in a way that uses less resources, that requires less single occupant driving, that gives commuters and people who are just trying to get around more options, give them choices. We’re not trying to make everybody do the same thing but what we’re trying to do is give people competitive choices. Elyse, a little earlier from Move San Diego, mentioned this thing about making transit fast and in our Urban Area Transit Strategy we are trying to look at different alternatives that make transit trips, particularly the home to work trips, competitive with driving a car.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s take another call. Lauren is calling from Ocean Beach. Good morning, Lauren. Welcome to These Days.

LAUREN (Caller, Ocean Beach): Hi. Thanks for taking my call. My comment is that I moved here a couple of years ago and one of the things that struck me immediately when I moved was the lack of synchronization of traffic lights throughout the city. And it’s better in some places and worse in others. But I feel like if something could be done about that, that could be a project that would take a lot less investment up front and could really save a lot on, first of all, it would help out the traffic flow throughout the city, keep people moving a little bit more and also it could really help saving energy consumption and pollution if every car is sitting there idling at traffic lights for 10 minutes in their trip.

CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you for that, Lauren. And I know that Muggs took notes, so…

STOLL: Well, and that is something that we continuously work on with our – again, with our local jurisdictions. A lot of the traffic light synchronization isn’t on the freeways or the major state highways, it’s on the local streets and roads. And we don’t necessarily take the lead on that but we work with our local jurisdictions to go out and find funding to do that and we’ve had several projects over the last few years to be able to work on synchronizing traffic lights in various areas. I know we’ve had projects within the city of San Diego and a lot of our other jurisdictions. I’m not sure whether we’ve done that in Ocean Beach or not but that – she’s absolutely right. That’s one of the strategies that we’re looking at, is to operate the system more efficiently. That’s going to help us achieve our greenhouse gas targets so that’s definitely a big part of our plan.

CAVANAUGH: Let me try to sneak in one more call. Stephen is calling from Imperial Beach. Good morning, Stephen, and welcome to These Days.

STEPHEN (Caller, Imperial Beach): Thank you for taking my call. I’ve always been curious why different municipalities are so much in conflict. In Imperial Beach, we’re kind of stuck here. We’re, you know, we have all these natural borders that don’t prevent us and the city council and others have just fought hard to allow any type of like rail system to come in, the Coronado Belt Line, for instance, and they’ve, you know, partnered with the bike lobbies. So my question is, is there – do you see anything in the foreseeable future that would allow a rail system to go from Imperial Beach into Coronado so we can get folks to the base? And the other thing finally is on the funding, it seems like funding going into redevelopment agencies are really disproportionately used for the wrong things. Here in Imperial Beach the city council just gave $6.7 million to Pacifica, a company with tier building because they refused to do it themselves. So is just anything in the foreseeable future about meeting our needs here in places like Imperial Beach?

CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Stephen.

STOLL: Yeah, in – First of all, this is exactly the kind of input we’re trying to get at these workshops that we have scheduled over the next couple of weeks. And, you know, there is nothing currently planned in terms of extending rail from Imperial Beach to Coronado but those are the kinds of things that we need to look at. He mentioned something about conflicts between jurisdictions. Part of what SANDAG is all about is our board is made up of either the mayors or a city council person or a supervisor from each of the jurisdiction and we make regional decisions and we help build concensus and we’d like to feel that, you know, we do our part to try to bring – try to bridge that gap when there are conflicts, which is natural, and it’s a good part of the discourse. The fact that there’s conflicts amongst jurisidictions is actually a good thing because it actually leads to a better plan. So I would encourage Stephen to get involved in one of our meetings here and go forward with that.

CAVANAUGH: Tell us about the workshops. Tell us what people – what kind of comments you’re going to take and when they’re going to happen.

STOLL: Well, we have workshops beginning actually this afternoon or tonight in Escondido at the Escondido City Hall from 4:00 to 7:00. And then we follow that up with, on the 27th of April, we’ll be in Chula Vista. The 28th of April, we’ll be in Carlsbad. On May 3rd, we’ll be in central San Diego, and on the 6th we’ll be in El Cajon. And you can get any information on these workshops at our website, www.sandag.org. And this is an opportunity to come in at the – if you come in at the beginning, you’ll see a presentation, just a real short kind of overview of our plan and then we’ll have various people at – set up at stations that you can just go talk to one-on-one, if you’re interested in transit, if you’re interested in protecting the open space that’s affected by our transportation, if you’re interested in the freeways. There’ll be people there that can talk to you and get your ideas and answer your questions.

CAVANAUGH: And we’ll have links to that information on our website, KPBS.org. I want to thank you so much. Muggs Stoll, thanks for coming in and talking to us.

STOLL: Thank you. I enjoyed it.

CAVANAUGH: And Andrew McAllister, director of programs at California Center for Sustainable Energy, thank you so much again.

MCALLISTER: …Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: And coming up, a trip into Coronado’s historic past as These Days continues right here on KPBS.

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dialyn | April 26, 2010 at 9:44 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

What strikes me is that there is an ongoing neglect of the east county in favor of providing services to the north county. The transit system (buses particularly) are cut back in routes and time for the East County (try getting anywhere on a Sunday from the East County if you don't happen to live next to the trolley). Not everyone can walk to the trolley up and down hills. While Metro Transit cuts back on East County routes, denies advertising on the buses, and gives its executives fat bonuses, it makes the whole discussion of transit for the entire county a joke. As long as you force people onto the freeways to get to work or to the downtown area, you are not going to help the pollution problem. Of course the money in the north county and that's where everyone is going to provide services (those that have, get more) but it is a disgraceful lack of planning on everyone's part. Don't tell me that all retirees live in the East County...there are plenty of the aging poor in the East County who need these services.

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Avatar for user 'dialyn'

dialyn | April 26, 2010 at 9:51 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Of course I meant that all retirees don't live in the NORTH County but that there are plenty of aging poor in the East County needing transportation. This issue makes me pretty angry as I see my elderly mother cut off from services...that's had an impact on my typing.

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Avatar for user 'lynnea'

lynnea | April 27, 2010 at 4:02 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

While listening to the segment of your show on public transportation the other day, I started thinking about all the ways that California inhibits the use of public transportation. Not all the blame can be placed on the fact that Californians think badly of people who use public transport. There are also practical reasons why public transportation can be difficult for people to use if they also own a car.

The police in California are allowed to tow a car after it has been parked on the street for 3 days or more. If somebody opts to use public transportation for several days in a row, they could, potentially, come home to find their car towed away. The state, in fact, has this rule in place which, in the end, dissuades people from leaving their cars at home. They discriminate against people who choose not to drive and pollute the air. This is just one small way that the State of California is making it harder for people to do good and try to improve the environment.

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