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EDITORIAL: Congestion Choices

SANDAG may be asking the voters of San Diego County in November 2016 to increase the Sales Tax to pay for transportation projects in San Diego. SANDAG has proposed a couple of alternatives based upon the perennial argument as to whether to pay for more roads or public transit. The argument for roads is that the public use their cars and do not use public transit. If we build more roads, we can relieve the perennial congestion on our freeways. As an incentive, the road alternative provides money directly to the cities and county for maintaining infrastructure.

The problem with this argument is there is no solution to the congestion problem. Every major city even those with excellent public transit systems have congestion (think Tokyo, London, New York, etc.). The I-5 and 1-805 interchange is another perfect example of building roads that do not relieve congestion. This interchange is one of the largest freeway interchanges in the world yet most evenings it is congested and most mornings the freeways are congested just south of the interchange.

The argument against public transit is that less than 1% of the trips generated in the region are by public transit. Yet, the people who work in downtown San Diego have a choice as over 20% use public transportation to get to work.

SANDAG needs to provide people with choices so that when a person wakes up in the morning, they can choose between getting in their car, taking public transit or using a carpool. Currently, most of the population of San Diego County do not have any choice except to get in their car.

SANDAG needs to create a plan that allows 20% of the people to use public transit to get to the major employment centers of Sorrento Valley, UTC and Torrey Pines Mesa.

SANDAG needs to provide alternatives to the car. They cannot build enough roads and parking lots to relieve congestion and provide spaces for cars to park once a person arrives at work.

SANDAG needs to do the right thing and make public transit a priority. The Del Mar City Council needs to take an aggressive stand on this issue and charge their SANDAG representatives with this mission, especially given that Terry Sinnott is now the Vice-Chairman of SANDAG.



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