The relationship between housing and transportation is key to creating smart growth neighborhoods because the goal is to reduce families overall housing and transportation costs. Statistics indicate the average American family spends more than 50% of their household budget on housing and transportation combined. Smart growth strategies can help families reduce these combined costs.
Smart growth transportation strategies create economic opportunity because they require fiscally responsible investments that cost less to build and maintain than the more traditional auto-centric culture of the past five decades. They help cities save money by reducing infrastructure costs and generating higher returns on investment. Those strategies create new jobs, help more workers get to employment and they foster regional economic growth.
Smart Growth America’s analysis of 2009’s federal stimulus spending package revealed funds spent on public transportation were a more effective job creator than funds spent on highways.
“Smart growth strategies aim to make our streets safer and easier to use for everyone, including motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and public transit riders, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.”
By enlarging sidewalks, installing medians, adding bike lanes and other changes to street designs, traffic accidents and fatalities are reduced. With a recommendation and encouragement of Tulsa’s Transportation Advisory Board, the City of Tulsa has adopted a Complete Streets policy which supports smart growth strategies.
Something has got to give.
Simply put, our reliance on an auto-centric transportation system is not sustainable. Drastic changes are needed to increase our population density by encouraging the mixed-use re-development and re-vitalization of core neighborhoods near the central business district. We can do this by a combination of modest infrastructure investments like street lighting and sidewalks combined with sensible new zoning codes which create healthy, diverse, walkable, sustainable, urban neighborhoods and town centers.
Multiple modes and routes help reduce congestion and a well-conceived and efficient transportation system offers both. Streets that are connected in an easily accessible network help make commutes easier and more efficient.
We want to focus attention on transportation investments as they relate to a wide array of other issues high on the public agenda, such as climate change, energy security, economic competitiveness, housing and community development, as a way to enhance sustainability and quality of life for all Tulsans.
Tulsa needs a paradigm shift in how we look at transportation.
We must recognize that great cities have good public transportation systems. To compete in a global economy we need to start thinking about transit as a core service, or a utility on a par with public safety, serving not just the transit dependent population but choice riders as well.
We are committed to planning and building a first class 21st Century transportation system that will maximize our transportation investments. In the past we have built infrastructure primarily for automobiles which has achieved its significant capacity at the expense those who are unable or unwilling to drive, or who would like better options for transit, biking and walking.
We can create a network of transit options, well designed multi-modal arterials, pedestrian friendly neighborhoods and employment centers that will result in one of the safest, most efficient transportation systems in the country. We propose that the transportation elements of the downtown master plan be the hub of any regional transportation planning objectives.
We advocate for the development of a City of Tulsa 30 Year Transportation Master Plan and Strategy which includes the necessary dedicated funding options needed to finance such a transit system, as well as a clearly defined governance alternative that is best suited to our region’s needs. We can increase sales-tax revenue through creative land development policies that increase density and help offset transportation infrastructure.
We need to create a true multi-modal network of “livable streets” by a process of merging street project development with the neighborhood planning process through Context Sensitive Solutions. We are dedicated to accelerating the existing “30 year plan” to achieve ADA compliance throughout the city.
Let us pick the “low hanging fruit” by prioritizing opportunities for multi-modal traffic calming and street redesigns and drastically increase funding for street re-striping to accommodate cycling lanes and provide for more on-street parking. We want to plan for people and places, not just cars and traffic.
We need to address the rising threat of obesity and other health problems facing our community by improving parks and building more sidewalks, connecting our city, our neighborhoods and our commercial districts to encourage walking and exercise.