Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008 | Regarding today’s article on global warming, pleading poverty is no excuse, at least for transportation projects and global warming. It doesn’t cost more to provide transportation options. It’s completely a matter of making the hard political decisions to spend less money on car transportation and more on transit, bicycling, walking, carpooling, and other transportation options. You want the region to produce fewer greenhouse gases? Stop making it so easy to drive everywhere. Widening streets to make them handle more and faster traffic, timing signals to maximize the number of cars through intersections, eliminating pedestrian crossings to reduce the time automobiles have to wait. We spend an extraordinary amount of money every year on these types of projects. And those projects often make it harder, not easier, to choose to walk or bike instead of driving. Instead let’s spend that money on transit, walking, and biking infrastructure. Let’s spend some of the money (and not a token amount) on more and better infill development closer to where people work. If the mayors of those cities were serious about doing “everything possible” to meet or beat the goals of the Kyoto agreement, they will stop making congestion relief the most important transportation priority and will make transportation choice the most important priority instead. It doesn’t cost any more, except some political capital. Let’s see if our officials will show the political will to do the right thing.

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