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Many of you have made some excellent points. I have read you concerns and you share interesting perspectives on the issues of transit in our community.
There are several factors that will drive the future demand for transit in San Diego. The first of these is likely to be high gas prices. Second is traffic congestion due to population and job growth. Third is convenience couple with easy access to transit stations. And lastly is transit speed thus travel time. As these issues become more and more severe and begin to seriously effect our lives, rider ship will grow at an exponential rate. Transit will have the effect of taking some people out of their cars and off the road thus reducing some pressure on traffic congestion. It is unrealistic to assume that transit will relieve traffic. Instead it acts as more of a mild relief. Not unlike taking an ibuprofen when you have just had your wisdom teeth pulled: it doesn’t necessarily eliminate the pain, but it does take the edge off.
What is important is how we utilize our available land resources. The key to success is well-planned high density communities that are very desirable places to live, located within a short walk of public transit. An excellent example is downtown San Diego’s Little Italy. There are four transit stations within walking distance to most of the residents who live there. However, the pain has not gotten great enough to where most of the residents ride public transit yet, but it will. The good news is that Little Italy is already situated to deliver that lifestyle change to its future residents.
There are several areas within our region that are also situated next to transit stations. Within the San Diego region is the downtown Grantville area. Areas east of the San Diego region include downtown La Mesa and the Alvarado Creek area. Moving south we have National City where transit stations are situated along the 5 freeway. They act as a mid-way point between downtown San Diego and Chula Vista (two of the county’s fastest growing regions). These are areas of focus that need the support of visionary people in the community who can see the population coming and can see the issues our children’s children will face. Planning these areas takes a very long time. There are many agencies and stakeholders involved and everyone has their own wants and desires. However, if the citizens of San Diego stay focused on the big picture, then we can influence the necessary changes and prepare San Diego for future growth in a sustainable manner. Connecting future homes and workplaces to transit is one way to prepare.