Louisiana leaders must get a clear vision of what full-scale transportation systems look like, and then commit to make them happen.

Louisiana leaders must get a clear vision of what full-scale transportation systems look like, and then commit to make them happen.

We fully support and recommend a complete assessment of each locality’s land use, water use maintenance structures and infrastructure/transportation system. These evaluations must commence in the remainder of 2021 and run through 2022. This statewide evaluation and the deliverables should be similar to the document produced by the ITDP, entitled “Opportunities for Increasing Sustainable Transport”, which consisted of a series of case studies covering Dallas, Nashville and Denver. These chief recommendations are for the State of Louisiana, by way of Louisiana’s Governor, The Legislature and/or the Department of Transportation and Development, in coordination with each parish leader or planning commission. We advise that the following guidelines will serve as a template, or menu of options, for transforming our state’s current transport landscape into an integrated, full scale transportation system.

Fix it First, Ditch the Rest. So we added that second part of the sentence. But that is what we believe should be done. Fix the roads, bridges and highways that need immediate maintenance and care. Safety is paramount and we cannot neglect the central commitment to safety. However, as far as further expansions, build outs of highways and megaprojects that are not serving a role of public transit, not serving the role of giving more Louisinans options, nor getting cars off the road, then ditch them. We will quite likely never catch up on the $14 billion infrastructure backlog. Furthermore, each parish and planning commission should be emboldened and empowered to pull from the C40 Strategic Recommendations Guidelines provided by C40 Cities-Climate Action Planning and the C40 Green and Healthy Streets Declaration, both providing a framework for zero emissions cities by 2030 and parts of parishes and cities to be zero emissions by 2025. “In order to meet net zero emissions by 2050, cities need a 100% zero emission transport system by 2050. Whilst electrification of vehicles is an important part of decarbonisation, it should not be the first, or only, consideration. The safe and efficient movement of people and goods, as opposed to vehicles, should be the focus of transport actions within City Action Plans”. Furthermore, the goal of reducing vehicle miles travelled must be within any action planning, along with a serious focus and evaluation of urban planning strategies that have not served us well over the decades of suburban and urban sprawl. 

  1. Resources for Leaders: 
    1. Fix it First by Transportation for America  https://t4america.org/platform/ 
    2. Re-imagining Highways bill 
    3. https://cdn.locomotive.works/sites/5ab410c8a2f42204838f797e/content_entry5ae2f900a2f4220ae645f016/604f797e60741b00a56b596a/files/C40_Strategic_Recommendations_Guidelines_English.pdf?1620233324 
    4. https://www.c40.org/other/green-and-healthy-streets 
    5. 15 minutes: How to Create Connected Places
    6. Transit Street Design Guide  
    7. LASAFE’s Our Land and Water, A Regional Approach to Adaptation – Goal 3: Improve Mobility Throughout the Region. 
    8. Model Policies to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption Presented by the Sierra Club, Plug In America, FORTH, and the Electrification Coalition 
    9. ITDP’s Maximizing Microbility 
  1. In the words of C40 cities, “Finance the Modal Shift.” We have to lead on this because people will appreciate it in the long run. We have to lead on this in order to protect our people, our workers and culture. In order to truly bring about these recommended changes, funding has to be generated and acquired from all sources and levels – from federal DOT sources, from grants and from state legislative packages and bills that allocate funding to modal shifts in the form of sales taxes or property taxes or other dedicated funding sources. While sales tax can generally be regressive to low income or no income households, an investment in public transit is an equitable use of funds and return on investment. 
  2. And we fully embrace and support the recommendations by Mayor Mike Elliott of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, we must Right the Wrongs of the Past and:
    1. Require that pollution reduction and social and environmental impacts on communities of color be a part of any highway project, and explore alternatives that decrease vehicle traffic before a project can be approved and undertaken;
    2. Require a team work directly with local communities and residents to assure that traffic between communities is fairly distributed and all methods are utilized to enhance rather than harm such communities;
    3. Prioritize funding alternatives to highway expansion that actually relieve traffic congestion — like public transit access, safe bicycle and pedestrian traffic — and work with other agencies to increase high-speed internet access and work-from-home policies;
    4. Be flexible on the timing of spending funds that have already been allocated so that impacts on low-income communities and communities of color can be fully understood and residents are not rushed into hasty decisions;
    5. Fulfill President Biden’s executive order to ensure that 40 percent of federal climate investments benefit low-income communities and communities of color.

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