It’s a simple truth. Great cities offer as many varied, useful and attractive ways to travel and connect people as possible. Get the transportation infrastructure right, and economic vitality, healthy living, sustainable population growth and traffic reduction all follow.
On August 25 Phoenix voters will consider whether to approve an “all of the above” transportation initiative to do just that.
In exchange for adding about a penny more to a three-dollar coffee, Phoenix plans to: (1) pave 750 miles of street with new asphalt, (2) triple current light rail miles, (3) increase bus frequency by 70 percent, (4) improve transit hours by 20 percent, (5) build $280 million worth of new roads and bridges, and (6) incorporate 1,150 miles of new bike lanes along with (7) another 170 miles of new sidewalk.
This is smart growth. The plan mixes travel types to deliver what residents as well as what incoming populations of younger workers and entrepreneurs demand. It promises significant return on investment, business and residential growth, tax revenues, and new jobs.
To SLHI, the MovePHX ballot question is a health initiative too. It’s an important way to improve health in our daily lives. Commuting by bus or train results in activity that counters the threat of obesity. Reducing congestion and vehicle emissions reduces daily stress levels and improves air quality. Options to cycle or walk to more destinations will increase. That’s important for health and reducing congestion. Almost half of all trips in metropolitan areas are three miles or less. Walking or cycling options impact air quality and physical health.
Critics tend to question whether such an investment is right for Phoenix. Ask yourself. Is good health, sustainable growth and better living worth the attention and investment? The results and experience from cities worldwide, in all types of both hot and cold climate, show us that a breadth of good transportation options improves the economic vitality and health of a region.