RTA meeting: Land use, transit decisions must mesh

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

From a letter to the editor of The Capital Times from Phil and Libby Lewis:

Dear Editor:
We are at a critical juncture with regard to dealing with high energy costs, inefficient transportation and land use policies, and environmental degradation.

With regard to the ongoing debate over land use and transportation decisions for Dane County and municipalities within the county, in a time of restricted economic activity, the priorities of our citizens are in a state of flux.

The Dane County League of Women Voters will hold a forum to address these matters and the proposed referendum on a regional transit authority at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Capitol Lakes Grand Hall, 333 W. Main St. Viewpoints on the best transit system for the county will be presented by David Trowbridge, Transport 2020 project manager; Keith Plasterer, president, Pro-Rail Wisconsin; Susan Schmitz, director, Downtown Madison Inc.; and Bruce Speight, field director, WISPIRG. A discussion will follow their presentation.

One purpose of the meeting will be to acquaint people with the RTA and what it can do - what the cost/benefit ratio would be.

It is time to make things work better rather than looking at progress as a series of minute decreases in environmental quality, quality of life, health of people, all living things, and our resources (cultural, social, environmental, physical and economic).

Interestingly enough, an improved transportation network depends on having developed areas fairly densely populated, avoiding sprawl over the landscape, and using more efficient transportation options that are inherently more comfortable and convenient.

The most important factor in the whole mix is water. Effective land use and transportation policies and methods are the best tools for preserving and improving the quality and quantity of our surface and sub-surface water.

The spine of all our plans for the future is an integrated, multi-modal transportation system as well as intercity transportation.