Monday, May 03, 2010
This is a web version of my presentation at Move LA's Transportation Conversation II, an environmental perspective on Los Angeles transportation.
The starting point always is our awful traffic.
Second are the impacts of our oil dependence. The U.S. imports 2/3 of what we use. U.S. production peaked in 1970 - despite all the new production in Alaska - and world production's high point was 2005 (US EIA data).
If one imagined what a divine message might be on the eve of Senate debate about national energy policy, it's hard to imagine a bigger one than the gulf oil catastrophe right now (US Coast Guard photo).
Third is Global Warming, documented here by continuing rise in world temperatures (NASA chart).
(Click any image to enlarge)
Transportation and electricity generation are over half the total greenhouse gas emissions (CARB AB 32 Scoping Plan data).
California's AB 32 goal is to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (more on AB 32 Scoping Plan).
The first solution is simple efficiency: if every car got the mileage of today's Prius, the U.S. would use half as much gasoline, one fourth less oil, as vividly illustrated in this cartoon by Steve Nease (used with permission).
The most cost-effective and scalable sources of renewable energy are wind ...
... and solar.
So sustainable transportation must transition to electricity. Measure R funding includes extending the electric Wilshire subway ...
(continue to part 2)
(continued from part 1)
... and expanding L.A.'s light rail network.
We seek cities' use of local return funds for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, as the City of Los Angeles just approved 10% for.
This map from The Transit Coalition suggests a number of rail corridors beyond the Measure R map. I'd highlight (1) extending the Crenshaw line from the Expo line up to Hollywood and (2) north south corridors from Westwood to LAX along Lincoln and/or the 405.
California High Speed Rail is important to Los Angeles, that will replace many intra-state plane flights and long car drives with electric trains (earlier post on Prop. 1A; California High Speed Rail Blog).
A few cities like San Francisco still have electric trolley buses.
The new company Proterra will be testing battery-electric buses that fast-charge at the end of their routes on Foothill Transit this year.
Plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles are very important for all the trips that do not fit biking, walking, or transit. The first two major auto company models are the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, due late this year (EVs and Energy Blog; Plug In America).
Finally, a major benefit of rail transit is enabling effective Transit Oriented Development within walking distance of stations, like here at Del Mar in Pasadena on the Gold Line. But will it live up to Smart Growth or just be auto-oriented "dumb density"?
Livable streets that encourage walking to neighborhood shops are very important. These two examples from Portland's Pearl District show the kind of amenities that make you feel at home.
Parks and open space for kids and older people are very important to balance increased density.