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Comment on Connect 2050: Planning NOW for the future of transportation in Wisconsin

"WisDOT envisions an integrated multimodal transportation system that maximizes the safe and efficient movement of people and products throughout the state in a way that enhances economic productivity, transportation accessibility, and the quality of Wisconsin's communities while minimizing impacts to the natural environment and socioeconomic, historic, and cultural resources. " -- From

by John December / Updates/More Info:

This is my comment on this plan that I sent in via their public engagement process.

2022-01-23 10:23 am

I envision a Wisconsin in 2050 where land use and transportation serve the full spectrum of diverse rural, suburban, and urban communities. People will have many choices for living options and utilize a range of active, multimodal, intermodal, public, and private transportation modes and systems on land, water, rail, and air. A legal and financial framework for cooperatively funding, planning, building, and operating infrastructure and transportation to meet community needs continually works toward the goals of health, equity, livability, and prosperity for everyone.

I envision a time when public infrastructure and services are acknowledged to be shared resources that are cooperatively funded for the benefit of communities and public and private uses. Communities are encouraged to support a wide diversity of land use policies, housing types and sizes, transportation modes, zoning goals, development patterns, taxation levels, and enterprise efforts. Public infrastructure is seen as the setting for free enterprise operating in free markets that, by necessity, must have standards and regulations to provide a cooperative framework that balances self-interest with common needs among parties. The development of public infrastructure is designed with the needs of people, and compromises and tradeoffs can be made among design goals, costs, and efficiencies to achieve the best balance with community goals.

I envision that transportation and land use decisions can be planned, designed, implemented, and evaluated together using excellent, empirical research and knowledge from around the world, tailored to community needs. The emphasis on this work is always toward serving people so that a technologically-deterministic bias does not negate or ignore the needs of communities. Fixed public infrastructure like highways, roads, bridges, ports, airports, streets, regional rail, light rail, urban streetcars, plazas, parks, and utilities are designed, with intention, to support land use patterns that encourage community-supporting permanence. Public transit can be pursued as a community benefit and not face the demand to be a profit-making enterprise. Different transit modes that have distinct characteristics can serve distinct geographies. Flexibility, choice, and diversity are important, but the imperative of "being agile" should not ignore the way permanent infrastructure shapes and grows communities, as shown by many centuries of human history.

I envision a time when land use decisions can be made to support everything from fine-grained walkable urbanism to rural agricultural land. People can choose lifestyles ranging, for example, from car-free living in cities, neighborhood settings using various transportation modes, suburban commuter life, to automobile-dependent rural life. Planners recognize and understand the population distribution of the state and aim to place transportation where the people are and follow fundamental transportation planning principles. Land use fabrics for walking, transit, and automobile use are acknowledged to exist and intelligently designed to work together and support diversity and interoperability. Communities can create areas for favoring active transit or public transit over automobile use and thus enable freedom of choice and diversity for living arrangements, transit-oriented development, and transit and people-oriented zoning.

For too long, the state has dictated that automobile use shall be the chief option for transportation. The state has subsidized and funded automobile infrastructure and highways excessively while ignoring empirical research in areas including induced traffic, automobile dependency, environmental issues, and the benefits other transportation modes and land use patterns offer. I envision a time when many choices for transportation systems serve diverse communities, and land use and transportation planning decisions are made from a solid foundation in empirical knowledge, research, and a central emphasis on serving the needs of people and communities.

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2023-12-31 · John December · Terms ©