Plan on a lot of HOT air when folks discuss BAD air at a “Town Hall” meeting Tuesday at 7p.m. in the council chamber of Boise City.
Experts from all the local planning, air quality, and highway agencies will each give presentations. If they follow the usual protocol, the politicos and bureaucrats will spew their wisdom and then offer citizens a mere three minutes to respond or offer their own ideas and assessments.
Remember the air has turned sour during THEIR respective watches. Today’s leaders have failed miserably when it comes to controlling the rate of growth and subsequent pollution problems. The politicos have been busy trying to increase population while our air and traffic woes have worsened.
Oh sure, we will hear that increased density will make it possible to have trains, light rail, buses, and more bicycles. “Get the sinners out of their gas guzzlers, admit global warming is bad, stop building highways, live near your job, walk to Costco for those 48 rolls of toilet paper and 12 loaves of bread.”
Our best guess through a lot of reading tells us that if we are able to get an above average percent of commuters to ride mass transit, we could POSSIBLY attract 6% of those who now drive. That means the air and roads would still be 94% as bad as ever despite spending BILLIONS of our tax dollars.
Here are some GUARDIAN growthophobe points to ponder:
–ZERO POPULATION GROWTH would be the place to start. In addition to the obvious biological issue, local governments and businesses need to rethink GROWTH. Stop spending public money to attract more people to the valley. No more advertising, tax breaks, and “top 10” lists. We are not lacking for people, cars, and air pollution in the Treasure Valley.
–LARGE EMPLOYERS like the state, feds, Micron, HP should aim for some tax breaks and provide some bus service for employees. Eastern Idaho has one of the biggest bus systems west of the Mississippi to haul workers out to the Idaho National Engineering Lab from Pocatello, Blackfoot, and Idaho Falls.
–RIDE SHARE VANS like the commuter rigs administered by the ACHD just running around town offering rides to all comers would be great.
–RIDER DATABASE matching riders with drivers operated by a public agency would cut traffic and emissions. Like the old bulletin boards on college campuses “Male seeking ride to Portland for thanksgiving…”
–REGISTERED RIDER program. Establish “bus stop shelters” where commuters can wait with prominent I.D. tags and destinations visible. Motorists can offer rides to anyone if they choose to do so. Riders would be registered to assist in identifying them in the event of problems.
–ALLOW PUBLIC vehicles to offer rides to any citizen. Parks, public works, cops are all running around with single drivers much of the time. Liability is no different than for a bus. During the Vietnam War it was policy that ANY American driving a vehicle had to offer a ride to any OTHER American regardless of rank.
–DESIGN ROADS to expedite traffic flow. Most of ACHD efforts are aimed at ”traffic calming” rather than moving cars smoothly. Most roads are built for the primary purpose of retailing…Fairview, Overland, Milwaukee, Eagle, to name a few. We have no LOOP, CROSSTOWN, or BYPASS roads.
Nothing wrong with bike lanes, more fuel efficient vehicles, etc. But few people can afford to go out and buy a new car just to reduce pollution. If every new car emitted 80% less pollution tomorrow, it would take years to get rid of all the “old smokers” on the road today.
Try the innovative GUARDIAN ideas and stop begging people to move here.
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