The Alamedan: Alameda Point Explained: Taming traffic (part two), February 20, 2014


City staffers have proposed to blunt traffic by redeveloping Alameda Point in a more urban fashion that discourages people from driving solo. They are also putting together a transportation demand management plan that will detail a series of steps, from building bike paths to limiting free parking and launching shuttles, intended to limit the rise of car traffic to and from the Point; a draft could come in March or April.

Similar plans have been implemented across the country, with varying degrees of success.

“Where appropriately applied they have often proven to be quite successful at changing affected travel,” said Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, a Vancouver-based think tank.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Randy Rentschler says the traffic reduction efforts are worthy, even if the goals are challenging to attain. In order to succeed, he said traffic reduction plans need to be well designed, offered in tandem with developments designed to designed to encourage alternatives to driving alone and tailored to individual communities’ needs.

Shared parking, dedicated transit and bike lanes are some of the elements that can help a plan succeed in Alameda, he said.

“That is all good,” said Rentschler, who is the regional transportation, planning and funding agency’s director of legislation and public affairs. “And we need more of it.”

The Alamedan researched transportation demand management efforts in Cambridge, Mass.; Boulder, Colo.; Arlington County, Va.; and the state of Washington, whose leaders passed a commute trip reduction law in 1991 aimed at reducing traffic congestion, greenhouse gases and fuel consumption. All four efforts succeeded in reducing solo driving, though studies of each detailed challenges the efforts faced, and at least two of the four studied are falling short of traffic reduction goals.