‘A healthy, sustainable economy’
I appreciate your concerns about expensive federal stimulus money funded projects and improving the economy for No Man's Land. And, I would like to answer your questions:
Are we all supposed to be riding bicycles in the future?”
I don't envision a time when we will all ride bicycles, but I have been witnessing an increase of bicycles in the mode share. More cyclists more of the time means less congestion and pollution for all. Healthier people will make different choices that will affect our economy. Just as there was little or no help for the horse/buggy industry as it imploded in the early 1900s, there shouldn't be much help for the internal combustion-powered automobile industry other than adapting to new, more sustainable transportation options. The automobile didn't hurt our economy and neither will the 'sustainable' evolution; we will just have new industries supporting cleaner options.
“Has anyone really studied this stuff, or do we just put “Sustainable” on our T-shirts and call it good?”
Why yes, many urban planners including our local experts have studied this stuff and have the data to prove it. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has described “Livable Communities” simply as “If you don't want a car you don't have to have one.” What he means is that sustainable communities have transportation alternatives that work for all citizens, not just those with cars.
Making infrastructure work effectively for cars, trucks, emergency vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians including pedestrians with disabilities may mean that our street infrastructure no longer has the number-one priority of moving cars as quickly as possible. But complete streets will support a healthy, sustainable economy.
The Westside is where sustainability will work best the soonest. Eastern and northern Colorado Springs have been designed car-centrically and I believe as the price of fuel and utilities continue to rise, sprawl development heavily subsidized by city policies will go the way of European castles. The Westside has a street grid and few major arterial streets. It has the best opportunity to thrive as a new urban model.
Editor’s note: Thanks for the information, Al. But please recall that the column’s context concerned the wisdom of potentially spending $15 million to upgrade Colorado Avenue through “No Man’s Land,” only to lose two of four traffic lanes to bike lanes when a paved trail will be nearby.