24 hearing that it doesn't make sense to fund highway expansions when future resources might not be able to support even the current number of automobiles on the roads.
In fact, he said, there is a cultural shift already underway in which people want to move away from the car-dependant suburbs and into more pedestrian-friendly urban areas, although policymakers haven't caught up with this trend yet. While BART and Muni fight uphill battles to expand public transit service with dwindling resources, Radulovich pointed out that the Bay Area Metropolitan Transport Commission (MTC) is proposing to direct $6.4 billion toward highway expansion, despite a decline in vehicle miles traveled. Livable Cities coauthored a resolution, recently approved by the Board of Supervisors, urging the MTC to redirect these funds toward improving transit.
As oil becomes scarcer, the need to create and improve communities where people can safely get around by foot or bicycle will be paramount. Ben Lowe, a task force member specializing in transportation security, noted how important it is to look for regional solutions that go beyond individual cities. There is no magic single solution, but dealing with limited-supply and cost-prohibitive oil requires numerous small solutions as we make this transition.
The main obstacle, as Mirkarimi sees it, is that the sense of urgency is not there. Public officials need to educate the public and "to find something, key pieces of legislation, to rally around," he said. He plans to look into formal ways to keep the seven task force members involved in this process, for example, by matching them with policy experts who can facilitate creation of pertinent legislation.
The task force's mantra for dealing with forthcoming shortages in oil is to integrate peak oil consideration into government planning and all the decisions made by the mayor and Board of Supervisors. Mirkarimi warns that it would be myopic for San Franciscans not to deliberate on the dangers and opportunities outlined in this report.
Read the report at www.sfenvironment.org/our_policies/overview.html?ssi=20.
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