In Twitter thread, Carrboro Mayor Pro Tem spells out what we must do to combat climate change

OrangePolitics Emeritus Editor and Carrboro Mayor Pro Tem Damon Seils wrote the following thread on Twitter on January 13, 2019. We have curated the thread below, which calls attention to what we must do in our communities to combat climate change. It's an important read.

 

Good morning! A nugget from the upcoming @DCHCMPO Board meeting: Growth in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is outpacing population growth in the Triangle and throughout North Carolina. https://dchcmpo.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3831901&GUID=3520913A-6D5F-45CA-BC3B-BAF7F1D0AD22

Percent Growth in Vehicle Miles Traveled by County
Percent Growth in Vehicle Miles Traveled

 

As more people move here, they encounter land use patterns, transportation infrastructure, and policy making that encourage driving as the primary or only travel mode. So what do they do? They drive.

 

At the state level, resources through @NCDOT to make lasting, substantial changes in nonhighway infrastructure are paltry compared to those for road widening, intersection and interchange "improvements," and other projects that reinforce driving as the best and only travel mode.

 

The #NCGA is downright hostile to transportation funding for a genuine multimodal infrastructure program to build sidewalks, safe bicycle facilities, and complete streets that advance the safety of all people who use the public right-of-way.

 

Not to mention what has become the #NCGA's annual evisceration of funding for public transit, and statutes (actual laws!) that prohibit spending more than minimal amounts of state funding on game changers like light rail and commuter rail projects.

 

At the local level, communities suffocate under complex, suburban-oriented zoning and land use codes written 50 years ago. It's easier to build a new residential subdivision reachable only by car than a mixed-use, #transit-oriented project reachable by foot, bicycle, or bus.

 

It's easier to tear down a modest home in an existing centrally located neighborhood and replace it with a larger one than to divide the lot and build two modest homes or add an accessory dwelling. So that's what people do.

 

Meanwhile, we push, push, push to implement the #transit plans for Orange, Durham, and Wake Counties. At this month's @DCHCMPO Board meeting, we'll receive important annual progress reports from @GoTriangle on the Orange and Durham plans, as seen at https://dchcmpo.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3781978&GUID=314F60FE-87FD-47DE-8AE5-91B11F489280

 

The county #transit plans are about expanding transportation options, improving mobility especially for those who depend on transit, encouraging policy makers and developers to make better decisions about development, and, yes, addressing VMT, congestion, and air quality.

 

That means high-capacity #transit in key corridors—light rail in the Durham-Orange corridor, bus rapid transit in the Chapel Hill north-south corridor, commuter rail in the Durham-Wake corridor—and orienting future (re)development toward these congestion-free options.

 

It also means more and better bus service in local bus systems and more and better sidewalks and bike lanes so that local and regional #transit networks are more accessible to more people. More, more, more!

 

Look, for most trips, getting around by #transit, bicycle, or foot/wheelchair should be easier—for many trips, much easier—than getting around by car. The steps to making that a reality are policy choices. We get to make actual choices that have actual outcomes.

 

Zoning, land use and transportation planning, and budget decisions are policy choices made by policy makers and the voters who elect them. So they're political choices too.

 

We've got work to do. Coming soon: full funding grant agreements for #DOLRT in Durham and Orange Counties and #NSBRT in Chapel Hill; and implementation of the @chtransit Short Range #Transit Plan for improved local bus service in #Carrboro and #ChapelHill.

 

Still we have to go bigger. Much bigger. #Carrboro needs a comprehensive plan. Care about housing affordability, air and water quality, racial equity, traffic congestion, public health, aging in place, tree canopy, access to schools and jobs and recreation? It all goes together.

 

#Carrboro has standalone plans for #affordablehousing, #climateaction bicycle transportation, the Northern Study Area, greenways, recreation and parks, safe routes to school, downtown #parking, connector roads, snow removal, and surely others I'm forgetting.

 

Let's be serious: What is an #affordablehousing plan without a fundamental rethinking of the town's zoning and land use ordinance? We need a comprehensive plan. #Carrboro

 

As my colleague @Chaney4Carrboro has asked, will we be bold? Are we really prepared to be bold? We need a comprehensive plan. #Carrboro

 

What is a #climateaction plan without a transportation network that relies on pedestrian, bicycle, and #transit infrastructure—in that order—and privileges those modes over single-occupancy vehicles? We need a comprehensive plan. #pedestriansfirst #Carrboro

 

The planet is boiling, two tweets turned into a thread, and I don't have an /end tweet. The work is unfinished. #KeepPounding

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