Sustainability, Regional transportation

This coming week, the Grand Valley Regional Transportation Committee will roll out open houses for its huge project, affectionately called “2035.”

Connecting Our Communities: 2035 Regional Transportation Plan will direct how your tax dollars are spent on a transportation network for all of Mesa County. The blueprint will focus primarily on systems and services for automobile, mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian modes of travel.

“There is a big push to get as much input as possible” for 2035, explained Ken Simms, senior transportation planner.

This is the first phase of a whirlwind effort that will be completed by the end of the year.

Urban areas with populations topping 50,000 are required to have Metropolitan Planning Organizations to receive federal transportation funds.

The Grand Valley Regional Transportation Committee fills that niche in Mesa County and gets federal dollars through the Colorado Department of Transportation. The committee is comprised of elected officials, two each from Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade and Mesa County.

The open houses are all from 4–7 p.m. in these municipalities and on these days: Fruita, Monday; Grand Junction, Tuesday; and Palisade, Wednesday.

Get a real feel for the issue and decrease your carbon footprint by walking, riding your bike or using public transit to attend an open house.

To learn more about this essential effort and get involved, pull up the very user-friendly Web site at http://www.2035rtp.com. You can share your opinion by joining more than 200 people who have already taken the online survey or you can request a Priorities Packet.

Study the transportation issue before attending an open house by perusing the Transportation for America Web site at t4america.org. You can also take the Global Transport Challenge at http://www.worldusability day.org/globaltransportchallenge to explore how you use transportation and the effect your choices have on the environment.

Long-term transportation planning may sound about as exciting as watching paint dry, but it really is a hot topic in sustainability circles.

Green American magazine devoted the entire Fall 2009 issue to this topic. To read “Reclaiming the Streets” online, go to http://www.greenamericatoday. org/pubs/greenamerican.

On March 2, House Resolution 4722, the Active Community Transportation Act of 2010, was introduced, then referred to the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

According to GovTrack.us, this bill would “direct the Secretary of Transportation to carry out an active transportation investment program to encourage a mode shift to active transportation within selected communities by providing safe and convenient options to bicycle and walk for routine travel, and for other purposes.”

Transportation also is a health issue. LiveWell Colorado is in the early stages of creating a Built Environment Blueprint that will include an examination of transportation from the perspective of obesity prevention.

It’s time to get out from behind the wheel and plan communities where we can walk, bike or ride mass transit. Imagine our beautiful valley with a transportation network supporting healthy lifestyles.

Adele Israel is a Grand Junction writer who has been involved in sustainability efforts for some 20 years. Have a question or column idea for Adele? E-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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