How can San José promote sustainable mobility? Wednesday April 19 Sustainability Plan meeting

Sustainable mobility is one of three topics, along with energy and water, that will be covered in an Environmental Sustainability Plan in the works by the City of San Jose.  On Wednesday, April 19, the City of San Jose is holding a public meeting to discuss and get feedback on the Environmental Sustainability Plan (ESP).  It is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, in the City Hall Council Chambers.

The goals are to improve the quality of residents’ lives, enhance water supplies, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  As elsewhere in California, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. And as in many other places, the city has made substantial progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy, while seeing transportation emissions increase.

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The city has ambitious plans on the books with goals to improve sustainability (Envision San José 2040 General Plan, San José Bike Plan 2020San José Green Vision, and more). The General Plan sets a goal of a 50% reduction in solo driving by 2040, the Bike Plan 2020 sets a goal of 5% Bicycle mode, and the Green Vision sets a goal of 500 mile bikeway network by 2022, as summarized in this presentation delivered at SPUR.

The plan isn’t intended to reinvent the wheel – it will analyze and consolidate existing environmental goals  into a comprehensive strategy, develop short and long-term measurable objectives, and identify potential funds and financing strategies.  Can coordinating efforts and seeing additional funding help San Jose achieve these goals?

With a quick brainstorm, your blogger can think of several ideas where coordinated efforts with assertive funding and creative financing could help:

* Increased coordination between roadway maintenance and stormwater management projects to implement more “green infrastructure” that treats stormwater, reduces pollution, recharges groundwater, improves street safety, encourages walking and bicycling, and improves quality of life with attractive greenery

* analyze the relative costs of subsidizing access to San Jose via car parking compared to sustainable transportation, and redesign “parking in lieu fees” into “access in lieu fees” that allow funds to be used to promote sustainable access, not just driving

* assess the potential transit ridership benefits in San Jose from streamlining fares – new analysis from Diridon Station planning shows that the city expects to see nearly as many transfers between transit agencies as there is transit today by 2040 – and help seek regional funding to insure transit agencies for potential financial risks of streamlining, removing a key barrier to streamlined fares that would likely increase transit use.

* Support the deployment of electric vehicle chargers that provide storage and stabilization services to the electric grid, making EVs more convenient and helping the grid support more sustainable energy

What do you think? Come to the City’s meeting on Wednesday, learn and share your thoughts. You can also send suggestions by mail to: esp@sanjoseca.gov.