Thursday 10/31 7:30-9:00AM
Join Mayor Nabours and I on Flag Mornings. 93.5FM/930AM and streaming at http://www.Country935.com
Monday 11/4 4:00PM
I’ll be on the Joe Harting Show
Regional Plan, Land Use
Thanks to the many people who came out last night to comment on the Regional Plan. The overwhelming majority of comments raised concerns about the plan. Here are some comments I made last night.
I’d like to share two paragraphs from the LAND USE section of the Regional Plan. In my opinion, these two paragraphs really illustrate the plans overall push, compact development and the diminished use of the automobile.
“Flagstaff patterns of growth have been primarily larger subdivisions of single family houses. This form of development forces residents to travel by automobile for daily needs, and makes it difficult for them to stay within the same neighborhood when they need a different type or size of housing. This plan discourages development of this type and promotes a preferred pattern of development for new neighborhoods”
Obviously, the “preferred pattern” according to the plan is compact development. Compact development is mentioned in one form or another 10 times on page IX-5 alone and is sprinkled throughout the plan. Now let me state for the record once again, I have no problem with compact development. There are definitely good applications and situations where this type of development makes sense. But focusing primarily on compact development will permanently change the character of Flagstaff to a more dense urban environment as well as many other unintended consequences. The plan often mentions its goal is to preserve Flagstaff’s character. How does promoting dense, urban, compact development preserve our current character?
The second paragraph I’d like to hi-light.
On Page IX-5, the plan states,
“Public and private traffic engineers can design for pedestrian and bicyclist safety and experience first, automobile driver experience second, transit options next, and auto capacity and speed last. This will be a huge paradigm shift from the current automobile focus”
I fully encourage and support expanding walkability, biking and alternative modes of transportation. But we know our community is going to grow and we know that automobile will be the primary mode of transportation. 83% of people currently use their personal automobile to get to work. The plan projects that 80% of people will use their personal automobile in 2030. Let me repeat, I am glad to see an increased effort towards walkability, biking and other modes of transportation. But why are we planning for “auto capacity” last? Shouldn’t the primary mode of transportation for the majority of our citizens come first?
I acknowledge that there are many good aspects to this plan. But we need to make sure that this plan balances idealism with reality. We need to make sure that we are not short changing some of the most important aspects of planning such as the need for a multitude of housing and proper planning for our streets. In my opinion and the opinion of many citizens, the current draft plan needs a lot of work in order to attain balance and to adequately plan for our future.