Wednesday, March 30, 2016

U.S. Transportation Secretary Taking on Highways That Go Through Neighborhoods

Anthony Foxx, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, wants to make some changes when it comes to highways.

The Spokesman-Review's Getting There blog says he announced yesterday an effort to move away from major highway building and says he is supported by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in this.

According to the Atlantic, Foxx  will launch an effort "to push federal, state, and local transportation decision-makers to make transportation projects more inclusive." His idea is to 'connect people to opportunity' when they make transportation decisions and so far he’s gotten the governors of Virginia, Nevada, and Washington to sign on, as well as Baltimore’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake."

Currently, Foxx's plan is just an initiative and has no power or enforcement. But considering his position, he's well-connected to influence elected officials at the state and local levels. And with Inslee interested, it could have a definite impact on transportation projects here in our state.

Foxx claims this plan goes back to his childhood. He grew up in Charlotte in the shadow of two freeways. When his grandparents bought the home in 1961, the area was a traditional neighborhood; an interconnected network of streets and homes. When the two freeways came through, the house and  neighboring ones were cut off from the rest of the city. There was one road in and out and the neighborhood slowly became a place where no one wanted to live or open a business.

Foxx says he wants to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future.

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SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.