The San Diego Association of Governments is poised to vote on San Diego Forward, its 2050 transportation plan, while activists fight to prevent changes making it less environmentally friendly. It is time to rethink what we’re fighting for. San Diego’s transportation plan is far from environmentally friendly. We can imagine something better.
San Diego’s transportation plan relies on the best options available when it was initiated. It combines high-density coastal and valley development near existing and newly constructed trolley lines with incentives not to drive (more traffic/less parking).
But green energy, electric vehicles and the sharing economy are a reality right now. The era of single owner auto-combustion cars is ending. San Diego has an opportunity to not just imagine, but immediately implement a better future, one based on 21st century ideas resulting in immediate emissions reductions at less cost.
Let’s start by thinking more broadly. Automobiles aren’t the problem — emissions are. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fossil fuel-fired power plants are responsible for 70 percent of the nation’s sulfur dioxide emissions, 13 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions and 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.