Thursday, May 12, 2016

Big lie about CEQA reform #2: LOS, VMT, and ATG

Amanda Eakin on the LA-based The Planning Report:

Level of Service[LOS] analysis involves quite a bit more speculation and assumption, and it’s quite a bit more complicated and expensive than Vehicle Miles Traveled analysis.

Rob's comment:
Not true. What LOS analysis does require is actual traffic studies to determine what the baseline traffic volume is in the project area. That can be expensive, but how can you know the impact of a project without that information?

Both OPR[Office of Planning and Research] and San Francisco are trying to move forward with a process that will give us a better estimate of actual environmental impact, will be less complicated, will be less costly, and will therefore expedite projects that we know are going to lead to better environmental outcomes, like transit, biking, and walking projects. Part of the way OPR is going to do that is by making clear in the guidelines that certain types of projects are assumed to have a less-than-significant impact.

Rob's comment: 
This is really about bike lanes and building housing and commercial property that provides little or no parking. Get it? Bike lanes and those parking-lite projects won't add any "vehicle miles traveled" to a project area! And the people in that new housing won't have cars---and neither will their friends and family when they visit. 

Creating bike lanes will take away street parking and traffic lanes, funneling existing traffic into fewer lanes and force motorists to circle around looking for parking space. But no "vehicle miles" will be added by the bike lane itself!

Just because something is new or unknown doesn’t mean we should keep doing the stupid, old thing that’s been causing significant environmental damage and harm.

Rob's comment:
Instead, let's do a stupid new thing. The "old thing"---Level of Service analysis---isn't at all stupid, since it measures how well traffic moves on streets and ranks them accordingly: "A" means traffic moves well, while "F" is essentially a traffic jam, with most streets somewhere in between. 

If you don't care about making traffic worse---that's what motorists get for not riding bikes or public transit!---of course you prefer VMT to LOS.

As far as I can tell, Vehicle Miles Traveled is nothing but an updated version of the Auto Trips Generated notion of several years ago. Same phony techo-jargon acronym to conceal a developer and bike-friendly traffic policy guaranteed to make traffic worse for everyone but cyclists, that is, for everyone who has to drive and those who take public transportation, since buses have to use the same streets as those wicked cars and trucks.

SFStreetsblog of course preferred ATG back in 2009 and likes the updated VMT version now.

I wrote about this bullshit way back in 2006.

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