Position Statement on Transportation and Community Design

KEC believes that transportation investments coupled with sound land use principles have the potential to build thriving communities and to improve the environment.

It is widely recognized that transportation policies of the preceding century have been a major contributing factor in the sprawling land use patterns that have contributed to increased energy use, degradation of air and water resources, pressures on wildlife habitat, and a loss of mobility for large segments of the population. A new direction is needed to address the challenges of traffic congestion on the ground and in the air, rising fuel costs, and increased green house gas emissions, and to meet the mobility needs of a socially and economically diverse population.

To address these challenges, the Kalamazoo Environmental Council supports transportation policies that:

  • Encourage land uses that minimize travel requirements, strengthen local communities, towns and urban centers, and promote equal opportunity;
  • Minimize impacts on, and use of, land so as to preserve and protect open space and agricultural land, scenic resources and the integrity of natural systems and wild places;
  • Promote energy conservation and resource efficiency thus improving air and water quality;
  • Provide everyone including pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users, with adequate access to work places, schools, shopping, services, and recreation;
  • Eliminate subsidies, financial disincentives, and zoning barriers that inhibit achievement of the above goals; and
  • Ensure vigorous and effective public participation in transportation planning

Strategies to integrate transportation investments, community development, and land use planning may include:

  1. Designing multi-modal, regionally integrated transportation systems and employing community design principles that support walking, bicycling, and public transit use;
  2. Providing a range of transportation options to meet the mobility needs of all, regardless of car ownership, and regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, or income;
  3. Encouraging shorter trips by locating schools and neighborhood service and retail centers near residential areas;
  4. Strengthening and directing development toward existing communities;
  5. Maintaining existing infrastructure;
  6. Investing in inter-city transportation options, including rail and bus;
  7. Creating incentives for public/private investment in walkable neighborhoods and transit-oriented development.
  8. Developing strategies for more efficient land uses, including use of such tools as purchase/transfer of development rights (PDRs and TDRs) and Transit Oriented Development (TOD);
  9. Fully utilizing the funding opportunities available under the federal surface transportation act;
  10. Engaging the community in identifying needs, setting goals, and exploring options; and
  11. Encouraging municipal and township planning agencies to work with citizen groups, universities, business leaders, and non-profit organizations to develop and disseminate informational materials and programs that address the relationship between transportation and land use planning.

Adopted 28 February 2002, Revised 6 April 2012

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