Stocktonians demand walkability, more transportation options at General Plan meeting

Stocktonians want pedestrian friendly streets, more biking options and less investment in road widening. That’s the takeaway from data released by the city showing the results of a General Plan workshop survey conducted in August where citizens were asked to vote for their transportation priorities for the city.

Way back in August, the city held a General Plan workshop centered on Stockton’s transportation. As part of the workshop, participants were each handed ten tickets which they used to vote for their top transportation priorities. Participants could choose from categories such as cycling for commuting, public transportation, streetscapes and road widening. The city explained that the exercise will help staff craft a General Plan that is truly reflective of what citizens want with regards to mobility. The results of the voting have since been made public by the city and are available here.

The findings of this exercise are crystal clear: Stocktonians want more walking, biking and public transportation options. Take a look at this graphic recreated from data released by the city:

Source: City of Stockton, survey results from August

Source: City of Stockton, survey results from August 28th, 2014 General Plan Workshop on Transportation

As you can see, the overwhelming majority of votes cast were in favor of active transportation. 19% of votes were cast in favor of “Pedestrian Sidewalks & Walkability,” 14% for “Mass Transit,” and a combined 25% for cycling for commuting and recreation. Road widening—the only true auto-oriented option—doesn’t register until near the bottom with 6%. While this is by no means a scientific survey, it’s very telling. About 60 residents participated in the exercise according to the city, ranging from the usual advocates as well as private citizens who simply wanted their voices heard.

A big kudos is due to city staff for their creative approach to gathering public input on the General Plan. Many times, these workshops can be difficult to follow given their technical nature, but staff has found ways to make the process much more hands on for citizens. While it would be nice to see some of these workshops take place in different parts of the city, these most recent workshops are a nice change of pace from the typical, mundane general plan public meeting.

The workshop also accepted comments from participants and as noted by the city’s report, most of these comments were “decidedly negative towards enhanced investments to enhance auto infrastructure or otherwise promote auto travel.” The only exception were comments expressing concern over the lack of downtown parking options. Here’s a sample of some comments:

“Make every single street in Stockton safe to walk on. Pave every sidewalk with curb cuts!”

“Need more busses on weekends and need busses on holidays. How are people supposed to go anywhere? It needs to end later.”

“Safe bike paths would be fantastic – that lead to destination points would be even better. The Calaveras path is a good start if it was clean, safe and had additional paths around it.”

“Stockton has a fabulous climate and people like to be outside. People like to be where there is activity. Create beautiful streetscapes and encourage lot of safe pedestrian friendly districts and people will flock there.”

“Do not subsidize transportation infrastructure to fringe or leap frog development. Invest in existing neighborhoods, business corridors and revitalizing downtown.”

 

It is clear that Stocktonians are ready for a more progressive approach to planning, an approach that emphasizes pedestrians and cyclists over the private automobile. It’s up to the citizens to continue to demand these changes and to stay actively involved in this General Plan process. The next General Plan meeting will be held this Thursday at 6pm at City Hall.

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Categories: Transportation

Author:David A. Garcia

David A. Garcia founded SCL in March of 2012. He holds degrees from UCLA as well as Johns Hopkins University and currently works as the Chief Operating Officer at Ten Space in Downtown Stockton, and previously worked as a researcher/analyst for a congressional agency in Washington DC. The views expressed here are solely of the author.

7 Comments on “Stocktonians demand walkability, more transportation options at General Plan meeting”

  1. dan cort
    December 9, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    David, it is now time for implementation. These discussions have been making the rounds for decades. The community must take control of growth. It must limit itself not only for healthy planning purposes, but fiscally, we are at maximum capacity for police, fire, public works etc. Stop new growth until we have infilled and enforce the climate change agreements.

  2. Jon Seisa
    December 9, 2014 at 11:31 pm #

    One major caveat is the need to make walkability (and jogging) among pedestrians and biking for commute and recreation SAFE, where serious and meticulous attention to right-of-way, safety barriers, street redesign and reconstruction adjustments to dangerous intersections and danger zones, clearly marked crosswalks with warning lights, and street calming, all need to be invested features, because a downside trend is showing a marked increase not just in bike-auto related accidents across the nation, but in bike-pedestrian related accidents since the advent of urban biking has grown where there is population density.

    Street safety education among vehicular drivers, bikers and pedestrians needs to be facilitated. In 2013, NYC saw 309 crashes between bicyclists and pedestrians, including several unfortunate and tragic deaths caused by speeding cyclists. Biking excess speeds of 30 mph played a major role in bike-pedestrian crashes, because the cyclists could not stop adroitly. Most cyclists tend to ignore laws, like stopping at red lights, and thus jeopardizing safety for others.

  3. December 10, 2014 at 5:43 am #

    Decades have been lost in these sort of discussions leading nowhere. Enough of talk, time for action:

  4. December 10, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    “A big kudos is due to city staff for their creative approach to gathering public input on the General Plan. Many times, these workshops can be difficult to follow given their technical nature, but staff has found ways to make the process much more hands on for citizens. While it would be nice to see some of these workshops take place in different parts of the city, these most recent workshops are a nice change of pace from the typical, mundane general plan public meeting.”

    It would be nice to see workshops using the “tickets” method used not just in different parts of Stockton, but in other Valley cities also. What a great idea!

    I suspect results in other Valley cities would mirror the findings in Stockton.

    Kudos is right!

  5. Jon Seisa
    December 14, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    Here is some great inspiration from the book “WALKABLE CITY” by author Jeff Speck and relayed by Smart Growth guru Kaid Benfield:

    “10 Techniques for Making Cities More Walkable”: http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2012/12/10-techniques-making-cities-more-walkable/4047/

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Stockton CA Wants Better Transit, Biking, and Sidewalks, Not Wider Roads | Streetsblog Chicago - December 10, 2014

    […] Residents of Stockton, CA, told the city they want better transit and active transportation, not more car infrastructure. Image: City of Stockton via Stockton City Limits […]

  2. Stockton CA Wants Better Transit, Biking, and Sidewalks, Not Wider Roads | Streetsblog.net - December 10, 2014

    […] Residents of Stockton, CA, told the city they want better transit and active transportation, not more car infrastructure. Image: City of Stockton via Stockton City Limits […]

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