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:
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.