As regular readers of this blog may know, I have spent the last four years working with a diverse team of innovators on an advanced harbor freight handling project, one whose ultimate goal is to put as many cargo containers as possible onto railroad trains for transport—not just Union Pacific and BNSF surface trains, but also our own patent-pending all-electric underground shuttle train for local deliveries here in Los Angeles. Most of this freight now goes onto trucks that dominate freeways, jam surface streets, pollute the air, depress public health (especially in poorer communities), and wreak havoc on the roads. GRID, as it is called, would be a big step to the cleaner, healthier, more human-scaled, and more prosperous world that we all dream of.
Minimizing this truck traffic would mean a lot to the bicycle riders of eastern LA County. Although most complaints about port traffic focus on the freeways, all those trucks have to traverse surface streets to get to the freeways, and again to get to the railyards and warehouses where they deliver their loads. And they cause congestion, and even carnage, on those surface streets—the same ones we ride every day. Trucks cause proportionately more crashes than cars, and they are more devastating crashes. Especially for cyclists and pedestrians. As the NHTSA notes, “In 2012, large trucks accounted for 4 percent of all registered vehicles and 9 percent of the total vehicle miles traveled. In 2012, these large trucks accounted for 8 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes.”
Not only that, heavy trucks batter the streets we ride, leaving cracks, heaves, potholes, and shattered asphalt in our path. And cities big and small have to spend ever-growing proportions of ever-diminishing tax revenues to repair those streets, leaving less money in the pot for progressive transportation development. Including, of course, bikeways! As you may know, Portland’s entire bike network has cost less over the last twenty years than a single mile of four-lane freeway in the same city. In effect, every mile of freeway built is an entire bike plan thrown away.
And GRID, if we can get it built (using private money!), would eliminate the need for the expensive and destructive 710 freeway “upgrades” planned by the County—bigger, deadlier freeways that would increase, not reduce, congestion regionwide.
GRID is entered in a competition for one of ten LA2050 grants of $100,000 each. This grant would let us concentrate on funding the CSUN feasibility study we need to convince venture capitalists that GRID would provide a good return on their investments, and so let us move towards actual design and construction. Details on how the grant would help, and on GRID itself, are on our project page at LA2050’s GOOD.is website, where you and your friends can vote for GRID to be one of the ten grant winners. Simply go to the URL below and place your vote! It’s easy and quick, and could kickstart the future of Southern California by helping GRID move that much closer to becoming a reality. (It does require creating an account, but LA2050 has nothing to sell and will not spam you. You can also sign in with your Facebook ID, and you do not have to be in Los Angeles, or even in California, to cast your vote.)
If you want to tell your friends, please send them this email-friendly URL: http://tinyurl.com/LA2050GRID
Votes are accepted only till September 16th, so visit the link today and make your mark for GRID, then tell your friends and colleagues!