Tackling Traffic in Carlsbad
Steve Aceti makes some good points in his opinion column, “Regional Transportation Plan Needs More Work,” in the Aug. 30 issue of the San Diego Business Journal. Commenting on Sandag’s North County transportation study, he recommended adding an entire new section on “Partnering with the Private Sector.”
For the past six months, we here in Carlsbad have been doing just that. The city of Carlsbad and the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce joined with some of the city’s largest employers to work on reducing traffic congestion on our streets. We are targeting the Palomar Airport Road corridor, where most of our major employers are centered.
The underlying problem is that 70 percent of our residents drive out of town to their jobs, and 70 percent of those who work in Carlsbad drive here from other cities.
Here are some of the things the Palomar Corridor Transportation Pilot Program Committee has done:
& #711; Designated Oct. 18-22 as Carlsbad Rideshare Week. We are asking major employers to distribute brochures and mass transit coupons for free rides on buses, the Coaster, the PAL Shuttle, and van pools.
& #711; Produced a brochure called Commuter Connections in Carlsbad, an easy-to-use listing of mass transit and commuter information, including schedules, phone numbers and Web sites.
& #711; Started compiling a list of local mobile businesses that bring their services to the workplace, so employees don’t have to drive around town for them.
& #711; Distributed a survey of employers to see what companies are doing to promote alternatives to driving alone. The survey itself is a list of dozens of ideas that can help reduce traffic.
& #711; Started compiling a database of where our employees live. This information will be used to facilitate carpools, vanpools and more-efficient bus routes.
& #711; Recognized a different local employer each month with a “Commuter Success Stories” column in the chamber newsletter and Web site.
Each of these items by itself may be just a small step, but our hope is that many small steps will add up to significant traffic relief. It won’t be easy, but it will indeed take the efforts of business and government working together to effect change.
Sobel is chief executive officer of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.
Address Health Care Crisis
If you saw the special on Channel 10 last week on health care, you would share my concerns. San Diego County is one of the worst providers of care to the working poor in California. One out of four , 645,000 residents in San Diego under the age of 65 has no health care insurance.
This is not only a public health issue, but also an economic one for all taxpayers. Someone is paying for the emergency room care that folks without insurance receive. Decline in quality of life, illness and sometimes death result from inaccessibility to health insurance.
The economy is good and crime is down. Now is the time to make health care the priority with the tobacco settlement funds.