$4-$5 per gallon gas – brainstorming ideas

On Jan. 25, Transition Town State College hosted a discussion of the impacts of rising gasoline costs at Schlow Library. Twenty or so people attended; these are their thoughts on how $4-$5 per gallon gas will change our region and communities:

The average commute into State College is currently 27 miles, so rising gas prices will:

  • Increase demand for CATA rush hour buses from outlying communities to the core
  • Increase demand for an outer loop bus to connect outlying communities to each other
  • Increase demand for more dense housing patterns, with houses built closer together
  • Increase demand for more rational and direct street design, to better connect neighborhoods to each other and to the core, and reduce the distance between points (reducing cul-de-sac designs, for example)
  • Increase logical layout and number of bike paths, bike rights and path maintenance
  • Reestablish direct walking corridors in areas of previous right-of-ways dismantled by development
  • Increase demand for locally-grown food as transportation costs raise prices for imported food.
  • Increase the interest and practical effort communities (especially in outlying areas) invest in becoming more self-sufficient
  • Increase conversion of vacant/unsold homes in outlying towns into businesses, libraries, stores, health care clinics and other essential services for their communities
  • Increase carpooling, CATA use and ride shares. CATA owns  and organizes but doesn’t operate ride share vans (still gas-powered). The program is very sucessful and likely to become more so as gas prices rise.
  • Increase the number of CATA stops
  • Increase demand for using Internet, cellphone and other technology to request and coordinate CATA transport
  • Increase demand for existing businesses in outlying areas to become more full service and departmental (e.g. – Way Fruit Farm’s expanded market offerings)
  • Increase telecommuting
  • Reduce work week lengths
  • Increase demand for plug-in cars and CATA buses that run on locally-produced, renewable energy/electricity supplies
  • Increase likelihood of gas rationing as seen in the 1970s
  • Increase incentives for people to plan ahead to consolidate gas-powered errands & trips
  • Increase the ‘cool’ factor of non-car transport
  • Increase incentives to set up public rewards systems promoting non-car transport
  • Increase use of existing railroad connections, and redevelopment of historic tracks, to import and export goods and passengers between State College and other parts of Pennsylvania and mid-Atlantic region. Nittany & Bald Eagle Railroad recently won grants to improve their rail yard in Milesburg due to increased transport of fracking materials for Marcellus Shale.
  • Increase interest of governments in use of eminent domain poweres to reclaim RR right-of-ways
  • Increase cooperation between townships on transportation issues

Ideas for motivating community and public officials to get involved in transition planning:

  • Launch sustained public awareness campaigns
  • Initiate one-on-one conversations with neighbors, co-workers, etc.
  • Organize residents to conduct walking tours and self-assessments of their neighborhoods to identify needs and opportunities
  • Organize and exert political pressure on municipal officials
  • Use TT methods and networking to build a grassroots groundswell until 300 or more people attend an open space meeting and focus the attention of political decision-makers.
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6 Responses to $4-$5 per gallon gas – brainstorming ideas

  1. Terri Quici says:

    For long-distance commuter options, visit CATACOMMUTE for information about ridesharing (free ridematching, organized carpools and vanpools). Riding with just one other person cuts your expenses by 50% , reduces congestion and contributes to a healthier environment. Give it a try! http://www.catabus.com/ServiceSchedules/CATACOMMUTE/index.html

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