Note: The opinions expressed in commentaries on KCAW are those of the authors, and are not necessarily shared by the station’s board, staff, or volunteers.
Hi, my name’s Peter Bradley.
And I’m Doug Osborne.
And I think we’ve both been thinking about transportation lately.
I bike, and you bike.
And I walk and you walk.
Although we both own cars. We own 2 of the 7,849 cars and personal vehicles in Sitka.
That’s right. And how many adult drivers are there?
Around 6,700-7,000 people of driving age. So there are more personal vehicles than there are people of driving age in Sitka. If you were to take all of those cars and line them up on both sides of the road from Sawmill Creek to Halibut Point Road, you would fill both lanes. That kind of blows me away. That means that in Sitka, on this island with 14 miles of road, we’re collectively spending between $25-50 million on our personal vehicles every year.
Wow! That’s a lot of money!
That’s a big investment in holding on to the current system.
And the current system is fueled by oil. Of the 7,849 cars, there are about 40 that are electric. Gas comes from out of town. Gas comes from oil, and oil is a finite resource. And so at some point this system’s going to change. It’s going to change fundamentally, because we don’t have enough oil to make it 500 years. And even if we did, if we look at the issues of climate change and pollution, it would be unwise to go with a system that has so many fundamental problems. So what are we going to do? The exciting thing is that this transformation is something that Sitka could be a real leader in. Sitka is in a real position to be an inspiration to the rest of our state, nation, and maybe the world. We have so many assets, and so many things that will help us. The first is a clean, renewable supply of energy from the dams. That could fuel a full complement of electric vehicles. We’re also so close together. Because of our proximity, walking and biking is very doable. And then on top of that we have some compelling reasons to lead this change and make this transition. One, of course, is that people care about their kids, but we also have an affordability issue, and the kind of transportation system we’ve been thinking of is one that is fair and affordable, and that’s going to help with that problem quite a bit. So I hope that some people will join us in thinking about this — and talking about this.
We’re going to have our first Transportation Transformation Conversation at the Island Institute at 304 Baranof Street at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 24. It’s open to everyone. Come on out and let’s chat about the way we move.