Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Change the Behavior of Everyone

Recently the Hillsborough County Commission reappointed Karen Jaroch and Wallace Bowers to the HART board.  Steve Polzin, a real transportation expert, was not reappointed.
Polzin is not your average HART board member. Currently the Transit Research Program Director for the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) located on the USF Tampa campus, he has served in transit agencies in Dallas and Cleveland prior to coming to Tampa. His reign on the HART board was one of the longest as well, having been named to serve back in February of 2008.
Polzin is a real expert in the field of transportation, and his insight will be missed.

He was replaced by Mickey Jacob, an Executive Vice President of BDG Architects in Tampa. Jacob has been an architect in Tampa for 30 years.

Jacob has traveled the world in his architecture work, and his travels confirm everyone wants the same stuff:
"They want good transportation. They want a healthy lifestyle, great education, prosperity. Everyone wants the same stuff," he says. It's also allowed him how to see other regions handle transportation, something that nobody would dispute needs improvement in Hillsborough County.
"I don’t think anyone will disagree that we have a car-centric transportation system here, and it's a cultural issue, we have to look at the culture of our community to start to change the behavior of everyone to embrace different modes of transportation, and that’s not an easy process," he says.
"Change the behavior of everyone"?

That's interesting, if a bit alarming.  Will there be some behavioral training to ensure the masses behave as he expects? Mr. Jacob, can you elaborate on your best guidance and insight how to change the behavior of everyone so they will embrace the approved modes of transportation from the department of Central Planning?

I know that's not an easy process. It's not an easy question either.

Mr. Jacob, can we focus on improving mobility in the modes that the residents of Hillsborough overwhelmingly prefer?  How did we go from a mission of improving mobility to changing the behavior of everyone?
"I think HART is going to be the key element in our transportation strategy as we move forward in the next decade or two in the county and in our region," he told CL on Wednesday. "They are going to be an integral part of solving our mobility problem, and I think as an architect, as someone who's been involved in urban planning, I’m a huge proponent of creating the urban density necessary to support our public transition systems, and improve them, including rubber-wheel transit, rail transit. All these things that great cities have that I believe our city needs to have. And I think it’s a great opportunity to use my expertise as an architect and bring that to the board."
"I'm a huge proponent of creating the urban density necessary to support our public transition (sic) systems" ?

Hillsborough County Urban Density map

Click here for the full Hillsborough County Urban Density map.

If Jacob is a huge proponent of increasing urban density, where in Hillsborough does he support increasing urban density to support public transit... including rail transit? How many more people than the 1206 average per square mile in Hillsborough does he believe is optimal? Which neighborhoods of Tampa or Hillsborough County will he target for increased congestion densification?  Sulfur Springs or Hyde Park?  Why not improve the mobility of people where they are now?

Which is easier -- making solutions fit the problem, or making the problems fit the solutions we like? Which will be less expensive?

He's got some ideas and vision how you should live.  But it's really not the same as the same stuff we all want.

Jacob seems to prefer the world as he wants it be, rather than the world as it is, the real one the rest of us live in.  Just listen to wise men like Jacob, look in the mirror, admit your transgressions, change your behavior, and all will be fine.

Perhaps he'll change his behavior.  That should be easier than changing the behavior of everyone.

Don't bet on it.

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