Open Letter to the SANDAG Board on Public Transportation

SANDAG controls the funding for San Diego’s transportation systems. San Diego has a lot of highways, terrible traffic at commute times, and public transit that usually takes about 6x as much time as the same journey in a private vehicle. No wonder 76% of San Diegans drive alone for their commute!

San Diego is a vastly sprawled area. Efficient transportation is a hard problem to solve. But it is important that SANDAG prioritize public transportation in order to improve livability, reduce congestion, and cut vehicle miles traveled. I’m asking that leadership regularly use the public transportation system they are responsible for, so that they can understand the needs and priorities of the system’s users.

This letter was also submitted to the SANDAG public comment email, to be given to board members at their meeting on the March 10th. I’m planning to attend, you can too!

Hi, I’m Kelsey– I spoke at your SANDAG retreat and urged you all to take public transportation at least once a week. The intent is to ensure that you have a strong personal understanding of the system and the challenges its users face. This is a common practice in my industry. It’s a great way to prioritize issues and stay in touch with the people you build for.

I’m writing in to remind you of my request. In the month of February, have you taken public transportation at least four times? If not, why not?

If you’re choosing not to take public transit because it is inconvenient, then so are your mostly-solo-driving constituents. That means you aren’t taking cars off of the road. It means that public transit is what you use only if there is no other option. In other words, it is a terrible product.

If you are taking public transit regularly, great! I am glad you find it effective and efficient. But I would be surprised if this is true for any of you.

I would like to repeat my earlier request: please, each of you, personally resolve to take public transit at least once a week. Your decisions in this area dictate the daily lives of many; it seems fair that they should occasionally dictate part of yours.