Business As Usual By Stuart Friedman
Local Mobility And Global Trade
May 7, 2013 – Long Beach recently released a draft version of the Mobility Element for the city’s General Plan. According to the city, the Mobility Element is designed to establish “an overview of the transportation infrastructure and multimodal strategies for the movement of people and goods.” It is not surprising that a place that is home to the nation’s second largest port includes the movement of goods in a discussion of mobility along with other topics more commonly addressed by general plans. These include passenger traffic, public transit, pedestrian-serving uses and bicycling.
But the role of cities and metropolitan regions in planning for freight mobility is taking on added significance given a lack of funding (and sometimes leadership) at the national level. Last year, the Brookings Institution – a D.C.-based think tank – and JPMorgan Chase launched a five-year Global Cities Initiative with the goals of helping U.S. regions become more competitive and expanding the global reach of their economies through, in part, manufacturing, exports, external investment and increased (and improved) freight flows. The chair of the project is former Chicago mayor Richard Daley.