Local Leaders Tackle Top Community Issue: Transportation

Nationally recognized sustainable transportation leader Dr. Susan Handy delivers keynote address at Napa Valley Vintners-hosted forum


10/29/2015 - Napa, CA - Nearly 100 Napa County officials, thought leaders, business representatives and vintners gathered today to learn about local transportation issues and to share ideas for innovative solutions at a forum hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) nonprofit trade association. According a community opinion poll NVV conducted in 2014, traffic congestion is among the top local concerns for Napa County residents.

"The wine community is ready to do its part to help solve local transportation issues, but we can’t do it alone," commented NVV Board Chairman David R. Duncan of Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars. "It’s very promising that today this group of leaders agreed to some innovative new ideas and action steps that we can take as a community to implement positive change."

Following a series of presentations about the state of traffic and potential transportation solutions in Napa County, forum attendees broke into small groups to brainstorm ideas to address local transit challenges. Suggestions and agreements included:

  • Encouraging businesses to create employee incentives to change commuting habits;
  • Rallying large employers to provide shuttles to and from VINE bus stops;
  • Implementing options for employees to work variable shift times or telecommute;
  • Encouraging a county-wide increase in traffic impact fees;
  • Renewing outreach efforts to other rural or tourism-based communities that have had success and seek input to help Napa Valley model its approach;
  • Bringing together representatives from the unincorporated county with those from the municipalities to tailor viable solutions for differing parts of the community that can address varying needs;
  • Committing to reconvene in January 2016 to keep community leaders focused on executing ideas and implementing solutions to the community’s number one issue, traffic and transportation.
To set the stage for the breakout sessions, Dr. Susan Handy, U.C. Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy professor and director of the Sustainable Transportation Center, delivered the forum’s keynote address. Dr. Handy talked about Napa Valley’s particular transportation challenges and concepts behind behaviors related to traffic problems. She then offered both micro and macro transit solutions, including on-demand bus routes, private commuter networks, ridesharing, electronic bikes and driverless cars.

"It is futile to try to solve the transportation problem by eliminating traffic," said Dr. Handy. "Instead, you need to give people alternatives to driving their cars."

Other speakers included John Dunbar, Yountville mayor and board chairman of the Napa Valley Transit Authority (NVTA), who shared the organization’s countywide transportation plan. Barbara Insel, founder of Stonebridge Research, reviewed key learnings from four recent Napa County travel-related studies. Napa County Planning Director David Morrison gave an update regarding the Circulation Element from the Napa County General Plan. Calistoga Mayor and Executive Director of that town’s Chamber of Commerce, Chris Canning spoke about a new private bus system for hospitality workers being rolled out in his community.

Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon was one of the local leaders in attendance at today’s forum and had this to say about the gathering: "I’m excited by everyone’s receptivity to talk about real change to help solve transportation problems in our community."

For more information about how the wine community is addressing transportation and other local issues, visit napavintners.com/ournapa.

About the Napa Valley Vintners
The Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit trade association has been cultivating excellence since 1944 by inspiring its more than 525 members to consistently produce wines of the highest quality, to provide environmental leadership and to care for the extraordinary place they call home. Learn more at napavintners.com.

Contact: Patsy McGaughy, Communications Director 707.968.4207 pmcgaughy@napavintners.com


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