Despite Modesto being one of the largest and most agriculturally active cities in California, unemployment remains embarrassingly high. Some say "good" employment news is a dip below 15 percent. As agriculture is our current economic anchor, it's unreasonable to insist the only way out of this is to pave over agriculture.
Unfortunately, the Chamber of Commerce is using scare tactics to insist on a pavement panacea. Does pavement grow industry? What kind? More Wal-Marts? Worse, some City Council members are on board! The letters against opening 10th Street are inspiring. Modestans know what is needed and are commenting.
Will our public servants listen to us or the Chamber? If one looks at any successful large city, a bustling and economically active downtown includes ample foot traffic. Foot traffic and public transit should be encouraged as an agricultural community should be good environmental stewards. The city is making great strides in this and deserves credit.
An alternative solution, then, is to focus on sustainability and become an environmentally friendly city. We should not be limited to the more roads-more pavement mantra. It takes organizing and coming together to challenge this. Let's get together now, before the more roads policy takes hold and keeps us further apart.