Monthly Archives: February 2011

We are “Pro-Growth”… But Only on Our Terms

We are “Pro-Growth”… But Only on Our Terms

By Dom Nozzi

Frequently, citizens striving to protect their neighborhood or community quality of life find themselves opposing most, if not all, proposed new developments in their community.

And who can blame them?

After all, communities across the nation have seen the charming, unique, pleasant characteristics of their towns and cities degraded over and over again by a new development paradigm that emerged roughly at the time of World War II. Prior to that time, we designed our communities to make people happy. But since then, our primary development imperative has been to make our Fords and GMs happy. Our pick-up trucks and sedans have vastly different needs than little Judy and Aunt Suzie. Cars like vast spaces for enormous asphalt parking lots and high-speed roads. People like modest, safe, human-scaled, slow-speed, quiet places.

As Fred Kent once said, whatever a traffic engineer tells your town to do, do the opposite and you’ll improve your community.

By focusing on making our cars happy, we have unintentionally made it harder to live without a car, because happy cars make it so much more difficult and unpleasant to be a pedestrian, a transit user or a bicyclist. Therefore, a growing number of us are increasingly dependent on car travel and are increasingly obligated to argue for the needs of our SUVs instead of our kids. It is a vicious cycle, because the more we improve conditions for cars, the more we need our cars and the more, in turn, a growing army of us plead for improved conditions for cars.

Note, too, that because “improved” conditions for cars undercuts the quality of life for people, there is a growing desire to flee the degraded, car-happy community for remote, sprawling locations. Locations that lock people into even more car dependency because trip distances are now so enormous.

We are, then, trapped in a vicious cycle. And become our own worst enemies. Which helps explain why it has become so very common today for citizens to loudly protest against nearly all development—development that for the past 60 years has suggested to citizens that, once again, the proposed project is another crappy, car-happy, community-tarnishing project to be inflicted on us.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Even the not-in-my-backyard “no growthers” can, slowly, become pro-growth if we return to the timeless tradition. The tradition of designing for happy people instead of happy cars.

For example, let’s say a new development is proposed in our community. Due to its car-friendly design and remote location, it is expected to produce a great many new car trips.

But instead of deciding to spend an enormous amount of public dollars to widen our roads or install new intersection turn lanes to “accommodate” the new growth (thereby harming our quality of life and small town charm), a community can choose to draw a line in the sand. Your growth can happen here, but only on our terms.

We welcome your new development if it exemplifies some or all of the following:

1. The development is a form of infill development. A new development within the heart of our community which either replaces an underused property (such as a parking lot) or refurbishes and re-uses a vacant building.

2. The development is modest, quiet and human-scaled. A new development that is modest in height and not a skyscraper (no more than 5 stories). That uses a modest parking lot behind its building. That pulls the building up to the sidewalk to provide a vibrant, walkable ambience. That does not create noise problems for nearby properties. That does not use glaring, obnoxious signs or lights, or day-glow building colors. That builds modest, narrow streets with low design speeds. Indeed, modest building setbacks and narrow streets are the fundamental building blocks of place-making. That is, instead of creating an over-sized no-man’s-land where only a car could be happy, the new development creates intimate spacing which delivers a sense of place. A sense of community. A place where people feel pleasant, sociable, safe, and proud of their town.

3. The development respects the public realm. A new development that uses buildings which respect the public realm, instead of turning its back to it. An entrance faces the street. Building ornamentation is incorporated (instead of bland, boxy design). Generous sidewalk-level windows are used. The building fits into the context of the neighborhood.

4. The development is self-sufficient and sustainable. A new development contains a mix of uses, incorporates energy-efficient strategies and is walkable in scale and design. Such a design promotes proximity, which promotes transportation choice and sustainability.

5. The development obligates cars to be “well-behaved” and optional. A new development that accepts being served by off-site streets that remain modestly-sized, instead of obligating that 2- or 3-lane roads become high-speed, 5- or 7-lane superhighways. Any streets internal to the development are similarly modest in size, connected, and low speed. Similarly, any off-street parking that is part of the development is small in size, hidden from view, and has its price “unbundled” from the price of any housing that is part of the development.

Ultimately, by following most or all of the above principles, a great many of the “no growth” NIMBYs can become pro-growth “YIMBYs” (yes in my back yard).

If the developer finds the traffic “intolerable” with our small-town streets, perhaps the developer should consider not building in our town. We are fiercely proud of our community, and want to retain our charm. We refuse to be a doormat and let you have your way with us.

We insist on building and protecting a quality habitat for people, not a habitat for cars.

_________________________________________________

Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

Or email me at: dom[AT]walkablestreets.com

50 Years Memoir CoverMy memoir can be purchased here: Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

My book, The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607Car is Enemy cover

My book, Road to Ruin, can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

Run for Your Life! Dom’s Dangerous Opinions blog

http://domdangerous.wordpress.com/

My Town & Transportation Planning website

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

My Plan B blog

https://domz60.wordpress.com/

My Facebook profile

http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi

My YouTube video library

http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi

My Picasa Photo library

https://picasaweb.google.com/105049746337657914534

My Author spotlight

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/domatwalkablestreetsdotcom

 

 

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Filed under Bicycling, Miscellaneous, Politics, Sprawl, Suburbia, Urban Design, Walking

Making American Streets Safer

By Dom Nozzi

As a lifelong bicycle commuter who has suffered from trying to bike on hostile American roads, I appreciate and completely understand the terrified, negative impressions of those who bicycle or walk our streets. After all, they must regularly face the hostility of American motorists.

For many years, it seemed obvious what the solution to this problem needs to be: More caution signs, caution lights, caution road markings, safety education for bicyclists and pedestrians, helmets and lights and bright clothing for bicyclists and pedestrians, etc., etc., etc. Indeed, this solution seems so common sensical that road engineers in America have given us stronger and stronger doses of this remedy over the past several decades.

Urging bicyclists and pedestrians to be safer, by the way, is a form of blaming the victim. The root problem is unsafe motorist behavior. True safety will never be achieved if we focus on making the victim safer, rather than compelling the motorist to drive more safely.

Why do American roads seem to be in a downward spiral of increasingly hostile, unsafe, reckless, car-only death traps?

I firmly believe that the answer is not that Americans, somehow, are genetically hard-wired to be unsafe, enraged, irresponsible drivers. Or that bicyclists and pedestrians are recklessly unaware of how to be safe. That, mysteriously, only Europeans (where transportation safety is much higher) have a culture or a gene pool that is courteous and safe when it comes to travel.

I cannot buy this notion because I am a scientist and a cultural materialist. The behavior and ideas of nearly all of us is largely shaped by the material conditions we experience in our everyday world. It is not due to unexplainable, cynical differences in culture or genes between Americans and non-Americans.

What are those material conditions that Americans have faced for several decades now?

Forgiving Roads

Forgiving road design says that roads should be wide and free of obstructions. Remove on-street parking or nearby trees on the shoulder of the street!

Such design “forgives” the motorist who drives recklessly and inattentively high-speed because there is less for the driver to crash into if driving mistakes are made. The unintended consequence that surprised us (but should not have been a surprise) has been a substantial growth in high-speed, inattentive driving by Americans. Nearly all drivers drive at the maximum speed at which they feel safe. Forgiving roads ratchet up that safe speed. They also encourage folks to, for example, put on make-up or talk on the cell phone while driving. “Why not?,” says the motorist. We are so busy these days that we need to multi-task as much as possible, and the forgiving road makes it easier for us multi-task, because we don’t need to be very attentive.

The forgiving road is the common sense design paradigm that assumes that American drivers are reckless and unsafe. Unfortunately, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because it breeds a growing number of high-speed, inattentive, unsafe drivers. Again, it is material conditions that deliver us the behavior we see, not mysterious cultural or genetic differences.

An Absence of “Safety in Numbers”

An essential, perhaps overriding tactic for a bicycle and pedestrian safety is to promote those tactics that are most effective in inducing large numbers of citizens to become bicycle and pedestrian commuters.

“Safety in Numbers” needs to be promoted and leveraged. Large numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians create a self-perpetuating herd mentality: when non-bicyclists and non-pedestrians see lots of fellow citizens bicycling and walking, they are increasingly likely to join the herd. They are more likely to identify with bicyclists and pedestrians (rather than seeing them as annoying, in-my-way weirdos). When there are a lot of bicyclists or pedestrians, bicycling and walking is more likely to be seen as safe, hip, and normal.

When there are large numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians using streets on a regular basis, motorists are more likely to expect to see bicyclists and pedestrians. Expectation improves safety, in part because surprise is reduced. In addition, when motorists commonly see in-street bicycle lanes, crosswalks and sidewalks being used by bicyclists and pedestrians, the motorist learns how to drive more safely near bicyclists and pedestrians.

How do we grow the number of bicyclists and pedestrians to achieve the immense power of “safety in numbers”?

As a 20-year city planner, writer, researcher and town designer, I believe the following are some of the most powerful tactics to increase the bicyclist and pedestrian population:

 Scarce & priced car parking.

 Proximity (via mixed use and higher residential densities).

 Relatively high gas prices (via a gas tax).

 Short block lengths and connected streets.

 Slow-speed street design (via attentive rather than forgiving street design).

 Converting one-way streets back to two-way streets.

 Oppose all road and intersection widening projects, especially those done in the name of safety or capacity; wider roads and intersections are among the biggest deterrents to walking and cycling. Those roads and intersections that are already over-sized (four or more lanes, or one or two turning lanes) should be dieted down to safe, low-speed, human-scaled sizes.

 Full-time local government staff assigned to bicycling and pedestrian commuting.

Enormous Car Subsidies

Nearly all Americans exclusively drive on free roads and park in free parking lots. This is a huge subsidy to driving a car everywhere. The consequence is that, for all intents and purposes, we end up essentially begging people to drive a car for all trips with these market-distorting subsidies. The result is that we artificially create more motorist trips than would occur naturally. We artificially reduce the number of people who walk, bicycle or use transit with this overwhelming form of auto socialism. The subsidy makes it extremely irrational for someone not to drive a car everywhere, no matter how short or trivial the trip.

As a result, the near absence of pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users in America means that there is no “safety in numbers” for such travelers. Motorists in America are not accustomed to encountering such travelers. Consequently, many do not know how to safely share the road with them. Or are surprised when, on rare occasions, they encounter one.

And surprised motorists are unsafe motorists.

Still others are enraged by such travelers who, because they are so rare (and therefore “weird” or otherwise dysfunctional), are seen as annoying obstacles getting in the way of “real” travelers who are engaged in “serious” travel.

In other words, were it not for the big subsidies, there would be a lot more people bicycling, walking or using transit. They would be a lot safer. Motorists who would be seeing them more often would expect to encounter them more often, and therefore be more safe and courteous near them.

Traffic Calming

Calming strives to design a road in such a way as to force the motorist to slow down. Calming reduces the speed at which the motorist feels safe, which results in slower average car speeds. It also forces the motorist to be more attentive. Not paying attention can, for example, lead to a sudden jolt when unexpectedly reaching a speed hump or roundabout. An enormous number of high-quality studies throughout the world have shown that calming results in substantial increases in safety, higher quality neighborhoods, and more non-auto travel.

Perhaps the single most effective way for pedestrians and bicyclists to feel safer on streets (and to encourage people to walk and bicycle more often) is to slow down car speeds.

Friction and Road Diets

Roads need more “friction” in most cases. One-way streets, excessively-sized streets (such as five-, six- or eight-lane monsters), big vision triangles at intersections, wide travel lanes, removal of on-street parking, and removal of trees and buildings from street shoulders all serve to reduce friction and create a “racetrack” road feel that says to the driver: “You can drive like Mario Andretti and chat on a cell phone while driving here!” Counter-intuitively, it is actually safer to increase street friction because it forces motorists to slow down and be more attentive. As a bicyclist or pedestrian, I earnestly hope that the motorist is obligated (by road design) to be attentive to his/her driving, instead of discussing, say, a soap opera on the phone. Therefore, we need to convert one-way streets to two-way, start removing lanes on streets with more than 3 lanes (i.e., put them on a diet), shrink vision triangles, narrow lane widths, restore on-street parking, restore large canopy street trees, and pull buildings up to the streetside sidewalks.

Minimize Caution Clutter

The Forgiving Road design paradigm, and the litigious nature of our society, means that our roads and their signage have become cluttered with a confusing, overwhelming blizzard of cautionary warnings. A common way for the human mind to cope with this proliferation of cautionary clutter is to tune much of it out (which also applies to strip commercial retail signage, where the explosion of signage drowns out individual signs because there are so many signs shouting at the motorist). As a result, when we use caution signs, caution lights and caution road markings more modestly, they tend to be acknowledged and obeyed more readily by the motorist.

The Road to Safety

In sum, it should not surprise us that the safest, most attentive and courteous driving occurs in communities where we find relatively large numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists. And where we have avoided high-speed, overly-wide, forgiving, caution-cluttered road design.

Compact development patterns, and narrow, tree-lined streets with on-street parking, modest building setbacks, and tight street intersection vision triangles breed safer, slower, more attentive driving that increases non-auto travel and makes such travel safer.

Conversely, the American paradigm of big, frictionless, subsidized, forgiving roads and parking cluttered with caution signage breeds unsafe, high-speed, inattentive driving that seems to deliver a worsening problem over time. The more we apply this conventional “medicine,” the worse our roads and motorists seem to become.

We Americans have met the enemy and he/she is us…

Differences between road-raged, reckless American drivers and those in, say, Europe, are more due to how we have designed our roads. They are not based on unexplainable cultural or genetic factors.

One definition of insanity is to continue to apply the same tactic to solve a problem despite the repeated failure of the tactic.

We need to radically change the paradigm for road safety, as I outline above, to make meaningful progress in road safety.

_________________________________________________

Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

Or email me at: dom[AT]walkablestreets.com

50 Years Memoir CoverMy memoir can be purchased here: Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

My book, The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607Car is the Enemy book cover

My book, Road to Ruin, can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

Run for Your Life! Dom’s Dangerous Opinions blog

http://domdangerous.wordpress.com/

My Town & Transportation Planning website

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

My Plan B blog

https://domz60.wordpress.com/

My Facebook profile

http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi

My YouTube video library

http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi

My Picasa Photo library

https://picasaweb.google.com/105049746337657914534

My Author spotlight

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/domatwalkablestreetsdotcom

 

 

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Filed under Bicycling, Economics, Politics, Road Diet, Sprawl, Suburbia, Urban Design, Walking

Categories of “Environmentalists”

By Dom Nozzi

This blog is mostly inspired by the Hogtown Creek Greenway Wars I was a part of in Gainesville FL in the 1990s. Lots of folks bitterly opposed that bike/pedestrian trail. Most of these people called themselves “environmentalists.” The fact that they were opposing low-impact travel (biking & walking) was one of many clues that they were really just NIMBYs who wanted the environmental label to achieve the moral high ground.

Similarly, as a town planner, I often saw “environmentalists” oppose low-impact infill development (infill is commonly recognized as essential for conservation).

One of the reasons it is important to categorize those who call themselves “environmentalists” is that I believe it is important to have “truth in advertising.” Hypocrisy has always been a pet peeve of mine.

In addition, the term “environmentalist” loses credibility when anyone, regardless of their lifestyle or agenda, can call themselves “environmentalists.”

My list of categories is not meant to suggest only environmental professionals are legitimate “environmentalists.” Activists and non-activists can be “true” environmentalists as long as their lifestyle, knowledge and agenda is consistent with that label.

Remember: Folks like Reagan and James Watt referred to themselves as environmentalists.

There are a number of different categories of “environmentalists.”

Environmental professionals are those who hold advanced college degrees in environmental science. Nearly all of the folks who fall into this category hold a job in the environmental sciences. Such jobs as laboratory/research/field scientist, a faculty professor, or a bureaucrat. This group tends not to enter into public debates about the environment.

Armchair environmentalists are those who have little or no college-level education in the environmental sciences. They therefore tend to be quite naïve about such matters. Most in this group call themselves environmentalists — whether their behavior reflects such self-styled definition or not — because our culture and media (appropriately, I might add) are so completely saturated with calls for environmental conservation that considering oneself an environmentalist is seen by nearly all of us as a virtue that all “right-thinking” people adhere to. When asked, almost all of us want to be seen as a “good” person by assuring others that “of course I’m an environmentalist.”

Better Homes and Gardens environmentalists are those, like the armchair environmentalists, who know little about the environment, but have a “Good Housekeeping” concern for creating a tidy, neat, clean community. Like the strategic environmentalist, the “Martha Stewart environmentalist” knows that calling oneself an environmentalist is a way to be listened to when pushing an agenda (such as recycling, litter clean-ups, etc.).

Environmental activists are those who may or may not be well-educated in the environmental sciences, but have strong enough emotions about conserving the environment that they are quite eager to engage themselves in public debates about the environment.

Strategic environmentalists are those who call themselves environmentalists as a way to better achieve an objective. For example, some developers are careless when it comes to developing in an environmentally sound manner, yet know that because all “good” people are seen as environmentalists, will refer to themselves as environmentalists simply as a way to achieve the “moral high ground” in a debate. Commonly, this group will call themselves “environmentalists” as a way to “greenwash” a development project they are proposing. Another group of strategic environmentalist are the politicians who call themselves environmentalists simply because it is a way to be more popular with voters. And finally, another example is what Andres Duany calls the “NIMBY (not in my back yard) disguised as an environmentalist.” These people find that by adopting the “environmentalist” mantle, they are able to be seen as morally admirable and concerned about the welfare of the community or wildlife, even if they know little about environmental science, and even if their day-to-day behavior is environmentally atrocious. Today, this group has become quite large, politically important, and growing in size. They use the “environmentalist” label as a way to hide the fact that they primarily have selfish interests rather than community interests in mind. They grasp at any device that can be used to stop a proposed development “in their backyard,” even if it is beneficial to the overall community. NIMBYs increasingly disguise themselves as environmentalists because they know that “protecting the environment” is a much more persuasive argument in stopping a development than the self-serving “not in my backyard.”

Sky is falling environmentalists are those that, while usually well-informed about the environment, will use unwarranted alarm-ism and exaggeration as a means to provoke a community into increasing conservation efforts. While well-meaning, this group creates the “cry wolf” risk. That is, by exaggerating environmental dangers, this group might create the impression that environmentalists are not credible. If an exaggerated fear turns out to be false, people are more likely to discount future environmental concerns that are, indeed, based on a great deal of reliable evidence and probability. Yet the community might not take action because the alarm bell rang by the sky is falling environmentalists was unreliable in the past.

In sum, calling oneself an “environmentalist” can mean many different things. We therefore need to be careful about how that term is used, and how to react to it.

_________________________________________________

Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

Or email me at: dom[AT]walkablestreets.com

50 Years Memoir CoverMy memoir can be purchased here: Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

My book, The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607Car is the Enemy book cover

My book, Road to Ruin, can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

Run for Your Life! Dom’s Dangerous Opinions blog

http://domdangerous.wordpress.com/

My Town & Transportation Planning website

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

My Plan B blog

https://domz60.wordpress.com/

My Facebook profile

http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi

My YouTube video library

http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi

My Picasa Photo library

https://picasaweb.google.com/105049746337657914534

My Author spotlight

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/domatwalkablestreetsdotcom

 

 

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Filed under Environment, Politics

What Can Be Done to Stop Highway Widenings?

By Dom Nozzi

What can be done to stop the efforts to widen highways?

After my many years of observing the situation in America (particularly in “enlightened” cities that should know better), I’ve come to conclude that almost nothing can be done proactively.

Because car travel is a self-perpetuating vicious cycle, we find that nearly everyone in a car-centric culture becomes a cheerleader for big roads and big parking lots — be they Democrats, Republicans, Anarchists, Socialists, Environmentalists, Feminists, or whatever.

When our communities adopt car travel as the only way to get around, the imperative is to do everything possible to make cars happy instead of people. That eventually makes it impossible to travel by means other than by car. And the more we are forced to make trips by car, the more compelled we are to fight for bigger roads and bigger parking lots.

The grim fact is that this is a zero-sum game. That is, every time we make cars happier, we concurrently worsen our community for people.

Unfortunately, I only see two ways out of this road to ruin:

First, communities might no longer able to devastate themselves by widening roads because they can no longer find the money to do so. Happily, this is increasingly becoming the situation in certain parts of the US. It is no mystery why certain places are suddenly becoming enlightened about promoting transportation choice. The reason for enlightenment is that they cannot afford to continue doing everything for cars. This scenario is the more likely one to save us from disaster.

A second way is to elect wise, courageous people who have the vision to be leaders on this issue. Not likely since, as I point out above, most voters are car cheerleaders. Sometimes, however, voters make a “mistake” and vote for someone who “gets it.” But then, it becomes a question of whether such an elected official can, before leaving office, quickly find the allies and the strategies to effectively “cut the legs out” from the forces that are driving us toward a doomed future of sprawl and car dependence. To do this, the official must somehow find ways to put a number of major and minor community roads on a “diet” (remove travel lanes), stop any plans to widen roads, put a halt to the construction of big parking lots, and reduce the size of existing, over-sized parking lots (preferably by redeveloping them with buildings).

In general, the second way (electing leaders) usually happens only if the first way (bankruptcy) has occurred.

Note, too, that I am an enormous advocate of traffic congestion in cities (gasp!). I much prefer the more effective tool of charging people to drive on roads (sometimes called “congestion fees”), but establishing such fees is almost always politically impossible.

That leaves us with the second best solution: congestion. Congestion is an effective tool because it adds a “time tax” to people who drive cars. The time tax starts discouraging one of the most important problems we see in the field of transportation these days: The low-value car trip (the person who, say, drives across town on a major street at rush hour to rent a video).

As an aside, congestion is also helpful because it discourages people from living in sprawl locations, it slows car speeds, it reduces the severity of car crashes, it promotes densification and infill, it promotes transportation choice, it reduces air pollution and gas consumption, it promotes mixed use, and it helps smaller, locally-owned businesses. There are a number of additional benefits, but I’ll stop with these.

Because “low-value” car trips are ordinarily not discouraged (because we make it “free” to drive on roads), the time tax that comes from congestion can play a useful role. Some of those low-value trips might happen before or after rush hour. Or use a different route. Or be by transit, bicycle or foot.

The last thing we want is to have low-value trips clog up our major streets at rush hour — particularly because there are higher-value trips on those streets (such as an emergency trip to the hospital).

The disastrous, common “solution” to streets clogged partially by low-value trips is to bankrupt ourselves by pouring millions of public dollars into widening the clogged street. Widening, of course, short-circuits the self-regulating influence of congestion. After widening, we are, in effect, subsidizing and welcoming low-value trips at rush hour.

Not only that, but the millions spent usually only alleviates congestion for about 5 years, after which the congestion re-emerges. But this time, it is congestion on a bigger road (frankly, I prefer congestion on a 3-lane road to congestion on a 6-lane road).

It is irrational and sickening to see communities destroy themselves — at public expense — to subsidize low-value car trips.

How many times must we say it? How many times must we point out that “We cannot build (widen) our way out of congestion”?

As I often say, we are our own worst enemies. Which traps us into driving ourselves, in a downward spiral, down the road to ruin…

_________________________________________________

Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

Or email me at: dom[AT]walkablestreets.com

50 Years Memoir CoverMy memoir can be purchased here: Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

My book, The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607Car is the Enemy book cover

My book, Road to Ruin, can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

Run for Your Life! Dom’s Dangerous Opinions blog

http://domdangerous.wordpress.com/

My Town & Transportation Planning website

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

My Plan B blog

https://domz60.wordpress.com/

My Facebook profile

http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi

My YouTube video library

http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi

My Picasa Photo library

https://picasaweb.google.com/105049746337657914534

My Author spotlight

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/domatwalkablestreetsdotcom

 

 

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Filed under Economics, Politics, Road Diet, Sprawl, Suburbia, Urban Design