Tag Archives: Economics

Good Idea to Design Communities With Citizen Referendums?

By Dom Nozzi

In 2008, community activists in Florida fed up with what was happening to their communities due to bad land development and growing traffic congestion proposed to change the Florida constitution to allow direct democracy to play an important role in development decisions, rather than trust their elected officials to make wise decisions on their own.

Small wonder.

Over the past several decades, approval of awful developments was an epidemic. For many angry citizens, then, it seemed like a good idea if citizens were allowed to vote by referendum on proposed land use and zoning change.images

My thoughts on the matter…

This nation has suffered from several decades of artificially low energy costs and enormous subsidies of various sorts for suburban sprawl (with big (unpriced) roads and free parking leading the way). These factors have caused massive distortions to the market signals that most citizens respond to by preferring a car-based sprawl lifestyle. As a result, our cities have been abandoned as residential and commercial has decanted to sprawl locations.

Healthy cities require agglomeration economies to thrive. That is, cities become healthier when they become denser, more intensive and more concentrated in jobs, retail and housing (that is, more compact). The substantial and long-standing dispersal due to sprawl, then, has been deadly to cities, which have mostly become emaciated, scary ghost towns populated by a dwindling number of dysfunctional people who have no other housing choice but to live in the squalor of abandonment, highway overpasses, auto pollution, and the poverty of a dying city downtown.

Concurrently, there is substantial market pressure to grow houses (instead of corn or panthers) in formerly remote cornfields and natural areas (i.e., big profits due to big demand for such housing — demand that would be nearly non-existent without free-to-use big roads and parking). So much pressure that corruption of elected officials is nearly inevitable, as developers have an enormous vested interest in “contributing to” [bribing?] elected officials willing to enable a growth in sprawl markets (through bigger roads, more parking, sprawl upzoning, etc.).

What is to be done to save valuable outlying areas, reduce the pressure to sprawl, and restore the city? (which is clearly needed if our civilization is to have any future at all)

Personally, I am encouraged to know that cities across the nation are seeing substantial rejuvenation in recent years. Lots of new downtown housing, which is bringing the health-giving increases in density, intensity and 24/7 walkable vibrancy. This rejuvenation is probably due to a rise in energy costs, Boomers (who are often childless) moving into adulthood and senior years, an increasing disillusionment with the car-based sprawl lifestyle (which many have found to be rather sterile), and the growing recognition that the lifestyle of walkable urbanity is exciting, interesting, diverse, fun and convenient (and safer than the sprawl lifestyle, I should add, since your chances of being hurt or killed in a car crash in suburbia are much higher than your chances of being mugged).

This trend is certainly quite helpful in reducing the pressure, profit, and desire to sprawl into important peripheral locations. Cities, after all, are now attracting people instead of chasing them to sprawlsville (clearly the case as we see how increasingly unaffordable it has become to find central city housing).

A remaining problem, however, is the market-distorting sprawl juggernaut, which continues to chug along at break-neck speed due to on-going massive public subsidies and the inertia associated with our long history of these ruinous subsidies. Not to mention the gigantic problem of all of the white elephant, low-density development patterns and sprawl-inducing big roads/big parking we’ve built over the past 70 years — all of which will induce sprawl even after we experience a long period of high energy costs and the inevitable ratcheting down of public subsidies for sprawl. There will be, in other words, a lag period once the foundations of sprawl start subsiding.

Again, what is to be done, given the above?

It scares me that the promoters of citizen land use/zoning referendums may be correct with regard to the sprawl problem: We need to move toward more of a direct (instead of representative) democracy (i.e., Mob Rule) when it comes to proposed local government land use/zoning changes. Have a referendum vote of citizens each time land use or zoning for a property is proposed to be changed in the community, instead of just letting elected officials decide.

Given the above, it is hard to imagine that we can insulate elected officials from the corruption that inevitably results when there is a lot of money to be made in building sprawl.

I should also note here that it is not just corruption that would lead elected officials to vote for sprawl. It is also the fact that an elected official who is not a wise and courageous leader can take the easy route to getting and staying elected by being what I call a Motorist Populist. Making cars happy is nearly always a crowd pleaser — even at Sierra Club meetings.) Therefore, maybe it is true that we are left with this direct democracy idea of letting citizens decide on zoning/land use changes, because we have lost trust in our elected officials to escape corruption.

Maybe we must pay for the sins of our foremothers and forefathers who created a car-happy world in the past, in other words, by opting for direct democracy.

It is probably true, given the above, that the best way to end sprawl-inducing upzonings and land use changes in peripheral locations is to bypass corrupt elected officials and give citizens the ability to decide through referendum.

However, the idea of direct democracy is rather terrifying to me. It seems to me that there is a strong likelihood of unintended consequences when we shift community decision-making to every voting citizen in a community. Even if the citizens are relatively well-educated, the Law of Large Numbers means that such votes will inevitably lead to lowest-common-denominator mediocrity.

The reality is far worse, though. Instead of being “relatively well-educated,” most citizens will be entirely ignorant of what they are asked to vote on. That scares the hell out of me.

Are we safer with a couple of corrupt (or populist) elected officials? Or Mob Rule?

As Richard Layman points out, citizens living in car-centric, sprawl-happy America will inevitably vote parochially and counterproductively when it comes to votes for in-town development proposals, because the market-distorting subsidies have compelled most citizens to vote for sprawl, and against the community-wide interests of more density and intensity within city central areas. Citizens are often, in other words, their own worst enemies when it comes to in-town development.

I think it is clear, then, that Mob Rule is counter-productive to making cities more healthy and attractive, because they would typically vote against beneficial in-town development.

Citizen referendums on proposed zoning and land use changes would maybe be good in stopping sprawl upzonings. But it would work against a needed companion: Developments that make cities more healthy and attractive (which indirectly reduces the desire for sprawl).

Can we conclude that Mob Rule is the best way to fight sprawl and loss of important peripheral areas? If so, is it so beneficial that it more than compensates for the enormous obstacles that Mob Rule would have for creating more healthy and attractive cities? Is the citizen referendum stick so powerful that on balance, there is less sprawl with it, even if we have diminished the carrot of attracting people to healthy cities by impeding city improvement?

I guess it comes down to this: Which is more urgent? Which is more powerful? Which is more sustainable? Which is more self-perpetuating? Which is more of a lynchpin? Saving the last vestiges of (relatively) pristine wildlands via citizen referendum? Or restoring walkable urbanity in our long-decimated cities? (a restoration which is inhibited by the sprawl-happy Mob)

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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

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Filed under Politics, Sprawl, Suburbia, Urban Design

Effective Ways to Encourage More Bicycling

By Dom Nozzi

I have over 20 years of experience as a senior city planner, am a lifelong bicycle commuter, prepared a master’s thesis on bicycle travel, and am a published author describing car traffic and sprawl.

I know of no simple, quick, easy ways to induce large numbers of contemporary Americans to engage in more bicycling on pathbicycling. I do, however, know of tactics that can be effective, yet require a number of years, political leadership and wisdom, and enlightened staff and citizens. For these reasons, the tactics are rarely used in America, which helps explain the embarrassingly low levels of bicycling in the US.

In no particular order, effective tactics include (and to some extent overlap):

Affordable housing and transportation choice require that we reduce distances. If we provide more housing and sensitive intermingling of offices, schools and shops with that housing, we will provide more affordable housing because families will reduce their car ownership (owning, say, two cars rather than three) and devote more income to housing. We need to combine this housing strategy with higher commercial intensities, which is primarily achieved by substantially reducing the massive oversupply of parking that nearly all retail locations provide.

The absence of market-distorting subsidies for car travel. By far, the biggest subsidy in America is free parking. One of the most important reasons why most all Americans drive a car for nearly all trips, rather than bicycle, walk or use transit, is that over 98 percent of all trips are to locations w/ free and abundant parking. As Shoup points out, free and abundant parking is a fertility drug for cars.

Similarly, we need to start correcting other funding inequities, because motorists pay nowhere near their fair share of transportation costs. It is commonly believed and utterly false that gas taxes pay the costs that motorists impose on society (such taxes only pay a tiny fraction of those costs). In addition to starting to price a much larger percentage of parking, we need to convert many of our roads to become toll roads. Other tactics include a “vehicle miles traveled” tax, much higher gas taxes, and “pay at the gas pump” car insurance. These pricing tools would provide much-needed fairness and adequate funding in an age where funding unfairness is enormous and transportation funding is entirely inadequate. The tools also effectively nudge travelers toward greener travel. Such fees could replace or reduce existing taxes or fees (a concept known as being “revenue neutral”).

To be safer and more compatible with housing, shops and non-car travel, streets must be designed to obligate slower, more attentive driving. The large speed differential we see on nearly all roads today between cars and bicyclists is an important reason why so few feel safe riding a bicycle. A small speed differential between cars and bicycles can be created by using traffic calming measures such as modest street dimensions and on-street parking.

Many roads, streets, and intersections are too large. They degrade quality of life, reduce safety and force too many of us to drive a car too often. Shrinking roads (by, for example, reducing them from five lanes to three) is an essential way to promote transportation choice. Roads in a city that are five or more lanes in size are incompatible with a quality human habitat, and make it too dangerous for bicycling, walking or transit use. “Road diets” are increasingly used nationally.

When effective tactics are properly deployed for a reasonable period of time, a powerful, self-perpetuating virtuous cycle begins to evolve. When non-bicycling members of the community observe a large number of others bicycling, many are likely to be induced to begin bicycling because of the “safety in numbers” perception, the fact that bicycling seems more hip, “normal” and practical (“If he/she can do it, so can I!”), and the growing awareness on the part of motorists that bicyclists are likely to be encountered (which also increases motorist skill in driving on a street being used by bicyclists).

Note that the above should not be taken to mean that I believe we should “get rid of all cars”, or that American cities should build auto-free pedestrian/bicycle zones. I support well-behaved, unsubsidized car use that is more optional than obligatory. Car use and design that is subservient to the needs of a quality habitat for humans, rather than the situation we find in most all American communities, where cars dominate (and in many ways degrade) our world. A dysfunctional place where cars are so dominating that transportation choice is lost. Where it is not practical, safe or convenient to travel, except by car.

Instead, we need to return to the timeless tradition of designing to make people happy, not 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 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

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My Town & Transportation Planning website

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Filed under Bicycling, Economics, Politics, Road Diet

The Impact of Road Widening on the Local Economy

By Dom Nozzi

For nearly a century, road widening has been touted as a powerful stimulus for the local economy.

However, by striking contrast, I have learned the opposite.

One of the most important lessons I have learned in my many years as a city planner is that quality of life is a powerful economic engine, and that the “habitat” intended to make cars happy is, conversely, one of the most powerful ways that quality of life in a community is damaged.

Road widening, as my book Road to Ruin illustrates, is the best invention humans have come up with (short of aerial carpet bombing) to destroy community quality of life. Widening a road inevitably creates a “For Cars Only” ambience. It creates a “car habitat” that screams “CARS ARE WELCOME. PEOPLE ARE NOT.”

The car habitat makes for a world that repels humans. Huge asphalt parking lots. High-speed highways. Sterile dead monstor hwyzones which form “gap tooth” tears in the fabric of a town center. Large amounts of air and noise pollution. Awful levels of visual “Anywhere USA” blight. Worsened safety — for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users, that is.

And worst of all, because a person in a car consumes, on average, about 19 times as much space as a person sitting in a chair, places designed for cars lose the comfortable, compact, enclosed, charming, human-scaled, vibrancy-inducing spacing and place-making that so many people love to experience.

As David Mohney once said, the first task of the urbanist is controlling size.

One consequence of this worsening quality of life that comes from widening a road to improve conditions for cars: The quality of the public realm worsens to the point where American society is noted for growing levels of retreating from the public realm and a flight to the cocooning private realm.

Given this, road widening and the substantial increase in auto dependency that the widening induces sends the quality of life of a community into a downward spiral. And that, in my opinion, is toxic to the economic health of a community.

Note that road widening inherently creates increased auto dependency because big, high-speed, “happy car” roads create what economists call a “barrier effect.” That is, big and high-speed roads make it more difficult to travel by bicycle, walking or transit. So wider roads recruit new motorists in a vicious, never-ending cycle of widening, more car dependence, more congestion, more calls for widening, etc.

The end result?

Houston, Jacksonville, Detroit, Newark, Buffalo, Cleveland.

As Richard Florida powerfully argues in The Rise of the Creative Class, the centerpiece of successful community economic development is recognizing that instead of following the conventional model of drawing businesses by lowering business costs and relaxing regulations, quality of life should be enhanced to attract and retain quality “creative class” employees. It is not a coincidence that Florida describes this form of quality of life as one which includes walkable, vibrant, 24/7 vibrancy (where the car is subservient to the needs of people).

It is also no coincidence that Boulder, Colorado – where I now live – is ranked, over and over again, as the city ranked first in a long list of quality of life measures. Therefore, despite the fact that Boulder assesses relatively high costs on businesses, applies relatively aggressive regulations on businesses (measures traditionally assumed to be toxic to economic health), the Boulder economy is consistently quite healthy. Even in times of national economic woes.

One awful tragedy for the State of Florida is that the 1985 Growth Management law adopted by that state enshrined Community Design for Happy Cars by requiring that future development be “concurrent” with adopted road standards. That is, new development must not be allowed to “degrade” adopted community “free-flowing traffic” standards. In other words, the state requires, under the rubric of “growth management,” that all local governments must be designed to facilitate car travel (too often doing so by widening a road). The apparent thinking is that “free-flowing traffic” is a lynchpin for community quality of life. The be-all and end-all. In my opinion, nothing can be further from the truth.

It is a law that locks communities into harming its quality of life.

Another telling piece of information about economics: About 100 years ago, households spent approximately 1-2 percent of their income on transportation. Today, about 20-22 percent of the household budget goes to transportation. Transportation costs have, in other words, been privatized, to the great detriment of the economics of households.

In sum, widening roads, drains dollars from a community as the purchase of car-based goods and services (cars, oil, gas, car parts, etc.) largely leave the community, rather than being recycled within the community. Because the “car habitat” and the “people habitat” clash, quality of life is significantly degraded when the community is designed to facilitate cars (by widening roads, most infamously). And that, as Richard Florida clearly shows, undercuts future prospects for community economic health. Finally, household expenses are severely undermined as the growing (and extremely costly) car dependency leads to a declining ability to afford other household expenses.

The key is not so much to “get rid of cars” as to avoid overly pampering them (through such things as underpriced [untolled] roads, free parking and subsidized gasoline) in the design of our community. Doing so quickly leads to the car dominating and degrading our world. Destroying our economic health and quality of life. Cars must be our slaves rather than our masters. They should feel like intruders, rather than welcomed guests. Only then will the future of a community be sustainable and high quality.

It is time to return to the tradition of designing our communities to make people happy, not cars.

___________________________________

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

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

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

Visit my other sites:

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

Run for Your Life! Dom’s Dangerous Opinions blog

http://domdangerous.wordpress.com/

My Best-Ever Lists blog

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My Town & Transportation Planning website

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My Town & Transportation Planning blog

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

Should the Entire Community be Designed for Walkability?

By Dom Nozzi

I prepared land development regulations for Gainesville, Florida’s town center in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I dubbed the regulations the “Traditional City” overlay regulations that were intended to promote walkable, vibrant, rewarding pedestrian design in Gainesville’s town center.5198849601_19c0be6735

A friend suggested that such regulations should be applied citywide. I responded that doing so would be unwise.

First, it would be very difficult, politically, to apply the Traditional City development regulations to areas that were built exclusively for cars — places where, as the area was first developed, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users were only considered as afterthoughts. Places that Christopher Leinberger calls the “drivable suburbs.”

Another part of the problem with applying walkable design features to drivable locations is that doing so would be restricting lifestyle choices in the community. In essence, requiring walkable design in drivable locations would be forcing walkability down the throats of people that prefer suburbs and car dependency. By contrast, my overall approach to community design is that we want to protect and promote choices in neighborhood design. Walkable traditionalism or suburbs, not one or the other.

It is hard enough to require the walkable design in more compact, town center locations, let alone applying walkability tactics to places in the community that are so utterly unwalkable today that they would need to start from scratch by being mostly bulldozed before made walkable.

In addition, there is something to be said for creating a striking, obvious contrast between a walkable town center location and the outlying drivable suburbs. A more striking contrast, for example, could accelerate the process of growing the proportion of citizens who seek a more sustainably walkable lifestyle.

This is not to say we should necessarily give up on the outlying areas. But if we must prioritize due to a lack of resources — and in this age of fiscal and economic woes, it seems clear that we must prioritize — I think we should start with saving and improving our town centers, where most people already seek walkable design.

Town center areas will, I’m convinced, increasingly outcompete the drivable suburbs due to the inevitable future of rising resource and fuel costs we face in our future, and the unsustainability of regional, sprawling, car-based design. Such inescapable trends will convince a growing number of people that it is rational and desirable to live and travel more walkably. The walkable lifestyle, for several decades, has been less popular — even though more sustainable – mostly because of the distorted, unsustainable price signals of exceptionally low fuel costs and heavy car subsidies, among many other reasons. Distorted signals that make it seem rational to live in outlying areas and to be auto dependent.

We’ve got plenty of work to do in our town centers to enhance the walkable lifestyle such locations best provide. Let’s not delay the long-needed repair of such places by diverting scarce public resources to areas that will be much more costly to retrofit into walkability. Places that may never be able to provide high-quality walkability regardless of the money we sink into that effort.

If we apply a triage concept to community design, it may be that we realize we can save some of our town centers with some restoration efforts, but also realize that the drivable suburbs may have been built initially with such unsustainable design that money and effort might be mostly unable to save much of it. And might divert resources from town centers that could have been saved had we not diverted money and effort to unsalvageable suburbs.

_________________________________________________

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

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

The Carbon Tax and the Poor

By Dom Nozzi

A great many intelligent people have pointed out the obvious in recent years about our climate change – a change driven by carbon emissions – and our fiscal crisis: It is screamingly obvious that an extremely effective, fair way to reduce carbon emissions (and raise desperately needed govt revenue) is to enact a carbon tax. Increasing the price of Global-Climate-Change3carbon sends a much-needed price signal to people that products, actions and services that directly or indirectly use carbon have an embedded carbon cost. That cost is the climate change and environmental/societal woes hidden by a lack of a carbon tax.

Underpriced carbon is rapidly destroying our world and the future of our species.

An important reason why a carbon tax is equitable is that people using more carbon pay more tax. Such a tax would raise much-needed government revenue by charging people for societally unsustainable behavior.

One would therefore think that political liberals and environmentalists would be 100 percent in favor of a carbon tax. Such people, one would expect, would find such a tax a no-brainer.

But as I often point out, a very large number of desperately needed societal actions are squelched because of the red flag too often raised by liberals and environmentalists: “WE CAN’T DO THAT BECAUSE IT WILL HURT POOR PEOPLE!!!!”

We can’t raise the gas tax…because it will hurt poor people.

We can’t put this four-lane monster highway destroying our downtown on a road diet (taking it from four lanes to three, for example)…because poor people won’t be able to get to jobs.

We can’t ease our parking woes, make our town centers more compactly walkable, and substantially reduce the amount of off-street, gap-tooth dead zone parking lots…because charging people money for parking will hurt poor people.

We can’t raise the tax on cigarettes to reduce excessive smoking…because it will hurt poor people who smoke.

We can’t adjust electricity prices to promote energy conservation…because it will hurt poor people.

We can’t charge a tax on sugar…because poor people won’t be able to afford to buy a Pepsi.

We can’t charge a fee for a background check…because poor people won’t be able to afford to buy a gun.

We can’t charge an impact fee on sprawl residential development…because it will hurt poor people who buy sprawl homes.

[I’ve heard all of the above complaints more than once.]

At the Conference on World Affairs in Boulder Colorado yesterday, I attended a session on how we need to learn to live with global warming because we have passed the tipping point and there is no way we can avoid catastrophic warming in our lifetimes no matter what we do (session title: “Climate Change: Get Used To It”). A question came from someone in the audience: “If we establish a federal tax [like has been admirably done in Boulder and a few European nations] on carbon, won’t it be a very bad idea because the carbon tax would be unaffordable for poor people??”

As you can imagine, the question made my blood boil.

I wanted to leap to my feet and scream to her: “We are driving a car at a high rate of speed towards a fiscal and environmental cliff (given our huge government fiscal woes and our huge climate change woes). Do you mean to say that we should not step on the brakes?? That we instead go over the cliff because poor people cannot afford to brake?????”

_________________________________________________

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

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

Education Works When the Conditions are Right

By Dom Nozzi

I’ve always believed that because quality urban design is essential to quality of life, local elected officials tend to be strongly in need of a lot of education in urban design. As a city planner in Florida, I strove to provide officials with as much urban design education as I could when I wrote plans and staff reports for them to read, as well as when I gave presentations at meetings. I arranged to regularly have my city run a series of nine urban design videos on public access TV for citizens. In addition, I worked to have several urban design stars – such as Victor Dover, Andres Duany, and Walter Kulash – be hired on projects that required outside consultants. Each of them is spectacular as an educator on the design practices I advocate. Each has taught me essential urban design lessons. In sum, I think the need for urban design education is always important on an on-going basis for commissioners and citizens. But as my writings and speeches point out, the most effective education is based on our environment and our economy. We can “educate” till we are blue in the face, but we will accomplish little unless economic price signals (such as the increasingly intolerable cost of gas, the cost of road widening, the cost of sprawl homes, the cost of parking, etc.) are providing proper price signal education. As for the environment, in my experience, a community usually does not engage in quality urban design until inconveniences and other difficulties of day-to-day life induces the political will that DEMANDS needed change. For example, consider a community experiencing high levels of road and parking lot congestion. Study after study has confirmed that conventional “solutions” (road widening and the provision of more free parking) are counterproductive and utterly unable to solve congestion problems. What to do? It seems obvious that given the studies, road widening and more free parking should NOT be used as a solution. Yet nearly all communities stubbornly disregard these studies and end up wasting millions and billions of public dollars to “solve” congestion with road widening and more free parking. Fortunately, some communities (mostly bigger cities) eventually come to realize (after much pain, suffering, wasted time, and wasted public dollars) that the conventional tactics are failing to eliminate their congestion. And at that point, even the most pro-car, anti-transit citizens are often forced to conclude that their only hope for addressing congestion is pricing roads and parking, providing better transit, and creating alternatives (such as closer-in housing) so that people can avoid the congestion.ROADRAGE1 Given this, it was not education from books or speeches or videos that was the key to convincing the community that better urban design (or better transit) is needed. No, it was clearly the aggravation felt from the congestion that drove the needed change toward effective tactics. Education alone is not a painless shortcut to doing the right thing, unfortunately. Yes, books and speeches and videos are important education tools, but such information needs to be in the right place at the right time to have an impact. Words and data can be a call-to-arms catalyst if conditions are right. Take Leonardo da Vinci. In the 15th Century, he described the design of a helicopter. Over one hundred years ago, a number of far-sighted folks spoke eloquently about women’s rights. Yet such ideas generally fell on deaf ears because the conditions were not right. My hope is that the urban design and transportation ideas I support can be in the right place when conditions are right so that the revolution can occur more quickly and less painfully. _________________________________________________ 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, Urban Design

It’s Not About Adding Bike Lanes. It’s About Taking Away from the Car

By Dom Nozzi

For most all bicycling advocates, there is a single-minded tactic for increasing the number of bicyclists: Provide bike lanes, bike paths and bike parking. However, in my career as a transportation planner, I have come to realize that to meaningfully increase the number of bicyclists, adding new facilities for bicycling (or for pedestrians or transit users, for that matter), the community must make driving and parking cars significantly more inconvenient and costly.bike lane in suburbs How is this done? Here are some excellent tools: * Road diets (where road travel lanes are removed – going from four lanes to three is the most common diet). * Employing low-speed street design (such as on-street parking, bulb-outs, tight turning radii, and other “traffic calming” tactics). * Mixing homes with retail and jobs. * Providing more in-town housing (such as “granny flats”). * Shrinking the size of parking lots. * Increasing the gas tax. * Installing more on-street car parking. * Charging market-based prices for the use of roads and parking. * Eliminating “minimum parking requirements” in the zoning code (ie, regulations that require the installation of at least “X” amount of car parking for particular developments – parking MAXIMUMS are far preferable). * Requiring buildings to be pulled up to the street so that there is no car parking between the front of the building and the street. Without taking steps such as these, installing bike lanes, off-street bike paths, bike parking, showers at work, etc., will have very little impact on recruiting new bicyclists. Without these tools, distances are too excessive for convenient bicycle travel, costs are too low for driving a car, and there is too much of a difference in speed between cars and bicyclists. With regard to convenience, because cars consume so much more space (on average, about 17 times more space is needed for a person in a car than a person in a chair), motorists need to feel inconvenienced by street and parking dimensions if we are designing a community for the pleasure of humans rather than cars. Urban designers call this pleasant, relatively intimate spacing as “human scale” design. I should note that one of the most effective ways to recruit new bicyclists is to create the conditions that deliver large numbers of bicyclists in the community. This is because when a lot of community residents are bicycling, many non-bicyclists are inspired to try bicycling. With a lot of people bicycling, it seems much more hip, enjoyably sociable, and safe to ride a bicycle. And as has been shown in studies, bicycling safety dramatically improves due to safety in numbers. The more bicyclists are bicycling, the safer bicycling becomes. Given this, once a threshold is reached with regard to the number of bicyclists, community bicycling can reach a self-perpetuating virtuous cycle where the existence of a large number of bicyclists recruits even more bicyclists. We too often recommend the bike lanes, paths, and bike parking when asked how to induce lots of new bicyclists. When very few new bicyclists are then recruited (due to the enormous obstacles I describe above), the Sprawl Lobby will disparagingly point out how wasteful it was to install bike facilities, and insist that we “get real” by getting back to the program of car-happy road widening. I think many of us know there are more effective tactics, such as those I mention above, but when we only have a hammer, all our problems look like nails. It is time to start finding ways to introduce the effective tools to grow the number of bicyclists. _________________________________________________ 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/10905607 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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The Economic Merits of Road Diets

By Dom Nozzi

“Road diets” are instances where a street is shrunk in size by removing travel lanes. Most commonly in America, this occurs when a four- or five-lane street is reduced to a three-lane street.

A common concern associated with a road diet is that such a road modification will be harmful to the economic health of the street, primarily because of the concern that the “diet” will reduce traffic volumes on the street.chicago road diet

Proponents of road diets point out, however, that such road modifications tend to be highly beneficial for economic, land use and safety reasons. Proponents note, for example, that reducing the number of travel lanes makes the street more of a “drive-to” destination (where motorists drive more slowly and attentively) rather than a “drive-through” corridor (where motorists drive faster and less attentively).

The “drive-to” nature of the road diet is based on the tendency of the lane reduction to create a calmer, slower, safer and more attractive venue – a “park once” place where the motorist is more likely to want to park, walk around, hang out, and enjoy the setting (this sort of newly-created environment also tends to make the street more inviting to residences, and makes the street safer).

The following studies and reports provide a sampling of information showing the economic (and other) merits of road diets.

Dan Gallagher, the Charlotte, North Carolina Transportation Planning Manager, led a study that looked at the “before” and “after” property values along a street in Charlotte which had undergone a road diet.

Gallagher’s staff evaluated property value information for the East Boulevard road diet in Charlotte in March 2013. Phase 1 of the diet occurred in 2006. Phase 2 occurred in 2010. The county property tax assessment re-evaluation was done in 2003 and then again in 2011. The non-residential tax value of properties fronting East Boulevard was $90 million in 2003. The non-residential tax values of properties fronting East Boulevard was $133 million in 2011 – a 47 percent increase. This increase occurred despite the 2008 “great recession” that affected Charlotte and the nation.Road-Diet

The corridor was pretty much “built out” before the road diet, which largely means that the value increased for properties that were not developed or redeveloped. The increase, in other words, cannot be attributed to value realized due to new construction.

The following is a bibliography on the economic (and other) merits of road diets

  York Blvd: Economics of a Road Diet. http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/york_blvd_final_report_compress.pdf

Going on a Road Diet.  http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/11septoct/05.cfm

Economic Merits of a Road Diet, by Dom Nozzi http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/2003/08/17/economic-merits-of-road-diets-and-traffic-calming/

El Cajon’s Road Diet. http://www.walkinginfo.org/library/details.cfm?id=3967

Safety and Economic Benefits of a Road Diet.  http://www.slideshare.net/choyle75/safety-and-economic-benefits-of-road-diets-5-10

Road Diets.  http://www.planetizen.com/node/44645

Franklin Ave Road Diet. http://www.thelinemedia.com/features/franklinaveexperiment102412.aspx

Orlando Road Diet. http://rickgellerforcc.blogspot.mx/2011/09/road-diets-economic-revitalization.html

“To Smooth Your Drive, Slow It Down, He Says”, by Keith Schneider. 10/27/04 New York Times.

“Guidelines for the Conversion of Urban 4-lane Undivided Roadways to 3-lane Two-Way Left-Turn Lane Facilities”, by the Iowa Department of Transportation. April 2001.

“Narrowing Federal in Delray a dream”, by Meghan Meyer, Palm Beach Post (Florida), 3/6/03.

“Pedestrian-friendly downtown works for Delray”, by Leon Fooksman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 3/6/03.

“Road Diets: Fixing the Big Roads”, by Dan Burden & Peter Lagerway, 1999.

“Traffic Calming: Some Urban Planners Say Downtowns Need a Lot More Congestion”, by Mitchell Pacelle, Wall Street Journal, 8/7/96.

“Automobile Dependency and Economic Development”, by Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 1999.

“The Costs of Automobile Dependency”, by Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 1999.

“TDM and Economic Development”, by Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 2001.

“Sustainable Community Transportation”, by Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 1991.

“Lake Worth: Reclaiming a Small Downtown”, by Cynthia Pollock Shea, Florida Sustainable Communities Network, 10/28/98.

“Economic Benefits of Walkable Communities”, by the Local Government Commission. Center for Livable Communities.

“Traffic Calming Reference Materials”, by Ian Lockwood and Timothy Stillings, West Palm Beach FL. October 1998.

“Taking Back Main Street”, by Engineering News Record. January 1998.

“Vital Signs: Circulation in the Heart of the City — An Overview of Downtown Traffic”, by Gerald Forbes. 1998.

“Do New Roads Cause Congestion?” by Jill Kruse. Surface Transportation Policy Project, March 1998.

Stuck in Traffic (book), by Anthony Downs.

“Widening Roads Worsens Traffic Congestion”, by Tanya Albert. The Cincinnati Enquirer. 1/13/00.

“Evaluation of Lane Reduction ‘Road Diet’ Measures on Crashes and Injuries” by Herman Huang, Richard Stewart, Charles Zegeer. University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. July 2001.

“The 3rd Motor Age”, by Walter Kulash. Places. Winter 1996.

“Emergency Response: Traffic Calming and Traditional Neighborhood Streets” by Dan Burden & Paul Zykofsky. Local Government Commission. Center for Livable Communities. December 2000.

“Take Back Your Streets”, by Conservation Law Foundation. May 1995.

“Traffic Calming”, by Cynthia Hoyle. American Planning Association. Planners Advisory Service Report #456. 1995.

_________________________________________________

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/

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My Facebook profile

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Motorists Do Not Pay Their Fair Share

By Dom Nozzi

The point is made over and over again. Motorists pay their own way in the costs they impose on society (road construction and maintenance, air and water pollution, “oil wars,” injuries and deaths, etc.) because they pay gas taxes.

Those making this point are wrong.

Over the years, I have done quite a bit of research on this topic, and have learned a number of little-known facts.suburbia-reburbia-image

A Harvard study found that motorists pay only 25 to 40 percent of the cost of their transportation. The remaining costs are borne by employers (through such amenities as free parking), by other travelers (due to increased congestion, reduced safety, etc.), and by governments and taxpayers who pay for the expansion and maintenance of roads.

Several additional studies have found large subsidies for autos.

Gas taxes and user fees pay for only 60 percent of the $35.4 billion spent by governments in 1990 to build, modify, and repair roads. The remaining money came from taxpayers and other sources (mostly sales taxes and property taxes, which non-motorists pay). For example, motorists in the greater Boston and Portland (ME) areas pay — through user fees such as gas taxes — only 24 to 53 percent of government outlays for driving.

Taxpayers pay a $2.4 billion annual subsidy to provide road infrastructure through property taxes. Over 80 percent of local government spending for auto infrastructure is raised through general fund taxes.

The costs not directly paid by motorists each year include $13.3 billion for highway construction and repair, $7.9 billion for highway maintenance, $68 billion for highway services (police, fire, etc.), and $85 billion for free parking.

In Minneapolis, less than half the $90 million the City spends on driving-related projects comes from transportation user charges (such as gas taxes) and nearly a quarter of all city residents do not own a car, yet all residents pay for road construction and maintenance through property taxes.

The social costs of driving that are not paid by the driver amount to a $300 billion subsidy each year. The EPA (Lowe, 1988) found that if employees were directly handed this subsidy, transit and bicycle use would go up and auto traffic would go down by 25 percent. A Seattle study found that society pays a $792 subsidy to each motorist each year (excluding a $1,920 annual free parking subsidy). In New York City, the metro area loses $55 billion each year in hidden auto costs associated with safety and environmental damage. More than 90 percent of all commuters park for free at work.

The market demand for dispersed, auto-dependent residential property is artificially high due to the heavy income tax subsidies for owner-occupied homes, federally-funded wastewater systems, provision of police and fire services, provision of postal and garbage services, as well as the road and parking subsidies.

When new developments are built in areas remote from water plants, wastewater plants, and schools, it creates higher incremental (or “marginal”) costs for adding new capacity to these services. By contrast, the marginal cost of new development near such services is lower. However, because costs are evenly distributed among all citizens by average-cost pricing, those who live in remote locations pay proportionately less. As a result, citizens living in remote locations enjoy an enormous price subsidy courtesy of citizens living closer to the services. And because new homes in remote locations tend to be only affordable for high-income buyers, the inequity results in poorer citizens subsidizing richer citizens.

In Tallahassee, capital costs for sewer hookups in central city neighborhoods are about $4,450, compared to $11,450 in remote, low-density neighborhoods, yet everyone pays the same hookup cost regardless of their location. “The poor families living near the sewer plant not only have to endure its odor, but also have to pay far more for their sewer hookup than it actually costs government to serve them. Meanwhile, the affluent lobbyists and politicians, who typically reside in distant suburbs on the north end of town, escape both the odors and the full bill for their waste treatment.”

Dispersed, auto-dependent development in Loudoun County, Virginia, is a net loss to the tax base of $700 to $2,200 per dwelling unit. In San Jose, California, planners determined that such development would create annual deficits of $4.5 million compared to a $2 million surplus if future development is compact.

In a case study in Lexington, Kentucky, a new development in a remote, auto-dependent area increased private and public costs by $272,534 per year. Some of these costs were borne by residents of the development in the form of higher travel costs (they presumably paid less for land and housing than they would have at a more accessible location). The remaining costs, however, were borne by other consumers and taxpayers in the area, who ended up subsidizing the remote development. Note also that the social costs of auto use were not factored into the calculation, even though such costs are comparable in magnitude to the direct costs of the auto use.

The Natural Resources Council (1993) notes that as long as gasoline is cheaper than bottled water, it is easy to use too much of it. The real cost of gas, if all of the social, financial, and environmental costs were factored in, has been estimated to be over $3 per gallon. Another study puts the cost at $2.50 to $5.00 per gallon.

If motorists had to pay the full cost of driving, transit would require less (possibly no) subsidy to operate efficiently.

An important reason why so many citizens are attracted to remote sprawl subdivisions is that hidden subsidies generally make such residential areas less costly for households, even though this choice is more costly for the community overall. “If some government is going to wave a lot of money in my face to move someplace, I’ll go…People want to live in low-density environments only if they can shift the costs on to someone else.”

Free parking is anything but free. As Donald Shoup points out, for example, free parking provided by retailers results in the price of goods and services inside the stores where free parking is located to be higher. The price of goods and services are higher to allow the retailer to pay for the land and maintenance costs of the “free” parking. If the parking was properly priced – in other words, charging a fair user fee for parking – the price of goods and services inside the stores would be lower.

In sum, American motorists are among the most heavily subsidized people on earth. Motorists pay nowhere near the costs they impose on society. Such a “distorted price signal” induces a great many Americans to own cars and drive cars a lot more than they otherwise would. Starting to eliminate such motorist welfare would substantially reduce driving, significantly increase bicycling, walking and transit use, reduce air and water pollution, reduce sprawl, increase affordability, improve household and government financial health, improve civic pride, and create more physically healthy communities.

Isn’t it time to take motorists off welfare?

_________________________________________________

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

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The Counterintuitive Impacts of Traffic Congestion and Road Widening

By Dom Nozzi

The conventional wisdom claims that widening a road will reduce traffic congestion and fuel consumption.

The conventional wisdom is wrong.

Newman and Kenworthy are the scholars to read on this issue. Their studies persuasively show that the reverse of the conventional wisdom is true.

Research has found that cross-culturally and throughout history, humans, on average, will live in a place that creates a round-trip commute time of approximately 1.1 hours per day. Therefore, when we widen roads, the faster commute time that is briefly created will enable more dispersed residential sprawl to get us back to the 1.1 hour equilibrium.

People, in other words, drive longer distances (and drive more often) when a road is widened. In a growing community, that means the congestion is not reduced. And the increased driving increases the amount of fuel consumed.

This sprawling, dispersing impact of road widening is inevitable, regardless of how aggressive your land use plan is in controlling sprawl.

In many locations within the US, we have seen an upward trend in the number of roads that are now highly congested. This has happened despite the fact that this country has spent trillions of public dollars over the past several decades to try to reduce congestion by widening roads. Given the growth in congestion traffic jam on huge hwy (and the failure to reduce congestion in the long run) despite all the widenings, this strategy has failed catastrophically. It is perhaps the most costly, misguided and damaging action taken in human history.

Indeed, the trillions we have spent to widening roads has actually created new car trips that would not have occurred without the widening — thereby validating both the studies of Newman & Kenworthy, as well as the “Triple Convergence” described by Anthony Downs. The Triple Convergence states that when a road is widened, three things inevitably occur. First, motorists who had been taking alternative routes to avoid the congestion now converge back on the widened road. Second, motorists who were avoiding congested times of day now converge back on such rush hours. And third, motorists who had opted to use transit, walk or bicycle to work start converging back to driving by car after the road widening.

In a growing number of American communities, the response to congestion is to let it be. This approach is known as “planned congestion,” and is the preferred strategy for such communities because of the enormous costs of widening roads, the benefits of congestion, and the counterproductive consequences of widening. I am an enthusiastic supporter of planned congestion for several reasons. Fighting against congestion by widening a road is part of the road-building, home-building and auto-maker lobby paradigm, because they know that if we try to fight congestion, we will get more road widenings, more cars, more car travel and more sprawl.

One of the many benefits of congestion is that, as transportation planner Ian Lockwood says, congestion creates a “time tax” for motorists. That is, the motorist pays a “fee” when they are slowed down. That “fee” is the time they lose in congestion. Conversely, then, the “time tax” created by congestion contracts our residential patterns as people seek to maintain that 1.1 hour equilibrium I mentioned above.

In our political climate, it is nearly impossible to use much more efficient and effective tactics: that is, to have motorists pay the real cost of their travel through high gas taxes or congestion (toll) fees. Instead, we keep motorists on welfare by not having them pay directly for the roads they drive on, or the time of day when they drive. All of us pay directly for water and electricity and food based on how much water, electricity and food we consume. Why not take the same approach with driving?

Because it is so politically difficult to directly charge motorists on welfare for their driving, the easiest way to control excessive driving (particularly at rush hour) is to indirectly charge the motorist by letting congestion happen. By not widening the road. By not adding turn lanes. By not timing traffic signals.

As Walter Kulash says, fighting congestion by widening a road is like loosening your belt to fight obesity.

 

_________________________________________________

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

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