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3135Re: [carfree_cities] Sprawl along I-15

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  • Doug Salzmann
    May 6, 2001
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      On Sunday 06 May 2001 13:39, Ron Dawson shared with us a:

      > Union-Tribune Editorial
      >
      > Sprawl along I-15
      > San Diego adds houses, but no roads
      [Snip]
      > A new north-south freeway, between I-15 and
      > state Route 67, has been on the county's drawing board for years. It is
      > desperately needed, but it hasn't been built -- and may never be built --
      > because of lack of funding.

      Use of the expression "urban sprawl" is as clear a signal as a flare at
      sea. People who use it are foundering and confused. They don't know what
      cities are. Burbs sprawl. Urbs are an entirely different matter.

      This editorial is sad, of course, but also pretty funny stuff. This piece
      could easily have been reworked from one of a number of editorials
      published here in Sonoma County over the past decade or so, or from a
      million more just like them from the East Bay, or the Santa Clara Valley,
      or. . . They ought to trade these articles around. It would save a lot of
      writing time.

      You really have to wonder. The editorial writers at all of the concerned
      newspapers are adults with at least average intelligence, reasonably decent
      educational backgrounds, and varying amounts of life experience, almost all
      of it in car-dominated environments. Why do you suppose that none of them
      have noticed that nobody has *ever* succeeded in mitigating auto congestion
      over the long term by adding highway capacity?

      If you build it, they will come.

      One is tempted to think that they'll never stop, but they will, of course.

      In the meantime, neither the sprawl monsters nor the silly hand-wringers
      who believe it can all be made better with just a little more tweaking are
      very good at grasping big new concepts. They are not likely to learn the
      folly of their ways until it's too late, until the houses in the mid-ring
      sprawlburbs are *losing* thirty percent of their value annually and the
      squatters in the furthest-flung burbs are burning the doors of the
      three-car garages for heat. There's not much reason to waste one's energy
      trying to explain to them.

      Far better to work toward development of urban districts designed for
      humans instead of machines, neighborhoods capable of functioning without
      endlessly increasing inputs of scarce and expensive energy, places actually
      worth living in. If we're lucky, we'll have some examples ready by the
      time the parking attendants in the national auto slum start looking around
      to figure out what to try next.

      -Doug
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