6387Re: Do rail lines encourage sprawl?
- Oct 28, 2003--- In email@example.com, "John O. Andersen"
> The rail lines encouraged development around the rail stations.That's what we call smart growth today. The development was compact
enough for people to live within walking distance of the train
>The problem today is that the suburban communities and sprawling
> That's a huge difference from car based sprawl.
areas of development around most larger cities are simply not well
suited for rail development. The areas are already put together
assuming auto use will continue as the only method of travel. Those
areas are urban sprawl in my book.
I suspect if communter rail goes into an undeveloped area today, the
way things are now anyway, that the future residents would demand
parking lots in the vicinity of the boarding stations, and highways
to drive on to get to the stations. So if only the accomodations for
auto use are provided, that will encourage sprawl development for
miles and miles around the stations, to be sure.
It might even encourage more sprawl than had the commuter trains not
been provided, since living out there would be made more convenient.
People would not have to put up with driving in the thick of
congestion every morning and late afternoon.
It might reduce the auto congestion traveling into and out of the
metro area -- but people would still be driving lots of miles from
their newly developed sprawling enclaves to the train stations.
Consequently, the problems of urban sprawl and auto emissions would
remain and perhaps even increase with the commuter rail.
But if the governmental entities in the area where the rail line is
going in allow only natural (non-motorized) transport to the
stations, then the commuter rail would not be sprawl-inducing.
People would have to build closer to the rail stations -- not way out
in Sprawlsville, USA.
So my definition of sprawl is development which requires
motorized travel on a regular basis by those who live there. It's
based on miles of motorized travel required per week. Consequently,
areas that accomodate only motorized travel are, by
definition, "urban sprawl" in my book. Areas that are developed
primarily for non-motorized (natural?) travel (tighter development),
are the traditional, non-sprawl encouraging types of development.
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