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Municipal Political Structures

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  • Lanyon, Ryan
    While the examples may be too specific to relate to the carfree context, I think the discussion of how municipal political structures affect our urban form is
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 1 6:10 AM
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      While the examples may be too specific to relate to the carfree context, I
      think the discussion of how municipal political structures affect our urban
      form is very relevant. Afterall, these are the vehicles through which most
      change will occur to lead to a car-free city. Is such a change easier to
      come by through a large 'mega-city' that has one tier of government, or
      through a two-tiered system or some other structure?

      I'm really unsure of how municipal governments operate in Europe, and what
      powers they possess, but in Canada, urban areas seem to be growing in scope,
      geographic area and some powers.

      > Message: 2
      > Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 15:44:00 +0000
      > From: "J.H. Crawford" <postmaster@...>
      > Subject: RE: Digest Number 407
      >
      >
      > Hi All,
      >
      > This dicussion seems pretty peripheral to the list.
      > I think those still interested might better take
      > the discussion off-list.
      >
      > Thanks,
      >
      >
      > >Depends on the scope of the amalgamation, I would imagine.
      > In Montreal, the
      > >amalgamated island is pretty much void of any greenfields,
      > isn't it? Any
      > >new development would be considered infill, so the
      > greenfields are still
      > >economically viable in the rural areas.
      > >
      > >In Ottawa, we had so much rural land merged with the urban
      > area that the
      > >small rural municipalities are all about 45 minutes to an
      > hour's drive from
      > >downtown in light traffic. The only area where this jumping
      > effect may work
      > >is in the west end, where we have a larger concentration of suburban
      > >employment. Of course, we do have another urban area on the
      > other side of
      > >the Ottawa River, but different income tax rates reduce competition.
      >
    • T. J. Binkley
      ... A general discussion of the political structures that affect development and preservation would definitely be relevant. As would local solutions to
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 1 10:45 AM
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        Ryan wrote:

        >While the examples may be too specific to relate to the carfree context, I
        >think the discussion of how municipal political structures affect our urban
        >form is very relevant. Afterall, these are the vehicles through which most
        >change will occur to lead to a car-free city.

        A general discussion of the political structures that affect development
        and preservation would definitely be relevant. As would local solutions to
        general problems that could inform and inspire changes
        elsewhere. Yesterday's post about Boulder's well-used transit system is a
        good example of this.

        >Is such a change easier to
        >come by through a large 'mega-city' that has one tier of government, or
        >through a two-tiered system or some other structure?

        In the western US at least, it seems that the creation of some form of
        REGIONAL political structures is essential for realizing improvements in
        public transit, densifying areas near transit, increasing the availability
        of affordable housing, and assembling and preserving wild life corridors
        and rural buffer zones. These matters are discussed at length in Calthorpe
        and Fulton's "The Regional City".

        A certain amount of tax-sharing between neighboring cities, for example,
        would help generate revenue to make public transit improvements. This may
        become more politically palatable as gas prices rise, and workers can no
        longer afford to drive to their jobs. The transformation of sprawlburbia
        could begin with new or improved rail lines linking up some version of so
        called 'transit villages'. This process is already slowly taking place in
        many areas. The missing spark that would bring these plans to life, is the
        carfree district. Even a (dreaded) park-and-ride station could be
        redeveloped in to a carfree pedestrian district: Build the carfree
        district on one side of the tracks (the nicer side); parking remains (or is
        added) on the other.

        During the transformation, all those rich, privacy-obsessed,
        socially-adverse (but politically well-connected) suburbanites can continue
        to get what they want---a few more years of their "blessed way of
        life". Meanwhile, we'll be rebuilding a sustainable civilization.

        -T.J.
      • Mike Lacey
        ... example, ... Regional tax sharing could have another major benefit. It might break the trend for each burb-city to create its own edge-of-town-mega-mall
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 1 11:12 AM
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          --- In carfree_cities@y..., "T. J. wrote:
          > A certain amount of tax-sharing between neighboring cities, for
          example,
          > would help generate revenue to make public transit improvements.

          Regional tax sharing could have another major benefit. It might break
          the trend for each burb-city to create its own edge-of-town-mega-mall
          complex in order to attract those much sought after tax dollars, and
          instead encourage more centralised regional shopping centres, which
          in turn lessens the incentive for sprawl development and the
          associated auto-lifestyle.

          Anyone who knows Orange County, CA (unofficial slogan - "A Macy*s in
          every city") will know what I mean

          Mike
        • Boileau,Pierre [NCR]
          Hi T.J. Yet, in Canada, municipalities are under provincial jurisdiction and as such may have limited powers, and certainly funding, to conduct many of the
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 1 12:13 PM
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            Hi T.J.

            Yet, in Canada, municipalities are under provincial jurisdiction and as such
            may have limited powers, and certainly funding, to conduct many of the
            changes you mention below. A jurisdictionally-specific solution would be
            necessary to make the carfree model work.

            Cheers

            Pierre.

            -----Original Message-----
            From: T. J. Binkley [mailto:tjbink@...]
            Sent: Friday, June 01, 2001 1:46 PM
            To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Municipal Political Structures



            In the western US at least, it seems that the creation of some form of
            REGIONAL political structures is essential for realizing improvements in
            public transit, densifying areas near transit, increasing the availability
            of affordable housing, and assembling and preserving wild life corridors
            and rural buffer zones. These matters are discussed at length in Calthorpe
            and Fulton's "The Regional City".

            A certain amount of tax-sharing between neighboring cities, for example,
            would help generate revenue to make public transit improvements. This may
            become more politically palatable as gas prices rise, and workers can no
            longer afford to drive to their jobs. The transformation of sprawlburbia
            could begin with new or improved rail lines linking up some version of so
            called 'transit villages'. This process is already slowly taking place in
            many areas. The missing spark that would bring these plans to life, is the
            carfree district. Even a (dreaded) park-and-ride station could be
            redeveloped in to a carfree pedestrian district: Build the carfree
            district on one side of the tracks (the nicer side); parking remains (or is
            added) on the other.



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • duane cuthbertson
            The message seems to be hitting many avenues in the US but can we get some action. Here is another article for you to enjoy or get frustrated at:
            Message 5 of 8 , Jun 1 1:32 PM
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              The message seems to be hitting many avenues in the US but can we get some
              action. Here is another article for you to enjoy or get frustrated at:

              http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/03/0329_cars.html


              Just in case you were wondering how the city of Dallas is doing in their
              quest to cover the metro in Light rail lines, here is there annual report
              for 2000. It's interesting to me since I will more than likely be moving
              there soon. A friend of mine and I concluded that in it's present state one
              could live car free in Dallas on the rail line and have access to most all
              necessities.

              www.dart.org/annualreport2000.htm

              DC
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            • duane cuthbertson
              After reading the posts about regional governments, I probably should have added with my link to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit that it is a great example of
              Message 6 of 8 , Jun 2 8:10 AM
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                After reading the posts about regional governments, I probably should have
                added with my link to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit that it is a great
                example of regional effort, with 13 or more cities participating in it's
                funding. Here's the link again.

                http://www.dart.org/annualreport2000.htm

                DC
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              • James Rombough
                ... DART is a terrible example of regional effort! A lot of people don t like DART, but I think they are doing the best they can. The problem is that Dallas
                Message 7 of 8 , Jun 4 10:54 AM
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                  --- duane cuthbertson <dcuthber@...> wrote:
                  > After reading the posts about regional governments,
                  > I probably should have
                  > added with my link to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit
                  > that it is a great
                  > example of regional effort, with 13 or more cities
                  > participating in it's
                  > funding. Here's the link again.
                  >
                  > http://www.dart.org/annualreport2000.htm
                  >
                  > DC
                  >

                  DART is a terrible example of regional effort! A lot
                  of people don't like DART, but I think they are doing
                  the best they can. The problem is that Dallas and Ft.
                  Worth have been "at war" for decades. Ft. Worth,
                  Arlington (actually, all of Tarrant County) and Grand
                  Prarie in Dallas County are *not* members of DART.
                  That makes DART more like a county-level organization,
                  not a regional organization.

                  Ft. Worth and a few of its suburbs run a public
                  transit agency, the T. Arlington, a "city" of 270,000
                  people, is not a member of the T. As a result,
                  Arlington is the largest city in the USA with no mass
                  transit at all (the Handi-ride program doesn't count
                  as "public" transit). Arlington residents are against
                  city buses because they are afraid of minorities (I've
                  translated what they actually say) moving in. Never
                  mind that there are minorities already living there!

                  I used to live in Arlington and Dallas, and I know
                  many people there, and that is exactly how they think!
                  Pretty sad!

                  For anyone interested in aviation, another casualty in
                  the Dallas vs. Ft. Worth "war" is DFW airport, Love
                  Field and the Wright amendment. The federal
                  government had to force them to cooperate and build an
                  airport, or the Feds would do it for them.

                  A few years ago DART and the T got together and
                  created the Trinity Railway Express. Eventually it
                  will continue all the way to downtown Ft. Worth (now
                  about 2/3 of the way from Dallas to Ft. Worth), but it
                  doesn't go through Arlington, which would be the most
                  direct route.

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                • Ronald Dawson
                  ... I wonder why they want to not operate like that? ... It might also be a taxation thing? ... Paranoid? ... That kind of reminds me of the Mirabel airport
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jun 4 10:55 PM
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                    James Rombough wrote:
                    >DART is a terrible example of regional effort! A lot
                    >of people don't like DART, but I think they are doing
                    >the best they can. The problem is that Dallas and Ft.
                    >Worth have been "at war" for decades. Ft. Worth,
                    >Arlington (actually, all of Tarrant County) and Grand
                    >Prarie in Dallas County are *not* members of DART.
                    >That makes DART more like a county-level organization,
                    >not a regional organization.

                    I wonder why they want to "not" operate like that?

                    >Ft. Worth and a few of its suburbs run a public
                    >transit agency, the T. Arlington, a "city" of 270,000
                    >people, is not a member of the T. As a result,
                    >Arlington is the largest city in the USA with no mass
                    >transit at all (the Handi-ride program doesn't count
                    >as "public" transit). Arlington residents are against
                    >city buses because they are afraid of minorities (I've
                    >translated what they actually say) moving in. Never
                    >mind that there are minorities already living there!

                    It might also be a taxation thing?

                    >I used to live in Arlington and Dallas, and I know
                    >many people there, and that is exactly how they think!
                    > Pretty sad!

                    Paranoid?

                    >For anyone interested in aviation, another casualty in
                    >the Dallas vs. Ft. Worth "war" is DFW airport, Love
                    >Field and the Wright amendment. The federal
                    >government had to force them to cooperate and build an
                    >airport, or the Feds would do it for them.

                    That kind of reminds me of the Mirabel airport (YMX) north of Montreal.

                    >A few years ago DART and the T got together and
                    >created the Trinity Railway Express. Eventually it
                    >will continue all the way to downtown Ft. Worth (now
                    >about 2/3 of the way from Dallas to Ft. Worth), but it
                    >doesn't go through Arlington, which would be the most
                    >direct route.

                    Your right about the distance, through Arlington it's about 31 miles, but
                    through Irving it's about 34 miles. Plus I wonder what kind of service they
                    will provide when the whole thing is up and running?
                    I just hope they keep those nice Budd RDC's active for a long time to come.
                    http://www.trains.com/content/dynamic/articles/000/000/001/001oetky.asp
                    Dawson
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