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Planning & Development (was: Urban Sprawl Makes Americans Fat, Study Finds)

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  • Richard Risemberg
    Ohene says: I ask this because of gentrification and the attempt to plan entire cities (master plans) based on what one group likes while eliminating
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 2, 2003
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      Ohene says:
      I ask this because of gentrification and the attempt to plan entire
      cities (master plans) based on what one group likes while eliminating
      everything we dont like (.ie this 3 parts arts, 2 parts mass transit,
      4 parts organic food, 1 part parks and recreation formula). My point
      is that even "negative" things can bring about positive change.
      Maybe people are giving things too much thought.
      =========
      Richard says:
      The point is that massive road development is highly planned, and that no other options are permitted or usually even considered. Provdie teh other options, and let folks choose. My main restriction in the outline I first submitted a couple of days ago was No Big Box Stores (which restrict choice) and anrrow the streets (to make room for choice).

      ==========
      ==========
      Turpin says:
      >(Richard:) But today, it will be much easier to build
      > a subway as a public-works project than to
      > de-subsidize auto use. .. And once the
      > alternative is in place, then you can
      > justify depaving to a limited extent.

      Yep. That's been going on for decades. But
      in how many cities has this changed
      development patterns? Where has sprawl
      declined? In what states is driving now less
      subsidized?
      ==========
      Richard says:
      The alternative has been provided but there has been no corresponding reduction in road area; except in a few odd places, such as San Francisco and I believe it was Milwaukee, even more roads have appeared. Reduce road (and parking) area and you de-subsidize driving not only without increasing taxes but while increasing tax income (by increasing population & commercial activity).

      In New York there are plenty of subways and relatively little road and parking area (for a US city); the roads are usually jammed--urban roads always will be, regardless of extent, if you allow cars--but nearly 80% of trips occur on public transit.

      Richard
    • mtneuman@juno.com
      On Tue, 2 Sep 2003 15:10:46 -0700 (GMT) Richard Risemberg writes: ... Mike responds: Driving is less now less subsidized in states
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 3, 2003
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        On Tue, 2 Sep 2003 15:10:46 -0700 (GMT) Richard Risemberg
        <rickrise@...> writes:
        Turpin says:
        > >(Richard:) But today, it will be much easier to build
        > > a subway as a public-works project than to
        > > de-subsidize auto use. .. And once the
        > > alternative is in place, then you can
        > > justify depaving to a limited extent.

        Richard says:
        > Yep. That's been going on for decades. But
        > in how many cities has this changed
        > development patterns? Where has sprawl
        > declined? In what states is driving now less
        > subsidized?

        Mike responds: Driving is less now less subsidized in states that charge
        higher than average fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, but I
        realize that answer hides the right answer to the question, which is that
        people who drive excessively are being greatly undercharged for the
        damages they're inflicting socially, environmentally and economically.

        So we have to go on and accept that that is true. But we don't have to
        allow the mistakes of the past to dictate the options available to us
        now. At least that was the principle I followed back a few years ago,
        when I made my attempt at changing the status quo of transportation
        planning in Wisconsin. Needless to say, it backfired on me. But I still
        consider it to have been a worthwhile attempt, and therefore I raise it
        here as an item for potential discussion. Here we go...

        While working as a long time State of Wisconsin Department of Natural
        Resources (DNR) employee from 1980 - 1999, in the field of environmental
        review of highway plans and projects, I was offered the job of
        coordinating the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)'s review
        of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (DOT)'s long term
        (20-year) state highway plan in the spring of 1999.. It was a massive
        plan, of course, which had originally recommended the State of Wisconsin
        spend $24 billion on highway construction improvement projects over the
        20-year planning period.

        I decided I would take on the review as an environmental advocate, a
        position consistent with the DNR's mission and purpose.

        The DOT's highway plan proposed 2,800 miles of new highway lanes be added
        to the state highway system to provide additional vehicle capacity, along
        with hundreds of new and wider bridges, interchanges, etc.. After having
        worked in the field of environmental review of highways for numerous year
        before taking on this assignment, I knew the kind of damage such new
        construction could inflict on the environment and the additional
        environmental "bads" that would result from the increasing usage of the
        expanded highways by countless more vehicles driving more and more miles
        everyday in the future.

        So I decided to proposed an alternative that I thought might measurably
        reduce the growing need for more highway capacity expansion in Wisconsin.
        The proposal I made was as follows.

        The DOT should use the money collected it collects from gas taxes for the
        highway expansion projects it was proposing (over $8 billion worth) to
        instead rebate Wisconsin households who signed up for a program to drive
        significantly less than average miles per year on the highway system (all
        public roads), as measured by their vehicle odometers, and then went
        ahead and accomplished their objective. One of the main reasons I
        thought it could be done was that, at that time at least, one of every
        ten cars used in the state to travel to work had solely the driver on
        board. Certainly, people could due better that and reduce their annual
        mileage accordingly. Plus, the two major cities in Wisconsin where most
        of the annual driving mileage is racked up both have half way descent
        transit systems - so people had transit alternatives to driving. Also,
        both Madison and Milwaukee have ample vacancy rates in the city where
        most people work, and sufficient ancillary facilities (grocery stores,
        hardware stores, malls), so those who really wanted to make an effort to
        drive less could do so by renting apartments or buying second/third,
        etc., hand houses located within the city. Bicycle use is also becoming
        more popular in the larger cities of Wisconsin, as the Bicycle Federation
        of Wisconsin heavily promotes bicycling to work on a regular basis, in
        combination with using transit during periods of inclement weather.

        So when it came time for the Final highway plan to be endorsed and
        brought to public hearing, I decided to go before the public with my
        proposal. During a meeting I attended with several environmental
        agencies and local governmental officials, I decided to lay out the
        "transportation demand management" (TDM) alternative to highway expansion
        (which I had already gotten the DNR Secretary's support on).

        They public officials appeared flabbergasted, but seemed to like the
        idea. One of them must have notified the newspaper reporters, as my plan
        was printed as the lead story on the front page of the Milwaukee
        Journal/Sentinel paper the very next day. Needless to say, I had no idea
        Wisconsin's largest newspaper (in terms of circulation numbers) was going
        to print my proposed alterative to the highway plan, and label it as "the
        DNR's plan that pays people not to drive". When the road builders and
        the DOT and the Governor and everyone else who had been lobbying for new
        highways read the proposal, the crap hit the fan (so to speak).

        I had earlier costed the alternative out before I proposed the
        alternative plan for consideration in the environmental impact statement
        on the 20 year plan, and determined funding the rebates would have "cost"
        8 billion total ($400 million/year), for ten years of full implementation
        of the rebate program, statewide. ("Cost" is in quotes, because the
        rebates to the public are really not "costs" in economic terms -- they
        are simply transfer payment from people who drive excessively throughout
        the year to the others who try (and succeed) in not driving as much.

        Following are a few newspaper reports from that time, which show what
        happened in the media. I don't have the original Milwaukee
        Journal/Sentinel story on a URL link, but these reports tell the story
        fairly well I thought:

        http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=tct:1999:12:20:255973:Public
        Works
        http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=tct:1999:12:20:255977:Public
        Worker
        http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=tct:1999:12:07:254598:Editor
        ial

        You can also read about the initial proposal I made (which the DNR
        Secretary approved) on page 10 of the Wisconsin DNR's 20-page comment
        letter on the plan, issued back in May 1999:

        Comments on WisDOT Draft State Highway Plan, 1999:
        http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/dnr-shp2020.html
        http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/dnrshp.pdf
        http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/dnrcomments.pdf

        Summary Paper (earlier draft went to Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel,
        published in newspaper November 30, 1999):
        http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/vmr.pdf

        Submittal to Bicycling Newsletter, April 4, 2000:
        http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/trans/neuman_vmt.html

        I later wrote the proposal up, added elements to reduce air travel (a
        significant contributor to global warming and air pollution), and to
        encourage more efficient energy use in the home, attached a cover letter
        addressed to public office holders representing me in Government, and
        mailed it:
        http://danenet.wicip.org/bcp/neuman_gw.pdf
        http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/neuman_gw_letter.pdf


        I'd still be interested in any and all comments on the proposal.

        Mike Neuman
        ----------

        "If you live within walking or bicycling distance of work, you can reduce
        the global warming impact of your commute to zero."
        Denis Hayes, http://www.rambles.net/hayes_earthday.html


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