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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Suburban Sprawl

I know we have beaten this one down more times than Mohammad Ali did of his opponents in the boxing ring. The truth remains that the low density development that we produce is a disproportionately high consumer of resources just in the building.

The amount of asphalt that is laid to pave a street that give access to every lot is 3 to 20 times as high as in an urban landscape where there are zero-lot line structures and medium ride condominiums. More miles of water mains, and concrete sewer pipes are necessary. It costs every utility more to build the service lines to the low density subdivisions.

This extra-ordinary amount of resources doesn't ever consider the higher fuel consumption for commuters, shoppers and service delivery such as the USPS and FedEX. While one might wish to neglect these costs, and negative impacts, each incremental part totals the aggregate amount of pollutant loading in all the segments of the environment.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Complete Streets

It is not my intention to duplicate the multitude of material already on the Web on this topic. The concept is not new but the emphasis on it is. The need to design our streets and roadways to accommodate more than just the motorists and trucks will carry us through this century. Even though the cost of gasoline has dropped recently, this can only be a temporary event. Global demand increases and the likelihood of "Peak Oil" production make that a certainty.

Meanwhile we need to make sure that we do not continue to put all our transportation eggs in the same basket lest we lose them all in one collision with economic reality.

I will have more to say on Complete Streets in this blog.