"Prior to World War II, every city in America was built for easy walking and biking. In fact, the idea of living in a walkable place is nothing radical. What was radical was the program we undertook to build an entirely new type of human life…Americans have grown up fully immersed in the car culture, not knowing alternatives — and that’s a problem."

Finding Freedom in the Walkable Neighborhood | This Big City, 7/7/2014

Focusing on car-congestion relief is a bad idea when it comes to good urbanism

Top: depressingly true cartoon.

Bottom: two photos of actual interstate construction tearing through neighborhoods on the middle of Atlanta, harming connectivity between neighborhoods and destroying buildings for the sake of moving as many cars as possible.

Currently on tap: $1billion dollars to be spent on a single interchange — 400/I-285 — to attempt to fix congestion by increasing capacity for cars at peak commuting times.

The dog is chasing its tail again, spending massive resources on the doomed-to-failure attempts at congestion relief when there are so many other needs in infrastructure and mobility.

SIGN MY PETITION

Let “we won’t raise the gas tax to fund roads, we’ll just take public money from other places” Georgia know that this is the wrong investment to make with our dwindling transportation funds. Particularly in a state and metro with many other pressing needs.

Reducing car ownership brings big rewards for local economy
Via Urbandata: According to data from AAA, if you reduce car ownership by 15,000 cars, over $127 million will stay in your local economy — per year.
So how is it that this goal not on the radar of every local politician everywhere?
For most large US cities (ones that aren’t already paragons of compact walkability), successfully reducing car ownership to this degree would probably require a significant increase in affordable urban infill housing in attractive environments, connected with ped/bike/transit infrastructure. Basically: good urbanism.
It’s a big, complex task with many hurdles in place, but it has been done and can be done again. Luckily, urban planners have documented the processes. I’ve enjoyed attending the APA Conference in Atlanta this week and finding out what strategies exist for making more ‘good urbanism’ happen in cities like Atlanta.
I’m hoping to post some highlights from the conference this week.

Reducing car ownership brings big rewards for local economy

Via Urbandata: According to data from AAA, if you reduce car ownership by 15,000 cars, over $127 million will stay in your local economy — per year.

So how is it that this goal not on the radar of every local politician everywhere?

For most large US cities (ones that aren’t already paragons of compact walkability), successfully reducing car ownership to this degree would probably require a significant increase in affordable urban infill housing in attractive environments, connected with ped/bike/transit infrastructure. Basically: good urbanism.

It’s a big, complex task with many hurdles in place, but it has been done and can be done again. Luckily, urban planners have documented the processes. I’ve enjoyed attending the APA Conference in Atlanta this week and finding out what strategies exist for making more ‘good urbanism’ happen in cities like Atlanta.

I’m hoping to post some highlights from the conference this week.

According to the CDC, motor vehicle-related injuries are the leading cause of death in the US for ages 5-34. Worldwide, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 15-29. While both statistics are serious, it’s clear that, in the US, a greater range of the population is in danger of death from motor vehicles.
I write a lot about car-centric places being bad for reasons related to efficient, careful land use and for the relationship we have to our built environment and to each other.
But It’s important to take a regular break from those concerns and think about the impact that our car-centric places have on our health in the US. For a look at the other health problems (apart from fatal injuries) caused by cars, see this interview with former CDC director, Richard Jackson.Atlanta traffic photo from Flickr user spartan_puma

According to the CDC, motor vehicle-related injuries are the leading cause of death in the US for ages 5-34. Worldwide, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 15-29. While both statistics are serious, it’s clear that, in the US, a greater range of the population is in danger of death from motor vehicles.

I write a lot about car-centric places being bad for reasons related to efficient, careful land use and for the relationship we have to our built environment and to each other.

But It’s important to take a regular break from those concerns and think about the impact that our car-centric places have on our health in the US. For a look at the other health problems (apart from fatal injuries) caused by cars, see this interview with former CDC director, Richard Jackson.

Atlanta traffic photo from Flickr user spartan_puma

"Per-capita vehicle miles of travel dropped again in 2013, making it the ninth consecutive year of decline…This recent downward shift has had no clear, lasting connection to economic trends or gas prices. Evidence suggests that the decline is likely due to changing demographics, saturated highways, and a rising preference for compact, mixed-use neighborhoods."

Per capita VMT drops for ninth straight year; DOTs taking notice | SSTI.us, 2/24/2014

"If we really want to prevent future crises, it’s not going to be a matter of shutting down every time there’s a scary weather forecast, but investing in longer-term solutions to our sprawl."

How Atlanta Survived Icepocalypse II
We’re not a national joke anymore. But our city’s still a sprawling mess.
| Politico, 2/14/2014

"Driving, which has been on more or less an upward slope since the end of World War II, has dropped from the peaks of last decade…Media coverage of America’s transportation story, though, seems oddly stuck in the last century."

The love affair is over:
America’s relationship with the automobile is changing. The transportation beat has to catch up
| Columbia Journalism Review, 11/2013