Friday, September 18, 2009

Low Traffic Growth

This might be a pretty good way to think about, and communicate, the whole development/parking issue. Relatively dense urban living isn't how everyone wants to live, but in places that are pretty dense but not particularly urban, the problem with growth isn't people but parking and traffic. And concerns people have about parking and traffic lead them to advocate for policies which... create more traffic, because they demand lower density development and greater parking availability.

Even within dense cities, such as mine, residents push for increased parking requirements for new developments. In isolation, perhaps their demands make sense (though I think often they are self-defeating), but across numerous projects they make the city less pedestrian friendly, ultimately increasing the amount of traffic.

The point is that development is inevitable lots of places given growing population. People understandably object to development which they think will make their lives worse. But if you create development which in various ways manages to get the car/driving age people ratio a bit below one, a lot of the perceived negative effects of development vanish. Getting people to understand that is tricky.