The city of Moscow opened its first on-street bike path in September. It’s a small sign of a strategic change in the urban development of a city that has become legendary for bad traffic.
According to the article, behavior on the trail isn’t perfect: people are parking in the bike path! Unthinkable! But, also unthinkably, the police has promised to enforce the laws and educate drivers. Now, when I lived in Moscow, I saw the city rip up Leningradsky Prospekt to convert it into a highway. That remains unchanged, but now dedicated trolleybus lanes will run along the highway. The entire transportation and land use strategies are being upended because the mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, and the Kremlin have realized that you cannot build yourself out of congestion with still more roads.
If there’s any doubt as to whether this is a token effort, Sobyanin’s comments here and there are explicit commitment to a complete transportation strategy. Take this interview on Lenta.ru:
SOBYANIN: The easiest option we could offer is: “Let’s build more roads and interchanges, at two levels, three levels, and, sure, everything will be wonderful.”
Lenta.ru : Yes, like in Tokyo, Beijing and other Asian cities.
SOBYANIN: Yes, but it’s a dead end. It is impossible, even if we had a lot of money. And, there can never be enough money, because the building of highways and interchanges costing absurd sums.
That is just the beginning. There’s trams, trolleys, and a hundred miles of metro construction after the break.
I would prefer a mixed-use development on the site that would include five or six floors of residential housing along with a new Safeway. (Safeway at present, has indicated that it has no interest in building such a development.)
Out of 95 voters, 72 said yes to the question anyway. Then there’s this:
If you expressed a preference for a mixed-use development, would you still oppose Safeway’s current proposal if the result were that Safeway decided against any redevelopment of the current store?
81% of respondents still said yes. But all this poll indicates is that activists overwhelmingly support a Safeway mixed-use project. A self-selected poll is never accurate for representing a general population, as it attracts only the most interested individuals. This survey does not, and never could have represented neighborhood opinion, even more so than the Safeway postcards.
So, I guess my point is that ARD doesn’t represent the silent majority, and they don’t even represent a significant minority. The secretive organization is nothing but sound and fury crippled by ineptitude and a lack of web savvy. I don’t think they represent even a credible opposition – and they certainly don’t support anything on their own. Hopefully, people will see through their bluster and realize that they are done.
Alas, maybe more radical action is needed. MaKrel, who may or may not be my friends at ASR, suggests something more radical:
We could demolish the Safeway and return the land to agricultural production in a cooperatively owned CSA farm. Then we wouldn’t have to eat the GM cr*p that corporate supermarket chains shove down our throats; a good example: http://www.intervalecommunityfarm.com/
God Bless Anarcho-Syndicalism. I’ve taken a screencap of the poll just in case it goes down, after the break.
As many people have now realized, the current highway-based, auto-oriented Gaithersburg West sector plan will waste money on unsustainable, outdated forms of growth that will lead to more congestion and auto-centric developments. However, attention must be paid to the serious negative effects I-270 highway expansion will have on areas other than Montgomery County, particularly the District of Columbia. The foregone conclusions of the traffic studies say little about the effects of this decision elsewhere in the region.
The technology companies of Montgomery County have tremendously contributed to the economic growth of the greater Washington region, and more jobs and more vitality in the future are a boon. However, the design of any new developments must also have a positive effect on the rest of the region. Employing effective land use policies, encouraging compact development, and investing in efficient transportation will increase the benefits to the region in many other ways.
Vastly increasing the capacity of highway-scale roads throughout the region will likewise increase the number of automobile trips undertaken. Wider highways up the road will only encourage growth, which will bring calls for I-270 widening closer to the District, just as the highway lobby has pushed planners with good intentions to widen I-66. But that, in turn, will only make trips from further out easier, and so more individuals will opt to drive from further out, filling up the highway. Conversely, any resident of DC that finds a job in the corridor will have to commute from the city by car or move and still commute by car.
But between the Beltway and downtown, where will these drivers go? The project assumes that people will basically commute from Clarksburg to Gaithersburg. Although many will commute within the corridor, history has shown that many will also continue on into DC, into the growing Central Business District. Some, perhaps, will park and ride the Metro or MARC in. But most will simply drive in, pouring cars into the city, onto Wisconsin Avenue, Connecticut Avenue, Beach Drive, Georgia Avenue, Sixteenth Street, River Road, and the Clara Barton Parkway.
The new drivers, passing through the neighborhoods of Northwest will themselves be more traffic, meaning more idling, more speeding, and more side-street cut-throughs. The idling and the stop-start traffic will not only make everyone’s commute harder – the new cars will compete with the excellent bus service in Northwest – the engines will release greenhouse gases and noxious pollutants into the air along the way. Moreover, all the new, frustrated drivers will add more than a few chances for injuries and collisions.
For all the fears that middle-height transit oriented development along corridors in northwest, the sprawlway will have much more severe and lasting consequences for Wards 3 and 4. Politicians and citizens alike need to support rational development, development of a reasonable density, designed for humans, and designed for transit accessibility. Only through TOD can one part of the region grow without adversely affecting the others. But more importantly officials need to coordinate with their peers in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to and work together as a whole, the way the economy of the region does. Otherwise, no infrastructure project can be said to benefit the region, especially one with such an adverse impact as the Sprawlway.
As you can probably tell, something is terribly wrong with this blog. I’m working to fix this, and I changed by theme to see if that was the problem. I had extensively tweaked my prior theme in spite of my limited experience, so it seemed like a reasonable suspect. Until I get this fixed, you can click through to individual posts, which don’t seem to have nearly the same problem.
I would appreciate it if anyone who knows anything about CSS and PHP could tell me what is up.