Making the Connections on Stimulus Spending

Lots of news from the Streetsblog Network today, some good and some not so good.

Design New Haven has a thought-provoking piece about a recent argument from the Congress for the New Urbanism on how to target stimulus funding :

streetcomparison5.jpgAccording to the CNU, priority stimulus funding should be given to projects that enhance connectivity to the greatest degree, e.g., by reducing block sizes, increasing sidewalk space, and converting one-way streets to two-way streets, and increasing the number of intersections per square mile by eliminating major "gaps" in the network, such as Downtown New Haven’s Route 34.

Over at Grist, Ryan Avent’s new column, The Transit Authority, takes aim at the stimulus at well. First, Avent explains how sustainable transportation can lead to greater productivity, and takes the administration to task for the relatively small allocation for transit and rail in the recovery bill. Avent acknowledges that more transit funding might be forthcoming in the 2009 transportation bill, but he cautions optimists on that score:

That transit and rail were so easily sacrificed in stimulus
negotiations should send us a message — now is no time for transit
supporters to ease up on their legislators. We’ll need to fight until
the money is in the pipeline.

Matthew Yglesias provides more cause for concern on that front, citing Talking Points Memo‘s piece on how rail got shorted in the stimulus to make room for tax cuts.

But enough with the bad news. There’s hopeful stuff bouncing around out there in the blogosphere as well. Cheer yourself up by playing around with NRDC’s cool new tool to help communities interested in Picturing Smart Growth, which Scott Dodd writes about on NRDC Switchboard. Or read Bike Portland‘s coverage of the ground-breaking bike safety bill just passed in Massachusetts.

  • W. K. Lis

    There was an article back in 2005 in the Canadian Geographic ( http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/Magazine/ja05/alacarte.asp ) that helps explain the road grid patterns:

    Traditional grid
    • direct, convenient routes throughout
    • easy to navigate
    • more paved area for roads
    • through traffic and many fourpoint intersections in residential areas make walking less safe

    Conventional loop and cul-de-sac
    • long routes to get short distances
    • harder to navigate
    • less paved area
    • safer for pedestrians
    • open space beyond walking distance for most residents

  • Seems odd to me that that ‘conventional loops’ (read, recent inventions, untested over long periods of time) are purportedly safer for peds.

    I haven’t time now to follow your link, but would you really rather walk down a 32-foot-wide suburban traffic sewer with two-foot sidewalks and SUVs doing 55mph, than a straight road where they can see you and you’re separated by parallel-parked cars?

    I will be amazed if good science bears this out.

  • Rhywun

    “Traditional grid … many fourpoint intersections in residential areas make walking less safe”

    C’mon… Jane Jacobs disproved that nonsense forty years ago.

  • Yeah, I just read his link. Gonna have to call lolz on it.

  • Rhywun

    Nice try guys, but those little parks–which probably nobody is watching–look like they would make ideal hangouts for delinquents and pedophiles. I’d rather walk down proper *streets* myself.

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