Last week columnist Neil Peirce noted some depressing statistics on car use. Today, as he promised, today's column envisions the future. It is a future that is already materializing before us. Transit. Mr. Peirce's highlight recommendations:
- Champion transit-oriented development
- Make transit stops beacons of living for America's new millions
- Inventory our millions of acres of "fallow" sites — brownfields, abandoned railyards, failed shopping-center sites
- Do away with mandatory parking slots for new buildings — let the market decide
- Focus on reducing auto trips for errands — they're much more numerous than commute trips, studies show
- Finally, and critically, we need fresh vision to associate compactness with lively and resilient towns, combating climate change and making us less dependent on foreign oil
The key point, of course, is his last one. Anyone living in a sprawling suburb would be foolish to travel primarily by foot, bike, or transit. Cars are the only transportation choice that make sense in most suburbs. He also seems to make transit seem like the ends and density as the means to get there. Should be the other way around. We should develop dense, walkable, livable communities. In that context, what will naturally follow is a modern transportation infrastructure of rail, busways, bike lanes, sidewalks, and reduced parking.