“With Gas over $4, Cities Explore Whether It’s Smart to Be Dense”
The Wall Street Journal has a great article that speaks volumes about how cities, especially Sacramento, California are having to rethink about how pedestrian traffic and urban density will gain momentum now that gas prices are steadily rising.
For decades, backers of “smart-growth” planning principles have preached the benefit of clustering the places where people live more closely with the businesses where they work and shop. Less travel would mean less fuel consumption and less air pollution. Several communities built from scratch upon those principles, such as Celebration in Florida, sprouted across the country. But they were often isolated experiments, connected to their surroundings mainly by car. So, as gasoline remained cheap, the rest of the country continued its inexorable march toward bigger houses and longer commutes.
Now, smart-growth fans see a chance to reverse that.
“Expensive oil is going to transform the American culture as radically as cheap oil did,” predicts David Mogavero, a Sacramento-based architect and smart-growth proponent.
“The original photo of the intersection of Hurley Way and Fulton Avenue, east of downtown Sacramento, shows a narrow sidewalk, streetfront parking lots, poorly marked crosswalks and no protection from the sun.”
“Clearer crosswalks, wider sidewalks, bike lanes and streetlamps make for a safer pedestrian experience.”
“Trees bring needed shade.”
“Storefronts replace parking lots along the side of the road.”