Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"This is about cars, not neighborhood."

Sue Polinsky is disappointed with the transportation improvements underway on West Friendly Avenue. The plans include a landscaped median to replace the current "suicide lane" for left turns, and sidewalks on both sides of the street (click here for Amy Dominello's News & Record story.)

But Sue doesn't see any plans to make it easier for residents to walk across Friendly:

This is about cars, not neighborhood . . . . I have yet to see the places traffic lights will be installed on Friendly in this highly residential area so people can actually cross the street safely. It seems we are merely being kept on our respective sides more efficiently.

Installing crosswalks with lights would certainly entail stopping automobile traffic, and I'm guessing that GDOT doesn't want to do that because they are likely to get many more complaints from impatient motorists than they are from potential pedestrians.

The total constituency of drivers in the city who want to get places fast is politically far more potent than the constituency of any single neighborhood that's having a road project bisect it.

Divide and conquer. Drivers win, neighbors lose. It's an old story.

I should clarify: it's urban neighbors that lose. Those who are fairly well-off can avoid road projects that divide or deform their neighborhoods by simply moving to the suburbs or exurbs.

But this population shift then ramps up even more arterial road projects through more urban neighborhoods, eroding their value, encouraging more people to move to the exurbs, thus driving even more arterial road projects through what used to be suburbs, encouraging even further-flung suburban and exurban development, then more . . . you get the idea.

Is there anyone to whom this pattern of growth seems like a good idea?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, me.