The idea that we need more transit friendly ways to develop our urban and suburban areas is not new to me. I have long believed it. The idea that government restrictions hinder as often as they help is also easy for me to accept. That’s why I was interested to read about the ways that existing zoning laws often impede smart development.
Many of us will abandon our big gas-guzzling vehicles and forsake new land-guzzling, auto-dependent suburban developments in favor of commuter hubs and “new urbanism” communities clustered near mass-transit stations.
We’ll live sensibly for a change. . . We won’t go kicking and screaming, either. Just give it a little more time. Let the air pollution and traffic congestion and gas pumps that ring up $50, $60, $70 in a blur sink in, and we’ll embrace smart growth and new urbanism and commuter hubs like grandmas hug babies and babies hug puppies.
It’s already starting to happen . . . But there’s still one big obstacle . . . If commuter hubs and bus stop/train station developments are going to become the norm, if we’re going to change our wasteful ways and ease the burden on our environment and pocketbooks, local governments have to lead, or at least get out of the way.
“High density” can no longer be dirty words. Commercial and residential zones must be melded. Those tired old requirements of two parking spaces for every doorstep have to go.
My ideals for my family living situation include a large yard and I begin to wonder if that conflicts with my ideals for smarter growth and a more transit-centric lifestyle.
I think I’ll try to tackle that issue with some ideas of how to meld the two ideals – not just for me, but in general municipal planning. Any thoughts for me to consider?