"Smart Growth" - The Cure May Be Worse Than
Commenting on the "smart growth" movement in our Sept/Oct 1999 Brief,
"In Search of Livability," we quoted a local Montgomery County, MD official
as saying: "...the issue of sprawl does not energize the electorate. Quite
the contrary, it's the prospect of higher densities that brings out citizen opposition...
If people conclude that 'smart growth' means infill development, higher densities
and more crowding, the public will turn against it..." His words were prophetic.
Two recent events illustrate the strength of the emerging anti-densification backlash.
Can Alternatives to Driving Reduce Auto Use? A two-day National Conference on Mobility, sponsored by the American Highway
Users Alliance, brought together an impressive collection of transportation experts
and practitioners in early December. We reprint below the remarks of your editor
who spoke at the concluding session dealing with traffic congestion.
Carpool Lanes - The Debate Continues
Controversial since their introduction in the 1970s, carpool lanes continue to
give rise to spirited debates throughout the country. In California, the HOV backlash
has been particularly pronounced. Following protests from disgruntled motorists,
state law now prohibits changing a "mixed flow" or general-use lane
to an HOV lane. Legislation also has banned new carpool lanes in unincorporated
Alameda County. Another pending bill in the state legislature (AB 14) would require
regular monitoring and evaluation of HOV lane effectiveness, with underperforming
lanes returned to general use. Finally, AB 44, a bill introduced by Assemblyman
McClintock, would require redesignation of all existing carpool lanes to general-use
lanes and prohibit establishment of any new HOV lanes until they have been demonstrated
to be the most efficient alternative.
A Transportation Agenda for the 21st Century
Toward An Entrepreneurial, Market-Driven System How should the surface transportation system be reshaped to serve the needs
of America in the 21st century? What changes should be sought in the management
and operation of transportation facilities, in service delivery, in transportation
technology and in institutional arrangements? What barriers must be overcome to
"bring the future forward faster"? Throughout the coming year, INNOVATION
BRIEFS will explore these and other key transportation issues through a series
of conversations and listening sessions with the nation's leading transportation
thinkers, practitioners and policymakers. We intend to focus on policies and concepts
that question the status quo and challenge the conventional wisdom, for we believe
that merely tinkering with current policies and institutional arrangements may
not be enough to solve America's growing gridlock. We begin this series with a
scenario that envisions a gradual shift toward a more entrepreneurial, market-driven
transportation system. This scenario was the subject of a recent day-long workshop
in Washington D.C. that brought together some of the best transportation minds
in the nation. The meeting was sponsored by the Reason Public Policy Institute
(RPPI) and the Ford Motor Company.