California Declares War on Suburbia

State and regional planners seek to radically restructure urban areas, forcing millions into narrowly confined, densely packed urban corridors. Metropolitan area governments are adopting plans that would require most new housing to be built at 20 or more to the acre, which is at least five times the traditional quarter acre per house.  If the planners have their way, 68% of new housing in Southern California by 2035 would be condos and apartment complexes. It won’t save the planet but will make traffic even worse.

California Declares War on Suburbia by Wendell Cox – Wall Street Journal

April 9, 2012

2 thoughts on “California Declares War on Suburbia

  1. Mr. Cox does not take into consideration demographics; that the two major groups that will need housing to meet their needs are the young and the old (retiring boomers). His fifties sprawl mind set seems to be hanging on. At the same time the young need to be near work and the old need to be near healthcare and other institutions. The answer is to lessen the percentage and the further sprawl of single family housing, and also to develop regionally on the “centers concept” and yes add densiy to make it all affordable including the choice of transit system with shorter length trips; that means affordable BRT networks not rail transit serving the multiple centers.

  2. There is no inherent need to be near to anything. The speed with which a trip can be made is the only controlling factor. Studies prove that travel time is greater in high density areas where a high percentage of travelers rely on mass transit than in “sprawl” areas where there is greater reliance on individual transportation.

    “The Japanese megacity of Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto has somewhat fewer people than the New York consolidated (metropolitan) area and slightly more than the Los Angeles-Riverside consolidated area. Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto has perhaps the world’s second most heavily patronized transit system (after Tokyo), which carries at least 50% as many riders on its rail lines alone as all of the transit systems in the United States. Yet, in Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto, workers spend 20 percent more time traveling between work and home each year as New Yorkers. They spend 40 percent more time commuting than workers in Los Angeles, despite its having the worst traffic congestion in the nation. The difference between Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto and New York and Los Angeles lies in the fact that in the two American metropolitan areas, most workers travel to work by car, to destinations throughout the areas.”

    “One common claim is that transit will provide alternative mobility. However, transit trips tend to be twice as long as car trips and no transit vision has ever been put forward that would replicate the efficiency of the automobile. There is good reason for this, since such a transit system would cost on the order of a metropolitan area’s entire income, each year, to operate and amortize. And, transit is expensive. The recent compact cities policy lobbying paper, Moving Cooler, shows that transit is far from a cost effective means for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, costing 20 times the maximum $50 per ton guideline as established by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

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