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View Diary: Trains and the Environment: One Cycle Commuter's Perspective (46 comments)

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  •  Very well put (4+ / 0-)

    Bicycles are a part of urban transportation, but not the whole story. Nor are they interchagable with trains.

    One thing with growth centering around train stations is that there can be green buffer zones in between developments. Growth would look like pearls on a string. The new communities would have a downtown with residential radiating out.

    •  that last part tends not to happen, though (2+ / 0-)
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      JekyllnHyde, object16

      The area in between invariably gets filled in too, a la the San Francisco Bay Area. To keep that from happening would, I think, require explicit land-use legislation.

      The only instance I know of where the pearls-on-a-string thing has really worked successfully is with high-speed (i.e. 160 mph) commuter rail in Europe, since the distances between the "pearls" are so large that filling them in just doesn't happen. This is how the Parisian commuter belt looks, for example, with bedroom communities clustered around TGV stops.

      "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

      by Delirium on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 03:40:17 PM PDT

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      •  We are still living in the age of sub$5 gas. (4+ / 0-)
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        JekyllnHyde, object16, mataliandy, xaxnar

        When we hit the $5/gallon to $10/gallon range, there will be a distinct amount of pain felt by those relying on Highway Oriented Development.

        Indeed, having developers that are already profiting from infill development is an important part of the political foundations required in order to win more serious command-and-control development limits.

        This is, of course, only one facet of the problem, but I argue that it is an important first step to provide the possibility for clustered settlement, and to foster a functioning local political economy founded on that clustered settlement, before it will be politically possible to tackle the Highway Oriented Development system head on. and Energize America

        by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 03:47:36 PM PDT

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        •  will that actually do it, though? (1+ / 0-)
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          Europe is seeing a boom of infill development, and their gasoline has been $5+/gal for years. I visit Greece periodically, and the massive amount of infill development happening over the past 10 years is astonishing: What used to be villages outside of the main cities are now becoming suburbs, and the area in between is being built up too. From what I gather, similar things are happening in the UK and Spain.

          "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

          by Delirium on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 03:49:42 PM PDT

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          •  Are we using the same term the same way? (4+ / 0-)
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            Delirium, wu ming, mataliandy, xaxnar

            Infill development is when an already developed area gains redevelopment that increases the density. Areas in between villages being built up to create suburbs, that's not infill, that's sprawl.

            I'm not saying that when gas hits $5/gallon, it will flip like a light switch ... but it will hit the economic trade-offs that Europe has been facing for decades, in which the alternatives to cars have much higher shares of the passenger transport task ... and as it climbs toward $10/gallon, the trade-off will increasingly favor infill development over sprawl.

            With the beginnings of an alternative settlement pattern in place, the transition will be much smoother ... and, indeed, those places with the alternative settlement pattern will be in better shape economically, and so will be better able to afford the expansion of that system and the retrofit of the car suburb.

   and Energize America

            by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 04:16:26 PM PDT

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            •  sorry, my mistake (0+ / 0-)

              I had sort of mindlessly glossed "infill" as "fill in"; of course you're correct that that isn't what it means.

              I do agree that $10/gallon gas would push in that direction. There are some other challenges to face, though, especially strangely in the more politically left-wing cities. San Francisco's sprawl, for example, is not only driven by cheap gas, but also by San Francisco's very strong anti-development sentiment, which makes redevelopment, e.g. from 2-story townhomes to 10-story condos, politically impossible to get approved.

              "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

              by Delirium on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 04:32:09 PM PDT

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              •  I'm a big fan of Jane Jacobs ... (1+ / 0-)
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                ... and so once we get to the density of two-up, two-down townhouses, I'm not going to fret.

                As far as getting that ... giving preferential access to Federal Funding for local rail systems when there is adequate density zoning in a half mile radius around the station is, I reckon, worth considering.

       and Energize America

                by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 04:35:49 PM PDT

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