Growth does NOT cause congestion
Last week, Anthony Mauger wrote that "it should be obvious that our horrendous and worsening traffic congestion is a consequence of growth." Apologies to Mr. Mauger, but obvious or not, that claim is wrong wrong wrong.
Congestion is a consequence of overreliance on cars and of road systems designed to funnel traffic onto a small number of arterial streets. It is a consequence of building cities that require everyone to drive all the time for everything, on a very small number of roads. When we build cities that don't follow that model, they don't become congested.
Interestingly, there is a successful example of this right here in the D.C. region. Arlington has added over 20 million square feet of office space and 20,000 new residential units along its Orange Line Metro corridor in recent decades with no discernible increase in traffic congestion. That's as much office space as there is in all of Baltimore, and as many residential units as in the entire city of Rockville. Really. That happened. It happened because Arlington grew in a manner that did not inherently require people to drive. The development is compact enough that so many people walk, bike or take transit for so many of their daily needs, that congestion is not an issue.
Smart growth works. If you want to reduce congestion, that's how to do it. There really is no alternative, anyway. Stopping growth just means it goes somewhere else. If you "solve" your problem by stopping growth, you haven't solved anything, you've just made it somebody else's problem.
| May 18, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Local blog network, development, traffic
Save & Share: Previous: Do you like D.C.?
Next: Portrait of a government worker
Posted by: fstallone | May 19, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: ajfroggie | May 19, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Dan Malouff | May 19, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ajfroggie | May 20, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: sonalisoneji | May 20, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.