Saturday, August 13, 2005

Even better than the Urban Growth Boundary

Perhaps the only development program devised by government that is more pernicious than the high-density Urban Growth Boundary land use rules is Transit Oriented Development. What is transit oriented development?

Through Transit Oriented Development (TOD), communities encourage higher-density residential and commercial development near bus lines, streetcar routes, and train stations. This proximity increases the likelihood that transit services will be better used by the public. Such increased usage, in turn, makes the construction and operation of transit easier for governments to finance.

Yes, with TOD it makes life easier on government by making it cheaper to finance their pet projects. Notice how it does not make your commute easier, your shopping easier, or your time to destination any faster.

Jennifer L. Dorn, after being introduced by our own Earl "Bow-Tie" Blumenaur had the following things to say in a speech at the Rail-Volution Conference:

The world that liberals dream of:
The traditional nuclear families that made up 40 percent of households in 1970, now comprise less than 25 percent of households. And that percentage is expected to decline even more. In just one generation, the “typical” American household won’t have children living in it. In fact, nearly 70 percent of households will not include children. These households will consist of singles, empty nesters, and couples without children. And these are groups with a proven preference for our cities and the transit options they provide.

That icky, non-progressive world that liberals mock, ridicule and would rather leave behind:
When we think about the American Dream, we tend to think about the post-World War II vision. The American Dream was something that Americans would DRIVE to. In the popular lexicon, the American Dream meant a two-parent family with two children (one crew-cut boy and one pig-tailed girl, of course), and a dog -- all ensconced in a suburban tract house with a big yard surrounded by a white picket fence- and a roomy automobile parked in the garage to carry Dad to his job in the city each day.

Remind me again, was AIDS, drive-by's, teenage pregnancy, rampant homelessness, drug use, etc a problem back in "those times?"

Reality check:
There are clear signs that people are getting tired of the isolation that the car culture tends to create, and they are growing weary of having to get in the car for even the simplest of errandsÂ… The fact is, a gallon of gas for a gallon of milk is a terrible exchange rate.

I would venture that Ms. Dorn has never tried to take 3 screaming kids on the bus, in the rain, in December to get a gallon of milk. Rather than have the trip take 15 minutes it will take about 45. And good luck buyicartfullrtful of groceries, you know, the way that most people shop, when taking mass transit.

The transit crowd isn't just about "saving the ozone" but radically changing Americas families and lifestyles. They envision hip 20-somethings who lead selfish lives with no children to burden them, they will dwell in high density condos in the middle of downtowns. The icky suburbs (or sprawl in their language) will be outlawed through land use planning.

On the left and right coast no one will have a yard for the dog. No one will be able to have a car because there will be no where to park it. We will all take the MAX to our jobs with the local government while relying the heartland to continue to supply enough federal tax income to subsidize our urban lifestyles.

Of course, this vision is very flawed. The urban utopia is a farce. The shootings, the aggressive panhandling, the high housing prices, and the mass exodus of families has shown us that Portland is not where normal Americans want to live.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Normal Americans? This is a very true statement. I am a transplant. Never seen anything like this place. As a transplant, I have met many other transplants. Some stay here, some go. The ones that go say they couldn't deal with the weirdness of the place. The ones that stay commonly refer to weird things as the "Oregon factor," which is like an X factor. Then there are other transplants who talk as if living in Oregon was akin to dying and going to heaven. I suspect these are the weirdos who are drawn here to keep this place weird. We are fortunate. We bought in a location and at a time where we have some space between our neigbors and live in a quiet neighborhood. We have our own four walls, a back yard with fencing, side yards, and a nice front yard. But as I look around my area today, the only kind of housing being built is multi-family housing with the exception of about 10 new single-family homes. I'd say it is 10 out of about 400 units that have gone up around me over the last 2 years. That's pathetic. Pack 'em in like rats, man. That's gotta be the answer! Yeah, right.

Daniel said...

I live in Sherwood, a nice neighborhood with kids running in the street, some woods with a creek nearby, and a school practically in my backyard.

I feel safe letting my kids run around in the neighborhood. I wouldn't feel that way in Portland or any major city.

I don't understand how urban planners don't recognize that with high density come high crime and other problems.

Even with your "pack 'em in like rats" comment, I have heard about scientific experiments having been done with rats who get put into "high density" living situations and the results are not pretty. They turn cannibalistic, homosexual, etc.

We need our space.

Sailor Republica said...

I've never been a fan of high-density housing. Sure, apartment complexes were not bad...as long as they're spread out among a wide area (like in my homestate of Minnesota). Here? Sardine City.

Urban Growth Boundary my ass. The only good thing about it is that my friend can get a boatload of cash because her land is just outside the UGB.

MAX Redline said...

Well, with woods and a creek nearby, it's just a matter of time before some "planner" decides to slap an environmental overlay on the area. Enjoy it while you can.

Daniel said...

"Evironmental overlay?"

If a spotted owl lands on my property I'm going to eat him for dinner! Then I'm going to cut the tree down that he landed in.

Janet Reno can come burn down my house with me in it but this is MY property!

MAX Redline said...

LOL! You go, Daniel!

But seriously...I had a nice piece of property, with a creek running through the very back of the yard. Had beavers back there, all kinds of stuff. I left it pretty much natural.

Then one day I had an inch of bound paper in my mailbox. They'd decided to slap an "environmental overlay" on my land.

This meant:

a)no non-native plants within fifty feet of the creek. BTW, vegetable gardens are considered "non-native".

b) any and all plans for remodeling, reconstruction, or expansion of my home were required to be vetted by the BES. This meant that you got to pay for copies of any said plans, and submit them along with a $1200 nonrefundable fee, whereupon somebody would decide if you could do it or not.

Ummm...the problem I had with all this was that I managed the creek area for wildlife enhancement. I left some dead trees for the woodpeckers, stuff like that.

Suddenly, some nutjob who's never even seen the place is going to tell me whether or not I have permission to replace a rotting back deck? For a $1200 nonrefundable fee? I don't think so, Tim.

I replaced the deck anyway, sold the place, and moved - just not far enough away.

Daniel said...

Stuff like that is why we voted YES on Measure 37!

And kudos to you for replacing the deck anyways. It really is time to stand up to these communist beuracrats.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of replacing decks, I have some dying trees in my backyard. I think I am supposed to get a permit and submit a "reforestation plan" to the city before I cut down these things. I have no intention of doing that. Last summer, without knowing the rules, I planted 40 arbor vitae trees to give me a hedge along my back fence line. Now I am on line to cut down 5 deciduous trees that are about 10 years old each. I've already done right by my property, to wit, I've enhanced it's value to me and the community by improving the back yard with the hedge (read privacy). The dead trees will have to go. Screw the permit/plan process. If my neighbors rat me out, I'll show them just how neighborly I can be by letting my rotting trees stand on the property, along with a rotting shared fence. These people make me sick.

Daniel said...

The only thing that liberals think you should be able to plant in your backyard without government permission is marijuana.

I am Coyote said...

A term that drives these liberals crazy is this: "impervious surfaces."

They know that is a weak link in their "smart growth" argument.

Imervious surfaces create massive runnoff with lots of oils and other contaminants from the streets and roofs. And of course inside the UGB you have alot of IS with no earth to filter out the contaminants.

You can also see how some of the Portland area folks are begining to talk about this smart growth fiasco over on our blog. I just posted several emails about the recent Portland Tribune story.

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