Monday, October 20, 2008

Red Lining and Land Use Horrors

I totally disagree with Atrios

He writes

Where the economics of land prices have run smack into stupid zoning and land use policies.

Rockville Pike between the NIH and downtown Rockville is an ugly mess of an edge city. Like Tysons, it has too much density to be truly car friendly, but all the ugliness of suburbia: strip malls set back behind acres of surface parking.

Essentially these are the worst of both worlds kind of places, dense enough to have the unpleasant aspects of density but without the sensible land use policies which would allow the good effects of density to appear.

I'm not confident than many of them can be sensibly reshaped, but the ones which probably can be are the ones which are on a decent transit line. Access to mass transit reduces car dependency at least for some, as if someone in your household can use it to commute you can have one fewer car.

-Atrios 10:10

Uh uh

Rockville pike is pretty much right smack above the DC metro red line. I remember back before the metro (long long ago) when it wasn't appalling.

My sense is that there is a reverse public transit effect where the metro makes it sensible to put huge stores on Rockville Pike and then people drive to them.

Definitely the monster traffic and parking lots came after the metro was built not before.

1 comment:

reason said...

Interest case study. You are probably correct. This is an area of policy that makes HUGE differences to people, but where there is very little academic agreement. Clearly, the large ground level carpark is outrageous, and the impact of traffic on the community was underappreciated in planning consideration. But what is the right way to go about getting a good outcome?