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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for June 8th, 2009

1,000 units, near car-free, planned in Hayward

with 11 comments

San Francisco Chronicle

This new piece today updates what I wrote recently about Cindy Chan Piper and Vauban near Freiburg. There is a nearly car free community planned one and half miles from  a BART station on the east side of San Francisco Bay. It is to be called Quarry Village.  

While some may say they are wiling to walk twenty minutes to get to good transit service, I note that “Shuttles would ferry passengers to the campus and BART.” 

In Vauban, an electric streetcar runs through the community’s only main street and connects riders with downtown, a university and several business parks. At Quarry Village, a main public transportation line would be more than a mile away.

“I’m skeptical that you can eliminate cars in a development that is not directly on top of transit,” said Jeff Loux, a land-use expert and UC Davis professor who has visited Vauban. “You have to make the alternative almost as convenient and, hopefully, cheaper than cars.”

I must say that based on my personal experience I tend to agree with him. I have lived in a variety of places – including those a 15 minute walk from a tube station. Indeed one of the big issues at my late mother’s house in the outer suburbs of Essex was the commuters who would park outside her house as there were not restrictions there as there were closer to the station.  Yes there was a station car park but you have to pay for that. Even drivers will walk a ways to get free parking. But they will not walk very far. 

It is also not yet built, so all we can say at present is at least someone is trying. But I think we need to acknowledge that we can do very much better in planning our suburbs. Of course in Metro Vancouver that is not going to happen south of the Fraser, since we are going to expand the freeway – and build new roads and a new Port Mann Bridge. There are vague promises of transit sometime in the distant future – but absolutely no commitment at all to expanding the operating funds of Translink. The senior levels of government are still stuck in the mindset of capital spending to cure the depression, with tax cuts for the well off the only fiscal policy and bailouts for incompetent automakers.

I wish the developers well, but I do think we need to see something much better – and a lot more of it. I am not going to get excited about one, so far unique, exception to a depressing rule.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 8, 2009 at 9:23 am

Posted in transit, Urban Planning

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