MLewyn's blog

how walking became a crime

I just heard an amazing set of presentations by Eric Dumbaugh and  Peter Norton (author of a new book, Fighting Traffic). Dumbaugh begin with a statistical table listing causes of pedestrians being killed by cars; nearly every cause somehow showed pedestrians at fault (e.g. jaywalking, pedestrian using electronic device, etc.). In essence, our culture presumes that if a pedestrian is killed by a 2-ton vehicle, the pedestrian rather than the driver is generally at fault.

Tumlin on parking

This afternoon, Jeffrey Tumlin spoke on how to reform parking to reduce the negative results of minimum parking requirements. (If you're not familiar with them, google "Donald Shoup"). Some of his solutions were stuff I've heard before: abolish parking requirements, create residential permit systems to reduce the threat of spillover parking, and set market prices for parking to discourage driving. But I heard a few neat ideas I hadn't heard before.

Such as:

1. If a city does have a parking permit system (i.e.

Duany speech at Thurs. morning CNU plenary: Why Code?

For me, the highlight of CNU 20 so far was Andres Duany's speech at this morning's plenary session. Most of his speech was about the SmartCode, responding to libertarian objections. He said, in so many words: if we don't code, and if we don't consider aesthetics when we do, someone else will (usually a local aesthetic review committee or zoning board). He added that given the United States' century-long history of bureaucratic control over land use, the most likely alternative to coding is not the free market, but decisionmaking by bureaucratic discretion.

Driving and the young


I just saw the recent study, "Transportation and the New Generation" put out by NJ PIRG, which seeks to explain why the young are driving less. 

Figure 7 contains the results of a poll asking respondents to choose between "smart growth" and "sprawl" environments.  62 percent of 18-29 year olds chose smart growth, as opposed to 54 percent of thirtysomethings and 58 percent of sixtysomethings.

Synagogue options for Jewish CNU-goers

If you would like to spend Friday evening or Saturday morning in a synagogue, there are plenty of options- nothing within a few blocks of the Congress, but several within a 30-45 minute walk.  They include:

Chabad ( meets at hotels on Palm Beach side.  Call 561-420-5000 for info.  Services include meals.

New Synagogue (Modern Orthodox, 235 Sunrise Avenue )- info at  

 Emanu-El (Conservative, 190 North County Road, Palm Beach)- info at

My new book

My book, "A Libertarian Smart Growth Agenda" is available at .  If you don't want to pay for the book, you can read the article that it was based on here

Three-cornered politics

In metro Atlanta, the Sierra Club is allying with Tea Party activists to fight a one-cent sales tax increase designed to raise additional funds for both roads and transit, primarily because of concerns about increased funding for sprawl-creating expressways.  

Minimum parking requirements upheld- or, when will they ever learn?

Last month, a New York appellate court upheld minimum parking requirements in Syracuase, on the ground that such rules are reasonably related to the city's goal of "enhanc[ing] traffic safety by removing cars from the [City’s] streets”(1)

zoning budgets- one way to keep NIMBYism under control

Roderick Hills and David Schleicher, two law professors, have proposed one way to limit NIMBY-inspired downzonings: a "zoning budget."  Specifically, they propose that cities require every downzoning to be matched by an upzoning somewhere else, so that the city's "budget" was always balanced.  (See for the article, or for a shorter version).