The Atlantic on the CNU Transportation Summit: seizing the moment for walkable transportation networks

The January issue of the Atlantic has a short, smart dispatch from CNU's November Transportation Summit with a subhead that gets right to the point: "With volatile gas prices, imploding suburban real estate, and an incoming administration, the New Urbanists seize their moment."

Matt Dellinger writes about the constellation of transportation and urbanism reformers who gathered in Charlotte in November to plot the needed course correction in transportation design and implementation in the U.S., a shift from a system that relies on wide, driving-only roads to one featuring networks of walkable streets that work for pedestrians, cyclists, transit-riders as well as drivers.

"The current synchronicity of the real-estate crash, global warming, and peak oil is not some kind of cosmic punishment," says the article, paraphrasing remarks by Andres Duany at at the event. "But there is one connection, and that's our urban pattern. It's not too late for Americans to change our ways ... but it will be much harder to do better in the 21st century, because of the way weve built the 20th."

Writes Dellinger, "How might the future look if the New Urbanists have their way? Like an idealized past, according to the suggested reforms they laid out in Charlotte, which they planned to present to Representative James Oberstar of Minnesota, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. John Norquist, the congresss president, spoke of replacing elevated freeways through cities with boulevards for driving, biking, walking, and shopping. Geoff Anderson, the president of Smart Growth America, said it was time to build more railthe second half of our transportation system, he called it."

The reform proposal mentioned in the article has been been presented to Oberstar and others in Congress and its method for identifying and funding sustainable street networks has won over supporters such as the Institute of Transportation Engineers, Ed Mazria of Architecture 2030 and the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

Image by Craig Tucker via the Atlantic.


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