New D Column

My new column for D Magazine’s March issue is available on shelves around the Metroplex and up online today. Please visit ere: https://www.dmagazine.com/Home/D_Magazine/2012/March/Why_We_Have_Made_Dallas_Roads_Faster_Deadlier.aspx

Predictably, these high-speed intersections are safest when the lights malfunction. A transformer somewhere blows a fuse, power in the grid goes down, and we’re left with blinking reds. What do we do? We look around. We make eye contact with other drivers. Author Tom Vanderbilt theorizes in his book Traffic that it is eye contact that rehumanizes other drivers. They are no longer automatons clumsily operating on a theoretically perfect, but practically imperfect, conveyor belt. An order emerges as the blinking reds make the intersection operate like a four-way stop, the safest sort of intersection. Your turn, my turn. Drivers are polite again.
It came from a more emotional place than the typically more analytical one that I write from. I don’t know why senseless fatalities and the destruction of cities can get me so riled up, do you? I didn’t even have time or space to get into the financial catastrophe of the transportation-induced entropic inertia currently bankrupting us.
Fortunately, Chuck Marohn was in town last night giving one of his Strong Towns curbside chats for the local CNU chapter. I tweeted some of the highlights:

@mdunlap1 A walmart generates $6,500 tax revenue per acre. Typical downtown mixed-use generates $634,000. #strongtowns

More walking friendly!!!!!! RT @fortworthology: We need resilient growth, not growth for growth’s sake. #strongtowns

How do other people have to change what theyre doing so I don’t have to change my way of living? #strongtowns

A subdivision in MN, the tax rate would have to increase 10x to cover public investment #strongtowns

A project in MN, city gets return on public investment in 37 yrs. Road is built to last 20 years #strongtowns haha Chuck’s a comedian right?

New sprawl (“growth”) pays for old sprawl (liabilities) #strongtowns

Connect regionally, disconnect locally = disinvestment RT@fortworthology: Decreasing return on all hwy projects over the years #strongtowns

Transpo engineers recommend $6.6 Trillion in transpo spending by 2040. (ed note: transpo engineers get a cut of that) #strongtowns

State of MN (where Chuck is from) is facing $50 billion shortfall. TX is facing $488B just to maintain existing thru 2030. #strongtowns

Every year federal general fund is used to cover deficit in highway trust fund #strongtowns

Consumer spending rose 14% but retail space rose 100% btw 90-05 (both per capita) #strongtowns

The future for most cities will not resemble the recent past of sprawl growth. #strongtowns

Sprawl growth is form of ponzi scheme RT @WalkableDFW: New sprawl (“growth”) pays for old sprawl (liabilities) #strongtowns

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