Sonoma County Transportation & Land Use Coalition



Buildings and Spaces

Rural or urban. Both have suffered from the automobile excesses of the past six or seven decades.

There are a fair number of people who would like to stop local inmigration entirely, in order to preserve open spaces and rural land. However, a more important factor in the steady encroachment on the countryside has come about because of cheap and fast road travel, permitting people to have rural or suburban lifestyles with urban incomes. Modest landholdings that would permit small farms aren't available for farming because farmers can be easily outbid by the commuter class.

The central urban areas have tended to lose density as more and more of the space once occupied by people is turned over to automobiles. Rather than develop transportation alternatives that are more space-conserving, the central jurisdictions have subsidized construction and operation of off-street parking to compete with low density suburbs. Even when the central cities don't offer the parking as a governmental enterprise, they usually require developers to incorporate large amounts of parking in their structures. The result is the same.

There have been two bad assumptions. One is that there will be enough parking for all that want it, usually for free. Second, that parking will be immediately adjacent to the primary uses on each site. These assumptions have placed a great burden on building design and site layout, and have imposed a great cost on high density urban development. If there is to be transit and pedestrian oriented development, the place to begin is to change the assumptions.


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