Mainely Planning

Why plan for an uncertain future? Our world is changing in ways that we can hardly comprehend. The planning we have been engaged in over the last 100 years, is geared to a world with abundant energy, a stable climate, and a dwindling natural resource endowment that is reliant on cheap energy for extraction. That world is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Oil price spikes due to supply/demand and geopolitical concerns, water shortages (Google Lake Mead, Central Valley, CA or the Ogallala Aquifer for details), and soil depletion are just a few of the problems we face. As we move forward, the notion that we can continue with business as usual (BAU) is not going to sustain us.

Thinking creatively and making difficult decisions will test our abilities, push our cultural boundaries and hopefully shape a world where these uncomfortable realities can be dealt with in an equitable and meaningful manner. I write about things I see, think, and work on as I transition from being a planning student into the world of planning. I am neither a technological optimist, thinking we can invent our way out of all our problems, nor a doomer, believing in returning to a world much like pre-industrial times. I believe that our creativity combined with the lessons from the past will be instrumental tools for laying the foundation for the path forward. Some of my ideas may seem radical, others are just based on common sense and keen observations.

Links of Note

Mainely Rural
The Old Pine Tree
Strong Towns
Project For Public Spaces
Streets Blog
Cap'n Transit Rides Again
Human Transit
Pedestrian Observations
The Broken Sidewalk
Maine Architecture
The Vigorous North
Depot Redux
Reason and Rail
Car Free Maine
Walk Around Portland

Transportation for America State Fact Sheets

A Reason to Plan

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Posts tagged "Traffic"

"Congestion is a byproduct of success — it means a lot of people want to be there."
- John Norquist, CEO of the Congress for New Urbanism

Some really interesting work from Denver, Colorado planners who tease out the relationship between street width and accident rates per passenger mile. Wide streets come out the winner with a high degree of certainty that it is in fact street width that is responsible for the increase in accidents. They removed data points on accidents when icy/wet conditions occur, substance abuse was party to the accident, and major arterial roads, as a way to eliminate other causes that would blur the relationship between width and accident rate.

They wanted to basically look at smaller streets that are in places where people live, work and recreate, not major transportation corridors.

For us planners, I think this means we should be working with our local public works department to accomplish the following:

1. Reduce Street Widths.

2. Align our zoning code to either allow narrow streets, or on-street parking with limited parking or parking maximums off-street.

3. Create roadway treatments that encourage slower speeds by reducing the width of the travel path. These would include bulb-outs, pedestrian islands, speed tables, on-street parking and host of other treatments. 

Lots of options to make streets safer for people walking, cycling and in cars.