Every Friday the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by Yoshidad, writing in response to “Economic Recovery Must Include Transit“ by Erin Steva and Kevin J. Powers. Yoshidad writes:
Let’s not forget revisions to the land use that accompanies transit. Currently the vast majority of development is sprawl — an arrangement that provides daunting obstacles to any potential transit riders.
If we want successful transit, then the riders must be able to walk (or bike) to the stops. Current zoning and street designs make this at least problematic. How many transit stops have you seen that are simply signs stuck in the gravel of a collector street’s shoulder? How many sidewalks are directly adjacent to fast-flowing traffic? How many sidewalks simply terminate at the end of the development? (Sacramento County estimates it would take $50 million to simply connect all the disconnected sidewalks in its jurisdiction).
This problem is one that is all too often neglected by transit advocates. Sprawl forecloses the possibility of transit.
The local zoning, and state real estate law are components of this. One Federal solution would be to revise FNMA and FHLMC underwriting standards so no new development could be financed unless it accommodated transit. Such a change would take a serious bite out of sprawl development virtually overnight.