How to fix sprawl: Build sidewalks! Okay, the solution isn’t THAT simple, but pedestrian-friendliness is a top goal for Tysons Corner, Va., which hopes to go from a city with “more parking spaces than jobs or residents” to a “green, walkable city,” according to Time magazine.
That means building a lot more living space — upwards — and improving mass transit, bike-friendly infrastructure, and of course, sidewalks. The idea is to attract new residents eager to live where they work — who’ll either ditch their cars or rarely drive, preferring to navigate the new pedestrian paradise on foot or bike.
Tysons’ grand plan is not without its critics — and the arguments will be familiar to any city that’s trying to encourage smarter growth for more livable cities. A major critique, for example, is that people won’t ditch their cars — so bringing more residents into town will simply mean more traffic and congestion.
That disgruntled reasoning is something we often hear in Los Angeles, for example; LA Weekly even dedicated a cover story to expressing that jaded opinion. Of course, growth is coming — both to L.A. and Tysons Corner — whether we prepare for it or not. Time quotes Clark Tyler, the chairman of a task force behind this plan: A city like Tysons planned with smart growth in mind “will have a lot less traffic than if Tysons keeps developing the way it is.”
Find out more about the effort to transform Tysons Corner on the Fairfax County website. In L.A., too, smart growth plans are going forward, with the latest news being public transit agency Metro’s getting behind developers’ transit-friendly, mixed-use development. What’s happening in your town?