Thursday, May 25, 2006

It Ain't Easy Being Dense.....

Recent action by West Jordan City with regard to the planning of a largely undeveloped portion of their community goes to demonstrate what I've been saying for a long time -- it ain't easy actually doing what everyone (or at least some) think is the right thing to do.

One of the principles that has come out of the Envision Utah visioning effort was that we should be developing a little more densely than we have been, so that land is consumed at a slower rate, so that communities will be more compact and thereby more walkable and more easily served by transit.

West Jordan was even one of the communities that agreed to these principles when they were visited by Wasatch Front Regional Council staff, asking about their acceptance of these principles to help in guiding the update of the long range regional transportation plan.

So now, when it comes down to the brass tacks, the city says "Ummm, let's not do it quite so dense." Now I'm not just pointing a finger at West Jordan. I think the same will happen in most communities. When you're talking about general principles and philosopy, it's relatively easy to say they are good things and you're in favor of it. But when the action actually has to be taken....

Reminds me a little bit about my acceptance of good eating principles. I agree that it would be a good thing if I cut down on those sweets and desserts and ate more fresh fruits and vegetables. I know it, and I agree with it. But when you put that broccoli in front of me along with that piece of banana cream pie, well....


At 10:13 AM, Blogger vagabond said...

Anyone noticed clogged roads? High stress? Long commute? Road rage? Could it be that our built environment causes some or all of these ills? Are we even wise or humble enough to examine our present and future situation?

West Jordan is like anywhere in Utah; Not in my back yard! Build it somewhere else! etc, etc, etc.

The fact is people are addicted to the status quo and development pattterns will not change unless we are forced to (DayBreak excepted).

Perhaps when gas hits $5-6 per gallon we'll rethink our opposition to higher density housing, infill and home based businesses. That time may come sooner than we think.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger google_PEAK_OIL said...

As long as homeowners and the officials they elect perceive that low density equals high property values, they will defend low density ferociously. In the near future, as the homeowners find themselves increasingly squeezed by commuting costs, a property's value may be mainly perceived as depending on it's proximity to a Trax station. The locals will begin demanding higher density mixed use development near the Trax stations so that they will be able to move there.


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