Sunday, November 14, 2004

Regional Revitalization Plans refute traffic calming/Embrace the Atlantic City Strategy

The Atlantic City Strategy is build monoliths and freeways at the expense of the residents and integrity of the city. Tear down buildings, widen highways, build auto accessible monoliths near dilapidated downtowns to "Revive" the city. Worse yet these strategies are often sanctioned as "Smart Growth" projects.

Some local examples
1- Anything built in Northeast or Southwest Philadelphia in the past several years, including the new Whitman Square on Roosevelt Blvd where developers turned the old Whitman Chocolate site and turned it into a power center. This should be the death blow for the nearby Roosevelt Mall.

2 - The conversion of PA 291 through Chester from a two lane street to a 4 lane highway. While the East Coast Greenway is going through Chester an article in the Delaware County Times notes that a sea of parking lots and highway ramps are replacing dilapidated homes. Meanwhile SEPTA has responded by closing the Lamokin Street train station and cutting service on certain bus routes.

3 Anything proposed in Lower Bucks County - Apartment complexes generate plenty of pedestrian traffic and crashes on busy streets with no sidewalks. But these conservative communities seem reluctant to try radical solutions such as slowing down traffic. A plan for a mixed use transit village was replaced by a Home Depot in Tullytown. Along Route 413 in Bristol Twp. A Beautification plan turned out be 5 lane highway with sidewalks, Look for a similar "modification" of an excellent plan for Route 13 in Bensalem and Bristol Twp.

4 Lafayette Street Norristown - A quiet two lane street will be replaced by a 4 lane boulevard that will serve as an off-ramp to the PA Turnpike. Crossing the street to access the trail or Norristown Transportation Center will be more difficult. Residents on Lafayette St will have large volume of traffic passing by to access US 202. Schuylkill River Trail will be taken off a RR bridge and the realighnment will require cyclists to climb up a hill.

Planners have to look no further than to look at nearby affluent downtowns. New Hope sports speed humps not highway ramps, Doylestown has brick crossings between the downtown and the train station, Downtown West Chester has bump outs and cafe's.