Land Use

Skyline Boulevard stretches through the Santa ...

Great Place for 'Stuff'

Urbanized areas take up less than 5% of the land nationally. The map, to the right, gives a rough approximation of that. The metropolitan areas occupy more land area than urbanized land, because whole counties are included. Those counties that are considered to have urban population usually have a total population above 60,000. That figure is used because those counties are included for the annual ACS (American Community Survey). This is not an accurate account for people who live in an urbanized area, but does give an idea of the spatial distribution of people. Of all the counties (3,077) only ¼ of them have populations above 60,000, as shown in the chart, below-right. All of those counties hold over ¾ of the people, as shown in the chart, below-left. Read more of this post

Planning ‘Whole’ Changes

An aerial view of a human ecosystem. Pictured ...

Formed by Choice & Templates

One aspect of planning is trying to change newer areas to be like the past. That involves oversights of there being less wealth & many fewer cars in the past.  Older urbanized areas are based on a core central city (sometimes multiple) of high density, having surrounding cities of lesser density. The high concentration of jobs in the CBD, with clustered concentrations along commuter hubs (stops) makes public transit more efficient. Read more of this post

Price increases (Housing)

An out-ward or right-ward shift in supply redu...

Demand seen as driver. Supply is trivialized, but important.

The national housing price is partially due to interest rates and the speculation, which increased the buying frenzy frequency. Another main culprit is the more widespread anti-growth/inward-growth emphasis, due to the HDC (high-density coalition) frame of reference. That has not been fully established yet by the “experts,” but it will be in a few years. Further study will show how the restriction of housing supplies has had a lot to do with causing the rapid housing price increase over the last few years. The market is in an adjustment period now, and may take years to be corrected. People were foolish to buy such highly price property. The rental market has not risen nearly as much. For new ownership, renting is a much better deal, even accounting for the equity. That should have been considered without even the inclusion of a potential drop. Of course, much of the equity is meaningless now or non-existent. It used to be that rent would be more than a mortgage, for the same property. That has been reversed for years now, in many markets. That should have been an indication not to buy. Read more of this post

Property Rights

In the Middle of a Forest. This property is sh...

Who's Land? Use restrictions?

It’s kind funny that this aspect of open space discussion is minor. The real discussion is about municipalities “appropriating” private land as “public open space” by zoning (no build), for the purpose of viewing or for there not be development there. “[pro-freedom people] disparage attempts to bring more housing choice”. Wrong!!! Holy firkin crap! How can you believe such nonsense? Read more of this post

Regional Planning in the Bay Area, the MPO—MTC

Bay Area Transit

The MTC’s priorities are out of line with the way people want to move/transport. In general, the SF Bay Area is really whacked on priorities, that’s why housing costs are so high and flora and fauna are given preeminence. The Bay Area is almost doomed without building more lanes.

Despite the efforts of ABAG and its compact development push, congestion and living condition will worsen.
More people need more more roads., and space. Duh! For San Jose, go south–Coyote Valley. It’s a shame that enviro-wackos are anti-human. The Bay Area has lost citizens–more positive domestic outflow. The pop. is growing due to births and immigration. Read more of this post

Retail—Shopping & Manufacturing

Non-traditional exterior of a SuperTarget, Jac...

Drive or walk? Carry crap?

Buying products (and services), are very important. Wide selection & competition are important. Being close is seen as great & offering many things, when in fact the offerings & benefits are minor. What’s the problem with big-boxes? Regardless, zoning doesn’t create. Businesses will construct when they think they will have consumers (for shopping, living, working, etc.). People are satisfied to shop at large stores (more selections, better prices, parking) and the free market lets other stores fold, if they can’t compete. Read more of this post

Selling Waste: Big Projects for Something to do Nothing

Tucson, Arizona, with the Santa Catalina Mount...

Downtown in center. U of A behind. Connect the 2 w/century old tech.

There’s a new project for Tucson, a bus that goes on steel, with nor tires. It’s called a streetcar, or a neat swell name of light rail, like balloons that way many tons. This mini-LRT is short and has very small ridership projections. No part of Tucson has even 10,000 ppl/sq.mi. It’s patterns are dispersed and only has 1and1/2 interstates (no other freeways). Good grid street structure, but traffic only goes fast and not conditions for frequent mass transit. The over-budget amount, alone, would pay for the buses for this route. Why should non-users pay for the several 1,000 riders on this route? It would also impede other traffic. Read more of this post

Road Construction is Over; Use What’s There

There is a such a big emphasis on transit, while neglecting roads, that it seems there will be no more lanes added or extended. How can we pay for more roads? How have new roads been handled before, until the building stopped?
Read more of this post

Sectors: Private & Public, comparison

What can the public sector do? Can extra gov spending help the economy?  Unemployment has been at almost 10% for a year, well over the worst 8% projected, without the Stimulus. There was suppose to be a lot of infrastructure projects, but those came to about 5% of the total. It actually seems that the Porkulus Package was engineered to NOT create value. Much was for political payback and generate ditch digging & filling jobs. How can $800 billion be spent (really about 75% of that, now) and NOT produce much?  Read more of this post

Taxing for Transporation Costs

Paying for regular consumer goods, is pretty straight-forward, going to a store (or online, mail) and paying the listed price. Transportation is intricate; there are huge wants, but paying by each use, and through general tax means, is tricky. The BART lengthening, from Fremont to San Jose, is supposedly really wanted, but paying is difficult. The ticket price will be far from covering it, which is a pattern for projects.

Is it just,  to charge the whole Bay Area & even the nation, for rail that would be used by <3% of the commuters in 2 counties? There would be other riders too, perhaps each resident riding an average of 1/month. How about charging full price on each ticket?
Read more of this post

Transit Choices are more than Points A &, _ thru Z

Mobility is obviously needed to reach destinations. Star Trek transporter technology is not here & should be left on the fiction scrap heap. The dream of public transit, meeting all needs, for each person, is almost as far-fetched. The depiction at the right, shows absurdity, in driving a car. Yet people often claim that it’s too bad, that a car is needed for most residential places. One of the absurdities about that, is the fact that the area surroundings are known, before the choice is made, to make a home. How do you choose which transport method? Walking is only good for short distances, and that includes from transit stations, which is often neglected in promoting transit—the facts that wherever you need to go, needs to be near a station, preferably less than about 1,000’ (2-3 blocks), at times, up to double that, a little over 1/3 of a mile. Sure, cars are great, but mostly expensive. Why do people choose their mode? Read more of this post

Transit use amount

Should people use more transit? Yes, many think, but not me, the other person should. How many actually do use transit, in the US? How does that compare to other countries? Read more of this post

Transportation Policy in Bay Area

Public transit in the Bay Area is widespread, but for access, from homes, based upon %, and the distance to walk to a station, is limited. For destinations, it’s even more limited, because it’s unlikely that your place will be on the route. Transit use, as a portion of commuting [based on 2000 Census] is about 9% for the whole Bay Area, 31% for San Francisco and 4% for Santa Clara County.Yet the overall transportation budget has a large majority going towards trnaist, rather than roads. The MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) decides where all the money collected is to be spent, among the many agencies. Read more of this post

Travel Times for Various Modes & Urban Layouts

It would be great to have most places, that you want to go, just blocks away, being able to walk there. That is highly improbable, even in Manhattan, at a density of 65,000/sq.mi. Even with transit all over, journeys to various places, can take a while. There is a big impetus to reduce travel times. However the methods used, usually increase times , through holding back on new roads, putting more residents on existing roads (increasing density), relying on public transit, and other methods.  Read more of this post