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Re: E-M:/ Re: CARS -- not just one answer



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Enviro-Mich message from "William Tobler" <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>
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I can speak to the planning subject too as I have been on our Planning Commission since 1980.

Bascally, a developer comes in and purchases a corn field and proposes a high density development.
First, these developments run greater than 50% impervious surface, which despite stormwater management systems, increases the stormwater discharge by about 10 to 15 times over the predevelopment amount. This is engineered into the system. This results in downstream flooding, erosion, and eventually a taxpayer project to upgrade the creeks and drains.


Second, city people are fleeing their city in order to move into a new "city". The rest of the township is largely expected to pick up the tab in order to provide the new infrastructure requirements for city water, city sewer and for upgrading the roads to handle all of the new traffic. Big bucks here. This invariably leads to stop signs and traffic lights which causes a serious degradation in fuel economy as well as just the ability to get around.

Third, these developers don't want to put in sidewalks, and definately don't want to put in bike paths. They don't want us to disallow on-street parking, and so another chaotic mess is created. In many cases, the homes are fairly large, but have inadequate storage for the "toys" so the typical garage cannot be used for parking cars, but instead is filled corner to ceiling with the toys.

From a tax revenue side, these are big losers as each residence costs $1.30
or more for each tax dollar generated.

A Planning Commission with a good Land Use Plan can fight this and try to manage this, but basically it is losing battle as the Lansing statutes strongly promote the outcome.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Andrew Mutch" <andrewimutch@yahoo.com>
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Re: CARS -- not just one answer



------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Andrew Mutch <andrewimutch@yahoo.com> -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let's not forget the role that land use planning and
infrastructure investment play in all of this. In many
places in the country, like much of SE Michigan,
getting by without a car isn't feasible for the
average resident. The same land use patterns that make
going without a car impracticle are also the same
reasons we can't sustain public transportation.
Without an sufficient density of population, public
transportation is often expensive, heavily subsidized
and lightly used.

Even where density exists to support transportation
choices, if the built environment isn't designed to a
pedestrian scale and with pedestrians in mind, we end
up with nasty, ugly places where no one wants to live
or work. Unfortunately, in many places, little thought
is given to these issues and it makes it that much
more difficult to develop or incorporate
transportation options into a community. It's easier
to blame "developers" or "sprawl" for these problems
but much of that is a direct result of choices made
locally by communities in their zoning and
construction standards (or lack there of).

Andrew Mutch
Novi


--- Zoe Lipman <Lipman@nwf.org> wrote:


I just can't keep myself from finally weighing in
here.  I'd add a couple things to this back and
forth on hybrids:

1. There are a host of technologies that improve
fuel efficiency in vehicles not just hybrids - eg,
new materials, better gasoline engines, new clean
diesel engines, etc etc - many ways to get there,
packaged in all shapes and sizes of vehicles.  For
no CO2 emitting sector is there one silver bullet
technology, but instead many.  All have strengths
and weaknesses, but in the context of clear
regulatory framework, taken together, they'll get us
there.

2. And speaking of taking things together, reducing
CO2 emissions from the transport sector does include
fuels and vehicle use too.  Thats not to say that
improving vehicle efficiency isn't critical, but we
should think seriously about an investment in things
like an effective and attractive public
transportation infrastructure as well.  Not using
your car to commute cuts emissions dramatically,
more dramatically than switching to a more efficient
vehicle - and its more pleasant and more productive
than sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.  But
currently most people who drive to work, don't have
a very good alternative - thats something we can
change, and create large numbers of jobs at the same
time.

3. I tend to think Chuck is right that payback isn't
the key reason people buy green.  People do buy more
fuel efficient vehicles as fuel price goes up, but
cool new enviromental technology isn't just about
that.  Quite some time back I spoke with someone at
honda about the Insight hybrid -- it had been out
then just a year or two -- and they said that
average early buyer of the insight was (roughly
here, I don't have this written down anywhere) a
28-year old white male republican who loves
technology -- not a classic tree hugger. Its time we
thought about and marketed these technologies as
cool, as things people actively want (I know I do!
along with a nice color and great performance) not
as some sort of a hardship or sacrifice.



Zoe Lipman
Midwest Program Manager, Global Warming
National Wildlife Federation, Great Lakes Office
213 W. Liberty St., Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1398
Tel:734-769-3351 x34
lipman@nwf.org




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