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RE: SG-W:/ greenbelt

I have enjoyed following the directions the discussion on the
greenbelt proposal has taken.  Bringing in issues such as
comprehensive planning approaches, infill development and
affordable housing.  Let me throw one more into the mix of
interconnected issues and then perhaps contract the discussion.

Regarding infill growth and affordable housing.  Considering that
in southeast Michigan we spend as much on transportation as we do
housing, one way to make housing more affordable is to reduce
transportation costs.  This can be accomplished by creating an
environment where transit and non-motorized transportation are
feasible and attractive options.  This allows a family to be a
one-car or no-car family and direct that money towards housing.

How is this done?  The key measures are population density,
diversity of land uses, and well-designed transit and
non-motorized facilities.  The higher the population density, the
more routes and frequent transit service can be.  The closer
diverse land uses are to each other, such as having neighborhood
commercial areas, the more likely someone can or will chose to
walk or bike to the store.  The safer, more pleasant the walking,
bicycling and transit environment are, the more likely that
people will see these as an attractive options.

Now that I have expanded the discussion, let me propose that as
the proposal is taken forward towards a vote the discussion needs
to be kept relatively simple.  Do the citizens of Ann Arbor (not
any particular special interest groups) value the surrounding
natural and agricultural landscapes enough to partner with our
neighbors in protecting them?  The other issues are important but
tangential to the question at hand.  Opponents to the proposal
will try to cloud the issue framing it as a vote on a myriad of
other issues.  I tend to view it as a measure of how rigidly we
view the boundaries of the city.

- Norm
Norman D. Cox, ASLA
The Greenway Collaborative, Inc.
214 Nickels Arcade
Ann Arbor, MI  48104-2410
734-668-8848 Telephone
734-668-8820 Facsimile

Greenway, Trail, Open Space, and Non-motorized Planning

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