March 24, 2005

The Ultimate In Car-Centric Planning

Here's a truly scary thought:

"[A] colossal $184-billion project would interlace [Texas] state with 4,000 miles of tolls roads - up to a quarter mile wide in some places - a Trans-Texas Corridor built entirely with private money," the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Besides steamrolling over "countless" family farms, the project also has the potential to kill off local communities on a scale never dreamed off by "urban renewal" projects like the demolition of Boston's Scollay Square.

"Though the routes are not yet finalized, a dozen counties have already publicly opposed the corridor because it diverts revenue from their communities. The Trans-Texas Corridor has no provisions for off-ramps, and it gives developers exclusive rights to build gas stations, restaurants, and hotels to service the toll roads. Communities worry that a significant source of their revenue will dry up," the article notes.

Unless carefully planned, large highways that carve through cities and towns tend to destroy neighborhoods. Certainly the immediate areas around most multi-lane highways becomes less walkable -- does anyone like to stroll in the underpass under a massive 16-lane highway? Not really.

But this highway won't even let people drive off the road to visit local strip malls. It's yet another level up in choking off local communities in favor of those who want to roar through in their motorized vehicles.

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