Smart Growth: Delusion, Not Vision
Letís talk for a few moments about Portland --- that leader in smart growth. First of all, Portland sprawls more than Los Angeles. Itís urban area is barely one-half as dense as Los Angeles, and will still be less dense in 2040, according to Metro. Portland seems to be striving to become Los Angeles.
Already Portlandís lack of investment in highways is showing. The Texas Transportation Institute indicates that Portlandís Travel Time Index is worse than that of Atlanta, which is renown for its traffic congestion. And things are not going to get better. According to Metroís own projections:
This, Portland, is what you call a livable city?
Consider the case of another sprawling city.
I am not talking about Los Angeles, Atlanta, Phoenix or St. Louis. I am talking about Paris.
Paris --- the western worldís ultimate city --- with a population density of more than 60,000 per square mile in the central city. Yet, despite an overall urban area density three times that of Portland, the automobile is dominant, except in the four percent of land represented by the ville de Paris.
That transit serves only niche markets and that cities are sprawling everywhere.
Portland will never be as dense as Paris, and even if it were, the automobile would still be dominant.
Smart growth is about incoherence.
Smart growth is not a vision.
Rather, smart growth is a delusion.
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