Bruegmann on the Future of American Cities, Pt. 2

In Part 2 of the Dust-Up (see my previous post for Part 1), Bruegmann and Ohland take on smart growth. Bruegmann asks the question: “If smart growth is the answer, what is the question?”

To get any significant number of people out of their cars and into transit it would be necessary for transit to be faster and more efficient than cars. Except in the case of rush-hour commuting trips to the very center of a few large cities in the United States, this not now the case. Without some dramatic changes in the type of transit we use, transit is very unlikely to be able to compete anytime in the near future. It would take massive increases in density to boost significantly the present, extremely small market share of transit use in Los Angeles. And even if the market share of transit gained, the number of automobile users would increase more quickly than transit users for the foreseeable future. Without some dramatic increase in road capacity, this would guarantee worse traffic and longer trips for motorists and bus passengers alike. In fact this is what has been happening in L.A. for some years now. Most of the nostrums promoted by “smart growth” advocates are likely to make matters even worse. . . . . In fact if we didn’t have the polarizing debate about sprawl and smart growth, it would probably be easier to tackle our transportation problems.

Read the whole thing.

Leonard Gilroy is vice president of government reform at Reason Foundation and senior managing director of Reason's Pension Integrity Project.