Friday, June 8, 2012

Self-Promotion? or Cause Promotion...

Baltimore, a city I spent quite a bit of my youth in (closeted Oriole fan, peaks thru fingers at AL standings, expects 50 game losing streak) and perhaps the one most responsible for my early love and fascination with cities and their inherent complexity (and therefore, hatred of soulless, bland sprawl and its lack of complexity).  Baltimore is yet another city considering the removal of a freeway through their downtown.  And because of this, Mat Edelson gave me a call about the topic.  He wrote a great piece.  The kind of piece you (I) feel teenage schoolgirl jealous over having not written.  Please read it here.

However, I have to strenuously, but respectfully disagree with Mr. Sirota:
But like the JFX, they too may be on a timetable to teardown. Stu Sirota, owner of TND Planning Group and an urban planner involved in remodeling the Belair Road corridor, says he's seen more quality of life projects occur in the city in the last five years than he'd seen in the previous fifteen, and he believes in the power of cumulative effect. "It's going to take so much time, energy, and effort to make (the teardown) happen," says Sirota. "I'd rather see the city spend money on bike lanes and making modest visual changes that will have a real transformational change, and those things will start adding up towards larger changes ... like tearing down freeways."
The freeways are a barrier to those other things happening.  At least in Dallas.  Perhaps it is more severe here in the Sun Belt than in BodyMore MurdaLand where much of the fabric remained (the buildings still abut the JFX(you mean they're not parking lots?!), which is why the repositioning of real estate, the financial windfall, and new tax base from turning public highway right-of-way into a public AND private good (high quality, walkable urban development) is the thing that pays for AND CONNECTS all of those other systems he is talking about.

Save the cities. Remove the intra-city freeways.