Urbification: Taking the sub out of Calif. suburbs

Walking. Bicycling. Alternatives to Driving Everywhere. Social justice. Alternatives to suburban boredom and waste. And the infrastructure and technology needed to get there.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Michael S. Malone, writing about the failures of downtown San Jose to become a truly vibrant city after massive redevelopment investment: "The city's leaders to begin trusting the judgment of the average citizens of San Jose. For 20 years now they've been trying to force San Joseans to ride trains, carpool, move downtown, pay higher wages and, generally, behave like passive pawns in their Great Urban Game. And being wiser than their leaders, the people have either ignored these rules, sabotaged them or, as a last result, grumblingly gone along--while silently making plans to move away. We need to face facts: the People have spoken. They don't want to live, and they barely want to work, downtown--and least of all in the downtown that has been designed for them. So, let them create the place they want." Fine, as long as those people don't subsidize any parking spaces downtown. Let them pay market-rate prices for parking -- maybe build some automated garages to save space -- and I don't care that they've rejected public transit for now. Eventually, simply due to the limitations of Silicon Valley's highway system -- mass transit to downtown San Jose will look compellingly attractive. If it's simply a shortage of paid parking right now that's holding back downtown's growth, let the paid parking flourish. Also, the People now include those who have elected to live downtown, and some of them may speak out about the idea of massive new parking structures. Let them speak as well.

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