Infrastructure: By-Passing Tomorrow for Easy Implementation Today

We solve problems with over-engineered, anti-urban infrastructure schemes even though we have no plan for funding their future maintenance obligations. Howard Blackson uses San Diego as an example, and offers up some pedestrian-oriented solutions.

"Here in Southern California, we suffer from a local medical condition I’ve coined our Infrastructure Deficit Disorder (IDD).

"My city is falling apart. Sewers leak into stormwater outfalls during every rain event. Then our ocean is polluted for days afterwards. Our sidewalks and overly wide streets are crumbling, and our parks have been deficient since John Nolen identified the problem in his 1926 Comprehensive Plan for San Diego. Our Community Plans are 30 years old, doing little to provide predictability in the development process, meaning every new project of any scale is seen as a threat to a fantastic, yet precarious, quality-of-life. And, because we still measure traffic by the archaic Average Daily Trips generated by singular Land Uses, all new mitigation for mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods ends up being signalized intersections to facilitate the wider, faster streets required to avoid the feared LOS F (traffic traveling slower than 30 mph) performance rating.

"The net result: We’re keeping our neighborhoods from ever being mixed-use and walkable."

Howard Blackson goes on to offer up some solutions that include focus on revenue generation and changing measurement practices to maximize prior investments. He sums up with a Balboa Park example of a looming infrastructure investment choice, along with his own urban design solution.

Full Story: By-Passing Tomorrow for Easy Implementation Today


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