Opinion: Washington State Should Stop Funding Freeways

The Urbanist's editorial board calls for an end to highway widening and an increased focus on walking, biking, and transit.

March 30, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Asphalt Road

Washington State Dept of Transportation / Flickr

The editorial board of The Urbanist joins a "clarion call led by the Disability Mobility Initiative and the Front and Centered Coalition: Washington State must cease spending on new highways." In an editorial published on March 18, the board cites "more pressing needs" for the state "around making our roads safe for people walking, rolling, and biking and boosting transit service to lower climate emissions" and avoid a "climate death spiral."

The board criticizes three transportation and infrastructure proposals currently in the Washington state legislature, particularly Senator Steve Hobbs' "Forward Washington" package, which, according to the authors, "in particular represents the wrong approach. The project list is heavily weighted toward highway widening." While "Governor Inslee emphasized a maintenance-first approach…he also highlighted the need for highway expansion projects." The editorial argues that "adding lanes and interchanges is clearly an expansion of highway infrastructure even if it’s dressed up with tolling or carpool lanes." Maintenance is important, but "what does maintenance first mean if billions and billions more dollars are invested in highway expansion?"

According to the authors, Washington should prioritize different strategies to meet its climate change and transportation goals. "Until our state can meet its climate goals and its Vision Zero pledge to end traffic deaths, adding more highway capacity would only be doubling down on a failing strategy and welcoming more carnage."

Friday, March 26, 2021 in The Urbanist

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

3 hours ago - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

4 hours ago - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

5 hours ago - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.