Exurbs Will Rise - Again

Grist writer Lisa Selin Davis argues that now is the time to make public transit a priority in serving outer suburbs, because the rebounding economy will inevitably lead to increased demand.
March 10, 2010, 11am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Grist's land use writer Lisa Selin Davis laments that while exurbs have seen their attractiveness wane due to the recession, mortgage crisis and higher gas prices, their popularity will inevitably return as the economy rebounds, just as vehicle-miles-traveled increased last September compared to a year earlier.

"Sadly, the best thing for reducing traffic congestion, in the absence of a comprehensive public transit system, is a sour economy.

Increased driving is partly the result of an as-yet unfulfilled promise to put public transit back on the front burner; many of those outer suburbs would be more feasible digs if trains or buses or rapid transit reached them. But it's also a sign that the economy is slowly on the mend.

Here's the question: if the existing, largely empty suburban greenfield developments (products of wayward policies though they may be) will inevitably fill back up as the economy eases, wouldn't it be better for mass transit to trundle their denizens back and forth to work?"

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Published on Thursday, March 4, 2010 in Grist
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