Norquist in Streetsblog Q&A: It's not roads vs. transit — it's good street networks vs. mindless out-of-scale roads

That's the short takeaway from a two-part extensive and lively Q&A with John Norquist in Streetsblog today.

With the announcement of the HUD-DOT "Sustainable Communities" initiative last week, there's new buzz around walkable green neighborhoods and the infrastructure that supports them. Covering this terrain with tenacity and intelligence, Streetsblog is hungry for specifics about how the two big federal agencies can make good on their intentions:


At the moment ... the scene on the ground shows how far we have to go before the reality catches up to the rhetoric: State DOTs flush with federal stimulus cash are plowing ahead with wasteful, sprawl-inducing highway projects. Ultimately, you can't end car dependence or create livable places without enlisting the people building those roads -- the metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), state DOTs, and other entities that shape local policy. How can the feds affect their decisions?

The Congress for the New Urbanism has some intriguing answers. During the stimulus debate, CNU proposed a new type of federal road funding that would help to build connected grids -- the kind of streets that livable communities are made of. The proposal didn't make it into the stimulus package before the bill got rushed out the door, but the upcoming federal transportation bill will provide another chance. CNU President John Norquist -- a four-term mayor of Milwaukee who first got into politics as an anti-freeway advocate -- was down in DC last Thursday to share his ideas with Congress. Streetsblog spoke to him afterward about what's broken with national transportation policy and how to fix it.

Read more about how to fix a broken system at Streetsblog:
Back to the Grid: John Norquist on How to Fix National Transpo Policy
Back to the Grid, Part 2: John Norquist on Reclaiming American Cities


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