2007-01-16, 11:46

Requiring mixed use in Virginia to alleviate traffic woes?

By: Jonathan Groner
I have recently discussed the "Bacon's Rebellion" site, which covers public policy issues in Virginia. On Jan. 11, 2007, there was another fascinating article on that site by Robert L. Burke called "Time to Grow Up." Burke discusses a bill recently introduced by GOP state legislator Clay Athey that would require counties to map out where new development will happen over the next 20 years, and then be largely responsible for managing the transportation network needed to serve that growth.

Burke says Athey wants to assure that each county is "ready to think about what it will cost you when you approve new development." The state suffers from a transportation crisis, with traffic in built-up areas like Fairfax County truly in a sad state.

The effect this will have on mixed use is very interesting. Burke writes:

"What’s more, the bill would require localities to adopt New Urbanist development concepts, such as mixing commercial and residential, walkability, and interconnected road networks. Injecting 'new urbanism' into the state code is unheard of in Virginia. But increasingly, populist GOPers like Athey are tired of kneeling to development interests and paying them what they consider a public subsidy."

New Urbanism equals more-compact development, equals fewer transportation woes, equals better public policy, according to this view.

The full article is at

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