Freeways to Boulevards: A CNU Colorado Presentation with Norquist, Tumlin

I had the pleasure to attend one of the best presentations I have been to in the past couple years this past Wednesday in Denver. CNU Colorado hosted CNU’s CEO, John Norquist and Jeff Tumlin of Nelson-Nygaard. They, along with Denver’s former Planning Director, Peter Park, discussed highways in our cities and the negative side effects that City officials, dwellers, and tax payers, have to deal with today.

Interesting points during the discussion included where cities have made the conscious decision to not allow highways within the City, where they were limited, and where they are being torn down today. There are also the cities where they were allowed with high frequency… *Cough* Kansas City… *Clear throat* Detroit…

In other news in Colorado Springs this morning, the Gazette interviewed people regarding the upcoming interstate widening on the north side of Colorado Springs. The article was titled “Residents flock to look at I-25 widening project maps” The following are some of the entertaining quotes that were in the article.

(Name removed) said that she has been waiting for it for years because she thinks the narrow stretch of highway that bottlenecks traffic is the cause of many dangerous crashes.

I agree, however the key word is bottleneck, which will simply be shifted elsewhere. But then, she went onto say this:

“Having a third lane will be safer for everyone.”

100% disagree with this statement. In what world is faster speeds and increased capacity for more vehicles “safer”?

Once the third lane is complete, she said she thinks traffic will be much smoother.

Translation: “If there are less cars near me, I don’t have to pay as much attention to the road and can check my email while I drink my Double Carmel Macchiato Espresso.” This will be true only until we fill in the capacity provided by the millions of taxpayer dollars.

“I think the congestion won’t be as bad,” she said. “I won’t have to rush to work.”

Translation: “After this is completed, I think I can move 10 more miles north AND have the same commute time. Yay!” Ten years later, the same discussions will ensue about how congested the 6-lane road is.

If you would like to hear more about the presentation, it will only cost you a beer… or coffee, preferably beer. If you want to hear more from me ranting about local policy and the misallocation of taxpayer dollars, please get your head checked…

To keep up with the upcoming CNU events and presentations, their website is http://www.cnucolorado.org, or you can also follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

The following are some of the memorable quotes/comments that I posted to Twitter, or retweeted during the Norquist/Tumlin Presentation:

‘Transit only works when walking works’ -Jeff Tumlin #cnuco

Freeways are great for long distances; very bad for local access -Jeff Tumlin #cnuco

The interface between the very large pipe and very small pipes are a major issue. #Freeways #JeffTumlin #CNUco #AutoSewer

RT @CNUColorado: Freeways export real estate value from cities to suburban auto dependent areas #cnuco

RT @CNUColorado: FHA is set up in a way that punishes good urbanism #cnuco

What we are trying to do in CNU, is allow #Urbanism to happen. -John Norquist # #cnuco

“The highway program devalues the tax base of a city.” -John Norquist #cnuco

“Cities are all about access and interaction.” – Peter Park. Freeways provide the opposite. #cnuco

“DOT’s one goal is to delete congestion. The problem is congestion is a side effect of success.” -John Norquist

If #Denver wants to grow, it needs to take space away from the cars. It cannot be both urban and auto centric at the same time. – Jeff Tumlin

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