Category Archives: Land Use

Progress on the DC Metro Silver Line

Dr. Gridlock at the Washington Post has pictures of new stations on the Silver Line – a significant expansion of the DC Metro.

The line adds new stations in Fairfax County in Virginia (including connections to Tysons Corner), runs through DC (matching the existing Orange Line) and then travels to Largo in Prince George’s County.  This phase of the expansion is anticipated to be opening in a few months.  Ultimately (maybe in 2018) it will connect to Dulles Airport.

The article has a picture of a large, covered, and secure bike parking facility that was built for the station.  Planners for the project are working to integrate multimodal alternatives and anticipate that the line will serve suburb-to-suburb commuters, increase train frequency in downtown, and improve some train congestion problems.  Silverlinemetro.com – by WMATA – has many more details.

Article on Planning for an Aging Population @PlannersWeb by Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur

Check out the article on planning for an aging population at PlannersWeb.com titled “Great Places for All Ages” written by Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur.  I respond to Jennifer’s article at the end.

It is the first article in a series, “Young and Old,” on PlannersWeb.com that I will be a co-columnist on with Jennifer.  We will have a year long conversation on planning issues related to senior citizens and young adults, so stay tuned!

Kenneth Jackson on Historic Preservation and Skyscraper Development in Midtown Manhattan

Kenneth Jackson, an urban history professor at Columbia University, has written an op-ed on the current opposition to dense skyscraper development in Manhattan.

Jackson contends that without significant dense development, the city could follow the path of “second tier” cities.  Many current office buildings are aging and the city is challenged with being able to provide class-A office space for traditional financial and service firms that have driven the city’s economy.  Jackson notes that dense development and job opportunity draw young people to the city for chances at upward mobility and finding people to build families with.

He worries that the historic preservation movement in the city has extended beyond its original purpose to protect important, historically significant buildings to preserve any building that maintains the current streetscape.

Did Texas Land Use Laws Put People At Risk?

My colleague at Penn, Kenneth Steif, just had a great piece published on Planetizen on the West Fertilizer Plant explosion in Texas.  He compared the safety of people, hospitals, schools, daycares, and nursing homes near the Texas facilities and other comparable states in the western US.  He found that land use law in Texas was not significantly weaker than other states.  Maybe given the accident, it is time for land use planners everywhere to consider how their ordinances protect people from potentially dangerous uses or other disasters.  Unfortunately, this isn’t just a problem for Texas.