Our development could be wiser

Many of us have been addressing the important problem of local development from many points of view. Is everyone aware that the old style of clear-cutting, paving and laying out strips is a limited, finite process that must be halted eventually—when no more virgin land exists?

We are, effectively, creating a wasteland out of our formerly lush, temperate rain forest. Our banks repeatedly finance developers who have positions of political power, to clear-cut and pave. Perhaps we should have a forum to discuss “smart” development. Can we prevail upon the banks to foster less destructive enterprises? (Can we stop all those dollars from going to “dumb” development?)

Sooner or later, we have to face the fact that we need vertical development with a comprehensive system of public transportation. That’s right, we need tall buildings in the areas that have already been cut and paved, and [we need] to save the rest of the forest that has not yet been obliterated. With those tall buildings go commuter rail systems. Has anyone in power yet begun to think about these things?

The prospect of endless suburban sprawl is a horrible one, yet it is the only form of development we see today. We are imitating the polluted, blighted cities of the North. Why should we?

Along with our reckless system of endless clearing and paving, we have adopted a form of “urban obstructionism.” Thoroughfares such as College Street, which have rotaries planted in the middle of the street, are counterproductive. In developing an emergency plan, how would fire, rescue,and emergency vehicles negotiate these arbitrary roadblocks? The everyday pollution created by cars having to brake, wait and idle is stupid and unnecessary. There are already tire tracks all over the sidewalks of these rotary roadblocks, indicating the frustration of drivers of all kinds of vehicles trying to get through.

Furthering the “obstructionism,” in other parts of town we have planters in place of parking spaces in front of businesses. Planters are on both sides of the street on lower Lexington Avenue. Although the street is meant for two-way traffic, this arrangement makes it practically impossible for oncoming cars to travel past one another. The double yellow lines are so crooked they appear as if to be drawn by a drunken sadist.

Let’s get wise. It will be necessary to wrest political power from developers in public office who have been growing wealthy by manipulating laws and blocking other restrictions and laws for their own purposes.

— Tom Coppola
Asheville

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One thought on “Our development could be wiser

  1. chuck

    Unfortunately, nobody seems to be aware of the environmental consequences of over-development. So we will continue to irreversibly destroy our landscape in the name of Diversity and Tourist Dollars.
    And if you think something should be done about it, you are labeled a terrorist, a protectionist, or anarchist.
    Where will our glorious mountains and the mighty development dollar be in five years when we have very little ‘natural’ landscape left to grow food, relax in the woods, or allow our forests to gather water?

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