But the traffic is already a mess!

Not really, compared to many places, but fine, we moved to Bend because we didn’t want to be someplace with lots of traffic.

Setting aside the fact that when we moved here, we contributed in your own small way to increasing the traffic, let’s think about the problem from another point of view:

One of the major reasons there is so much traffic is that it’s illegal to build in such a way that people don’t need a car for every last little thing.

Look at some of the new housing out in NE Bend:

It’s quite a ways from there to a grocery store, or much of anything, really.

If you look at Bend’s zoning map, at http://www.bend.or.us/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=3296 you will see that not so much as a corner store is legal in the immediate area.

Compare and contrast with a more traditional style of development, where it may have been possible to walk to a corner store, or a barber, or small hardware store, or any other number of other amenities that people use often.

By attempting to plan the city in such minute detail, we have eliminated this traditional development pattern, where small businesses might spring up close to where people lived.  We have prevented the city from evolving in any way not foreseen by the “central planning committee”.  By allowing more “mixed use” areas, more people could walk or ride their bikes, or drive a shorter distance to things they need every day.

“But…it snows! I can’t ride my bike in the snow!”

That’s fine, use the “right tool for the job” – take your car by all means if it’s 36F out and raining.  But by allowing the city to evolve, and by allowing people to reside closer to shops and offices, perhaps we’d see more people walking or riding their bikes on those plentiful sunny days we get.  It’s not a matter of forcing everyone to ride their bikes all the time, it’s about making it possible for those who want to on occasion.

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