San Jose Demonstrates the Limits of Urban Growth Boundaries and Urban Rail

San Jose Demonstrates the Limits of Urban Growth Boundaries and Urban Rail

The theory behind both urban-growth boundaries and light rail systems seems sensible at first. Growth boundaries stop development from “sprawling” beyond the limits it sets and forces new development and growth into denser development within the boundary. Light rail systems can carry a lot more people to and fro on a strip of land than can two lanes of cars with one occupant.
But from the beginning, reality has not matched theory. Urban-growth boundaries don’t allow the kind of suburban house with a yard that most Americans want to own. Instead, they drive up the costs of all homes to increasingly unaffordable levels. And to frost the cake, by increasing density, they increase traffic and congestion. Likewise, light rail systems just don’t meet any of the goals envisioned for them. Very few people can both live and work on a single thin line drawn by a planner for a light rail route. Very few people are willing to take a bus to the train, the train to a bus, the bus to work, and vice versa on the way home. So, light rail systems all carry vastly fewer passengers than expected as all transit systems keep losing market share to automobiles.

Randall O’Toole

Reason Foundation

March 1, 2003

I didn't find this helpful.This was helpful. Please let us know if you found this article helpful.
By |2018-01-01T00:00:00-08:00January 1st, 2018|Affordability, Efficiency/Growth, Land Use Regulation, Reference, Reforms|