The Argument for Less Infrastructure

3 thoughts on “The Argument for Less Infrastructure”

  1. My parents had moved us to Woodcliff Lake, NJ in 1979. We lived on a small street with six houses that ended next to 18 acres of undeveloped woods. Then in 2003, the bulldozers came and tore through and put in 20 McMansions of unbelievably ugly proportions. The builder later went bankrupt. But the destruction of the environment still pains me. And everyone of those houses has landscaping and lawn mowers going seven days a week, blowing leaves off of artificially landscaped Mafia style gardens. They could have preserved the woods and built smaller houses closer together, but that would have been against the grain of what they do in NJ.

  2. Johnny, don’t overlook the influence of “public safety” agencies in this whole discussion, particularly fire departments. This group of folks is masterful at imposing “one size fits all” street standards from uniform fire codes that are adopted in closed rooms by groups of-you guessed it-fire officials and never subjected to pubic discussion or debate. The effects of these access requirements on traffic safety, vehicle speed, vehicle collisions, or long-term maintenance costs are never considered or, when they are, a solemn-looking fire official will say something like “our codes are written with the blood of firefighters”. (just to note-about 2,800 people in the United States died in fires in 2012, of which about 90 were firefighters, while 33,000 people died in vehicle collisions). Fire agencies are like everyone else-they love to spend other people’s money. Perhaps if fire agencies were also put on the hook for the long-term maintenance costs of the street designs they demand they would suddenly, like the owners at Water Witch, find some workable alternatives.

    1. At a certain point the municipal finance director is going to sit down with the fire marshall and union reps and explain that the budget can either sustain road maintenance OR pensions and health benefits – unless the town lets a dozen or so firefighters go… Once that reality sinks in the nature of the conversation will begin to change. Eventually the fire trucks will find themselves gingerly swerving around the pot holes and ruts of unmaintained roads anyway – perhaps to burning homes that are unoccupied, tax delinquent, and have no market value anyway. These changes in attitude don’t necessarily have to occur voluntarily. It’s not like this scenario hasn’t already played out in hundreds of towns all over the Rust Belt already. We’re just not used to seeing it in suburbia.

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