Saturday, April 25, 2020
KANSAS CITY URBAN PLANNER FACT CHECK: CONSERVATIVE JACK CASHILL EXAMINES DENSITY & PUBLIC TRANSIT ROLE IN DEADLY CORONAVIRUS!!!
In a thoughtful treatise regarding an issue that has been overlooked in Kansas City; Jack Cashill explains his criticism of "density" as he snubs the conventional wisdom of urban planners.
But first a bit of background . . .
Building "density" in downtown Kansas City has been one of the primary goals touted by developers for more than a decade. But now, coronavirus has put the benefits of that objective in serious doubt. As Americans wait for a return to normalcy that's unlikely to come without a COVID-19 vaccine, the logic of crowding people together for economic and cultural benefit has unraveled.
More to the point . . .
CORONAVIRUS HAS KILLED THE MYTH OF URBAN DENSITY AND CROWDED PUBLIC TRANSIT AS A BENEFIT TO THE PUBLIC!!!
At the very least, a challenge to the density dogma in KCMO from this right wing thinker is worthy of consideration:
WND: Jack Cashill notes cities with public transportation have worst COVID rates
Mr. Cashill makes special reference to this town . . .
"What makes the Kansas City metro livable in no small part is that it has more freeway miles per capita than any city of size in the world. I have never had to take public transportation anywhere.
"I have always thought "space" an asset. It keeps our home prices down, shortens commute time and makes us "nice." At some urban planning sessions, however, I have been actually hissed for bragging about our freeway miles.
"The meanest hate mail I get locally is when I criticize the city's newest and stupidest shiny object, one that causes more traffic problems than it solves: light rail."
And then . . . The money line offers an alternative take on the pandemic and the conditions that caused it to thrive in many parts of the nation:
"You don't have to be an epidemiologist to figure out what is causing Americans to die from COVID-19. More than half the deaths have been in New York and New Jersey.
"When I look at the maps, I can see the grim reaper following the commuter lines out of Manhattan. I don't blame New Yorkers for their plight. They have been stuck with their transit limitations for a century or more. There was no real way out for them other than to move away.
"What I do not understand is why any sane person would want to mimic that model. In all the planning sessions I have attended, no one once mentioned the possibility that a pandemic could render public transportation unusable.
"The good Dr. Fauci should have seen this coming. He attended my high school. He rode the same subway. It was as crowded and as germ-ridden when he took it as when I did some years later."
Accordingly . . .
Kansas City will likely maintain many social distancing measures even after the stay at home order expires. Some public transit precautions will also remain in place. The "new normal" no longer includes a mindless adherence to the benefits of "density" but will now manifest in an environment wherein the rules of etiquette demand some level of physical seperation among conscientious residents.
Check the links from many sides of the debate:
Fortune: After coronavirus, we need to rethink densely populated cities
Vice: Coronavirus Is Not a Good Reason to Abandon Cities
Biz Insider: An MIT economist recently posited that the city's subway system was the main trigger for the outbreak, but schools and crowded housing complexes could also be to blame.
Streetsblog: No, Cars Did Not Save California from the Worst of Coronavirus
CityLab: Density is a factor in this pandemic, as it has been in previous ones. The very same clustering of people that makes our great cities more innovative and productive also makes them, and us, vulnerable to infectious disease.
Westworld: Avoid the Next Coronavirus, Don't Be Dense, Denver
AD: Health and Disease Have Always Shaped Our Cities. What Will Be the Impact of COVID-19?
You decide . . .