Federal Government, Despite Progress, Still Acting as Agent of Sprawl

It’s been encouraging lately to see the federal government making an effort to remedy its traditionally sprawl-promoting ways, with programs like the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. But sometimes it seems like the feds could benefit from some of their own guidance on sustainable development.

Federal money will be used to develop this greenfield site as a home for elderly veterans, undermining the federal government's own sustainability goals. Photo: Stop and Move

For example, outside Fresno — and we mean way outside Frenso — federal, state and local tax dollars are helping build a veterans’ home. The site chosen is not only undeveloped greenfield land, but land that is not in any way connected to urban development — the dreaded leapfrog move.

This type of development is counterproductive enough when it’s pursued by the private sector, and reducing the public costs associated with this practice is one of the goals of the Sustainable Communities program. So it’s frustrating to see federal tax dollars being used to promote exactly what the federal government is simultaneously spending tax dollars to discourage.

James Sinclair at Stop and Move responds:

Now, like all residents, veterans want access to the community. Grocery stores, restaurants, shops, cafes etc. But on top of that, they also need access to medical services. A location that should provide the vets the care they need, with easy access from visitors and the ability to be involved in the community.

Of course, the picture above tells a different story …

See a store? See a hospital? See any form of development…? See a sidewalk or bike lane or park or….anything?

This new home is in the middle of nowhere. The real middle of nowhere. Out of curiosity, where is the VA Hospital? Seven miles away.

There’s a reason prisons are generally built in the far-off outskirts. Why are we giving these veterans the same treatment?

Elsewhere on the Network today: Arlington’s Car-Free Diet Blog shares the news of a Spanish town that is offering a lifetime of free transit service for residents who agree to trade in their cars. Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition reports the state is considering ending its bike and pedestrian programs, outside of Safe Routes to School. And Biking in LA says AAA has come out against California’s three-foot passing bill.