Access versus Mobility

I’ve been harping on the theme of access vs. mobility lately.

There’s a nice blog post out of Houston that puts this idea in stark relief, using London as an example.

Part of the equation is that if you have good access via proximity, the speed of your mobility is less important. That’s why the fact that our Streetcar is slow is not a critical issue (not that we shouldn’t keep working on making it faster).

If we have limited public dollars to invest in infrastructure, this begs the question: can we get more bang for our buck by investing in access (denser, mixed use neighborhoods and lower-cost mobility like Streetcars) or in faster, more expensive mobility (e.g., a new lane on I-205)?

In a recent interview in the Daily Journal of Commerce on the topic of place-making, Metro President David Bragdon is quoted on how expensive it will be to provide transportation infrastructure to new communities on the edge of the region like Bethany and Damascus. How does that contrast with investments to make our regional and town centers denser (i.e., provide more access)?

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