Unwilling To Truly Combat Global Warming: The WaPo Transit Edition

While this Washington Post editorial would appear to be about a minor transit issue, it represents the kind of failure that we must end if we’re serious about stopping climate change (boldface mine):

WHEN GOV. Larry Hogan (R) last year proposed a $9 billion blueprint to widen the Beltway, Interstate 270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway by building more than 100 miles of toll lanes — potentially one of the most audacious public-private partnerships in the nation — the project was attacked as politically opportunistic, a boondoggle that would wreck neighborhoods and harm the environment. Nonetheless, Mr. Hogan’s plan has advanced, impelled by one undeniable fact known to hundreds of thousands of daily commuters who crawl along those roadways day after soul-crushing day: Suburban traffic long ago outstripped highway capacity.

It will get much worse in the coming decades. The Washington region is expected to grow by 1.5 million people by 2045, to nearly 7 million. No matter how much new investment is poured into transit — we hope it’s a lot— demand for new roadways will soar. If you doubt that, think of Uber, Lyft and self-driving cars, and consider this: Car usage nationally is expanding at roughly twice the rate of population growth.

Rather than accepting car use increasing faster than population growth, we could, you know, do something about car use. To start with, we could increase density near Metro stations, along with increasing overall density in D.C. When we look at 2016 D.C. census data, increasing the density of every census tract to 25,000–slightly less than the density of the northern part of Logan Circle–we could easily house 800,000 more people in the District alone. If we also increased density near Metro stations outside of the District, we could pack in even more. This housing would also be more energy efficient than detached housing. But the WaPo editorial board is unable to see past their own assumptions about how people should live.

And we don’t really need to be this radical about it either:


But we can’t think about solving transit problems without thinking about housing. Until radical centrists like the WaPo editorial board get that, we won’t make a real dent in global warming.

There is no environmental equivalent of the zipless fuck.

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