Friday, October 12, 2007

Whitney Gould's Prescience On Pabst Farms

More than four-and-a-half years ago, when Pabst Farms was being converted from farm land to subdivisions, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Columnist Whitney Gould predicted the project would add to the automobile-induced degradation of Western Waukesha County's landscape.

As local and state governments continue to pledge millions for a new interchange into Pabst Farms for an upscale mall project the developers have abandoned, you have to hand it to Gould for foresight.

"The development may not be textbook sprawl, since Oconomowoc will provide sewer and water, thanks to $24 million in tax-incremental financing," she wrote in January, 2003.

"But it will almost certainly encourage sprawl nearby, dumping thousands of additional cars onto I-94 and fueling the push for freeway expansion." 

Gould said the project was going to teach us all some lessons about land use, preservation, tax policy and transportation.

Here's a political lesson: Governments with too much tax money to spend will throw it at developments that are not sustainable on their own, even in purportedly conservative Waukesha County.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had always assumed that when one went to the dictionary and looked up the word sophistry there was a picture of George Will. Now I think if there were a milwaukee version the the picture would be Patrick McIleran of the Milwaukee Journal sentinel.

Todays (10/12/07) op-ed highlighted van pools and a story of a single rider going to Madison and back and explaining why opponents( read weak kneed liberals), only favored mass transit.

Unfortunately he made the contrary point. Assuming 1000 workers coming to work at Pabst Farms and 12 person vans, this system requires 83 round trips. And further assuming that unlike a van full of state workers needing to arrive and depart at approximately similar times, the workers at Pabst Farms will need service from 5 AM to 2 AM, this mini fleet would have to be at least 10 vans. If he doesn't want to call this mass transit then we are all on the same page. This also assumes that no other people to the east may want to shop there and don't have a vehicle.

When you are confronted with a manichean world view , it's difficult to overcame the semantics and actually bear in on the facts.