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Thread: NY Times article about "smart growth" Washington Twp, NJ

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    NY Times article about "smart growth" Washington Twp, NJ

    This is an interesting read from this morning's New York Times. (You may need to register or use a login from bugmenot.com).

    The town had a high density "smart growth" development, which was so popular (and perhaps poorly planned for?) that the city is now suffering from congestion and over-crowdedness. Meanwhile, half the residents seem to really hate the style of development.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    New Urbanism will never work because people want bigger houses on bigger lots, especially people with kids.

    But then they can't seem to keep the families away.

    I don't know, i've been there a lot. I've seen all phases of construction. The problems people are complaining about would have been 3-4x worse if it had been typical suburban sprawl. The Washington Township old-timers are just complaining about change. Those houses were coming either way. It was just a matter of how.

    It seems to me that the only real problem is that NJDOT pulled the rug on the 33 bypass, which i don't really disagree with. The solution is to widen Route 33 through town as a Boulevard, and proceed with a more dense commercial version of a main shopping street.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  3. #3
    The lost state aid might have become an afterthought if the township had been able to collect anticipated taxes from commercial property next to Town Center. Route 33, now a major thoroughfare, was supposed to be transformed into an old-fashioned commercial center, with slower traffic and parking and shops lining both sides of the street.
    Hmm... if I'm reading the article correctly, it sounds more like the issue is that the commercial component failed so the increase in families without a corresponding increase in ratables resulted in tax hikes. You can't really fault "smart growth" for the fact that the state DOT nixed new businesses planned to serve (and pay for) the new residents. Although I'm sure people will.

    There are way too many Washington Townships in New Jersey. The one I'm more familiar with is full of ex-South Philly Italians in gaudy McMansions.

    (hmm, I see jresta came to the same conclusion I did before I could read his post)
    Last edited by Tranplanner; 09 Apr 2007 at 2:28 PM. Reason: Double Reply

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Washington Twp (Mercer) (not to be confused with Washington Twp (Burlington), Washington Twp (Gloucester), Washington Twp (Warren), or Washington Twp (Morris))
    is not alone in its grumblings about the state Office of Smart Growth.

    When it comes to writing checks for planning or engineering studies they're great. When it comes to getting other state agencies to coordinate they're not so great. I think it's going to be tough for them to overcome that, especially when dealing with transportation agencies. That's the big money at the heart of graft and political corruption and thus a tough nut to crack.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by brandonmason View post
    ......the city is now suffering from congestion and over-crowdedness. Meanwhile, half the residents seem to really hate the style of development.
    Sounds like: "Nobody goes to 'dat place anymore, it's too crowded..."
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  6. #6
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Kvetching and bitterness about the world around you are part of the culture in that part of the country. I wouldn't put too much stock in a study that said half the people don't like it. You'd probablyt get a similar response in most townships in NJ. I don't think Washington Twp. qualifies as a city either. Its very suburban, and still has some farms.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

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