Startling New Evidence That Not All Conservatives Are Braindead Ideologues

Just most of them.

Whoa.  Did somebody just hack this blog?

As I was saying, check out this excellent essay on transit, car-dependence, and compact, walkable communities.  It was written for conservatives by a conservative (just guessing) who is assistant editor at this conservative online publication that is part of this this conservative institute.  (Yes, and the recommendation comes by way of this famous conservative blogger who is fond of reminding us that he’s not like all those other so-called conservatives.)

Don’t trust me?  Take a few sips:

…Support for government-subsidized highway projects and contempt for efficient mass transit does not follow from any of the core principles of social conservatism.

…A common misperception is that the current American state of auto-dependency is a result of the free market doing its work. In fact, a variety of government interventions ensure that the transportation “market” is skewed towards car-ownership.

…We often hear complaints that transit systems do not earn profits. This is true (with a few exceptions), but this does not mean that transit systems are a waste of money. When was the last time you heard someone complain about how a local road never manages to turn a profit? If we held roads and transit projects to similar standards of profitability, we would build very few roads indeed.

…Pro-highway, anti-transit, anti-pedestrian policies work against the core beliefs of American conservatives in another and even more important way: they create social environments that are hostile to real community.

…Since businesses are obliged by zoning restrictions to locate far away from residential areas, most Americans drive to every store they visit. This means that store visits are often discrete trips that must be undertaken consciously and planned out ahead of time. As a consequence, shoppers will want to visit stores that carry the most diverse inventory—Wal-Mart, Costco, et al.—and avoid shops that specialize in one particular kind of good—the local paint store or flower shop, for instance.

…In neighborhoods where it is easy to walk, residents see their neighbors often, and are given ample opportunity for spontaneous or chance encounters. Community is built out of many weak inter-personal links, and seeing your neighbors informally, episodically, but frequently reinforces these links.

…Car-dependency also requires the nuclear family to become a primary transportation resource. Parents must shuttle their children to school, soccer practice, and even their friends’ houses until the children can shuttle themselves (at peril to their lives) in late adolescence.

Precisely.  Exactly.  Yup.

The author was once employed at the totally awesome Center for Neighborhood Technology, which explains a lot.