Monday, July 5, 2010

Saltworks: Not Smart

"Are there dumber places to build? Possibly. But a project on this site can't be considered smart growth or transit oriented development." - David Lewis
"Big Developments Expose Green Divide" is the headline of Jonathan Weber's rundown in the NY Times of Peter Calthorpe's latest crop of "Smart" developments in the Bay Area. They include the Saltworks in Redwood City, turning the Cargill salt ponds into 12,000 housing units; Alameda Point, which adds 4,500 new housing units to a former Naval Air Station; Treasure Island, with 8,000 housing units, and Hunter's Point. Of the four, the Saltworks is the most egregious. Lewis, executive director of Oakland-based Save the Bay, questions the logic of considering a wetlands site, remote from any kind of transit, for "smart growth." Given the number of infill sites available in the Bay Area, he asks if mega-projects of the kind Calthorpe is touting are justified. There's considerable local opposition, arguing that too much is being crammed on the other sites. Calthorpe replies that big sites are necessary "to create complete mixed-use places. The regional and long view is critical to environmental health. Too often, we take the short, local view." This local viewer wonders if some of this isn't just another form of sprawl?

 The Saltworks site.

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