Thursday, January 20, 2011

Get Ready For The Plan

Amazingly, it is just about time for the Urban County Planning Commission to begin preparing the next comprehensive plan. The Comprehensive Plan is the document that guides the decisions concerning land use, transportation, density, services and other elements of Lexington’s development.

The usual principal issue is whether or not to expand the Urban Services Area boundary, but this cycle - given the recent economy- it may be more secondary in the upcoming discussions. With the explosion of foreclosures and the relatively stagnant home construction situation, the home builders could be working on the built up excess for a year or two.

Now may be the time to look at how our city could plan for the possibility of much higher fuel prices, the effects of “Peak Oil”. How will people get around to shop, go to school, socialize or even make a livelihood? Will we be more dependent on mass transit or will we need more localized places of social gathering? How do we plan to grow old in neighborhoods that were designed for young families and very auto dependant street structures?

One of the points in Mayor Gray’s campaign was to make Lexington’s neighborhoods more walkable and thus more livable. The Obama administration, especially through the Secretaries for HUD and Transportation, has promoted making cities more livable and many of the recent transportation grants have been decided on a livability index.. Now it is our turn to stress to the powers that be, our desire to reside in a truly livable city.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that “millennial's” or Generation Yer’s have shown a dislike for the housing choices of their parents. Many of them are shying away from the suburbs and looking for a more urban lifestyle. Many want to be in a walkable, bikeable, downtown area. Someplace that is more vibrant for more hours of the day than the cookie-cutter subdivisions where they grew up. Lexington has a limited supply of locations like that and as the demand rises, so will the prices.

Many of you who read this blog ARE interested in Lexington development and making our city better. So I ask you to gather your thoughts, send them to me, ProgressLex, North of Center and others. Let’s get something moving toward making Lexington the city that it can be, if we only try.

1 comment:

danny said...

Nice post Sweeper. I just wrote something that danced around this topic in the most recent NoC. I'm a bit more hopeful about the suburbs, though partly it's structural: here in Lexington it's what we've got in greatest supply, so we'd better start figuring out how to make them work--that and I've gotten hooked on reading about Steve Austin's bike trips to inner-New Circle suburban neighborhoods.