Tanned and Rested, the Rebellion is Ready for Action

It wasn’t easy coming home — I’ll add Jackson Hole, Wyo., to Ocracoke, N.C., and Round Hill, Jamaica, as one of my favorite places outside Virginia — but I’m back and I’m rarin’ to go.

You can find the June 19, 2006, edition of the Bacon’s Rebellion e-zine here. Don’t miss a single issue — click here for a free subscription.

For your reading pleasure, here’s this week’s line-up of columns and features:

Fire Trucks and Bike Lanes
Wilton on the James has solved the intractable “design by fire truck” issue without sacrificing its commitment to a pedestrian-oriented community. The result: an impressive network of bike paths.
by James A. Bacon

Consider one great statistical region named “Chesapeake.”
by Doug Koelemay

The Conservation Imperative
No fantastical technology, green or otherwise, can keep the world on its increasingly energy-intensive development path. We need to get serious about conservation.
by EM Risse

Unconstitutional Power Grab
Two congressmen want to stop the states from utilizing public-private partnerships to finance new road construction. A little thing called the Tenth Amendment stands in the way.
by Geoff Segal

It’s All Our Fault!
Don’t blame the politicians, blame the voters. According to Bryan Caplan, they can exercise their irrational biases — against foreigners, oil companies, the market, whomever — with no fear of retribution.
By Norman Leahy

Isolated Case or System Failure?
The most critical questions of the Virginia Tech shootings are going unasked. Why did Virginia’s mental health agencies let Seung-Hui Cho fall between the cracks? Is anyone else at risk?
by Sam Mela

Nice & Curious Questions
Virginia’s Counties: A Day’s Journey to the Courthouse
by Edwin S. Clay III and Patricia Bangs

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7 responses to “Tanned and Rested, the Rebellion is Ready for Action”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: megapolitan

    “MSAs are delineated on the basis of a central urbanized area—a contiguous area of relatively high population density. The counties containing the core urbanized area are known as the central counties of the MSA. Additional surrounding counties (known as outlying counties) can be included in the MSA if these counties have strong social and economic ties to the central counties as measured by commuting and employment.”

    note the last sentence.

    Then go back and revisit the definition of “sprawl”.

    Then .. tell me the difference between living in a 1/4 acre greenfield subdivision or a 4 story condo if both occupants commute 100 miles a day?

    What problem is being solved by providing dense housing next to existing transportation corridors -if there still is a significant commute that is part of the circumstance?

    And yet.. the definition of MSA – explicitly references the twin issue of employment and commuting.

    So.. it appears to me that the MSA is … [choose one or more].. acknowledging … predicting… sanctioning… long commutes as realities of MSAs.

    I’m quite sure that EMR will not agree but I’m trying to understand how we’d have this gigantic “commuting” MSA .. without huge consequences in terms of transportation.

    where have I gone astray with my thinking?

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Larry, Ideally, the MSAs boundaries simply acknowledge social and economic reality. If people are commuting 100 miles per day to employment centers in the MSA, that’s an objective reality. As EMR points out, there is a political element as well to determining MSA boundaries, usually revolving around issues of civic boosterism.

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    MSAs do much, much more than “acknowledge”.

    For instance, your MPO’s are responsible for planning transportation facilities and those MPOs are determined by … MSAs.

    Right now – you have no less than 4 MPOs for the prospective megapolitan area.

    One in NoVa (also part of DC/MD), one in the Fredericksburg Area, One in Richmond and another in HR/TW.

    One of the problems in my mind has been the fact that while the Washington MPO is supposed to deal with the MSA – except for North Stafford it does not deal with Stafford, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania as part of the COMMUTING area MSA.

    So Fredericksburg has it’s own MPO – FAMPO along with a significant long-distance commuting element to it’s traffic and yet the TPB and FAMPO do not integrate their planning.

    For instance, the HOT lane project was extended to Spotsylvania ONLY after Spotsylvania complained that it’s original southern termination point – was wrong…

    So – yes… defining the MSA will affect (and should) transportation planning – after all – many of those cars in NoVa during rush hour are from .. Spotsylvania and Stafford… not NoVa.

    The question is – should MPO planning seek to provide transportation facilities targetted to serve the needs of 100 mile a day commuters?

    or.. should it prioritize it’s planning for shorter commutes?

    Bonus question – HOT lanes from Washington to Richmond – with some of those revenues to provide VRE that extends from Washington to Richmond?

  4. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    “I’m quite sure that EMR will not agree but I’m trying to understand how we’d have this gigantic “commuting” MSA .. without huge consequences in terms of transportation.”


    I think you left out some words if you see a reason that I would disagree.

    With the addition of the point that Jim Bacon makes, I agree with everything you say.

    With what would you think I disagree?

    I assume your comment was spured by the “Megapolitian” column of Mr. Koelemay.

    The Chesapeake Region has been on the table for 30 years. There was even a group of “regional planners” who met on a regular basis to discuss the idea. So has the “The State of Potomac. We participated in the discussion and considered those ideas when we were formulating the comprehensive conceptual framework for human settlement patterns anchored by the New Urban Regions and Urban Support Regions.

    MSAs, CMSAs and “Megapolitian Areas” are not New Urban Regions.

    Scattered origins and destinations of travel do create transport dysfunction.

    There is a differece between living in the Richmond New Urban Region and living in the Washington-Baltimore New Urban Region that is more than semantics and whim.

    For the reasons Steve Fuller suggests, e.g. energy costs, there will remain a difference.

    Bob Lang and his Megapolitan Areas sound great and keep his calander crowded with speaking engagements that insure his place of comfort on the tenure track.

    He is popular because he says nothing about the Fundamental Changes necessary to create a sustainable trajectory for civilization.


  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    EMR – I’m still trying to reconcile how new urban regions would be formed and evolve – as a consequence of government dictated policies or the free market.

    That is fundamentally why I support TOLLs. It ‘s a pragmatic compromise because anything the government dictates that is in opposition to the market – will be shot full of holes by those who will figure out how to game the rules.

    Then we have the framework for planning… or to observe that we have no – no institutional imperative to plan for New Urbanists Regions – and, in fact, our planning paradigms is.. the MSAs… embodied and officialized .. legitimized by government policies.

    and we’re not talking about decisions that have short term/temporary consequences.

    The decisions made by MPOs have decade-longs consequences…

    .. so the issue is.. when/where/how do we get onto the New Urbanism planning escalator?

    Fundamental Change can only come from voters – and most voters (at least the ones I know).. don’t know an MSA from a New Urban whatjamacallit…

  6. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse


    You are mixing things up again.

    Tolls and New Urban Regions are NOT incomparable. In fact a well governed New Urban Region would have toll facilities in all probability.

    New Urban Regions now exist, they are real. You can find their Centroids, their Cores, where their Clear Edges would logically be drawn, etc.

    Now evolving functional governance structure for New Urban Regions is a big challenge. We explore that in “The Shape of Richmond’s Future.” I recall we mentioned that before.


    New Urban Regions are not

    “new urban regions”

    “New Urbanists Regions”

    “New Urbanism planning escalators”


    “New Urban whatjamacallits”

    any more than your name is Larro, Larrist or Larrumwatjamcallits.

    Citizens get confused with MSA etc, for sure but lets you and I start with the same vocabulary.


  7. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    EMR – okay.

    I know.. I’m a hard case here!

    but you know.. geeeze.. if you ask 100 folks what an MSA is – how many would get it right?

    Now ask the same 100 what a New Urban Region is

    .. and tell me how many would get the MSA correct verses how many would get the NUR correct?

    … see .. that’s the problem…

    there is a ton of folks out there who have some kind of a fuzzy idea of what Smart Growth is.. but how many of those folks could succinctly explain a NUR?

    so.. if you can get me on the straight and narrow.. perhaps you can convince others also…

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