A longtime transportation planner discusses the need to look beyond EVs when it comes to reducing emissions, to urban streetscape changes that reduce the need for driving. He talks about why such changes tend to move so slowly and how to speed the process up.
This is a great conversation and I love Warren Logan's insights. In Chicago there are similar reasons why green infrastructure projects get bundled with gentrification and displacement concerns by a skeptical public.
The primary one is quite simple: it is blatantly obvious what's happening when a new park or other "green" amenity is immediately hyped by developers and real estate companies as a sign the neighborhood is on its way up. This was literally the urban renewal formula for a half century, I believe an old Simpsons episode illustrated it perfectly when they mocked a developer's community presentation that included a homeless guy being replaced with a tree.
The solution isn't to stop improving neighborhoods, it is to improve them all, with a focus on community engagement so the projects in question reflect the desires of the *existing* residents. When these improvements aren't unicorns, it becomes less possible to manipulate them for the purpose of property speculation.
When they start tearing down houses and "improving" your urban neighborhood, the question should always be, improving for who? If you don't know the answer, you are chum in the greater scheme of trying to increase the property tax base and to attract new, wealthier residents. Politicians claim they fight these economic forces, but most bend over backwards for them ether by intention or out of ignorance.
I will say the planning profession, at least here in Chicago, is behind the curve re: the EV transition, because that horse has left the barn. The auto manufacturers have all committed to dates in the *very* foreseeable future, and even if you still have an old car 10 years from now, you will find yourself with a dwindling number of places to fill the tank. Especially if you are outside of an urban region. What we need planners to do is de-siloize themselves and get busy working with their municipal and state government peers in their building and transportation departments on updating building codes, street design guidelines, and other infrastructure.
Also, bury the inner-city expressways in tunnels or decommission them altogether! It's time to undo that urban planning fiasco.
Here's an article from NY Times on pedestrian streets in New York City: