Why We Dug the Smart Growth in Small Towns Workshop

by on April 12, 2011 » Add more comments.

“We have finally uncoupled VMT  (Vehicle Miles Traveled) growth from GDP growth in the U.S., largely because Millenials don’t want to drive.” That was one of the fascinating tidbits which I took from the Smart Growth in Small Towns and Rural Communities Workshop that Katie and I checked out Friday in Salida. Here’s another one: Over the last 50 years, VMT in the U.S. has increased by 500% while our population has only grown by 178%.

Both of these factoids came from a fascinating presentation by transportation planner Jim Charlier of Charlier Associates, one of the highlights of the day for me. We were happy to sponsor this progressive event and it was great to see an event like it in our valley. Many thanks to the Colorado Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism for putting on the event. And thanks also to John Olson of Olson Planning and Urban Landscapes for his role. Check out his account of the day.

“Colorado’s small towns and hamlets were originally laid out in a beautiful manner with a fine grain of detail and beautiful connectivity. More often than not, they were constructed as traditional “TOD’s”, or Transit Oriented Developments… Salida, like most towns in Colorado, was originally developed as a Railroad town with the fundamental aspects of a modern-day TOD.

I believe that our greatest task, as planners, architects and building officials, is to build on the heritage of our small towns. Read More >>>

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John Olson
April 12, 2011
8:41 pm

I’m happy to hear that you guys enjoyed the workshop! Thank you again for your sponsorship, Colorado is very fortunate to have great people like you to support urbanism!

Phillip Puckett
April 13, 2011
11:59 am

Very interesting topic. I’ve been wondering what the future holds for the rail system that connects BV, Salida and other Colorado ex-TODs (since it is not actively used)?? I see transit between these areas and to urban hubs like Colorado Springs and Denver as a key aspect for healthy growth in our valley. Not only do we need to find new business opportunities within the area but also how to connect telecommuters to the cities for travel, customer meetings, etc.

Dustin Urban
April 13, 2011
12:45 pm

I here ya, Phillip. I’d sure love to see that myself. Unfortunately it could be a chicken and the egg dilemma with our relatively small population in the valley. We definitely all need to put our heads together on the transportation and jobs front! Folks like yourself are invaluable in the discussion.

Dustin Urban
April 24, 2011
9:39 am

Our pleasure, John. Thanks for making it happen!

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