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Beep, Beep! Report: Cut VA Traffic to Cut Climate Change

September 21, 2007

Richmond, VA – Sitting in traffic not only wastes time, it wastes the chance to reduce climate change, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute. Stewart Schwartz with the Coalition on Smarter Growth says the demand for compact, accessible neighborhoods that require less driving has been well-documented.

"The market for walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, urban neighborhoods, and for living near transit can be as much as 40 percent of the consumer marketplace for housing."

Nathan Lott with the Virginia Conservation Network says there are neighborhoods in towns like Richmond, Stanton, and Harrisonburg where people don't have to drive so much, but it took some local planning and government encouragement to make it happen.

"In the case of Richmond and Churchill, there's historic renovation tax credits that kind of jump-started revitalization there. Or in the case of Arlington, the transit line."

Schwartz says Richmond and Churchill have the right idea. He explains that often, the key to making these urban neighborhoods happen is usually to "get government out of the way," so to speak, to allow the private sector to give people a greater variety of housing choices. The choices that also help reduce their carbon footprints may require some communities to ease their restrictions on development that discourage compact neighborhoods.

To view the UIL report, visit

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - VA