Visclosky consultant reveals hidden agenda is to force people to drive less but what would that mean for Region jobs?
January 7, 2017-While most are talking about whether or not the region should spend $600M on the West Lake extension to Munster, Congressman Pete Visclosky already has an army of consultants working on a $5B regional transformation plan. Details of the plan are few, but the selection of consultants to work on the plan gives us the greatest hint as to what Visclosky wants to do to our neighborhoods. In a series of meetings on Transit Oriented Development last year, residents were introduced to Doug Farr of Farr and Associates and told he would be the lead architect in redesigning neighborhoods throughout the region.
Who is Doug Farr
Doug Farr is the founding principal and president of Farr and Associates which is based in Chicago. He is the founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED-ND Core Committee and currently serves as the Chair of the Congress for New Urbanism Executive Board according to the biography on farrside.com. All of these things are relevant in considering the impact that Farr will have on Visclosky’s radical transformation plan for Northwest Indiana.
Doug Farr has numerous videos posted on Youtube.com. Most of them are speeches he has given at various urban planning seminars or colleges. He speaks often of fat children and obesity and has said it is his legal and ethical responsibility to design neighborhoods which do not contribute to the obesity epidemic. “Architects are trained and state licensed to deliver on life safety . . .to make sure that people’s lives are not endangered in the things they design and so this is not something that traditionally has been the domain of architects, but I submit to you it needs to be..” (emphasis added, Doug Farr, Sustainable Urbanism-Urban Design with Nature)
So how exactly does Farr plan to “radically transform” Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties in order to achieve his stated goal of reducing vehicle miles travelled by 50%? Farr explains in the video linked above that driving should be discouraged on a social level first. “Driving is the new smoking” Farr explains. He states that the process is “first it was sort of maybe bad for you, then you were a pariah and then it was illegal” in reference to smoking.
When social pressure is insufficient to dissuade people from driving, Farr makes it clear that government should do everything possible to force people out of their cars. Farr suggests re-writing municipal codes, raising gasoline taxes and building multi-family houses near public transit in order to force people to drive less. In fact, these things are actually happening all around us right now. As Indiana Republicans plan to raise gasoline taxes, a large portion of those taxes will go to NICTD in the region. Many municipalities are already creating curb bump-outs and installing roundabouts. These are all things which are designed to slow vehicular traffic. Finally, Farr’s designs will have limited space for car parking. Residents will be allowed space to park one car or no car at all.
Most important, it seems that Congressman Visclosky and his hired guns would like to impose these plans without telling us or seeking our input. We hope to provide you with the information that the One Region/Times crew will not.