Cohousing traffic studies - Nyland
From: Melanie Mindlin (
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2021 11:29:03 -0800 (PST)
As a long-time Planning Commissioner in my town, I can say pretty conclusively 
that Planning Commissions and Planning Departments do care quite a lot about 
traffic studies, primarily due to the impact on street infrastructure rather 
than due to a concern about carbon sequestration.  It would be wonderful if 
city planners took reducing carbon seriously, but this has yet to be more than 
a minor consideration (or even a radical fringe idea) in most places.  On the 
other hand, traffic studies are important because your city planners have 
responsibility for providing the streets and keeping traffic flowing at a 
reasonable pace.

In most places, the question is not whether a new development should occur or 
not.  The question is what kind of development will occur.  The population in 
most places continues to expand and, at least on the west coast where I live, 
there are significant housing shortages.  Our governments are all 
pro-development because it brings money into their jurisdiction and because 
they are responsible to their constituents who want housing.  Thus the 
comparison between your proposed cohousing community with its reduced  car 
trips and building a condo like the one next door could be a good selling point.

What a different world it would be if our priorities, both government and the 
general population, was to reduce carbon and save our planet!  Maybe we 
wouldn’t build anything at all and put our energy into doubling up in existing 
structures, downsizing, walking instead of driving, and so on.

Good luck with your project.


> Begin forwarded message:
> From: cohousing-l-request [at]
> Subject: Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 204, Issue 8
> Date: January 7, 2021 at 10:14:52 PM PST
> To: cohousing-l [at]
> Reply-To: cohousing-l [at]
> Hi Rozanna,
> I'm sure that would be an interesting study, and good luck with finding 
> it. But having watched the bulk of the construction at Rocky Corner over 
> the last couple of years, I wonder if that 25% even matters anymore.
> Consider:
> 1. We've had a year of training ourselves (by we, I mean all of us) to 
> make fewer trips to grocery stores, fewer trips to stores in general, 
> fewer trips anywhere. Yes, eventually the pandemic will end, but all of 
> us will still spend less time driving to work, driving to meetings, 
> driving to the airport to fly to a business conference, driving to a 
> mall to shop for some doohickey we can find in an instant online.
> 2. The amount of diesel fuel consumed in land clearing, excavation, road 
> building, and all the other work of site preparation and construction 
> for a modest, 30-home community, not to mention the amount of 
> sequestered carbon in vegetation and topsoil that gets released in the 
> process, let alone the carbon footprint represented by the building 
> materials, might equate to between ten and twenty years' worth of 
> residents' gasoline consumption (maybe more; I don't have enough data to 
> actually compute that). So in the big picture, that 25% saving is nice 
> but maybe not a persuasive argument in favor of the local community's 
> approving a new construction project.
> 3. The internal combustion engine, as a way to move individuals and 
> families around, is going away. A decade or so from now, that 
> construction equipment may still be running on diesel, but your car and 
> your pickup truck will be electric. So how much less gas you use than 
> the condo next door might no longer be a relevant comparison.
> Again, I'm not saying it isn't a worthy goal. It just may not be one 
> that's worth a lot of time and energy to document.
> Dick Margulis
> Rocky Corner
> Bethany CT

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