A Minnesota-based Community Planning group called 'Smart Towns' is currently touring Idaho to share their ideas for re-modelling the average American community to be less automobile-centric. An important idea in our growing environment of commuter communities, incorporating more biking and walking into our communities would be overall healthier, would create a more cost-effective lifestyle, and more responsible use of tax funds.
As explained in Strong Towns' Mission Statement,
"The current approach to growth emphasizes investments in new infrastructure to serve or induce new development. This approach uses public dollars inefficiently, destructively subsidizes one type of development over another and leaves massive maintenance liabilities to future generations.
A Strong Town approach emphasizes obtaining a higher return on existing infrastructure investments. We can no longer simply disregard old investments in favor of new, but instead we need to focus on making better use of that which we are already committed to publicly maintain."
Planning more responsibly for community growth and development will allow our communities to bolster public transit and provide on-going support for bike paths and walking trails, rather than pouring funds into highway expansion and the constant expense of maintenance.
CTAI encourages all Idahoans to take advantage of opportunities to educate yourself on the status of your community, and certainly to let your own voice be heard! Strong Towns' 'Curbside Chat' programs will be on-going throughout Idaho until February 22nd and will include a community-specific discussion session.