One of their latest conceits is the transit-oriented development which is basically putting in a high density development of homes, apartments and offices around a 19th century commuter rail station in the middle of a successful suburb.
Peasant homes for peasants you could call it.
If done properly, the developer will be able to sip a Chablis before the gas-fire in the fireplace of his McMansion’s living room as he watches through arched windows the deer play in the snow of his two-acre backyard and think warm thoughts about his “little people” scurrying about like happy hamsters in his new community, and feel as though he has just saved the world.
An attempt is being made to put one of these in Middletown Township, Delaware County, Pa. on the old Franklin Mint property with the proposed Wawa Station on SEPTA’s Media-Elwyn rail line as the transit hub.
It would have 1,200 residences including “luxury” apartments; 798,000 square feet of office space, and 235,000 square feet of retail space.
And in Montgomery County, Abington Township has signed on to a transit-oriented development centered on SEPTA’s Noble Station on the West Trenton Line which will allow for increasing the residential unit density from eight per acre to 300 on an 8-acre tract next to the Baederwood Shopping Mall.
Someone is going to point out that starter homes and apartments are needed, and they would be right. But rather than break things that are fixed — like low-density, affluent suburban townships — how about we try to fix things that are broken.
Like, well, Philadelphia.
In 1950, Philly had a population of 2.07 million ; a population density of 16,286 per square mile. Today, it has a population of 1.55 million and a population density of 11,457 per square mile.
Clearly, it can fit more people.
And historic North Philadelphia Station and the Broad Street Subway line would make great hubs for transit-oriented developments.
Now, some will point out that nobody who loves their children would willingly subject them to the city’s public school system. True!
But school vouchers would easily solve that.
Other cynics might say that these are very high crime areas. Also true! But if you really had confidence in your ability to order the lives of others you would have the faith that responsible homeowners in self-contained communities would push out the “no-snitch” crowd.
And if not, well, maybe you shouldn’t try to break things that are fixed.