An article today in the Seattle PI shows that gas use in Washington State is the lowest it has been in more than three decades. This is great! However there is still work to be done. Our neighbors to the north are using 2.8 gallons of gas per week per capita less than Washingtonians. Looking at the largest cities in these perspective regions (Seattle and Vancouver), this is possible because the densities of the two cities are very different. Vancouver is a little more than double the density of Seattle at 13,602.6/sq. mi. which would require less gasoline usage to get to and from the city. Seattle having a much larger metropolitan population means we are more spread out creating demand for more gasoline. However I think this article compliments Andrew’s nice blogs on Density and the string of density related articles coming from the PI lately.
“While mass transit is becoming more widely available and building restrictions have forced more dense development, the gradual decrease — starting in 1999 — seems to also be tied to the increase in gas prices, said Clark Williams-Derry, the Sightline research director of the Cascadia Scorecard 2007 report released in June”.
This is key to building a well-oiled transportation system. Density places more people at the doorstep of transit. If available, people will forget they ever depended on cars.
“The lower rate of consumption is partly because of decade-old development rules focused on creating “compact, complete communities,” said Peter Ladner… “.
I think our development is starting to head in this direction as well, take for instance Kent. The development of Kent Station has made living in Kent and the commuting much easier. If we can start making the cities we have more dense, and develop them around a reasonable transportation system, this will make for a better environment overall.