Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Taking “smart” out of smart growth with Travertine Point

(2/18/13) – IE Transit Talking Points Short

Promises of new urbanism label Travertine Point, a massive master planned community which would house a population of 40,000. The sprawling development is proposed to be adjacent to the western edge of the Salton Sea, basically out in the middle of nowhere. Many red flags are evident. The existing agricultural towns of Coachella, Mecca, Oasis, and the Duroville trailer park don't need it. Neither does Interstate 10 to LA.

The region however can certainly use some agricultural-sector job growth. Estimated median household income in Mecca is under $25,000. Unemployment in this desert town is at least 15%. Factor in those who do not have unemployment benfits and nearly one quarter of the region’s population is jobless. A better growth idea would be “Las fábricas de Mecca” within Mecca’s existing street grid. Establishing factories and plants to process some of the harvested produce into premium drinks or packaged food would benefit the local economy, employ thousands of local workers which would help improve wages, and generate additional tax revenue to pay for improved transit, complete streets, and highway maintenance. That would be smart growth for the region.

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