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Instapoll Finds Sprawl A Problem in Most Communities Officials Split over Best Ways To Address Concerns.

A recent NLC Insta-Poll found that 65 percent of the responding local officials said sprawl was a problem in their communities, while 34 percent said that sprawl has little to no effect in their communities. The poll was conducted during the NLC Congress of Cities meeting held in Washington DC in March of 2000.

The issue of sprawl has become a central focus in the 2000 campaign as Vice President Al Gore has made antisprawl part if his "livability agenda." Several cities and states are dealing with issues of sprawl. Atlanta has the longest average commute of any city in America, averaging 36.5 round trip to work miles daily.

Washington D.C. has seen a 69 percent increase in time commuters spend in traffic. Kansas City has more freeway lane miles than any other city, and New Jersey has the highest population density in the country. Cities and states across the country are looking for ways to reduce sprawl and preserve their green space.

The Insta-Poll found a high number of city officials saying sprawl is a problem in their communities. The majority of the reporting cities, 80 percent, are involved in regional planning efforts to try to reduce sprawl and to utilize land that has already been developed, but over half of the officials said those efforts are having little impact on sprawl in the cities.

According to 53 percent of respondents, regional planning efforts have had little or no effect on sprawl, while 44 percent feel that regional planning has had a positive impact on reducing sprawl.

Other efforts to reduce sprawl have been initiated by cites to try to alleviate the consumption of land surrounding cities and to reclaim lands that have already been developed. Some cities have begun to issue ordinances regulating planning and zoning relating to new construction such as water and sewer hook ups, development density and mandating infill development.

Thirty-six percent of the city officials reported having ordinances that limit construction, while 63 percent reported having no ordinances to limit construction or development. In the area of green space preservation, 49 percent of cities have adopted ordinances to preserve green spaces near and in urban areas, while 49 percent have no such ordinances.

The Insta-Poll also found that city officials were split in their opinions about the usefulness of public transit to reduce traffic congestion. City officials (51 percent) reported that public transit did not do much to cut down on traffic congestion while 49 percent found it a useful tool in combating traffic congestion.

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Author:Pionke, John
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 22, 2000
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