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Freedom Farm & Wickford Junction

Freedom Farm in Johnston, Rhode Island brings an important land use issue to the table.

It's funny how we tear up our farm land in this state, and leave the urban lots undeveloped. Oh yeah, we do develop them. Into more parking, so that people can live in a detached house on what used to be a farm and commute to the city to work everyday. That makes a lot of sense. . .

I've got a solution for people. Let's develop the Wickford Junction lot into something useful.

Urbanophile had this to say about the abysmally low ridership at the state's newest semi-rural exurban train station:

Barry Schiller of RIPTA and the Rhode Island Bike Coalition wrote us some time ago to talk about the NIMBYism that prevented a bike path being built between the Wickford Junction Station and the town center of Wickford, along a rail right-of-way that is no longer in use. That path would have been a much more practical use of state money to support transit than expensive parking has proven to be. Biking is a much more natural way to get to a train than driving. Once you've invested in buying a car, spending on all the paraphernalia of car ownership, and have even gotten behind the wheel in the morning to drive to the park-and-ride, why not just drive all the way? That's why ridership is so low, with so much money lost on this project.

In addition to the bike path in North Kingstown, which should be allowed to be built, we should also get rid of some of the awful parking expanse at Wickford Junction by allowing private developers to put housing and shops there. The bike path would allow locals to visit from Wickford Village, and the train would allow people from Providence and other population centers to visit as well. It would start the process of creating a healthy transit culture that isn't built on highly peaked trips to Boston in the morning, and highly peaked ones on the way back in the evening.

Urbanism isn't all about big cities. We can have small town centers and farms too. It's all about getting our land use policy right.


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