Post at Planetizen by CNU's John Norquist focuses attention on how the stimulus money will be spent. Norquist urges that it not all be automobile-oriented but that mass transit and walkable streets be included and even (hope upon hope!) be emphasized. One of the factors in our weak economic & overall strategic situation is our dependence on foreign oil. So why spend so much of the stimulus dollars on projects which will only worsen our situation? Not to mention the green-house issues.
I'd go slightly further and emphasize projects which specifically add to the walkability of our cities and suburbs such as — hold on to your hats — curbs and sidewalks.
Some other advantages of emphasizing right-of-way projects ((new curbs/sidewalks, curb bulbs, traffic calming devices etc etc ) which increase the walkability of an area:
• Such pedestrian-oriented street improvements are very labor-intensive and require many workers.
• Being simpler and low tech, ped-oriented R.O.W. improvements are quicker to design and thus can be "shovel-ready" long-before a new highway or subway.
• Being fine-grain and requiring useful construction skills, such projects can provide on-the-job training to unemployed which can be used in private market.
• They encourage people to get out of their homes and walk, meet neighbors, get healthier, and strengthen bonds of community.