What the Census Taught Me About the NIMBY vs. YIMBY Debate

by on December 14, 2020 · 0 comments

in San Diego

By Paul Krueger / Voice of San Diego / December 14, 2020

In 1971, a young Pete Wilson was elected mayor of San Diego on a platform of “smart growth.” I covered City Hall as young reporter in the ‘70s, and remember how Wilson’s strategy resonated with voters, who wanted to avoid Los Angeles-style sprawl by densifying neighborhoods south of Interstate 8 while limiting patchwork growth to the north.

But 50 later years later, many residents in our core neighborhoods are living with the unplanned consequences of that strategy: dilapidated, expensive and overcrowded housing, congested streets and inadequate parks and schools.

Now retired from journalism, I saw those problems first-hand as an enumerator for the U.S. Census. I recently spent 10 weeks walking hundreds of blocks and interviewing more than 1,000 residents in City Heights, Golden Hill, North Park, Southcrest, Lomita and other neighborhoods south of the 8.

In many of the households I visited, extended families are sharing one- or two-bedroom apartments. Their buildings have little on-site parking, so many residents must park on the street. When I canvassed those neighborhoods, I often could not find a parking spot within two blocks of the addresses on my list. And that was in the middle of the day, when many residents and their vehicles were at work.

A new generation of pro-density “YIMBY” advocates argue that public transportation and bicycles will help avoid those problems. But more buses, trolleys and bike lanes will not work for the households I visited.

Almost all of these hardworking families have — and need — multiple vehicles. Very few of them have the luxury of working from home, pandemic or not. Parents — and many of their older children — have jobs that can’t be reached by bus, and certainly not by bicycle. They are maids, nannies, cooks, plumbers, laborers and clerks.

For the balance of this interesting article, please go here.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: