We need to gradually repair our sprawl. That doesn’t have to mean big increases in density. We’d build some denser centers for people who want a more urban life, but we’re not going to build townhouses in your back yard—or at least not until you and your neighbors want us to. Mostly, we just need to stitch things together so that people can walk and cycle more safely, both to complete local trips and to get to transit stops. It means making sure that at every transit stop, there’s a protected way to cross the street, because you can’t use transit for a round trip unless you can use stops on both sides of the street. It means adding pedestrian links to cul-de-sac neighborhoods, so that they are through-routes for bicycles and pedestrians while remaining cul-de-sacs for cars. And it means making sure that the design of bus stops and transit priority conveys a clear message that transit riders are valued as citizens, and appreciated for the contribution they make to a sustainable and functional city.
[Hat tip to Doug McDonald.]