Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I got away from bad news this weekend with a trip to the sunny Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where I discovered this fascinating and informative local land use story (well, I do tend to look for these) about Stephens City, which is celebrating its 250th birthday. Stephens City was a typically dense town until the arrival of the Interstate (81, in this case) in the 1960s, right on the eastern edge of town. In addition to puling business away from Main Steet to the freeway ramps, the Interstate created a divided town, with the declining old walkable grid to the west, and new, auto-dominated, curving developments to the east (including a “Fredericktowne” – that extra “e” was sure to get an premium in home values). But the charm of the old buildings on Main Street is being revived (as it has been in force in nearby Winchester, the county seat), as the city government (which eventually annexed much of the eastern developments) has high hopes for attracting tourists to craft shops, restaurants, inns, and the like on old Main Street. (Winchester already has a downtown pedestrian mall (not always a great idea), which serves as a fairly successful tourist magnet. Indeed, one can still even buy a pair of cheap socks in downtown Winchester, although I suspect that this is a relic of the pre-tourism downtown, rather than a symbol of a revival.) Stephens City is planning bike routes and other features to encourage downtown living. While tourism is not a full substitute for the pre-auto town, it’s far better than the image of the abandoned downtown that places like Stephens City faced in the 1970s. I wish the town good luck …
This blog is an Amazon affiliate. Help support Land Use Prof Blog by making purchases through Amazon links on this site at no cost to you.
- Stephen R. Miller on Why are building inspectors so often on the take?
- Josh Hightree on What makes people leave rural areas, and what makes them stay
- Jessica Shoemaker on What makes people leave rural areas, and what makes them stay
- Jamie Baker Roskie on Why are building inspectors so often on the take?
- Stephen R. Miller on What makes people leave rural areas, and what makes them stay
- Is this blog post "advertising"? California's bar proposes bright-line rule for regulating attorney blogs
- Two upcoming RMMLF events: 61st Annual Institute (July 16-18 in Anchorage) and 17th Institute for Natural Resources Law Teachers (May 27-29 at Utah Law)
- First Principles for Regulating the Sharing Economy
- Webinar on New Markets Tax Credits and rural CED: Thursday, Feb 26
- Update on Pace Law / Yale F&ES project on local governance of hydraulic fracturing