Envision Utah and the Coalition for Utah's Future. Imagine the Salt Lake metropolis with close to 3 million people, stretching from eastern Summit County to Tooele, from Box Elder to Juab. But don't look to this future with trepidation; look at it with possibilities.
Cities are the greatest invention of mankind. Unfortunately, misguided philosophies with good intentions have shaped the city into a dehumanizing sprawl. It's ugly. That's why we fear the future.Our current system of planning encourages, even requires, elements of civic design and land use that we despise. What was once a noble effort to separate incompatible land uses has turned into irrational restrictions on many facets of urban life.
We forcefully separate people's livelihoods from their neighborhoods, the rich from the poor, and children from cultural centers while isolating the elderly in boring enclaves. This forces us to use our cars, and then we wonder why traffic is so bad.
We require developers to build oceans of parking and forbid "undesirable" people like apartment dwellers. That's what modern zoning is all about.
It doesn't have to be this way. Libertarians want to allow for more innovative ways to use our land. The party's platform also favors self-funding roads built in cooperation with private enterprise where motorists pay more for usage at peak times using automated tolls. It works for telephones, movie theaters and many other services. Why not try it for roads?
Ultimately, the idea is to reshape settlement patterns in Salt Lake County based on market-driven principles. This would mean more choices in the way we live, travel, work and socialize. I am excited at these possibilities.
Cabot Wm. Nelson
for Salt Lake County Commission
Salt Lake City