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Eau Claire's Hastings Way and Social Engineering

Written By: Jerry Hanson  |  Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2011

             Eau Claire's city planners, in reconstructing Hastings Way, adopted the Smart Growth policy referred to as "Complete Streets" or "Livable Streets." This new plan is an attempt to reverse the unintended consequences of previous plans - namely zoning and comprehensive planning. Why is it that when a plan has been proven to be bone-headed, the elite central planners always want to develop another plan? Smart Growth is just another bone-headed plan that will have to be replaced by another plan. But how many property owners will be deprived of their property rights to accommodate the new plan. What unintended consequences will develop from the new plan devised to solve the problems created by the old plan?

            The big push behind zoning ordinances was to segregate different uses of property. No commercial use in a residential neighborhood and no residences in an industrial area, etc. Thus citizens of Eau Claire are prevented from having home-based businesses in their homes. Instead they must get in their cars and drive to a commercial location to start their businesses. This segregation of land use has forced us into cars to go to work and to buy groceries. Gone are the neighborhood grocery stores. Industries have all been forced into industrial parks outside of town, well beyond walking distance.

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