Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nimby and Brzezinski?

Today's Washington Post reports on negotiations between suburban Virginia's Fairfax county and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's former National Security Adviser over a plan by the county to put in a sidewalk in front of his home on 1061 Spring Hill Road in McClean.

According to the article Brzezinski has been less than enthusiastic about the plan, failing to negotiate on terms for a sidewalk easement. Having lived in Fairfax County for almost 30 years, he undoubtedly has seen the sleepy farming county grow over the past couple of decades into a sprawling behemoth.

Like other suburbanites, Brzezinski exhibits the classic NIMBY attitude toward growth. Commenting on the McMansions that have sprouted all over this prosperous county, the Post quotes Brzezinski as saying that they are "reflective of cultural pretension and pomposity" and "make the whole area look like a joke, a Disneyland imitation of the European aristocracy, without the land."

Brzezinski probably has a point; however, his reactionary stance is not helping a concerted--if overdue--effort to increase mobility options in the county. As the map shows, Brzezinski's property is near the corner of Spring Hill and Old Dominion Dr.--a thoroughfare with retail shopping possibilities--which the county wants to link through a pedestrian corridor as part of its countywide trails plan.

Let's hope that Brzezinski's intransigence subsides long enough to realize that increasing pedestrian connectivity is an important step towards smart growth and will like increase the livability (and property values) of his home and neighborhood.