Joint Base Lewis McChord, other bases to become more walkable
Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 3:51:49 PM
At Joint Base Lewis McChord, nearly 30,000 parking spaces remain empty each day - a result of poor infrastructure planning, not a drop in the community's population. The Department of Defense is now setting out to fix this oversight and others like it at bases across the nation in an effort to make military bases more walkable and use land efficiently, Federal Times reports.
The desire for suburban sprawl is being replaced with a need for walkable communities, spurring the DoD to release new guidelines that call for "compact development." This means a mix of residential housing close to shops and other businesses, all while keeping mass transit, energy conservation and trees in mind.
Dorothy Robyn, the deputy undersecretary of Defense for installations and environment, spoke about the new guidelines at a forum sponsored by the National Capital Planning Commission and George Mason University recently, explaining that the DoD is aiming to repair past planning mistakes.
"We have not had a good master planning process," Robyn said at the forum, according to the news source. "[Many bases are] very sprawling, very auto-centric. You have to have to have a car to get around."
She added that the new guidelines aim for efficiency that will preserve the base's land for future missions and provide a more efficient infrastructure.
The guidelines are not the DoD's first effort for environmental responsibility. In March, the Army announced it would invest $7 billion in renewable energy sources. The Navy reported an expansion of energy-saving programs and the Air Force is renewing pollution and waste control goals, according to the DoD's official website. The Pentagon also does well at protecting the many endangered species that live within the 2.2 billion square feet of land it manages across the nation.
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