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Sam Adams’ Freedom Fighters a Novel of the American Revolution by OTTO MULLINAX The freedom-fighter of the American Revolution, as the principal character of this novel, develops swiftly but accurately around the lives of William Mollineaux, one of San Adams’ Lieutenants in Boston, and his nephew J.J. J.J. diligently searches for Laurie Aldrich, a Quaker mistress to Major Percy of General Gages’ British Forces. She is also the dream girl of J.J.’s boyhood infatuation. His quest, kidnapping, and flight with Laurie to the Carolinas is a romantic backdrop to that revolutionary history and the battle of Kings Mountainthe critical battle of the revolutionary war which resulted in Cornwallis’ retreat through North Carolina into Virginia and surrenderending the war. The history of that time is told in faithful detail, since the Revolution itself is the principal character. 250 pps. Paperback $12.95’incl, tax & shipping FUTURA PRESS P.O. BOX 17427 AUSTIN, TX 78760-7427 ENVIRONMENTAL OBSERVER Out of the Loop Texas cities pursue outdated transportation policies BY ROBERT BRYCE WHILE TEXAS LAND developers seek more loop highways to expand the outer limits of urban areas, a new report by the World-watch Institute suggests cities should be working to make themselves more compact. “All cities, whether surrounded by affluent suburbs or by makeshift shantytowns, need to plan land use far more carefully than in the past,” says author Marcia Lowe in the report. Released last month, the Worldwatch report, “Shaping Cities, the Environmental and Human as cities such as Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, where loop highways have fostered tremendous sprawl, and Austin, which is considering building its own outer loop. But the call for more conservative land use planning runs up against longstanding Texas boosterism about new highways. The Texas Department of TransportaParkway, a 170-mile-long loop about 25 miles from downtown Houston, despite objections that the six-lane road is not needed. The new road, which would be Houston’s fourth loop, will cost state taxpayers about $5 million a mile to build with an estimated total cost of more than $1 billion. While the first contracts are being completed on the parkway, Beltway 8, an 88-mile loop 12 miles from downtown Houston, remains unfinished. The Grand Parkway survived elimination in 1978 from the state highway commission’s wish list with the help of powerfully connected patrons who stand to reap millions from completion of the parkway. They include Houston Mayorelect Bob Lanier, who reportedly owns an interest in six properties worth an estimated $23.1 million along the route, and who helped revive the parkway after Gov. Mark White appointed him to the state highway commission, now called the TDOT, in 1983. The Houston Chronicle reported that Lanier voted on six occasions to approve and fund the parkway. Another patron was U.S. Secretary of Commerce Robert Bryce is environmental editor of the Austin Chronicle. ‘ Robert Mosbacher who, according to the Village Voice, has made between $40 and $50 million on the 5,400-acre Cinco Ranch, through which the first section of the Grand Parkway will run, just south of Interstate 10 in west Houston. They were helped by the Texas Transportation Act, which was pushed through the Legislature in 1984 by then-Rep. Ed Emmett, RHouston. The act allows developers to form a “transportation corporation” that would seek donations of land for the roads and private funds for engineering and planning. In the case of the Grand Parkway Association, executive director Jerry Coffman said private landowners provided some $600 million in land and engineering work, while the state committed the $1 billion to build the road. In Austin, a special road district was set up in 1984 to build the Southwest Parkway. The road was promoted by well-connected developers such as former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes and former Gov. John Connally, who owned several thousand acres in the environmentally sensitive Barton Creek watershed. When the district was established, the district’s real estate appraiser predicted the value of the property would increase tenfold, to $1.1 billion. Instead, with the collapse of land values, it is valued at some $28 million and Travis County and road district landowners face huge tax bills to pay for the road. The $208 million bill comes due in 2019. \(See “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Austin’s Gary Bradley and associates have set up the MoPac South Transportation Corpo ration to help extend the MoPac Expressway to Bradley’s development, Circle C Ranch. Like the Grand Parkway Association, the MoPac South Transportation Corp. stood to dramatically increase the value of its members’ land by getting an expressway built to their front door. The project has been held up by a federal court order obtained by environmentalists who oppose the roadwork over the environmentally sensitive areas. Why sprawl? Studies done around the world have shown that no matter how many roads are built, their carrying capacity will not keep pace with demand there will always be more cars than available road space. Lowe’s report identifies automobiles as the enemy. The unrestrained use of automobiles increases air pollution, infrastructure costs and energy consumption while decreasing arable land, usable living space and pedestrian traffic, she writes. “One of the most important factors in a city’s physical appeal, and in the quality of urban transport, is the amount of space devoted to automobile parking,” according to Lowe, a senior researcher on urban transport and land use issues for the Washington, D.C.-based institute. She continues: “Zoning and building codes that require extravagant parking provision have unintended, negative effects; massive expanses of parking create an intimidating setting and deter pedestrians by increasing the distances between buildings. Moreover, the lure of convenient parking leads many people to choose driving, THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15