I’m beginning to understand that the North American universe is all in its head. Many more people are moving by means other than by car. In a reality based world (rather than one constituted through special interest and monopoly power of Big Energy Companies), we would have 60% of the road surface set aside for bicycles of all kinds (including slow children’s bikes with small wheels), joggers, long-boarders, walkers, trolls etc..
Instead of blaming other non-car road users for cluttering up our transportation grid - we should keep our focus on the main problem - millions of one person, large, noisy, polluting automobiles, collectively taking up 90% of the road infrastructure that we have all helped to build with our tax dollars.
Antique bike event in Trinity Bellwoods Park this afternoon.
It’s easy to get distracted by the shinyshiny, but I’m reminded of a couple of recent posts by our good friend Daren. While I’m as tired as anyone of the stupid “war on the car” meme, we do need to push back against it, if only to prevent those who keep repeating it from gaining control over the discursive turf.
Two observations, therefore:
Roads were not always for cars, trucks and buses. They were around long before private automobiles, in fact; they were not merely thoroughfares, but social gathering places. They were places for conversations, interactions, business, and the everyday exchanges that happen among citizens. The idea that they’re reserved mainly or exclusively for motorists to drive their private machines is a fairly recent invention, driven in part by the automobile industry and its hunger for profit. In the historical context, it’s cars that are the interlopers.
On the matter of cars trucks and buses, and swimming with the sharks, Daren puts it better than I can:
There’s no war on the car going on. It’s the exact opposite. This is all about the over-weening sense of entitlement and primacy in the minds of those using their private vehicles as their sole source of getting around the city.
And the mere suggestion that private automobiles shouldn’t be at the top of every priority list when it comes to talking about transportation, gridlock and climate change gets mutated into “war on the car.”
We can and must do better than this.
It’s not our economic model that requires a complete overhaul. It’s our approach to civic engagement. We’ve given up the greater public good long before circumstances might dictate we would.
Daren on Detroit.