Source: New York Times
As you have probably heard by now, in
Meanwhile, the New York Times also recently profiled Vauban, the “car free” suburb of
I wrote previously about the notion of freedom of mobility. We rely on enormous government funding to build and maintain our road and highway network. We currently lack sufficient funding to keep it maintained. Studies show that oftentimes adding roadway capacity worsens congestion. There is bumper-to-bumper traffic on our highways on a daily basis (or so my radio tells me), and a breakdown can entirely throw off one’s scheduled arrival. Not to mention the costs of owning a car, insurance, parking…
The fact is, a car only represents freedom for people who can afford its enormous costs, where there is an extensive and well maintained road network, and where there is no more than minor congestion. Otherwise, cars represent entrapment. It traps people who need a car to make every little errand, who sit for hours in traffic each day, who spend more money on transportation than dwelling, who are children, seniors, or the disabled and cannot drive.
Likewise, freedom without a car only occurs in places that are walkable, bikeable, and that have decent mass transit. The difference is that the latter scenario is much more cost effective, equitable, and healthy. As many people have written about, the American love of the car is cultural and nostalgic more than it is based in the contemporary reality of auto mobility and our nation’s fiscal ability to maintain our transportation systems.
Much of this kind of thinking will require a cultural change. Nine out of ten Americans own a car, and people like myself who don’t own one may still feel like social outcasts in much of the
However, as we build more for the pedestrian, there is an important education component that has to go along with this shift. Last week in
So, in closing, for all of you Pennsylvanians out there, the law says that drivers must yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, whether it is at an intersection or not. That means drivers must stop when they see a pedestrian crossing.
In any case, I do not want to end on that negative note. How about this: It’s a beautiful day, go out and take a walk or a nice bike ride!