Thursday, November 30, 2006

Transportation Future meeting

Last night I was a panelist at a meeting in Northeast Minneapolis about the future of transportation in the city and in Northeast. I gave a presentation on walking and bicycling and how I live without a car, and how I see things because of that. I was very nervous giving the presentation, but I think a few people there appreciated it. But one person during the question and answer period really took offense to some of my language.

I talked about how cars had taken over our streets even tho we never actually voted to let them take over the streets. I talked about examples in other places, in Europe, in the Americas, where citizens had figured out ways to share the streets, so that cars can use them, but also pedestrians, bicyclists and even children playing can all have a place in the street. This is really how streets were a hundred years ago, before we gave them to cars.

Streets used to be where community happened, but now streets are defined as transportation infrustructure, defined by traffic engineers as arterials and collectors when they should be places and places where we want to live.

Anyway, I referred to cars as bullies, because they bully all the other kinds of transportation off of most of the streets in our city. One person in the audience said that if I didn't like cars, I should move to Europe.

But I wish I had made myself more clear. I showed photographs of places where cars and bicycles and pedestrians all had places in the street. I was trying to say that it would be great if they could all share streets. Being that I don't have a car, I am excluded from streets, which are defined as places for cars.

I didn't make myself very clear. I wanted to make myself more easily understood than I was. Maybe next time.

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