Tuesday, January 30, 2007

wind chill

it was only a six blocks walk last night but the windchill felt like it was biting my face off. i was so happy to walk inside my door and be home.

1 comment:

andy said...

I'm not really sure what sort of viewpoint you're suggesting with your entries in this blog, but it's a very narrow-sighted one.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for making mass transit and alternative transportation the MO in the cities. I live along the light rail line and use it frequently, and am hoping to get a job downtown so that I can park my car in my own garage and not use it most of the time. I also ride my bicycles more miles in a year as recreation and as transportation than 98% of the population of the cities.

But your approach seems to be to just close down streets to auto traffic, or at best, heavily restrict and incovenience auto traffic. For the most part, Minneapolis is laid out in a way that is perfectly favorable to bus, bike and foot transportation without limiting auto traffic. One thing that people forget (and an assertion you seem to be making) is that the vehicles utilizing roads are single-occupant automobiles. A certain amount of paved, automobile infrastructure is ENTIRELY necessary for transport of soft goods and emergency vehicles. You simply cannot eliminate that infrastructure.

Nor can you suddenly change the cultural norms of a society that has been based around the automobile for the the last 50 years. You, yourself, can (and apparently have) made the choice to go car free. Bravo, but you cannot turn around and bash your peers over the head with that decision. A lot of people work in occupations which the current transit system can't fulfill their needs. This is pretty common. You can sit and claim in whatever meeting (which you attended) that adding automobile infrastructure (this time manifesting itself in the form of parking spaces) isn't the "right" thing to do, and you know what kind of response you're going to get? "Shut up, hippie" is what business owners are going to be thinking, regardless of what they actually say. We can't just push for the city of Minneapolis (or St. Paul, for that matter) to start pushing a wholescale agenda of turning streets into grassy malls or flower gardens without offering a viable transit alternative. The buses are not viable transit alternatives now, and they likely won't ever be. Ergo what is in place must be maintained.

Culture can't be changed overnight, and people like you realize that you only add fuel and animosity to the fire when you browbeat those who choose to drive. There are a lot of interim cultural "adjustments" that can (and should) be emphasized before we start advocating ripping out automobile infrastructure. That is just shortsighted and ridiculous, just as shortsighted and ridiculous as the city and state when they permitted the streetcar infrastructure to be systematically removed in the 60's.

And please drop the global warming nonsense. Buses are still powered by fossil fuels (for the most part) last I checked.

Push bicycles, push alternative fuels, push urban development and centralization... don't push a return to the dark ages.