BP Disaster = Car Culture: 3

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Photograph of ramp, extending from the Allegheny riverfront bike-trail, downtown Pittsburgh.

Now and again, a politician suggests looking into public transport – as if this notion is a quaint innovation, and not the infrastructure that dominates nearly every country on Earth, First World or otherwise. We tinker with bike-commuting, solar trains, a monorail in Vegas. But we’ve forgotten that mass-ownership of private automobiles is only a 60-year-old tradition. (Compact discs have existed for a third of that time). Is it so unthinkable to reverse the trend? Especially when future resource-wars, economic collapse and – lest we forget – ecological catastrophe are at stake?

If for nothing else, let’s do it for our spiritual survival. A lifetime spent in gridlock traffic is not living. We feel rushed, resentful and hostile to the people around us. We forget what it’s like to interact with strangers, or even neighbors. We are bombarded with signs that tell us what to do and threaten punishment for even a split-second mistake. Even our recreation is made stressful by the question “how do we get there?” A car-culture feels only civic detachment, arbitrary obedience, resignation to waste and fatigue.

We’ve squandered enough time. Blaming corporations and government won’t fix anything. The time has come to seriously investigate alternative transport, especially in major cities and between them. It’s the only route to progress.


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