Baby You Can Have My Car

A great article reminding us that there are other, more fundamental ways to go green.  

I’ve argued this for years now, that the post-WWII changes in city design have made us grossly dependent on driving everywhere.  Having lived in Phoenix most of my life, I can attest to how unreasonable it is to try and walk anyplace, since from May until November, you face very real health hazzards if you attempt to do so.  By separating living areas from commercial and business areas, we force people to drive, which forces in turn people to pollute and to rely on fossil fuels.  Demanding everyone buy a hybrid or more fuel-efficient car may sound like a great solution – if you’re a car manufacturer.  But the real solution is a fundamental rethinking of how we design our cities, and going back to a mindset that doesn’t assume at least two cars per family and a daily commute to the office via freeway.  
Such a mindset is grossly inefficient, wasteful of all sorts of resources, and guaranteed to continue to cause problems in getting people from point A to point B.  It ensures increasing taxes to pay for freeway infrastructure improvements, additions, and repairs.  It took my first visit to Europe to recognize how incredibly valuable and convenient it is to not have to worry about driving everywhere.  To demonstrate to me that public transportation could be cheap and incredily reliable, and even fun to use.  This will be a lesson slow in coming to America, but we so shamelessly ape the Europeans socially and politically and culturally, perhaps there’s a chance that we’ll develop their penchant for efficient public transportation.
I just doubt I’ll be alive to see it.  Or that my car will be.

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