Current Events 12-18-2014
I’m Walking Here! How it feels to be a pedestrian in cities today
How did we get in this mess? Simple: because the elegant, electric trolly car systems operating in many of America’s major cities nearly 100 years ago were bought out by the automotive and oil industries, then summarily executed, forcing Americans to buy cars and consume oil. Conspiracy theory? Not at all.
Our cities should be laid out to favor pedestrian traffic first, motorists second, in a manner that allows both groups to co-exist safely and productively. In a city, you should rarely ever need to drive, unless you’re traveling across country. Everything needs to be arranged around blocks, with all the major needs (food, clothing, energy) within easy walking distance. Big Oil, Big Auto, Big Agro are swollen ticks on the nation, existing to benefit themselves, not us.
What if you could walk to most stores? What if there were open air markets and in-season produce grown in-state for sale? Think of the health benefits. Think of the cost savings in road maintenance, healthcare and pollution reduction. Think of the expansion of green spaces and landscaping (pedestrian-friendly layouts have to look nice, since you’re able to actually SEE your surroundings as you travel). Healthier, happier, more productive people.
It would restore the sense of community our grandparents once enjoyed, because when you walk everywhere, you have no choice but to learn how to talk to people and be pleasant. You get to know your shopkeepers. You’re not reduced to disconnected blocks of merchandise you reach through engaging your “neighbors” in aggressive automotive combat. Seems like a good deal to me.