It is my aim to continue repeating this simple fact: one needn’t be a progressive to grasp messages like the following, but if you consider yourself a progressive in political and social matters, it’s contradictory to dismiss messages like this.
I’ve educated myself. So can you. This writer lives in Washington D.C., and you might be tempted to reject his point insofar as it applies to a smaller setting like New Albany.
You’d be mistaken. It’s a difference in degree, not basic facts. I learned them, and you can, too.
Our streets make us unhappy. They don’t have to, by Colin Browne (Washington Post)
… The crazy thing about the automobile is that despite claiming a wildly disproportionate amount of public space, it’s still a slow and frustrating way to get across town. This is not because of all the buses, pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s not because the speed limit is too low or the traffic lights aren’t timed properly. It’s a feature of the machine itself. Cars take an enormous amount of space to safely move the one person inside and another enormous amount of space to store when they’re not being used, which is 95 percent of the time. If you live in Nebraska, you can maybe make that work. In a major world city such as ours, the acreage simply isn’t there.
We’ve built an unsustainable transportation network that makes all of us feel isolated, vulnerable and embattled, no matter how we’re getting around.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can do better. We can think bigger. We don’t have to sacrifice the safety and livability of our neighborhoods to prop up a wasteful and dangerous transportation system.
What does a low-stress street network look like? We need wider sidewalks. Everywhere. Walking to the store with a grocery cart or pushing a stroller to day care or getting to the bus stop in a wheelchair should be smooth and easy for everyone, no matter where you live.
We need protected space on every single street for a variety of active transportation modes. Every child in the District should be able to ride a skateboard or a bike or a scooter to school safely. Not just once a year for a photo op — every child, every day.
We need dedicated space for affordable transit in every neighborhood. According to AAA, the average cost of owning a car in the District is about $8,000 per year. No one should have to pay that kind of money just because he or she can’t afford to live near a Metro station or a reliable bus line …