Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Future of Cities

I saw this Ghost Bike while wandering around Brooklyn while visiting my good friend. I was pleased with the amount of biking in NYC, but with the ease of the trains, walking seems like such a simpler choice. Maybe folding bicycles are big there? But I didn't see too many more there then I do here. The driving there is nuts, not as much as I had seen in Jakarta but the congestion seemed almost as awful, but faster due to a planned grid system.

The Ghost Bike makes me think about cars and death. Automobiles are the most likely weapon people own that they could kill someone with, and the possibilities of that happening are so much more real as people drive everyday and begin to take it carelessly and text in the meanwhile from here to there. Most automobiles are huge pieces of metal that fling themselves along our ribbons of concrete and asphalt propelled on the remnants of fauna millions of years ago. Yet there is a lack of caution at the amount of damage they can cause. There is drivers ed, and every so often people are jolted by the death of someone they know by car accidents. These are few instance where people wake up to the destructive power these amazing machines can produce.

Yes automobiles are amazing machines, and they will always have their small purpose and niche within the world, but there need to be better recognition of the benefits of investing in alternatives where absolute auto freedom is needed. Most of us want to just get from here to there, as long as we can do that and look the same as we did leaving the house people are pretty satisfied. As a biker I am not satisfied, with the amount of 5 seat or larger cars I see driving around with 1 person in them. The way people don't see the perils of talking on the phone and driving at the same time.

The next MPR/Citizens league sponsored Policy and a Pint is titled

Cities, Bicycles, and the Future of Getting Around

I have already procured tickets and plan to hear what has to be said, and I hope to heck they mention the amazing projects of Living(woonerf or Home zone) Intersections being attempted in Europe, where the car is a guest and the priority goes to walkers, then bicyclists, and then public transportation. Last should be cars and autos. The thought by many drivers is that roads were made for us. Historically roads have been around much longer then cars, longer even then bikes. Romans build roads before the death of christ, so roads are a development of humans moving more then cars needing a path. Many times I have heard a person yell from a car "get out of the road" or "Use the sidewalk". These people probably don't realize that bicycles pushed for the creation of roads long before cars were more then a novelty. The League of American Wheelmen pushed for road creation from legislators.

Bicycles never became the dominant paradigm of transportation, sadly now law enforcement officers who are only doing there job are stopping bicycles from going where they like and confining them to the rules set out for cars not to kill each other. The heartbeat of red and green lights stop the crashing flow of metal boxes, yet bikes could weave through each other like the soft cross weft of yarn. Even a roundabout, more similar to water percolating through dirt then the jumpy stop go of streetlights provides a more bicycle friendly alternative. Yet bikes are lawfully thought to follow the rules of cars, even written in is the need to stay to the side of the road. to be a little blasphemous I'd say bicycles are the Rosa Park's of transportation. When the danger bikes pose are almost non existent, the need for such rules seems silly, and bikes will almost never experience the trauma of an accident where they were the cause of sending someone to the hospital by smashing into them on a bike.

I saw this cool contraption in NYC as well, this dog was pretty cute.
The Picture at the top...

No comments:

Post a Comment