Alien Lanes

In a state that is toying with secession from the Union, Department of Transportation plotting probably doesn’t even get this sophisticated. But as this post and chart make clear, there is a variety of other choices available that usually don’t even get put on the table for consideration.

And this kind of deliberate ignorance about alternatives gets expensive; it’s a dispositive of the conditions that “trap” us all in the unsustainable transportation cycle where 1) an absence of mass transit leaves driving as the only option, so 2) every person in a household over 16 years of age must have a vehicle, 3) more roads are required to support an ever-increasing number of vehicles, 4) transportation dollars automatically go to road building and maintenance and 5) mass transit projects are deemed too costly, which neatly leads back to 1).

But building and maintaining roads is very expensive, too. And that’s just the roads; once we begin to price-in the negative externalities of CO2 emissions and the general conditions surrounding resource scarcity, not to mention drive-time radio, we should be able to consider cost of driving to be sufficiently astronomical as to squeeze a few more chairs around the transportation planning table.

Tha Facts We Hate

The post-post modern effects of the torturous discussions of torture run wild with the startlingly banal discoveries that the horrors which terrorists may inflict upon us are nothing compared to what we can and will do to ourselves.

Everyone, or at least maybe every other person, has heard of the film, Who Killed the Electric Car?, the story of the EV-1, each model of which was effectively transported directly from the assembly line to the recycling junk heap by our caring and compassionate corporate overlords.

Now comes a new film about the implications of our transportation “choices”, that selection process of judging the merits of multiple options and identifying one for action. Otherwise known as something we did not do but that was done for us because we were, um… too… something. Taken for a Ride examines the story of the successful campaign by General Motors, among others, to buy and dismantle streetcar lines.

Across the nation, tracks were torn up, sometimes overnight, and diesel buses placed on city streets.

The highway lobby then pushed through Congress a vast network of urban freeways that doubled the cost of the Interstates, fueled suburban development, increased auto dependence, and elicited passionate opposition. Seventeen city freeways were stopped by citizens who would become the leading edge of a new environmental movement.

A future based merely on re-aligning the injustices of American history would be a wonderful place, probably with a Cherokee name.