Screen grab. Image: Streetfilms, CC
"It was a wrong turn... we didn't have to turn over all of our public spaces to the motor vehicle."
The man in the picture above is Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives. In the video below, the start of a great new series that will "examines what went wrong in the early part of the 20th Century, when our cities began catering to the automobile, and how those decisions continue to affect our lives today," Mr. White describes the transformation of NYC (he's sitting on all that is left of the "park" of Park Avenue) and what should be done to fix that mistake, and how that has already started happening. He's very inspiring, and the video is worth watching.
Cars Need to be Put Back in their Place
The automobile is a tool. It's not evil, and it's not good. It works well for certain things, and it causes more problems than it solves with others. But during the 20th century, it seems like our society lost all perspective and decided that the car was the answer to all transportation problems and that everything else should be considered only a minor alternative form of transportation.
That's just crazy.
We can think of tons of scenarios where the car is the way to go (going to a more rural area where there's no public transportation, needing to travel quickly on an unpredictable schedule, etc), and for those situations there are still ways to make cars orders of magnitude greener than what we have now (electrification, weight reduction via downsizing and advanced materials, widespread car-sharing, car factories powered by clean energy, using recycled materials, eliminating toxins from paints, solvents, etc).
But a lot of the time, walking, cycling and public transit are the best choices but our badly-designed car-centric cities are keeping people from choosing those options. That needs to change.
More Green(er) Transportation
Humancar Test-Drives the Imagine_PS Human-Electric Hybrid (Video)
Cool Spokeless Bike Prototype by Yale Mechanical Engineering Students
Let's Follow Seattle's Mayor on his Bike Ride to Work (Video)