Monday, August 8, 2011

From the New York Times:

Published: July 30, 2011
AS an American who has been living here for several years, I am struck, every time I go home, by the way American cities remain manacled to the car. While Europe is dealing with congestion and greenhouse gas buildup by turning urban centers into pedestrian zones and finding innovative ways to combine driving with public transportation, many American cities are carving out more parking spaces. It’s all the more bewildering because America’s collapsing infrastructure would seem to cry out for new solutions.
Geography partly explains the difference: America is spread out, while European cities predate the car. But Boston and Philadelphia have old centers too, while the peripheral sprawl in London and Barcelona mirrors that of American cities.
More important, I think, is mind-set. Take bicycles. The advent of bike lanes in some American cities may seem like a big step, but merely marking a strip of the road for recreational cycling spectacularly misses the point. In Amsterdam, nearly everyone cycles, and cars, bikes and trams coexist in a complex flow, with dedicated bicycle lanes, traffic lights and parking garages. But this is thanks to a different way of thinking about transportation.

Read the rest here:

1 comment:

Big Oak said...

I think that back in the early 1900's as cars came on the scene, and oil was cheap, America grew to love the car because you could quickly and easily go much farther than you could on a horse (or a bike). It makes sense that our cities developed around the car.

Now there are many good reasons to consider going back to bikes. But we have to remember it took us 100 years to get to this point, and it'll take us a while to get back to where bikes are a more widely accepted form of transportation. I commend those folks, on all fronts, who are out there working for more bikeable cities!