The Latest From BostonBiker.org

News, Events, Updates


Streets Are A Public Utility Designed To Move People (Not Cars)

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 15

The title of this post comes from the parting lines of a police training video from florida.

Those words have been swimming around in my head for a couple days now. I had always thought something similar but “Public utility designed to move people” really crystallized my ideas. Roads are for people, and those roads work better or worse depending on how those people choose to use those roads.

For instance Latron sent in this lovely picture.

20130211massaveandnemos

I really noticed this during the storm. People had reclaimed the streets, and were almost universally happy about it. It was only when the cars came back that things started to get nasty.

Being a public utility, roads are a shared but limited resource. We only have so much space, and we have to move everyone around. Like public water infrastructure, the size of our “pipe” is only so big.

amount-of-space-required-cars-bus-bicycles-poster-image43

Why is it then that we seem to prioritize the most inefficient user of our roads, single occupancy automobiles? As I have written about before, cars are way too big for the job they do. Using many more square feet of our roads to move the same number of people around that a bicycle or a pair of shoes could do much faster, and cheaper.

It would seem that we have convinced ourselves to do something that is foolish. When you see a lot of people doing something foolish, its often helpful to follow the money. Who makes money from a foolish act, and what is their motivation for having people continue to do said foolish act. In this case you will easily follow the money back to a whole host of very large companies (car/oil/construction).

Then its just a matter of looking at how they have convinced people that this foolish act is a good idea, and before too long you have it pretty much figured out. Some small number of people make a very large amount of money if everyone continues to drive cars, they convince us we need to drive cars with billions of dollars in advertisement, and secure their money flow with lobbying of our elected officials.

This is basically how capitalism works in america. For better or worse we live in a system where often making money for a few outweighs the benefits for the many. Not only would our roads be much more effective at moving people around if they were not clogged with single occupancy motor vehicles, the air would be cleaner, people would be healthier, local economies would have more money in them, it would even be quieter and more pleasant to live in this city.

It is very hard to defend the continued use of cars as a major transportation option for city dwellers. They are expensive, loud, inefficiency, unhealthy, politically dangerous (oil wars, and money spent to protect oil over seas), bad for the environment, dangerous to children, dangerous to the operators, make motorists unhappy, and make our shred public roads operate poorly.

Its time to abandon the single occupancy automobile in favor of better and easier options. We need to move to better and more efficient public transportation, walking, shared car use (zip car), bike share programs, denser and more innovative city planning, and yes cycling.

Cars are killing us in a 100 different ways, and making us miserable in the process. Lets stop this madness, get on your bike, and get out there!


submit Streets Are A Public Utility Designed To Move People (Not Cars) to reddit.com Add to Reddit.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in advocacy | 5 Comments »

The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Defend Protected Bike Lanes In Cambridge From Being Removed! August 6, 2017
      Tweetfrom the email:   This Monday, August 7th, the Cambridge City Council will vote on a policy order which could put a moratorium on all new “pop-up” protected bike lanes. Earlier this month, Cambridge installed a new 2-way protected bike lane on … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • 8th Annual World Naked Bike Ride July 21, 2017
      TweetStarting location: 45 Danforth Street, Jamaica Plain, MA – 6PM Saturday! Final details for World Naked Bike Ride BOSTON! Pass it on! We've a pre-party location and will release that info 24 hrs prior to the ride. pic.twitter.com/dx15bKNZIh — WNBR Boston (@WNBRBoston) … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • 2017 Midnight Bike Ride – Saturday August 12th July 21, 2017
      TweetBoston by bike… at night. Saturday, August 12, 2017, Midnight ’til dawn Twenty ninth annual tour of architectural and historic sites. Meet at 11:15 pm in front of Trinity Church in Copley Square Bring a bicycle with a light and wear something reflective.  … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Action Alert: Send Thank Yous For Brattle St And Mass Ave Popups July 21, 2017
      TweetFrom the email: Safe protected bike lanes for all ages and abilities are here on sections of Mass Ave and Brattle St. We’re so excited about the latest two segments of what needs to be a network of protected bike … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Bikes Not Bombs Update July 21, 2017
      TweetFrom The Email: We’re Hiring! We’re hiring! Please help us spread the word about our openings. Development Manager – Works to increase the organization’s visibility and cultivates, stewards and expands the relationships between Bikes Not Bombs and its donors at all … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Commonwheels Partners with Scouts to Help Homeless June 19, 2017
      This time we have guest authors from Girl Scout Troop 75006 who we partnered with this spring: This year, we really wanted to do something that would help our wider community. After looking into some issues we care about, we learned that there is a se... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • Commonwheels Partners with Scouts to Help Homeless June 19, 2017
      This time we have guest authors from Girl Scout Troop 75006 who we partnered with this spring: This year, we really wanted to do something that would help our wider community. After looking into some issues we care about, we learned that there is a se... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • Bikes Not Bombs Update June 19, 2017
      TweetOn Sunday June 4th we welcomed 635 riders to our 30th Annual Bike-A-Thon! These hard working riders raised over $176,000 for our youth, international and bike shop programs. Over 130 folks joined us on our brand new 100 mile Century … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • DCR Public Meeting On 6/27 RE: Morrissey Blvd Redesign June 19, 2017
      TweetFrom DotBike: On the evening of Tuesday 6/27 there is an important public meeting to learn about DCR’s preliminary plans for the redesign of Morrissey Boulevard and to provide feedback.   See below for details.     PUBLIC MEETING #3 … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Livable Streets Update June 19, 2017
      TweetFrom the email: ———– What’s happening 3 reasons to sign up for Tour de Streets today Tour de Streets is LivableStreets’ biggest fundraiser of the year, and – more importantly – it’s a ton of fun! Here are three reasons to … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker