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Sunday, February 10, 2008

What insanity looks like

Image of strip-mall sprawl in San Antonio
Finding this image on the always excellent StreetsBlog, I couldn't resist sharing it here. Bicycling would be almost unimaginable here, let alone walking or using transit. Absolute insanity.

Last year U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters received some well deserved heat after her provocative comments that bike paths are an inappropriate use of federal transportation funds. Presumably, Secretary Peters would consider the mess in this image--sadly not the only location in the U.S. suffering from pavement pathology--to be an entirely "appropriate" use of such money.

The greatest challenge to getting people out of their cars is the built environment. By replacing green space with alienating concrete, increasing the distances between destinations and increasing traffic speeds, sprawl discourages bicycling, walking, and transit use. Livable cities discourage sprawl, and encourage density, sustainable mobility, and vibrant community. This is the path to sanity.

Many great civilizations have built enduring monuments to their insanity. The Chinese built their great wall, the Egyptians built their pyramids, and Americans have built the expansive freeway interchange. In this period of peak oil, climate change, and interminable traffic, it's long past time for sanity in our public policy.

Image: Kaptain Krispy Kreme/Flickr.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Anonymous said...

One more reason we should get Mary Peters fired. See

Anonymous said...

I have always held out the hope the next secretary would not spell transportation C-A-R

Anonymous said...

American culture by design.

Colville-Andersen said...

there are many perfectly good lanes on the flat freeway in the middle of the photo which could easily be turned into bike lanes...