Thursday, 29 October 2015

The time it takes

Something that makes me rather annoyed is when city planners say it took 40 years to get where the Netherlands is today. Literally that is true, but the idea of having a bicycle culture where cycling was a genuine option for all people, it was not long after, even after just 10 years it was of fairly good quality in the Netherlands and in 1990, it was 25% of all journeys, or more in some cities. And it was a very rapid change. Even if 40 years was true, if we began today then we would eventually get there. But we can skip over what was tried and found to not work in the Netherlands and we could easily allocate a large amount of money to making it work. Somehow in the 1940s-1960s, in 20 years we found the money to turn the streets from only somewhat car centric to extremely car centric. So much so that 109 St st was actually believe it or not, intended to become a freeway. And this happened on a global scale. If we could have turned Canada from people centric to car centric within a single generation, surely we can with smaller machines that need less room to ride and park and even less resources to build and cater for in less than a generation.

We can never even hope to get there by remaining as we are. We can ONLY get there by starting. Vancouver is starting. London is very early, but building tens of kilometres of cycle tracks this year. And a couple of even those aren't bad. It takes the realization that bicycles and walking and public transport is good for business, look at how thriving the shops are in totally car free areas in the Netherlands, good for people, thousands of lives have been saved, and countless more have not been injured or had a collision, billions of dollars worth of savings comes from cycling, walking and public transport, realizing that we are locking children indoors, either at home, school, a designated sports field or in a motor vehicle. It is impossible to justify cars. Impossible. If we had a God given right to cars, the Bible would have said so already. Go and download a copy and Control F search for right to cars if you want. Our efforts to reach so low standards and not nearly dense enough network to improve things is not working. It is making it worse by making people think that it is hopeless. But give people good enough conditions and they WILL cycle, walk or take transit.

I challenge anyone, anyone reading this to try and come up with a good reason why we should not rebuild our cities just like our grandparents and great grandparents did to change our cities for the worse. We as their children can learn from their mistakes. We can change our cities for the better. I believe that we may already have hit peak car, possibly also peak oil. Just another reason to change. Not tomorrow, today, we can already adopt these policies. We can declare it a priority and change our standards for roads. We can give the orders to make our roads safe, efficient and inviting. And at far less cost than a freeway. The Northeast Anthony Henday Drive in total will cost 1.8 billion dollars for just 9 km of roadway. What else could those funds have been used for?

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