Friday, 5 February 2016

How not having an effective bicycle, walking and transit system hurts those without cars and those who can't use cars

Later this evening, I'm going to a nerf war game, along with a sibling. We only have 1 gun, so I will be going to a store to get another one, as I don't know anyone else who has a nerf gun. I do have a van in the garage in my house, and I know how to drive it, but I'm only a learner and my mom takes afternoon naps. I doubt any of my neighbours are particularly interested in accompanying me to a store to get a nerf gun. I do have a bicycle, though the conditions I'd have to cycle though are not good. In the summer it's not too terrible, but in the winter, it's pretty bad. Walking would take well over an hour. And the bus doesn't have a fairly direct route. It would be easy if there was a bus route going along Ellerslie Road and Parsons Road, as the sidewalks are decently cleared until Ellerslie Rd, where I could switch to a bus, but I have to go up to Century Park and then back south again on a completely different route, and the frquency of the buses makes this less than convenient.

I could go and get myself a moped if I wanted, and you can ride it on your own with a learner license (as best as I can tell) but that costs hundreds of dollars, let alone the cost of gas. Even then it isn't ideal because mopeds (and scooters) are just as vulnerable to ice as cyclists are, and are just as vulnerable to cars, except for the part where I would be going a bit faster, around 50-60 km/h.

I am in a position where as an adult I would be able to afford things like a car or scooter, and afford a bus pass, because my dad knows to save up for providing necessities to me and my siblings (and cosigning a car purchase contract is much cheaper if you are under 25 but have your dad's signature on it too), but not everyone is like me. And not everyone has the time to spend on taking indirect bus routes, not everyone is able to put up with the traffic if they bike and walking is for most journeys not fast enough and doesn't have the capacity to carry things like groceries.

It's discriminatory to make our transport system almost requiring a car. It makes car ownership and ridership the most common means of transport, even for those who can barely afford one. Imagine how a person could redirect a fund to pay for car payments and gasoline to the one time cost of a bicycle and use the rest to pay for a good apartment or home, university tuition, children, food.

When you design for cars, you get overwhelmingly cars and a near requirement to get one the moment you can afford one and drive one on your own. When you design for cycling, transit use, walking and make cars only an option not a necessity, you get true freedom to get around. What freedom is a car if you are stuck in congestion, have to pay a large part of your wages/salary to afford one, and need a license to drive one and be in good physical and mental condition to drive one safely?

I accuse all those in a position of authority and those with the money to change this to be complacent in letting this fall through, it cannot go on longer. You are negligent, you are ignoring the failings of our systems. We must not go on with this any longer. You must look at the problem with new eyes, look at it as a place where it can change, where other forms of transportation can emerge out of the wreckage of our roads. I encourage all to read this blog and the others I have put in the sidebar to help see the world through a new light. If you care about people, if you care about children, our planet, our home, you will change your ways.

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