Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Dream Crushers and Traffic

So a big pet peave of mine is when people tell you that something isn't possible when it more than likely is when you work at it. For example, if you tell a nation that there is no way they can rebuild their transit infrastructure in a meaningful way, what hope is there to do it. In the United States today people are too concerned with the short term fix rather than the long term goal and that really annoys me. In my former running life, years upon years of miles are built up on your legs to be able to run fast. Those guys at the olympics in the marathon train their whole lives to be there and no one ever told them to stop or that the road was too long. And if they were told that they simply ignored the naysayers. I'm not sure if i'm butchering this quote but a friend of mine has it up in his house. "Those who will try to convince you to abandon your dreams have already abandoned theirs."

On another note, I drove to work today. On Wednesdays I go visit my grandmother in suburbia and sometimes i take my car. Some days are nice for walking the three miles or biking, but BART doesn't allow bikes when i go to work so i have to sneak it on if i want to do that. They need runaround vehicles or bike rental at the station. I would totally use it.

But the main point was that driving out of San Francisco towards the maze there was no traffic. I mean there were cars but they were moving. There were cars at the toll plaza but not many. It was amazing. Did the shift to transit and other routes really make that big a difference? Are people just so lazy and lemming like that they drive their cars even if they have a good transit alternative? What this says to me is that the answer is yes. How long will induced traffic take to pick back up is the question.


Mike said...

Another way to look at this is that wasting time on fools' dreams takes energy away from actually achievable goals.

For instance, the Lance Armstrong Bikeway (a great vision, by a truly dedicated activist here) will never be implemented in a meaningful fashion due to the practical constraints on the ground which I predicted way-back-when. We will have spent about 10 million dollars and about 1 man-year of staff time on it and we are ending up with a "cross-town bikeway" that exists only in a couple of chunks which require a lot of yielding of right-of-way which you wouldn't have to do if you rode in the street.

Imagine how many suburban bike lanes that could have bought. A hundred miles or so would be my guess.

Mike said...

I shouldn't have compared "fools' dream" to the LAB, by the way. Eric's not a fool; he just bit off more than was practical to chew. And this isn't one of those cases where you can fill in the rest later, either - once the chunks on the end are built (poorly), they aren't going to change - even if the missing chunk in the middle ever gets built (doubtful).