Tuesday, March 23, 2010

War on the Car

It moves forward. It feels like I'm reading Killer Angels again...
The War on The Car drags on. The Resistance continues to suffer heavy casualties. Our foot soldiers, mounted forces, and transit brigade have launched numerous offensives this past year, but made only minor advances.


MB94128 said...

Thanks for the article link. My city's library system has the Shaara books so I'm going to put them on my reading list. I've read and enjoyed the WW II trilogy by Jeff Shaara (MS's son) who also wrote the flankers* to Michael Shaara's TKA.

*Links :
Gods and Generals (JS prequel)
The Killer Angels (MS)
The Last Full Measure (JS sequel)

Bob Davis said...

Back about 35 years ago, B. Bruce-Briggs (who, admittedly wrote articles for car enthusiast magazines) wrote a book titled, "War Against the Automobile". He came up with a number of reasons why the automobile became the dominant form of passenger transport in the US and labeled the "anti-auto" partisans as in large part a coterie of intellectuals in college towns where walking and biking were practical and East Coast cities with well-developed transit systems. We just passed the hundredth anniversary of Ford's introduction of the Model "T", and to those who dislike automobiles, that should rank as one of the darker days in history. On the other hand, one can see why cars are so popular: They are available 24/7, while most transit services shut down by midnight, and some have their last runs at 7PM. Transit districts can be idled by strikes. One report from the South in the 1940's told how some of the "white folks" were upset because there was no way to apply "Jim Crow" segregation laws to the highways when things improved to the point where the "colored folks" could afford a "flivver". Cars provide protection from the weather (unless they're English sports cars) and most have freight-hauling capability. Even we rail enthusiasts have to admit that a typical car can haul four or five people for the same price as one--no extra fare for extra persons. As far as the "body count" is concerned, most Americans are much more concerned if they have to fly somewhere, even though air travel is almost as safe as train travel. Driving is a part of "daily life" for most of us, even though it is more hazardous than common carrier travel. If motoring safety was a major concern, we wouldn't need seat-belt laws.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, transit service did not shut down at midnight. I recall seeing a timetable for the interurban between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, PA, and it did provide 24 hour service, with something like 90 minute headways overnight.

And on the topic of racism, sadly many police departments around the country still stop motorists for the "crime" of Driving While Black.