Monday, November 17, 2008

Framing Livable Communities

I know we've discussed this before, but we need to change the way we talk about livable communities and mobility. Today's version comes from the San Francisco Chronicle who's writer Rachel Gordon sits on the side of the automobile when she talks about "anti-car crusades". Since we're not in the 10th century and ridding ourselves of cars is not the ultimate goal, this is a way for reporters to make the world into black and white instead of shades of gray. Fortunately, Nat Ford says it right.
"Our goal is to encourage more bicycling and walking in San Francisco, and we will continue to work on every front - from education to engineering - to make those activities as safe as possible," said Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the Municipal Transportation Agency.
But we need to make sure that when we talk to the press, the framing isn't an us versus them. It's about creating livable communities. It's about encouraging all levels of cyclists and pedestrians to participate in the streets renaissance (H/T Mike L) and creating situations where people can ditch their car keys if they so choose. I have a car and live in San Francisco. I can use it when I really need it, but for the most part, I have options, and this means that filling up is once a month if that and I get some good hill workouts in. Sure it's not for everyone, but there is a huge demand out there that is not being filled.

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