Monday, November 24, 2008

Practice What You Preach

I realize that not everyone is in a position to live a car-free life. Actually, having just moved to the Twin Cities from NYC I have seen how years of built infrastructure is crippling the TCs. Everything seems to be about parking. So yes, I did sign up for car share (and honestly a car might be in my future for sharing with my wife) but right now I am still going to battle it out with the bus, light rail, and my new bike. I feel it is important to not only "talk the talk" but you need to "walk the walk."

I found this article ironic when a city planner confesses how much they love to drive:

Almost daily, I promote smart growth - alternative transportation choices,reduced greenhouse gases, increased housing densities. It's my business to help Canadians understand and adapt to a future that is different from the past. I am a 21st-century city planner.Along with fellow futurists, I advocate less vehicle travel, more cycling and transit use, smaller cars and sensible energy consumption. The terms "eco-density," "high-occupancy vehicles" and "environmental footprint" are common currency. By day I'm committed to radical societal change. But my lifestyle is suspect because I really like to drive. Mostly by myself. Pedal to the metal. Wide-open spaces. No boundaries. Zoom, zoom, zoom.

And an unsustainable future:

I understand the disconnect between the extravagant past and our frugal future. My lifestyle is unsustainable and I need to change my patterns. But I subtly resist the shift. Perhaps it's the curse of the baby boomers. For our generation, driving has been a lifelong love affair, one that isn't easily surrendered.

Don't get me wrong, cars are always going to be a part of our lives. What I promote is a balance of options so that people have the opportunity to walk,bus, rail, or even bike to a destination. My concern is that when we have streets that are designed with one thing in mind (moving cars through as quickly as possible) as a planner and community development director, it is my duty to show people a different way of thinking about these spaces.

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