Car Culture & Contested Streets

Writing for the Seattle PI, Washington State Senator Dan Swecker defends car culture as being necessary. Dan apparently missed the basic tenet that when you build bigger roads, people fill them up, and it never ends. Dan’s mindset is the same as those that want to save the Viaduct or thought it was a good idea to run I-5 right through the middle of downtown Seattle. To the absolute contrary, if you add more bike lanes, and less car lanes, people will ride bikes and drive less.

I believe that fact even more after watching Contested Streets, a documentary that studies how NYC relinquished quality of life for the automobile and contrasts NYC to London, Paris, and Copenhagen. Those cities have focused on the bicycle as a primary transporter and changed their streets and traffic flow to allow for more bikes. I also saw thousands of cyclists in Spain riding beautiful boulevards to work, for errands, and just getting around.

What I’d ask Dan and anyone lobbying for more traffic lanes is what quality of live does that benefit? How much does anyone enjoy sitting in 4 lanes or 6 lanes of traffic? I’d also hope they could watch Contested Streets. It’s an excellent work. I grabbed a DVD from the Interbike press room and finally ripped it to my iPod Video and watched it on a flight a couple weeks ago.

Maybe Bike Hugger should host a screening with local bike shops and groups like Cascade and the Bicycle Alliance?

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