Sunday, October 09, 2022

The Rest Of The World Does Not Exist

Lots of people out there think, "reconfiguring our entire transportation infrastructure in order to allow for self-driving cars to safely operate," is a more reasonable plan than, "mild changes to land use regulations and moderate increases in public transit expenditures."

(a bunch of rich nerds on twitter are having this conversation again, it's boring)

Now that the self-driving car dream is over, they're back to, "but what if we ban pedestrians and spend trillions on reconfiguring the whole system."

Most of Europe has managed to build a world where car ownership and use is much less necessary, where even small and medium sized places have reasonable bus service, at a minimum, where people can do at least some portion of their daily tasks without driving because even in low density developments people can reasonably walk to the supermarket.

Many of these places are not pedestrian and transit paradises! People own cars! They generally use them! But they aren't necessary always all the time.

As for "walking to the store," there are numerous places in the US where there's a housing development abutting a strip mall development, but there's a wall or a fence or an impenetrable hedge such that what should be 5 minute walk becomes an 80 minute walk. What plagues American development isn't simply that it's low density - plenty of residential development actually is pretty high density - it's that it's utterly hostile to walking even when the distance allows it.