NPR Asks: "Is There A War On Cars?"

NPR interviews technology historian Peter Norton, D.C. Planning Director Harriet Tregoning, and motorists on D.C. streets who resent exclusive bus lanes, parking tickets, red light cameras, and parklets usurping parking spaces.

Part of the NPR's "Cities Project", this report deals with the "relationship between cities and cars" with the focus being on city streets.

Franklyn Cater, standing near a 'bus-only' lane that has become the ire of some motorists, also interviews political consultant and Washington resident Chuck Thies, "who has written about what he calls the 'war on automobiles' for the Huffington Post, (who) says, ultimately, that war is over resources."

"It's easy to vilify the automobile, but it's not productive", he states.

Cater explores the history of the automobile's place on city streets with Peter Norton, a technology historian at the University of Virginia and author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City.

Norton recalls a time when streets were for people, and cars where viewed as intruders.

Also interviewed is Harriet Tregoning, the director of Washington D.C.'s Office of Planning, "(who) says the nation's capital is shifting away from decades of car-focused transportation planning."

"We've begun more than a decade-long effort to rebalance our transportation system, in part because we just don't have the capacity in the city to accommodate everyone who wants to be here to work or to live if everyone was always in an automobile for every trip," Tregoning says.

Full Story: Motorists To Urban Planners: Stay In Your Lane

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Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Critiquing NPR Cities "War on Cars" report

Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt spotted The Get Around Blog that offers an insightful critique, "Urban planner to motorists: You’re not as special as you think" of NPR’s report. The blog asks why wasn't the AAA spokesman's interview balanced with one from an alternative transportation organization, while giving credit to the interview with Harriet Tregoning.

The next "Cities" report dealt with The Viaduct - possible teardown, in Syracuse, N.Y

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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