Demobilizing the "War on Cars"

Herb Caudill explains why the need to plan for a range of transportation modes and uses of space in urban environs is common sense - not part of a concerted assault on cars.

"The central fact about cars, from a planner's perspective, is that they take up space. Lots of space. And this matters because space in cities (a.k.a real estate) is scarce and therefore expensive." So says Caudill, who argues why the need for cities to rethink their relationship to the automobile derives from this simple fact, and not from a philosophical or moral argument against cars. 

According to Caudill, our efforts over the past century to accommodate the growing space requirements of the automobile - with more freeways, more roads, and more parking - has failed for two primary reasons. "First," he says, "you can never build enough...Second, when you do make more space for cars you quickly start to crowd out any other potential mode of transportation, especially walking. All those parking lots and freeways and roads spread everything else out so that the distances become too great for walking."

Because owning and driving an automobile isn't an option for everyone (in D.C., 1/3 of residents live in a car-less household), planning for the car effectively discriminates against a significant part of the population. 

"So we have to take steps to increase the market share of non-driving modes of transportation," concludes Caudill. "That's not a pro-car policy or an anti-car policy, it's just a sensible response to the way the world is."

 

Full Story: Cutting dependence on cars isn't anti-car, it's common sense

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