Can't All Modes Just Get Along?

In the face of New York City's increasing assault on automobiles, Justin Davidson stands up for the pleasures and utility of driving as a key ingredient in the city's multimodal mix of mobility.
June 1, 2012, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

As transportation becomes a morally charged issue in New York, where bikes are in ascendance and "driving, once considered an act of freedom, has been demoted to a form of depravity," Davidson confesses his sins of the clutch.

Although Davidson dabbles in polygamous relationships with many forms of transportation, he takes offense to the fulminations against drivers, and sees automobiles as an indispensable component of New York's mobility mix.

"Like prostitution, drugs, and gambling, cars are too useful, too profitable, and too enjoyable to vanish. Their ill effects can be mitigated. They can be made safer, cleaner, and smaller. They can even be drained of fun. Google is developing a driverless car, which is a bit like inventing a self-smoking cigarette or a slot machine that plays alone."

While Davidson doesn't see the car disappearing from New York altogether, he is not opposed to thinning the worst traffic through punitive means.

"If New York is to become a better habitat for automobiles, it should never be cheaper to drive than to take a less convenient form of transportation. To put it another way: Saving time should cost money, and vice versa. That way, car-­haters can stop spluttering about the ills of driving and let the rest of us whip around the city in ­motorized tranquillity."

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, May 27, 2012 in New York Magazine
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email