Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Urban Spawl 2

I grew up in a city and have always lived in cities. This may be one reason why I never got a a driver's license. My mother didn't drive, which is another reason, though not driving is really eccentric in my generation. I have never liked cars or suburbs. Cars are way expensive and a crazy way to move people around in an urban area. America makes transportation, which should be a public good, a private expense -- though the highways are a public expense and an ugly blight on the landscape. Imagine if we had the old trolleys I remember from my childhood, instead of vast concrete structures that cut the city into pieces.

Suburbs are ridiculous. In the Twin Cities Metro Area, developers have paved over farms, marshes and woods to create ghastly housing. The farms provided food. The marshes soaked up runoff water. The woods absorbed carbon dioxide. The suburbs -- mostly bare green lawns, roads and ugly houses, isolated in the middle of their lawns -- produce nothing useful, except work for developers and highway builders and money for the Koch Brothers' oil company.

According to AAA, the average cost of owning and operating a car is now $760 a month. The cost of a monthly all-you-can-ride card for Twin Cities Metro Transit is $85. This is for the expensive card, which allows you to ride express buses. But if the buses don't run where you live or work, you need the car, however expensive it may be.

If we are going to survive in the modern world of global warming and peak everything, we need dense housing and mass transit.


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