Opting Out of Suburban Driving Headaches

A couple of articles published recently in the Twin Cities area highlighted some of the problems with the contemporary American way of getting around.

Walking to school in Minneapolis. Photo: Alleen Brown/TC Daily Planet

One writer at the Star Tribune was concerned by the carnage he witnessed on a road by his home. Another suggested that “changing the way we drive” is the optimal way to tackle highway congestion.

Sam Newberg at Streets.mn was struck by the limited responses both writers suggested, since neither pointed out that it’s possible to drive less:

I can’t help but notice the residences of the two writers — Ham Lake and Shoreview. Both are decidedly car dependent when compared with a location like Minneapolis. The land use pattern of separate uses combined with few practical options for getting around other than the car result in frustration. But both writers seem to indicate there isn’t another choice. There is! …

Already today I have dropped my kids off at school, met a colleague, went to lunch and a seminar (three separate trips, no less) without needing my car. If that sounds smug, fine, but it’s also a lifestyle choice – I haven’t paid for gas yet today, I’ve gotten a little exercise, and have not risked life and limb on or near a highway or freeway. Sure, I have to drive for many things, but when I do it is typically on a slower-moving, sane, sometimes crowded city street.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Political Environment catches Wisconsin highway officials making telling statements about how the political climate shapes planning decisions. The League of American Bicyclists explains the progress states are making on encouraging and educating people about bicycling. And Bike Portland reports that the city’s famous “Welcome to America’s Bike Capital” mural is coming down.