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George Monbiot: Our Roads Are Choked, We Are Approaching Carmageddon

  • nxylas (277 posts)
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    George Monbiot: Our Roads Are Choked, We Are Approaching Carmageddon

    It was a mistake – a monumental, world-class mistake. Cars for everyone was one of the most stupid promises politicians ever made. Cars are meant to meet a simple need: quick and efficient mobility. Observe an urban artery during the school run, or a trunk road on a bank holiday weekend, and ask yourself whether the current system meets that need. The vast expanse of road space, the massive investment in metal and fossil fuel, has delivered the freedom to sit fuming in a toxic cloud as your life ticks by.

    The primary aim has become snarled up with other, implicit objectives: the sense of autonomy, the desire for self-expression through the configuration of metal and plastic you drive, and the demand for profit by car manufacturers and fossil fuel producers whose lobbying keeps us on the road rather than moving along it.

    Step back from this mess and ask yourself this. If you controlled the billions that are spent every year – privately and publicly – on the transport system, and your aim was to smooth the passage of those who use it, is this what you would do? Only if your imagination had been surgically excised.
    Even in a small, economically mature, densely populated nation like the UK, where change is easy, we’re still driving in the wrong direction. The government boasts that car use is rising again, after being knocked back by the recession. It is spending £9bn of our scarce money on roads every year, 70% of which is on new capacity. Thanks to the cuts, bus services supported by local authorities reduced their mileage by 10% last year.

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    Spanishprof27, Herman4747, OrwellwasRight and 3 othersGZeusH, xynthee, Downwinder like this
    "Slavery followed, even voluntary slavery; the weak eagerly submitted to the strong, on condition that the latter aided them to subdue the still weaker. Then there were saints who came to these people, weeping, and talked to them of their pride, of their loss of harmony and due proportion, of their loss of shame. They were laughed at or pelted with stones." - Dostoevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

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