Here's what I don't get: WHY DO WE THINK THAT THE STATUS QUO IS OK?
- The air on streets is almost exclusively locally polluted by cars on the same streets.
- The air on highways is almost exclusively locally polluted by cars and trucks on the same highways.
- Air in cars can actually be worse than open air on the streets, even with car filters.
- Idling and slower traffic is actually markedly less polluting than traffic moving in excess of 55 MPH on freeways.
- Nearly 100,000 people die every single year in this country from air pollution (which, at a minimum, would include at least 1,000 people in LA).
- Walking and biking produce no pollutants and provide physical exercise to those engaging in these activities.
|Just what do we think is turning our air brown?|
If our concern is the well-being of those poor folks who live, work, and travel along these streets, why is our response to gird them with more armor (filters, helmets, walls) to protect them from the very thing that we created? It's like the active shooter fire drills now regularly occurring at schools across the country.
|Why address the issue of gun ubiquity when you can just train everyone how to play dead instead?|
So how about, rather than assuming we're all gonna hop on four wheels and cart a ton of steel around with us wherever we go for whatever we want to do whenever we want to do it, we instead focus on giving people options?
- Let's make it more possible to find fresh, quality, affordable groceries within walking distance of every single person living in LA.
- Let's give people the opportunity to rent or buy a home/condo/apartment in a location that gives them access to schools and work opportunities that they can reach without a car.
- Let's create a real, connected, safe, and, well, awesome biking network that encourages more women, children, and seniors to hit the streets on two wheels, and that provides better and safer two-wheeled mobility for those with limited means who may be more reliant on this cheaper, cleaner mode.
- And let's give people who walk - including those with limited mobility - the ability to do so safely and in comfort, with shade and street trees, street-fronting active uses, and prioritization of pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks to ensure their safe movement.
|If New York can do it (with its even narrower streets), why not Los Angeles?|
Rather than simply assuming that the issue is anything that changes from the status quo, let's allow ourselves to consider that perhaps the status quo may also be an issue (in fact could be THE issue).
Instead of teaching our citizens to fear our streets and to view them only from behind a windshield, let's teach them to embrace our streets and to see them as the gathering place that they are.
Enough fearing our civic space. It's been engineered to within an inch of its life. It is time to let the artists, and the dreamers, and the poets to take it back.
|If they can do it in Mexico City, surely we can too.|