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What Bogota can teach us

by Dave Riley

This post
about Bogota's urban plan is worth it despite some of the theatrics involved. Bogota has some interesting tactical examples to share with us in way of controlling cars.

You also should read the original Global Urban Development Magazine article on which the blog post is based.

This video about the city's Ciclovia project is also interesting :

Cute, of course, but it makes you think! Bogota has a program that seems to be working better than a lot of other cities.

They are copying it in Caracas for instance.

I think this aggressive transport edge has to be something we adopt as a standard approach.I thought the excellent council election advocacy we have here in Brisbane for the Socialist Alliance is nonetheless a bit confused over the car question and traffic congestion.

I think this reflects a lot of ambiguity on the left in that regard. It's abstracted as an "issue" rather than something in real time personal experience for most working people.

Advocating public transport and FREE public transport (as the Socialist Alliance does) has to coincide with a program to deal with traffic such that the advantages of junking car reliance is self evident to millions.

No one is going to win a convenience argument at all. Cars are such an easy transit.

I cannot even get members of my own family away from their car dependencies so let's say this is a major problem generally.People have to want to get out of their cars because of many reasons that are presently not self evident.

So are people are going to forgo using the family car for the sake of a few atoms of carbon? I don't think so.

And reasons to change habits are going to be complicated to foster.To want to choose public transport or walking or bicycling over driving the car for a journey has to rest on a solid rationale with a lot of nuance in its argumentation. For example:

  • In the seventies and into the eighties up to 80 percent of students walked or cycled to school. Today only 20% do. So what does that promote in way of lifestyle preference?
  • For a woman to travel freely at night you may be asked to consider Feminist arguments as to why the car is safer than public transport.(And if it's not the train or bus or tram it's the problem of getting to the train station , bus or tram stop.) It's about independence.
  • Despite the fact that 40% or urban travel is within 2 miles of your front door car dependencies for such short journeys persist.
  • Some commentators have blamed the car for the plague of obesity in the Western world.But so what? Who's listening?
The appealing edge in the Bogota experience is that the car was treated as a threat to public health and safety in the same way that smoking has been. That's correct is it not? This hardware is dangerous to the planet and its creatures.

So it's not just about advocating public transport but also about destroying our complex and nuanced reliance (our addiction) on the internal combustion engine in our everyday too ing and fro ing

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