Sunday, March 04, 2007

Here's an Idea: Speeding Our Way Through California... WITH NO CARS!

Last night, after listening to Huntington Beach Mayor Pro-tem Debbie Cook talk about the grim reality of our energy future, it dawned on me. Why the hell are we working so hard to sustain an unsustainable thirst for fossil fuels? Why must we continue to build more roads for more cars running on more fossil fuels, when it is that addiction to fossil fuels that has gotten us into all this trouble in the first place?

So where am I going with this? Follow me after the flip for more...

So what would extending the 241 Toll Road to Trestles do to help us? Nothing. Extending the 241 to Trestles would not ease traffic or spare the beach from harmful pollution. If anything, extending the 241 to Trestles would only help prolong our addiction to fossil fuels by giving a few privileged South County motorists an option to escape the grueling traffic on the 5... While the rest of us drive in it and suffer in it.

What does all this fighting over highway bond money do to help us? Nothing. This just allows municipalities to duke it out with each other over who gets how much money for widening this or that road... But it's only a temporary fix, and the larger problem of congestion remains. And oh yes, all this construction of more roads only serves to continue feeding our addiction to fossil fuels.

So what can we do about this? What can we do to solve all these traffic woes throughout the state? What can we do to free ourselves from this addiction to fossil fuels? What can we do to stop climate change? What can we do to save ourselves from... OURSELVES?

How about expanding commuter rail options? In Southern California, we already have Metrolink. Now wouldn't it be great if Metrolink ran more often, and served more communities? Why don't we do that?

How about creating more live-work urban villages? Wouldn't it be great to be able if we were able to walk to everywhere we needed to go? And wouldn't it be great if we were just a hop, skip, and a jump away from high-speed train service that would take us to farther distances without burning up so much fossil fuel?

How about we get off our lazy asses and do something to save our planet? Why don't we just practice what we preach? Perhaps instead of driving to the beach today, I should just ride the bus there. Perhaps instead of driving to the market, I should just walk there. Perhaps instead of driving to the park for my morning walk, I should just extend my morning walk. The first step in creating a sustainable society begins with us. We need to stop complaining about how bad all this traffic is, and we need to begin to do something about it.

The transportation problems in California are great. That much is true. However, there are solutions available. We just need to get over our lazy selves and start being the solution. : )

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

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