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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Cars as Litter

One aspect of automobile use that we never consider is their negative impact on the aesthetics of our downtown streets. By allowing parking on both sides of city streets you have effectively eliminated 12-16 feet of the street that could be used for bike lanes, bigger sidewalks, or perhaps a row of trees. Instead of these pedestrian-friendly measures we simply have a place to rest the dormant carcasses of our personal transportation devices.

Look at a city street and try to imagine how it would be improved by the removal of the parked cars lining both sides. Safety would be improved by allowing drivers to better view how they must interact with pedestrians on the street. Without parked cars you can see how the street was meant to look. In this day and age of bigger and bigger vehicles, quite often the street is completely obscured by the barrier wall of idle SUV’s, some of which are almost seven feet high.

Of course I realize that it isn’t feasible to eliminate all parking from city streets; I just think that it is about time we start thinking more about the full costs involved with our almost total reliance on cars. By allowing parking on every street we are encouraging citizens to drive over other forms of transport like mass transit.

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