Instant Justification

In a hotel room, in the middle of the US, my SO and I watched an interesting documentary about the Autobahn which was the German precursor to the US Highway System.

Basically, the entire idea of highways was a new one, not thought of before.

One of the main limitations of automobiles was that there was too much stuff in the way for them to go really, really fast?

Why did they want to go so fast? There are a lot of reasons, but some of the best ones were to break speed records. Race car drivers drove on the empty Autobahn…until a few crashed and burned. They put an end to all that and just opened them up to vehicle traffic.

The problem was there wasn’t enough traffic. Barely anyone rode on it to justify its existence.

The German government, seeing that the “Will of the People and the Invisible Hand of the Market” had spoken, and the smelly, noisy, dangerous Autobahn was torn up. Seeing this failure, no other country built a highway system ever again.

Just kidding.

Instead the German government did everything except bribe people to drive on the highway including making much cheaper cars and other incentives.

So the next time someone tells you that the freeways are a response to people’s wants and desires, you can tell them the whole long spiel above until they nod off. Hey, sometimes knowledge fails to fit into sound bites. 🙂

No, the freeway was and still is a result of massive government intervention. I don’t think that this is wrong, but we need to realize reality before we compare apples to apples.

What I’m saying–since this is a bicycle blog–building infrastructure and trying to get people to enjoy cycling is no more or less social engineering and government intervention than the way we get around now.

Only cycling has lots of advantages especially in that it doesn’t kill so many people. I guess it’s not universal. I mean some people _like_ killing other people. I am open minded so I’m not going to try to push my beliefs on others. Jokes, only jokes here. 🙂

Anyway, I think it’s funny how when a new bicycle lane is built which goes from nowhere to nowhere else without the rest of the supporting infrastructure, we get complaints that people don’t use it.

That’s not only a double standard, but no standard at all.

We don’t tear up vehicular roads when the usage falls below a certain level. I have seen roads with not a single car on it for miles, but I failed to see the bulldozer traveling behind me to get rid of it.

I can point out a road that is bigger than the main drag in Philadelphia that goes to a parking lot where there’s barely any cars, ever. Should we start tearing up these empty parking lots?

No? Why?

Because they are going to be used in the future.

So when people argue that a bike lane is not used, the proper answer isn’t, “yes it is.” The right answer is, “so what?”

We live in a market economy and each area needs to be segmented to consumers. We have 50 types of cheese in a grocery store why don’t we have more than one mode of transportation?

I know that you can bicycle some places and you can take public transportation other places, but I think that to be equitable you should split the budget in quarters otherwise, we are forcing the market’s hand.


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