Putting the Streets Beneath a Microscope

Before, I get started, I do believe that I had been referred to as an anti-VC “extremist”. This made me so happy. Never before had I been declared so sane! 🙂

OK, more extremism coming up! 🙂

One of the biggest flaws in the VC movement is it’s notion that we need to surpress cycling infrastructure because it will suck.

I was thinking of cycling in Copenhage, and the infrastructure there wasn’t so great either. Also, a great speaker said that he toured the Netherlands, and that it too had infrstructure that had flaws. He went on to say that the standards for cycling infrastructure were better in the US than over there.

Despite this, places with more infrastructure makes things safer and cycling more popular. Thus, the VC movement confuses flawed infrastructure with dangerous riding.

This is a common problem in the sciences.

From the article: “This assumption — that understanding a system’s constituent parts means we also understand the causes within the system — is not limited to the pharmaceutical industry or even to biology. It defines modern science. In general, we believe that the so-called problem of causation can be cured by more information. Scientists refer to this process as reductionism. By breaking down a process, we can see how everything fits together; the complex mystery is distilled into a list of ingredients.”

Here the idea is that if we can make impressive looking diagrams with lots of “conflict points”, we can decide how safe a street is. This doesn’t hold up.

In fact, if you look at national crash data broken down by states, in the US, the older states tend to be safer for cycling and pedestrians. Thus, coorelation (new infrastructure) doesn’t equal causation (of more safety). In fact, the inverse is true.

I had a similar experience the day that the power went off. Motorists were trapped for hours, apprently, as there was no power for traffic lights. On the other hand, for me, the commute was super-duper easy. One of the most comfortable commutes ever in San Diego. Thus, I realized that the whole system was actively–though unwittingly–working against me. The more energy put into the so-called “modern” transportation system, the shittier things are for cyclists.

And people say that cyclists are equal if the government does nothing to help us.

Anyway, I didn’t get to the point of this article which is in depth analysis, VC style, of a street where I look for conflict points and more.

Stay tuned. I’ll get to this another day.


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