Anti-Roads Manifsesto

It’s a manifesto because it’s crazy. Normal movements have charters of position pieces or equally boring documents. On the other hand, the universe is crazy so crazy can map on to reality really well. 🙂

Every movement has to have a manifesto, and this is the first for the Anti-Roads movement in the United States.

Here I will lay out the rationale for this movement and why not only it make sense in today’s political, economic, and social climate, but why it’s a shocker as to why this is not a prominent idea all ready.

I will lay out what Anti-Roads is not, but I will allow, as excercise to the pro-roads movement, to come up with reasons as to why we should build some particular roads.

First of all, I’d like to note that Anti-Roads is not actually against the transportation system as it is.

In fact, it’s the empitomy of the status quo since if we build any _new_ roads this will be a change. In many ways the changes that roads create are radical ones.

Thus, in a strict sense, anti-roads is, at it’s heart, a conservative movement. It should mesh with those who are afraid of change.

After all, we only have so many square feet of land on the surface of the Earth. In the future, this area will decrease all on its own due to the melting of the ice caps.

Thus, the anti-roads movement isn’t about stopping all development, but rather it poses the question to what end is all this development leading.

For example, it’s nice to have a road to the wood as well as a parking lot so we can drive there. However, if we cut down the entire forest and fill in all the lakes and rivers the whole point of the original road is lost.

Thus, it’s not whether or not we have roads at all, but knowing when to stop.

A painter does not hate painting nor his picture, but if he did not stop painting his art work would be a mess that the public could never enjoy.

Similarly, we should be careful to stop painting our world with roads after a certain point.

When?

I say right now.

Why now?

No reason really. I think that the real question is “why should we build or widen one more road?”

There are several bad answers to this question and I’ll address some of them.

I won’t go into detail on “congestion relief” because I have all ready blogged about Smeed’s Law a million times. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smeed’s_law]

Also, there’s a well known relationship between traffic congestion and economic vibrancy. [http://transportblog.co.nz/tag/congestion/]

Thus, widening roads does not work in the long term and is thus a waste of money. Also, it actually sucks the economic vitality out of an area so it’s actually killing the economy. Thus, these are very strong and fiscally prudent reasons not to build new roads.

A reason not to widen roads is safety. Wider roads are harder to cross for pedestrians and the faster traffic makes motoring and cycling more deadly. Thus, widening roads is a sure fire way to kill people. Thus, for national security reasons, widening roads is bad as motorist currently kill more Americans on our soil than rogue states, terrorists, child molestors, and serial killers combined.

Another reason not to widen roads is increased greenhouse gases. The changes we are going to experience due to greenhouse gases are going to be very expensive, and perhaps even life threatening for humans. Thus, it’s species suicide to widen roads and to create new roads. There are reports that widening roads _decrease_ greenhouse gases. These reports are false because they do not take into account increased motoring traffic that occurs when roads are widened nor do they take into account the greenhouse gases that are released when building and maintaining roads.

Another reason not to widen roads is that changing demographic demands will make our current infrastructure seem excessive. Less younger people are buying cars and those that do drive less. Also, due to the recent shifts in wealth due to the sub-prime crisis, there are an increasing number of people who are too poor to ever drive. Thus, though population is increasing, the population that could ever use the wider roads is decreasing. Thus, the notion of motoring roads is increasingly becoming class warfare where the wealthy minority makes mobility, a basic human right, to be difficult and dangerous. On town, Black Hawk, Colorodo even made the owning and operation of an automobile mandatory until the state struck this forced motoring down.

The last reason that we should not build new roads is because we have no money. Sure we have a large transportation budget, but we continue to forsake the current infrastructure and allow it to crumble while building new roads. Again, really, really fiscally irresponsible to do this as each new road becomes a permanent liability and thus tax increase forever.

There you have it, a sensible case for a simple, and common sense idea.

Ironically, there is no major organization who has even considers this simple notion even the Tea Party which prides itself on shrinking the government. Nor can you find any large environmental group supporting this idea.

Finally, I’d like to say that the roads we have are good and should be improved especially to make them safer for non-motorized users. There are legitimate reasons for building new roads in the US, but these are beyond the scope of this document. I fully support the creation of new sensible and necessary infrastructure, but this building should not be done in a vacuum, but it should take the existing expenses into account, and it should be done with a plan for at least fifty years in advance.

That is, if we widen a road each decade, where will be in fifty years? In one hundred.

As Loa Tzu said [http://mydescentintomadness.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/tao-te-ching-verse-9/]

“To keep on filling

is not as good as stopping.

Overfilled, the cupped hands drip.

Better stop short than fill to the brim.

Over sharpen the blade,

and the edge will soon blunt.”

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