Subsidies influence transportation choices
by Frank Nilsen
Scott Wenz asserts that cars are not the cause of traffic, people and lack of road space are...(CVN, Your Views, Jan 22). I invite Mr. Wenz to the corner of Mark Avenue and Via Real [at the Carpinteria Industrial Park] during a.m. and p.m. rush hour to observe and ponder.
He is likely to notice one thing for sure -- the bumper-to-bumper line of one-person-per-car traffic noisily and impatiently slogging along liberally wide streets. During the a.m., these cars roll off of a toll-free U.S. 101 and fill City- and employer-subsidized free parking spots. In the p.m. these same cars leave behind empty, oil-stained spaces, collectively forming a wasteland with no other real use.
First, that disproportionately fewer numbers of people take the bus vs. driving a car. Let's see: car parking is paid for by the City and employers, the roads are toll free, the State's Vehicle License Fee has been reduced, but bus fare recently increased 25 percent! Could priorities in what we subsidize influence transportation choices? Hmm!
The second thing Mr. Wenz might notice is that after the riders trickle on or off the bus, and after the bus pulls away, few traces are left of either bus or rider. The curbside and tree-shaded grassy spaces they momentarily occupied are returned to the birds, squirrels, and yes, cars.
As long as public money is involved in transportation options, support for sensible modes like walking, bicycling and transit are far better uses of those funds than subsidies for car and driver -- and the "knee-jerk" reactions that seek traffic relief through more and more automobile accommodation.
Abraham Lincoln, Chief Pontiac and many other great and accomplished individuals lived long and happy lives without cars.
How about you? Take the next step, literally. Get out of your car and discover a new world, one where human interactioninstead of human isolationrevitalizes your spirit for community and a clean evnvironment.
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