Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cars, Destroyers of Civilization?

Quote of the Day, courtesy of

"The automobile has not merely taken over the street, it has dissolved the living tissue of the city. Its appetite for space is absolutely insatiable; moving and parked, it devours urban land, leaving the buildings as mere islands of habitable space in a sea of dangerous and ugly traffic."

-James Marston Fitch, historic preservationist (1909-2000)

How do you feel about your car? Are you enjoying your daily commute? If you have to use one of Connecticut's interstates, you're not. I'm usually driving against the traffic, and what I see is appalling. How much longer can this go on?

Take a look at the traffic cams on I-84 sometime. Not now, but some weekday morning when you're home between, say, 6 and 8 a.m. Or on a Friday afternoon, starting around 3 p.m. Look at all those cars, most of them carrying only one person, and try to calculate how much gasoline is being wasted while they crawl along an interstate highway at 10 or 20 mph. Then calculate how many buses or trains it would take to get half those cars off the road. How does the cost of the purchase and maintenance of a few buses compare to how much has been spent on construction projects on I-84 in the past 30 or 40 years? How does it compare to government subsidies for car companies, oil companies, and highway construction companies that have been expended to encourage private automobile travel and discourage public transportation? What was life in Danbury like before I-84? How was it worse, and how was it better?

That's my research project for this summer.


Anonymous said...

Nice website. I found it when I was searching for information about the Kennedy Place project going in downtown.

Sharon said...

Thanks, and welcome! Yes, it will be interesting to see what happens with the Kennedy Place project, now that BRT is marketing "Brookview Commons" as furnished apartments for WestConn students, instead of as apartments for adults and families. I could be wrong, but somehow I doubt that we're really going to see "luxury condos" going up any time soon.