Monday, August 01, 2011

Going Dutch....

There is a charming op-ed piece by Russell Shorto who ruminates about the way that people in Amsterdam look at mixed transit, relative to how Americans do. He tries to figure out what is the root of the difference. Is it geography, age of cities or attitude. In the end it's a mix of them all, but he leans toward mind-set.

Sadly he thinks that governments putting resources toward bicycling is somehow paternalistic. But perhaps another way is looking at supporting bicyclists and mass transit as a form of democracy. Letting each person have access to their preference, cars get roads, bikers get paths, mass transit people get trains. Democracy is not merely majority rules, but simultaneously providing for the rights of the minority. The allocation of resources to different transports is not giving special interests preferential treatment, but giving equal treatment. Obviously there are limits to when a minority of one results, but looking at the impact and resources consumed in aggregate, bicycling is an act of citizenship.


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