Comment 99115

By JustinJones (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:22:01 in reply to Comment 99106

I like how my theoretical case in which a family is able to downsize from 2 cars to one all of a sudden becomes NO CARS ANYWHERE EVER in your black-and-white mind. Stop thinking about things in terms of absolutes and start thinking about them in terms of using the right tool for the job. 50% of the trips we take as a society in our cars are under 5 km in length - that's an easy bike trip. Fully 1/3 of Ontario residents live within 5 km of their work, and that number is about the same in Hamilton, with about 95,000 of the 270,000 employed residents of our city living within 5 km of their work. Those are a lot of car trips that COULD be taken by bike. I'm not saying every trip should, nor am I saying every trip will, but what I'm saying is that if we only build roads that accommodate cars, then that's the only form of transportation people are going to use.

Let me put it this way: In my kitchen, I have a wide variety of tools. For the purpose of this example, I'll talk about my paring knife and my food processor. Now compared to my paring knife, my food processor is clearly much larger, more powerful and more expensive. In fact, it's the most expensive tool I have in my kitchen, and it comes in handy when I have to make something like a big batch of apple sauce, which requires me to chop a ton of vegetables in a short time. But my food processor is a bit of a bitch to clean, it's heavy, it takes up space, and so even though it's the largest, most expensive and most powerful tool in my kitchen, I don't use it that often. Instead, when I finish typing this post, I'm going to go and cut up an apple using my paring knife. It's smaller, cheaper and more efficient for cutting up just one apple, because by the time I dig my food processor out of the cupboard and clean it after, I could have cut 2 apples in that time. Now imagine you want an apple, but I take away your paring knife. I take away all the tools you have in your kitchen except your food processor, and I tell you to cut up that apple and eat it. You'd probably think I was a bit of a lunatic, right? Because just because it's the biggest, most powerful and most expensive tool you own doesn't mean it's the right one for the job, but that's how we've built our cities for the last 50-60 years. We've only equipped people with food processors, and we see them increasingly using them to cut up apples when a paring knife would definitely do the job just fine. In this analogy, in case you haven't guessed, the food processors represent cars, the apple represents short trips and the paring knife represents a bike. It's not that cars have no place in our lives - they do, clearly, but they just don't need to be the central defining feature of both how we build our cities and how we live our lives.

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