Cars kill. We all know this. Whether you’re a capital-driven transit oriented developer or an anarchist despising motor vehicles as technology raping the planet, the automobile is the most lethal killer outside of diet-induced illness in the United States. Even the NRA rightfully will agree on this point.
Beyond the lethality of the automobile, cars kill the social capacity of urban streets. Our rightful places of common interaction and mingling – where we have historically laughed, shopped, conversed, and observed one another – have been demoted to highways choked with dangerous speeding steel machines.
For centuries, the through-ways in between city buildings were dominated by human beings, by horse carts, by rickshaws, by bicycles. Then came cars, and with them the communal dimensions of our streetlife were crushed beyond repair.
Courtesy Mark Gorton
Sure, we still have the sidewalk – where there’s barely enough room to squeeze past a light post, or if we’re lucky, an outdoor cafe table and chair. Sidewalks have suffered greatly in the last 100 years, and along with them our dwindling commons. What little space left to us has been dissected over and over to make room for ever more subsidized private motor vehicle parking.