In the more urbanized parts of America, electric transportation, often on its own private right-of-way,... achieved far higher rates of speed than the present motor bus (ed: or truck regarding shipping freight). Far from supplementing public rail transportation, the private motor car became largely a clumsy substitute for it. Instead of maintaining a complex transportation system, offering alternative choices of route and speed to fit the occasion, the new suburban sprawl has become abjectly dependent upon a single-form, the private motor car, whose extension has devoured the one commodity the suburb could rightly boast: space.
Whilst the suburb served only a favored minority [having become]...now a mass movement, it tends to destroy the value of both environments (downtowns and suburbs) without producing anything but a dreary substitute, devoid of form and even more devoid of the original suburban values...With the destruction of walking distances has gone the destruction of walking as a normal means of human circulation: the motor car has made it unsafe and the extension of the suburb has made it impossible.
~Lewis Mumford, 1961.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I grow tired of mindless contrarianism, the kind that says we must pay attention to this but no longer that. I prefer my contrary opinions of the nihilistically ironic or at least open-minded sort. With that said, while doing some research I came across another Lewis Mumford quote, that rightly encapsulated the modern transportation mindset: