Back to my original statement, how useful (successful) do we want the mass transit system that we voted for and spent money on to be? I'm reminded of Seattle mistakenly lumping bond initiatives for transit along with highway expansion in one vote. It failed. I'm reminded of China, pretending to be green, making bicycles illegal and building 40-, 50-, 60- lane roads.
This morning I was reminded of a study where people preferred a 20-minute commute. No more, no less. Long enough to decompress and transition in mindsets between home/work. Short enough as to not be oppressive. I remembered something I said at the Arts District round table event, "we have too much cooperation between cities. We could use a little more competition." Meaning, competition to be more walkable, more enjoyable, more economically functional in the way that cities were invented to facilitate.
Major cities tie the noose around their own neck allowing freeways within their boundaries. Vancouver, once ridiculed as backwards, now revered, never did. Allowing highways within the city is like jamming a straw into your heart to make it easier for the leaches. Those lucky enough to live in some of the excellent North and NE Dallas neighborhoods can have a 20-minute car commute, or they could not. It is entirely dependent upon the state of the highways, choked with suburbanites commuting in. The street network is dendritic, meaning everything funnels to the highways and there is very little choice, option, or adaptability in the system. Every accident or traffic backup, is a stroke to the city's economy.
We want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to tickle our bellies and pretend that cars somehow still = freedom and we're willing to drive off economic (and environmental AND social) cliffs to do so. But this cake is injected with oil. It tastes awful, is probably toxic, costs a boatload, and is the only thing on the menu. Customers keep walking out of the restaurant.
They're heading to others where they have some choice and can eat healthy if they so choose or not. That's the beauty of it, there is choice. New York, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, D.C., all cities 1) still in U.S., thereby gas prices are still held artificially low, 2) destinations for many many talented individuals, and 3) where you can have a car... or not. It is your choice. And doesn't choice = freedom?