Sunday, July 10, 2005

More on the London Bombings

In the wake of the rush hour bombing attack in London, there has been a renewed interest in the most efficient form of personal transportation. Bicycle Mania Grips London.

In an article entitled "The Half Life of Anxiety" in today's NYTimes, Dr. Lynn Eden, a senior research scholar at Stanford University's Institute for International Studies comments about the effect on continued and severe terrorist attacks on cities, "
Even if we hypothesize attacks like this for a week, what would happen? They would shut down the subway, let's say, and my guess is that there would be a run on bicycles. There would be a difficult adjustment period, there would be some economic ramifications, but people would learn to function."

Will cities re-evaluate their auto-centric planning and development strategies to incorporate easier access for bicycles? I must assume that lobbyists on the payroll of automotive and fossil fuel interests will play the national security cards well and thoroughly to discourage investment in public transportation. After all, imagine the exorbitant cost and inconvenience securing the public railways would entail. The only answer is to build more roads and encourage the continued reliance on the personal automobile. This will continue the dependence on imported petroleum (90% of surface transportation modes rely on petroleum products), adding to the increased demand from developing economies in the east, hastening the depletion of oil reserves, and the political turmoil that may erupt from such scarcity in supply.

Imagine if policy-makers had the foresight (and the people had the will to listen to such visionaries to invest in the next generation) to check the continued growth of energy dependent development. What would that look like?

No comments: