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Tuesday, May 31 2016 @ 11:38 PM UTC

Occupy the Lane

Biking ElsewhereBy Mighk Wilson

Streets are our predominant public spaces in our cities and neighborhoods. If you measure all of our streets compared to that of our parks and plazas, the streets cover far more area. Historically the street was the gathering place for commerce and socializing, not merely a place for transportation. But then came the automobile. And since the earliest auto owners — not to mention the manufacturers and gasoline companies — were rich and well-connected, they were the ones who rewrote the traffic laws in the 1910s to favor speed over access. By the late 1920s, after gasoline taxes had been instituted in many states, people came to think of our streets as commodities to be bought with gas taxes for the purpose of moving motor vehicles at high speed. Only two decades earlier our streets were seen as a Commons that was managed for the benefit of everyone and for purposes beyond mere transportation. One could say that our streets today are ruled by a form of tyranny; the Tyranny of Speed. If you aren’t going or can’t go fast, you don’t belong.
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