Sunday, January 01, 2006

Liberal Planners' Biggest Secret Exposed! They Love Traffic Congestion and Want More

As more and more people drive more and more cars, the one solution that is absolutely off-limits according to liberals and other exponents of the conventional wisdom in urban planning departments across the country is .... building more roads.

"We can't pave our way out of congestion" is the truism heard from these people whenever conversation among the transportation experts in city halls, county planning departments, state legislatures, federal highway and environmental agencies or the U.S. Congress turns to traffic problems.

The only permissible solutions these people will tolerate discussing and funding are more mass transit, usually in the form of sharply increased government spending for subways, light rail and buses, combined with regionalized "smart growth" development policies that are claimed to limit suburban sprawl.

The reality is that people resolutely refuse to get out of their private passenger vehicles and into the Metro cars, with a result that the chronically unprofitable public transportation systems consume more and more tax dollars that could have gone to serve other public needs, even as average commuting times steadily go up year in and year out.

And as the Smart Growth advocates block new road construction and succeed in making new suburban development prohibitively expensive, the cost of closer-in housing spirals, the urban poor lose all hope of escaping the inner city ghetto and middle class people find themselves crammed into high rise hives.

But this is exactly what Liberals want! If you doubt this, check out today's Outlook section of The Washington Post where Jane Holtz Kay pens one of the contributions to the lead feature, "363,584,435."

That number is the U.S. Census Bureau's current projection of the U.S. population for 2030. The Post editorial folks assembled Kay - author of the rabidly anti-car "Asphalt Nation" and planning critic of Nation Magazine - and a handful of other left-leaning experts to tell us why having so many more people around will require having much, much more government intrusion and regulation of everybody's daily lives.

Kay's piece is entitled "All paved over with no place to go" and it is especially indicative of why liberals love traffic congestion. Consider Kay's projections of what will happen when there are so many more Americans needing places to live and ways to get to jobs, schools, shops and entertainment.

"The need for a ton of wheel and steel - plus a 10-lane highway to get a bottle of milk - has rendered Americans immobile," Kay predicts. But she is smiling when she says that because the congestion will, finally, force people to accept the regulatory schemes of the smarter people like her:

"Happily, word has it that a counter-car culture of octogenarian hippies from the 1960s - from pedestrian activists to scientists, harrassed mothers and climatologists - has come up with some alternatives to motorized entrapment," Kay predicts.

Among those measures are building more ... sidewalks. One can only speculate what will be an acceptable paving material for advancing "the nascent movement of the Walking School Bus."

The renewed influence of the 60s will also be felt as the newly empowered planners "save the Little Red Schoolhouse" by "reviving the 'small is beautiful' thesis of the 60s," according to Kay.

Other measures sparked by the 60s revivial will be authorized by "the Human Mobility Commission's Placeway over Raceway Committee," which "has managed to add bike paths and hand out bikes and Segway scooters."

But what really demonstrates the underlying love of liberals for traffic congrestion is the final triumph of the planners favored regulatory schemes of the past 20 years:

"On the grand scale, compact-growth advocates have persuaded born-again hard-toppers in both the White House and the 50 state capitals to disown the oil hegemony, link their communities with rail, not roads, and practice the 'smart growth' policies of the 20th century."

But wait there is more in this vision of liberal regulatory heaven:

"Green groups have inflitrated the ranks of the hard-toppers and enlisted builders to create eco-zones to replace the asphalt that destroyed so much of our bi0-diversity. Endangered species are making a comeback, first-growth forests are happily maturing and the turn-of-the-century deaths from driving are down 70 percent."

The high dreamy liberals like Kay get from such projecting their ultimate victory over the gaseous forces of automotive reactionary Republicanism - aka individual freedom - is finally encapsulated in this visionary summary of 2030:

"Now settled in their dense, compact, transit-oriented urban communities, wrapped with rail, laced with walkable, bikable routes and endowed with the inalienable right to live happily ever after in ecologically endowed Mini-Meccas, the nation's bipeds head toward the 22nd century feet-first and proud."

So, the next time you hear some academic transportation guru, an urban planning expert or an official with a group like the Surface Transportation Policy Project explaining why "we can't pave our way out of congestion," you'll know what they really mean:

"You will never do what we know is best for you until we can force it down your hopelessly congested throats. But trust us, we don't let you build more roads now because we know better and we promise you will be happier."

If you believe that, I've got a government program in Brooklyn I will sell you for cheap and it's guaranteed to make you a millionaire!