Multimodal street design in Amsterdam - sidewalk, cycle track, motor vehicle lane, and streetcar track
I don't understand the dogged devotion to new and wider highways. Highway VMT, or vehicle miles traveled, has been steadily decreasing for years. We can't even afford to maintain the roads we have. Their economic development potential was tapped out in the 1980s. They are a massive drain on our society in terms of wasted time, injuries and property damage, and air pollution (including CO2), to name a few. And - libertarian arguments aside - they are more heavily subsidized than any other form of transportation, including public transit. If we could reduce our transportation expenditures, imagine what we could reinvest in education, public safety, city services, and other forms of development or infrastructure. I have sources for all this; just ask.
If you are reading this, you are at least thinking about your transportation options. And there are a lot of options. In 2001, the most recent data available, 19% of non-work trips were less than a mile, and over 40% were under 3 miles. Some of that may involve limited access highways, but many of those trips could easily be taken by bicycle. Almost 60% of work commutes were under 10 miles, a standard bicycle commute distance.
Everyone, no matter where they live and where they go each day, should think about each trip they take. I'm still guilty of driving when it is totally unnecessary, sometimes. The MARTA train usually passes me out of spite on these trips. What impact will your trip have on your community - will it add to traffic and air pollution? What will you miss out on if you drive - a beautiful flower garden, your daily exercise, a chance to meet an interesting (and for you single folks, potentially cute) neighbor?
It's hard to enjoy the beauty of a city sunset at 55 MPH
Commuting can become a social event. Credit Copenhagen Cycle Chic
You can also make note of the things that prevent you from bicycling for a certain trip. Are you uncomfortable about riding with car traffic? You can make the trip by bicycle with some friends, go at a quiet time of day, or take a Confident City Cycling class from the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. Not sure how to carry everything (or everyone) with you? Learn from this and other websites - there are tons of cargo options out there, ways to carry children, and more.
Families can travel easily by cargo bicycle (or tricycle). Credit Copenhagen Cycle Chic