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America Ends its Affair With Autos

by Joshua Liberles on March 30, 2008

llgrabPOST America Ends its Affair With Autos
Last Saturday, Lady Liberty formally announced that her long-standing affair with the automobile was over, once and for all. The original Miss America decided to call it off in honor of the New York Auto Show, with support from her friends at Streetsblog.

Streetsblog staged the event, dubbed “The End of The Affair,” at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, where the auto show is held annually.

Here’s the official announcement:

All things must come to an end, and so apparently it now is for America’s love affair with the automobile. Swept off her feet more than 100 years ago with promises of freedom, comfort and status, Ms. America has now had a change of heart. “The oil addiction, the misguided foreign affairs, the skyrocketing bills… it’s just gotten to be too much,” said Lady Liberty in a recent statement.

…"I’m just ready for a change,” says Lady Liberty, "and frankly, this relationship has just gotten to be much more work than it’s worth. My health, liberty and freedom have suffered greatly, and now I hope that my new relationships will finally give me security and happiness."

At the event, a reverend presided over Lady Liberty’s remarriage to three new suitors—Walking, Bicycling, and Mass Transit—for a polygamous and car-free ever-after.

Since our bronzed Miss America has dumped her gas-guzzling ball-and-chain, other Americans, we hope, will follow suit. Streetsblog may jest, but their metaphor is apt: many Americans are locked into their car ownership like bad marriages; it’s a high-maintenance, unfulfilling, and unhealthy relationship devoid of love, but one many Americans are afraid to live without.


See also: Wisconsin Grad Student Divorces his Car.


Cartoon by Andy Singer, via Streetsblog.

Related posts:

  1. High-Speed Rail Coming to America
  2. The Right Track: Light Rails Ahead of Autos
  3. Mass Tram America: A Monorail on Steroids
  4. Where the Sidewalk Ends
  5. Where the Bike Lane Ends: Cyclists Shafted by “Stupid” Planning
  6. Recent Posts

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christian May 29, 2008 at 3:08 am

“Bus Rapid Transit” still burns fuel and generally has to share roads with the same gridlocked traffic, so the answer to your question is no.


2 Joshua May 29, 2008 at 5:02 am

Yes, The BRT may use fuel, but it saves on fuel than having all those individuals driving on an elevated express highway. They have two options for this BRT…hybrid is an option and also, having the right of way in this system would allow for eventual placement of light rail on the surface which could be ran on solar.


3 Christopher Reeve May 29, 2008 at 11:06 am

Fuel is a separate issue. As Joshua says, taking the bus (if it is full) is more efficient than going by car. I expect in the future we’ll solve the electrical storage problems and most buses will be electric. I believe solar energy will be our main future energy source. It is only energy storage which is our problem, and that I think is lack of investment.


4 Josh May 29, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Joshua and aka Superman have it right - buses can be run on a myriad of different fuel types. Also, the point of the BRT is to separate their paths from the gridlocked traffic and give them their own routes, with as few traffic crossings as possible. Combine that with an easy to implement infrastructure, and it sounds pretty good!


5 J.C., Sr. May 29, 2008 at 4:55 pm

I already have commented on the VA bus service I use quite often. They offer a shuttle bus service to The West haven Ct. VA hospital from the Newington, Ct. Clinic 7 trips per day. This service is well used takeing at least 50 cars off the 100 mile round trip every day. The Connecticut company has also planned a shuttle express line from Hartford to New Britain but the US government shot down any help stating it was not worth the money. The plans are back up again. I guess we hope the country will vote for something besides idiots to run the country.


6 mokki May 29, 2008 at 10:45 pm

It is natural to combine the systems of BRT and DR and add a few elements related to the structuring of the routes, the intercity travelling speed, the availability via an intelligent customer interface and the personalised service.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
Public transport with busses, driving on dedicated lanes, with separate halting lanes and with right of way on crossings
Demand Responsive Transport (DRT)
Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) mainly concerns transport with minibuses to serve scattered demands in rural environments. The routes and the deployment of vehicles are planned in response on requests entered by telephone.


7 SN May 31, 2008 at 8:11 pm

“Thirld world country” >:( Colombia builds an efficient transit system that moves 1.5m people a day.

First world country USA sells more SUVs thanks to free guns.


8 njh June 3, 2008 at 3:24 am

I too have pondered this:

And the conclusion of people who have studied it is that rails perform much better than rubber in terms of patronage and long term cost. My feeling is that once you have bought a right of way, putting some rails in is cheap. You don’t need to buy expensive high speed light rail either. A simple streetcar, with manual control and street level boarding is surprisingly popular.

I don’t know why rails are more popular, but I do know that wherever there have been similar BRTs and LRTs the LRT has much higher ridership. Adelaide, Australia is somewhat instructive, the oban has not been extended since its construction in the 80s, whilst its tram network has recently added another 5km and the commuter rail that partially parallels the oban is surging with increased demand.


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