This article nails it–and so does the link to the accompanying article and short film. “The Car is the star” for sure in the US. But in Asbury Park it doesn’t have to be the case. We’re working on prioritizing safety and advocating for equity for all users, especially the most vulnerable: pedestrians and bicyclists.
Considering the constant fatalities, rampant pollution, and exorbitant costs of ownership, there is no better word to characterize the car’s dominance than insane.
“The car is the star. That’s been true for well over a century—unrivaled staying power for an industrial-age, pistons-and-brute-force machine in an era so dominated by silicon and software. Cars conquered the daily culture of American life back when top hats and child labor were in vogue, and well ahead of such other innovations as radio, plastic, refrigerators, the electrical grid, and women’s suffrage.”
“It’s a common winter scene that should remind us just how valuable these public assets are. After major storms, while roads are still impassable and public transit service is often curtailed, walking may be the best, safest — indeed sometimes the only — option for people to get around. Clearing sidewalks quickly is especially important for wheelchair users, the elderly and others with limited mobility who can’t easily navigate mountains of crusty snow.”
Bicyclists May Use Full Lane signage is much more effective than the current ubiquitous “Share The Road” sign. BMUFL signs are great, but even more important, AP is working on improved infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians.
“Bicyclists May Use Full Lane signs treat cyclists less like potential hazards and more like the legal road users that they are…”
“Share the Road signs mean different things to different people; that some drivers see them as being aimed at cyclists, telling them that they need to “share the road” with drivers…”
“A new report shows how dangerous it has become to walk along the street. The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates the number of pedestrian deaths last year was 6,000 nationwide.”
Pedestrians: wear bright or reflective clothing, remove earbuds, make eye contact with drivers, cross only at crosswalks, never talk, text or use electronic devices in an intersections. Drivers: carry on. #CarCulture
One of the most important focuses of Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition is equity. AP is in a renaissance period, and there’s a great and understandable fear that residents may be displaced. We want to help prevent that from happening. The city is keenly aware of the need to work within the community to come up with solutions, and the advocates of APCSC is happy to be a part of this work.
In graduate school, I had a professor who would refer critically to the “white proximity model” of neighborhood revitalization. Shelterforce describes this model as follows:
Somehow, policymakers and government officials have bought the myth that simply by living next door to each other, wealthy white professionals will lift poor Black people out of poverty — serving as role models and handing out job referrals.
Few people might consciously agree with that provocative statement, but common narratives about how to deal with concentrated poverty — disperse it, and facilitate moving poor people into “opportunity neighborhoods” and wealthy people into poor neighborhoods — are laden with unconscious and unexamined bias about what makes a neighborhood rich with opportunity in the first place.”
“Far too many of us listen to people looking for where they’re wrong. We immediately go into dissecting, “Fisking” mode. At our worst, we’re hoping to score points rather than engage with what we might learn from what they’re saying.
Instead, when you listen to someone you disagree with (especially someone you disagree with), listen for where they’re right. Everyone is right about something. Everyone believes what they believe because of something in their own experience, some basic truth that motivates his or her world view. Find that person’s ground truth.
You can learn something from everyone who cares about your city.”