Sunday, July 3, 2011

NY Times Phony Pro Automobile Slant

"Across Europe, Irking Drivers Is Urban Policy"
one sided reporting sustaining the misconception that European cities are against spending money to accomodate automobile traffic, such as reporting on efforts to remove freeways but not those to construct them underground

“In the United States, there has been much more of a tendency to adapt cities to accommodate driving,” said Peder Jensen, head of the Energy and Transport Group at the European Environment Agency. “Here there has been more movement to make cities more livable for people, to get cities relatively free of cars.”

To that end, the municipal Traffic Planning Department here in Zurich has been working overtime in recent years to torment drivers. Closely spaced red lights have been added on roads into town, causing delays and angst for commuters. Pedestrian underpasses that once allowed traffic to flow freely across major intersections have been removed. Operators in the city’s ever expanding tram system can turn traffic lights in their favor as they approach, forcing cars to halt.

Around L√∂wenplatz, one of Zurich’s busiest squares, cars are now banned on many blocks. Where permitted, their speed is limited to a snail’s pace so that crosswalks and crossing signs can be removed entirely, giving people on foot the right to cross anywhere they like at any time.

As he stood watching a few cars inch through a mass of bicycles and pedestrians, the city’s chief traffic planner, Andy Fellmann, smiled. “Driving is a stop-and-go experience,” he said. “That’s what we like! Our goal is to reconquering public space for pedestrians, not to make it easy for drivers.”
The New York Times selectively ignores examples to the contrary, of European cities with significant projects to modernize and bury important express highways. Rather it sets the stage of taking out portions of the road network:
“There were big fights over whether to close this road or not — but now it is closed, and people got used to it,” he said, alighting from his bicycle on Limmatquai, a riverside pedestrian zone lined with cafes that used to be two lanes of gridlock. Each major road closing has to be approved in a referendum.
This is entirely consistent with the 'mainstream' aka organized-funded 'environmentalist' organizations, and internet media outlets, which will obsess over the freeway removal projects such as that in South Korea, though not mention the Madrid project- a notable example of this was the June 1 NY Times article about an effort in Mexico City citing the Korea project but curiously not that in Madrid.

This is a strict loyalty to a doctrine that we simply can not afford to spend more on infrastructure overall, that we can only do a zero sum game of shifting the funding from one type of infrastructure to another- and dare not even consider the WHY behind this budget constraint of continuing distraction from the overspending on military solutions, starting with that cigarette-pharama racketeering scheme of the $1/5+ trillion a year 'drug war'.