Saturday, July 4, 2015

If Dublin can do it, why not San Diego?

I've been a follower of the sdurban blog since coming to San Diego 4 years ago. One reason: growing up in and spending most of my life in dense urban settings like Montreal, New York City and San Francisco, I have a deep appreciation for the benefits of mass and alternative transit vs. the world-choking car. The "freedom" of individual car ownership has always been a very heavy cost to bear: environmental, personal, cultural.

So it was with great interest I read in Fast Company how Dublin is joining a longer list of cities looking to replace cars in their city centers.  Who knew their traffic was as bad as LA or Rio??? From Manhattan finally getting bike lane serious, to Montreal's success with bike-friendliness (in one of the coldest major cities in the world, to boot!), to Copenhagen's Smart Traffic project, cities all over the world are experimenting with ways to cut back on their toxic dependence on cars.

I'm lucky, I admit. I work for  a great company that, among other things, lets me telecommute 100% of my time. So I get how many people in Southern California are critically dependent upon their cars. But unless you challenge conventional thinking, you can't move past it. If Dublin and Montreal and New York and even LA can do it, isn't it time San Diego (and the retrograde, suburban car junkies in SANDAG) do the same? From taking 1 lane away from selected avenues for dedicated bike lanes, to improved express bus service, to expanded trolleys, especially as Millenials continue to prefer denser urban-style living and we see expansion of housing stock in denser areas like Mission Valley, there are plenty of options to encourage smarter alternatives to 100% car 100% of the time.

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