Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An odd obsession with inantimate objects.

Houston saddles up for downtown bike-share program. Allan Turner,
"People want to live, work, play and eat close to one another and not be in their car as much," city sustainability director Laura Spanjian said, citing a recent Rice University study that found most respondents wanted to live in compact, walkable communities. "The love affair with the car is finally over, and providing alternatives to help people get around in the urban environment will be increasingly important."
I don't have a "love affair" with my car*. I'm pretty sure you don't either. It's an odd proclivity of the LibDem left to categorize public refusal to see things their way as being the result of some unusual, unnatural, unreasonable human emotion.

You see the same thing on a National level when we're told that we're "addicted" to oil. Of course, we're not "addicted" to oil. We use petroleum products because they are, currently, the cheapest and most plentiful option available for the continuation of modern society. If something more useful were to come along, we'd move to it. Because we're unwilling to play along with the LibDem's green games, where we would pay a LOT more for a LOT less, then they have to design a construct where it's our "addiction" that's keeping us from making a self-damaging decision. This also allows them to keep the intellectual high-road, lest they realize that making decisions whose sole purpose is to make life harder really only works for Trappist monks. And hell, even they make really good beer.

Why do Houstonians prefer to drive around in their cars? Because, in 100 degree heat, during the middle of Summer walking or riding a bike is not feasible. Cars have air conditioning, bikes don't. It's also more practical given the way Houston is designed. For 99.99% of Houstonians, the bike as a daily commuter is not a workable solution. It's got very little to do with "loving" one's car and more to do with wanting to get somewhere in a decent amount of time, not caked in sweat and slime, and not smelling like you just ran a marathon through a pig sty.  Don't get me wrong, the wife and I ride our bikes recreationally all the time. After which I can jump off, take a shower, and then hop in my car to go grocery shopping etc. Were another, more economical, option available (say: neighborhood circulator bus routes) then I would certainly be willing to take advantage of that. As a matter of fact, my last four vacations have been 100% car-free. I've ridden buses, taken pedi-cabs, ridden on metro systems and walked. We actually walked, a LOT. Of course, the weather hasn't been in teh 90-100 degree range at our destinations either, so walking was a workable option.

All of the previous being said, I have no doubt that this bCycle program is going to be wildly successful, once it expands. To really take advantage of the systems full potential there should be immediate talks of expanding to MidTown. As a jaunt around downtown service bCycle is a novelty, something that allows appointed Statists to say that Houston's "love affair with the car" is coming to an end. It's the light-rail of bike options, expensive, flashy, but with no real utility. It's pretty and new however so enough people that are impressed by this type of thing will ride around from bike rack to bike rack, not realizing that they're going nowhere of import.

Meanwhile the rest of us will continue to drive where we need to, in our cars, and not one man/car wedding will be on the table.

OK, Let's be fair. If I owned an AMG Mercedes CLS 55 I'd be desperately in love with my car, but that's a different matter entirely.

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