Thursday, April 28, 2005

Disautopia

Your Right Hand Thief notes an odd bit of "news:"

Shell Oil recently commissioned an independent study to find "Autopias," evaluating the 50 largest metro areas in the country on the basis of -- are you sitting down? --"where cars would most like to live if they had their way." Basically, if cars could talk, they'd tell us where they want to live.

Well, Phoenix was No. 4, Atlanta No. 3, St. Louis No. 2 and -- pop a Valium -- New Orleans was numero uno, at the top of the list.


Here's the T-P article he links to, which waits until the concluding paragraph to reveal the operative criteria:

New Orleans' top ranking in the survey was based in part on its No. 1 ranking in the quality of fuel and motor oil category and the fact that LOCAL RESIDENTS SPEND MORE ON CAR CARE THAN RESIDENTS IN MOST OTHER AREAS.

"More on car care..." Sorry to state the obvious, but that's because the roads are in such lousy shape--well, check out the end of Oyster's post (don't know about y'all, but I first saw the photo in question over at Library Chronicles--and no, it's not been photoshopped).

In a related story (one I noted in comments over at YRHT)--local news here recently reported that Baton Rouge ranked 44th in the country as a "walking friendly" city, which means that whoever was judging must've been looking at 40 cities. Hell--about half the neighborhoods in this town don't even have sidewalks, making a foot journey an adventure in car-dodging. Numerous intersections--including one just north of LSU--effectively have no time at all where a pedestrian can cross without having to potentially deal with moving traffic. And the campus, sadly, is horrible. During the week, gridlock is the rule.

Now, I won't complain too loudly, because, full disclosure here, I own a fossil burner (in fact, a brand new one)--but, in my defense, it's a small car and I try to plan my trips carefully. Still, the very idea that you'd even have a ranking of "car-friendly" cities is just weird. Cars are at best a necessary evil in my book--and, if not for incredibly generous subsidies from the state--like roads and bridges, generous terms in granting mineral rights (not to mention Bush's latest bizarro "science proposal" of turning old military bases into refineries--gawddamn...little mini-Houston metro areas all around the country), even going to war in order to maintain the present production/market system (see War, Gulf I, for instance)--anyway, private cars would likely be a minor component of a fully integrated transit system if they were subject to the full pressures of the market...

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