Thursday, April 29, 2010
Less Sidewalk, More Road
They’re widening Christopher Columbus. The first sign was aborcide back in November. I liked the oddness of the image, metal stairs for a building’s side entrance disembodied from the building. But when you think why it is there, temporarily—so sidewalks can be removed for wider roads—discouraging pedestrian traffic and encouraging automobile traffic—I’m disgusted.
Here’s a metaphor: You can reduce your intake of fats and sugar, and also perform exercise, or you can just get bigger clothes. Either improve your health or conceal your obesity. Guess what choice is indicated by this construction scene? Democrats, once leaders in environmentalism—Al Gore won a Nobel Prize—have a state and local party funded by real estate industry bribes. Every condominium sales agent tells the prospective buyer “Easier to own a car and drive in Jersey City than Manhattan or Hoboken!” We’re a city that welcomes drivers.
A wider thoroughfare, hurray! A multi-lane highway right through a residential neighborhood, what a great idea! Make it easier for more cars to speed towards the Holland Tunnel or Exchange Place. I guess the promised but yet to materialize 16,000 new jobs from the recent abatement scheme that allowed another large finance company to move here tax-free will employee folks far away from the Light-Rail. We need more automobiles downtown?
How many young men and women have died in Iraq? During the last decade, Exxon has made record profits—not just big profits, but the biggest profits in the history of profits. Too big a picture? Cars killing pedestrians account for 25 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state of New Jersey—159 were killed in 2009, a record for our state! Murdered while crossing a street, in a state where Pedestrians have the right of way.
Easing the flow of traffic in order to accommodate more cars, what a great idea for everybody—everybody but those who walk around their town. In other words, we who live here.
Out-of-towners on the Turnpike already think of Downtown Jersey City as a Holland Tunnel short cut. We should be discouraging traffic. Jersey City has a decent bus system, a light-rail and of course, the very groovy PATH. Another lane of traffic in this urban area should be counter-intuitive. But, our corrupt officials enacted urban planning that benefits only developers and the wealthier among us. Last summer’s exposure of this corruption—not to mention a surly, uncharismatic bore of a candidate—dampened voter turnout in November and put a right-wing freak in Trenton. Christie is hell-bent on hiking bus & rail fares and making mass-transit less convenient. He is opposed to any gasoline tax and wishes to encourage more cars on the road.
In a culture of bribery, the progressives are in cahoots with the right wing. Less sidewalk, more road? Improve your health or conceal your obesity? Deciding on the latter is easier and more instantly gratifying, but the toll on quality of life and longevity is irrevocable.