Monday, October 12, 2009

Randal O'Toole: a bike guy who isn't anti-car

From Randal O'Toole's blog (

To them[anti-car people], the only problem with congestion is that it might waste a little fuel. What about the value of people’s time? What about the costs to businesses? What about the fact that a major reason for the sprawl they hate so much is that people are trying to get away from congestion? An unspoken but fundamental assumption of the anti-auto crowd is that automobility has no value. So what if automobiles made homeownership affordable to more than a quarter of American households that previously had to live in crowded tenements? Some people are better off renting anyway, they say. So what if automobiles force retailers to be competitive and keep prices low? People ought to buy local anyway. So what if automobiles lead to higher personal incomes? People probably just spend that extra money buying bigger cars. The truth is that mobility is valuable, there is no substitute for automobility, and we can find ways to solve environmental problems without taking that mobility away.

O'Toole is a bike guy, but he's not anti-car: "The Antiplanner is an active cyclist and avid rail fan who nonetheless recognizes that the automobile is the greatest invention of the last 200 years."