Defending our cars, our freedom

Planning to Mock Freedom
By Aaron Crowley,

Of all the symbols of independence in America, the automobile stands out. Nothing else gives a man the ability to take any road or highway to wherever he wants to go, whenever he so desires.

The Oregonian apparently has a problem with this in a recent article.

In a column about Randy O’toole’s recent seminar on planning, the reporter choses to mock Houston, TX residents as having a “love affair with the automobile.”

I think it is time to stand in solidarity with our freedom loving friends from the great state of Texas and point out that it isn’t so much the vehicle itself we are in love with.

It is the freedom of unrestricted movement it allows us all to enjoy.

I am assuming that is precisely the problem the reporter has with the unfettered movement the automobile provides”¦If it doesn’t run on tracks to a pre- selected destination, then it isn’t mass transit.

And that is a threat to her utopian dream of every family in a town home, and a Max pass in every pocket.

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Posted by at 05:55 | Posted in Measure 37 | 19 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    I can bet you the reporter has a car, uses it, and doesn’t use light rail.
    These holier-than-thou types are really bad news.

  • John Fairplay

    It’s amazing how many people who support abortion rights are so anti-choice in every other aspect of life.

  • Jerry

    I hear you John. These people only want one thing – power and control over others’ lives. They don’t want to live that way themselves – oh, no – only that way for others because they know best.
    Another question to ask is why are almost all of the pro-abortion people anti death penalty? I think it because they have not thought things through very well.

  • Britt Storkson

    Most people do not realize that private property is the most important freedom – even more important than freedom of speech. And that’s why governments go to such extraordinary effort to take away our property via taxation and regulation.
    Many conservatives are terrified at the prospect of Hillary Clinton as our next president. But without our money Hillary – or any other president – would be just another toothless tiger.

  • Anonymous

    Has anybody been reading the recent posts on facisim in NWR

  • dean

    I think you are all overreacting a bit, as is the originator of the post. We liberals are consistent advocates for civil liberties (ACLU,) including being against government sanctioned torture. (Talk about giving the government too much power).

    Yes, most of us liberals also own and drive cars, with perhaps a greater tendency to drive smaller ones like that shown on the photo image.

    But no…we are not trying to take anyone’s “right” to drive a car away. Investing in multiple options: roads, bike lanes, transit, & wider sidewalks and zoning new development to be a bit denser and more mixed use are intended to help save open land and reduce the NEED to drive as often or as far, not to make it impossible to drive at all.

    I think in LA the average freeway speed is now about 19MPH. That is only a bit higher than bicycle speed. Hardly the “freedom of the road.”

    Plus a small politically correct point: don’t *women* also use cars to go where *she* desires?

    • Jerry

      Dean – there you go helping me again with my bike proposal by pointing out the traffic speed in CA on the freeways is about the same as what you could do on a bike – FOR FREE!
      Thanks!
      Please help me out on this.
      Did you ever hear back from Earl?

  • Friends of Meatpuppet

    Typical liberal mush mouth star gazer attitude. In keeping with the spirit of the TOU of this forum I say I will defend his right to speak to the death. I how ever am in a war and must press on to kill the Goldschmidt Transportation Machine of which his allegiance is sworn to. We have a golden opportunity to turn the tide with the vacating of the office of the mayor and council members. Where the hell is the true business community? We don’t need any pseudo wanna be chuckos in there. Come on boys step up to the plate and end this war now…

  • Chris McMullen

    Dean, maybe that’s *your* opinion as a liberal, but the majority of people on your side of the spectrum are much more intolerant than those on the right.

    Who supports government takings? The left.
    Who supports limiting economic freedom? The left.
    Who vandalizes ROTC centers? The left.
    Who talks down and accosts conservative lecturers? The left.
    Who has bashed Condi Rice, Clarence Thomas. Michelle Malkin and Larry Elder with racist comments and cartoons? The left.
    Who supports putting limits on private property ownership? The left.
    Who illegally demonstrates and blocks legal businesses and institutions? The left.
    Who’s against the second amendment? The left.
    Who wants to control what we eat, where we live and what we drive? The left.
    Who wants to control our public education institutions? The left.

    Liberals are true fascists. The like the idea of a government class controlling the will of the pubic, the redistribution of income and and what we can eat, drive and do.

    Plus, your purported “investment” in transportation options has equated to diverting gas and mileage taxes which should have gone to road expansion and maintenance to the construction of light rail and bike lanes — “options” which have done nothing but cause more congestion, pollution and delays.

  • Bob Clark

    If it weren’t for the frequent rain and wind in Portland, I would be somewhat hopeful about keeping our current degree of mobility freedom. This is because I would be somewhat hopeful about hybrid electric bycicles allowing us to keep our individual freedom of mobility. The stealthy march against the car continues in Portland as more road lanes are taken out with concrete extensions of sidewalks into what were once useable lanes for both bike and car.

    Has anyone seen the odd restructuring of the intersection where Glisan branches off from Sandy about N.E 22d? The city has extended an island across the former glisan road entry, and put a mote of weeds inside this concrete island. Even bikers have to go an extra block now just to connect up with Glisan from Sandy. The sunken mote collects wind blown litter, too boot. PDX doesn’t need this kind of architecture in my opinion.

    • dean

      F.O.M….”mush-mouthed star gazer.” What an odd but interesting mixed metaphor. Far be it from me to get in the way of your private war. Knock yourself out.

      Chris…I dunno…I’m old enough to remember the Jim Crow south and the efforts “the right” went through to deny dark-skinned citizens the vote, access to public schools, the front of the bus, service at lunch counters, and so forth. Who shoots abortion doctors and illegally pickets clinics? Who tried to impeach a President over a lie about sex? Who spreads lies about Obama being a Muslim? Who tries to jam their religion down everyone else’s throat? Who calls liberals traitors?

      I mean…is this a debate worth having? It amounts to a Yo Momma contest. How about sticking to the topic…i.e. cars, and debate the liberals who are actually part of the discussion rather than ones you have to make up?

      For the record, I don’t want to control what you eat, drive, or do, and I don’t care if you have a registered gun stored safely in your home or carried with a legal permit. But we have public policy debates that involve issues that influence what we all eat (USDA inspected, certified organic, etc.), how we get ourselves about (transportation funding and policy), and some of what we do (building and fire codes, property rights, pollution, etc). We all have to live by teh rules that result. Your freedom to shake your fist stops at my nose and likewise for my fist.

      To the extent formerly highway only funds are now used for other forms of transportation, it is because elected legislatures debated that issue and came down on the side of using the funds more broadly. Your side had what…12 years of Congressional control, nearly 8 of the white house, and the state legislature for the entire 90s, and you were not able to prevent that from happening. I would say that battle is over, and we are not going back to a car only world. You can rant or whine about it but I don’t hink you are going to substantially change it.

      Bob…the curb extensions make it way easier for pedestrians to cross to the other side of the street. If we are going to make it easier and safer to walk around cities, they make sense, but yes they can slow traffic a bit and squeeze cyclists. Its all a tradeoff.

      I have not seen the end result of the glisam-Sandy project. Could the sunken mote be there to contain stormwater that would otherwise contribute to sewer overflows?

  • Henry

    “intended”
    Too bad that’s not the outcome.

    Among other evidence, census and declining school enrollment shows how families are moving further out and driving further so they can afford a home.
    The blind obsession with saving open land ignores the abundant supply of land and the effects of prohibiting it’s use.
    It’s misinformation to claim that these policies dean touts are resulting in a NET reduction in driving. With rising population and increased car and truck use congestion is worsening region wide.
    That means more driving while policy makers deliberatly ingore it.
    dean, apparently doesn’t view this as any indication of any problem.
    We just need more money diverted to the same policies?
    And that’s why he is here.
    To undermine this discussion and pile on more of the agenda we get from the government agencies and the Oregonian every day.

    That’s bad enough but his favorable portrayal of the ACLU should get him booted off this blog.

    Why allow a Metro/TriMet operative to taint, with their propaganda, every major discussion here?

    Heck why not turn over the blog to Rex Burholder?
    Or Patty Wentz?

    • dean

      Henry…do you have anything to offer anyone other than your shoot the messenger logical fallacy?

      If the owners of this quasi-libertarian site want to boot someone off for praising the American Civil Liberties Union (if that is what I did) then that would be and interesting statement.

      For the record…again….I don’t work in the transportation arena, and have never worked for tri met. For Metro, I have done consulting on park and open space planning and design.

      If people are moving to the burbs for cheaper housing, doesn’t that suggest that policies to keep the inner city healthy and attractive have worked?

  • Dave Lister

    Liberals are collectovists at heart. They say “social justice”, but they mean, “spread the wealth”. The reason they hate cars is because they are arguably the most visible statement of a persons socio-economic status.

    If everybody drove a khaki colored yugo, the libs wouldn’t mind one bit.

  • Henry

    “If people are moving to the burbs for cheaper housing, doesn’t that suggest that policies to keep the inner city healthy and attractive have worked?”

    Boy dean that was classic.

    Driving young families with children out of the inner city is now a success of smart growth?

    I’ve pointed out time and time again your distributing goverment misinformation here.
    Your bias and conflicts of interest are secondary to your distributing propaganda.
    The fact that you are flooding this thread by repeating tax funded Metro flasehoods etc. makes it beyond free speach or exchange of ideas.
    I would indeed block you from posting.

    But then I would like to see a full audit of PDC, for starters.
    While you provide cover for them all.

    • dean

      Knock yourself out Henry. But consider this. It is possible for independent minded people to hold views that support this or that government policy without being officially or unofficially associated with that policy or the policy makers. Perhaps that is why lcoal elected officials may actually be attempting to design and carry out policies that actually reflect the views of the voters. You may simply be in a minority position, which is frustrating but does not mean there is some giant conspiracy against you and yours.

      No one is “driving” anyone out of anywhere. The subsidies you hate include subsidies for below market rate housing. The higher densities you hate help hold costs down. But yes, keeping the inner city attractive and desirable has displaced low income renters to less expensive points east. That is in large part a free market consequence isn’t it?

      To Dave….I’m a liberal, I don’t hate cars, and have no use for Yugos. Try a new theory.

      • rural resident

        It’s not necessarily “low income renters” that are looking to the ‘burbs for more acceptable housing choices. What the market may be saying is that the housing options downtown do not represent good value (value being the package of benefits the landowner receives at that location). I would think that younger people with children, often couples where both work and earn good incomes — the kinds of people the planners should want to see stay in order to make the central city more vibrant and diverse — want more square footage and some kind of enclosed yard for their kids’ safety. If those are the kinds of people moving out (and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case), then it would seem to represent at least a minor failure of density and TOD.

        Also, when we talk about reducing driving, are we talking about the number of miles driven or the amount of time people spend in their cars. I came to Portland a couple of years ago for a medical emergency. Because of traffic congestion, it took me only about a half hour less to drive from the I-5/217 intersection into NW Portland than it did for me to drive 165 miles to get to that freeway off-ramp.

        • dean

          RR…Most of the housing stock in Portland is the same as it has been for many decades, modest sized older single family homes on urban scale lots of 3000, 5000, and up to 7000 square feet. For at least 2 generations these homes and yards were large enough for fairly large families….way bigger than the families of today.

          The new housing in Portland is by necessity rowhousing, apartments, and condos, both low and high rise. In square footage terms much of the new housing is equal to the older single family housing, though without the private yards.

          The burbs have larger houses and somewhat larger lots…so yes, some families opt for these. But I don’t see where Portland has the space to do this, and even if they did the land prices would make large lots unaffordable for most.

          Portland is maturing, and part of that is geting denser and more urban. Seattle has similar issues, even more expensive housing, and far heavier traffic minus light rail and minus an urban growth boundary until very recently.

          All things being equal extra space is picked by most. But all things are definitely not equal, so people make tradeoffs.

          Reducing driving can mean both fewer car trips and shorter car trips. At a density of 8 homes per acre (like older Portland neighborhoods) the market will provide a full service grocery within walking distance (1/4 mile) of most homes. at 4 units per acre (typical suburban density) a grocery is within 3 miles of homes.

          • Jerry

            We could reduce driving with my $500 tax credit for new bikes, too.
            Please remember that, Dean.

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