War on cars? Not me. I’m here for a war on the domination of Atlanta by cars.
The difference is subtle but important — cars and bikes and pedestrians can co-exist well if we design our streets for it.
I'm not fighting a "war on cars" and I'm not a proponent of car-free cities.
I’m here for an all-out war on the *domination* of Atlanta by cars, which happens by way of street design that prioritizes vehicle flow and speed, while making walking/cycling/bus ridership uninviting or dangerous.
It’s insane. Wealthy people here will spend thousands of dollars this summer visiting cities that are great for walking, then they’ll come back home and defend their car-dominated streets with religious zeal, arguing against bike lanes and slower car speeds.
Most Atlantans, especially those privileged zealots who cry out for the status quo of car-oriented streets, don’t know how awful it can be to walk to a MARTA bus stop or a store, or bike to work, in hostile environments. Our street design enables a windshield perspective that disregards the needs of anyone not in a car. Because of it, when ped/bike-friendly redesigns are proposed, they get shouted down.
We have examples (too few of them) in Atlanta of wonderful pedestrian/bike infrastructure where cars and other modes are intertwined in a respectful, equitable way on city streets. Check out this view from the wonderful pedestrian scramble on Fifth Street.
Change is possible, even here. It takes a lot of work and dedication, but breaking down the crippling domination of cars on streets is a war worth fighting. Join us.
You can help by attending public meetings where street redesigns are discussed, by emailing your City Council reps about street redesigns that favor inviting paths for walking and cycling, and by talking to your neighbors who are scared of change. Every little battle counts.
And before someone comes at me with complaints about the "war" and "battle" language being used here, please check yourself. 6,227 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads in 2018, the highest number in nearly three decades. Thousands are dying. Blood is being spilled daily.