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12295Re: [carfree_cities] Re: NYT's Friedman: "take the Subway"

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  • Richard Risemberg
    Mar 5, 2012
      On Mar 5, 2012, at 8:10 AM, Karen Sandness wrote:

      > Richard, you may recall that when I was in Los Angeles for a
      > conference in 2001 and we met for dinner, you put me on the bus
      > back to my hotel. When I mentioned this to one of the local
      > attendees the next day, he was horrified that I had taken the bus
      > at night and even seemed surprised that I had survived the
      > adventure. But in fact, the experience was not frightening at all,
      > unless one considers the presence of dark-skinned people to be
      > inherently frightening.
      > The longer I live, the more I'm convinced that racism lies behind
      > much of both the suburbanization and the auto-centricity of America.

      I myself don't doubt it for a second. I once took a bus home from a
      party at a friend's house in hyper-liberal Silverlake. I had my arm
      in a sling, and my friend offered to drive me home to "keep me safe'--
      though he'd had a good bit of booze during the party. he was worried
      about predatory Latino immigrants--apparently forgetting that I am
      one myself, just a pale one.

      Needless to say, the bus ride was convivial, pleasant, and safe.

      I have friends on all sides of the political spectrum, and I hear
      racist crap from all of then. Especially as regards travel of public
      transport--which is actually far safer than driving.

      The trains in LA do, however, attract riders from higher economic
      classes. And I have even sat next to a Beverly Hills matron dripping
      with diamonds on the rapid bus through that glittery city. So there's
      some hope.

      Bicycles are really starting to take off here, including with Martha
      Stewart types, another odd but very real reason for hope.

      After all, it's the middle and upper classes who drive the most and
      keep pushing freeways through poor folks' neighborhoods.

      Richard Risemberg

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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