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4311Re: [carfree_cities] More pollution from slower traffic

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  • carfreecrawford
    Feb 6, 2002
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      Andras Toth said:

      >In Hungary where I come from there is an argument popping up time
      and again
      >about the harmful effect of slowing down the traffic. In many
      newspaper
      >articles we can read that cars going slower pollute more, and
      therefore
      >enlarging a road and building tunnels is justifiable and blahblah.
      >And it is true, as we know that the right speed for optimal fuel
      >consumption for a car is way over 50 km/h (not to mention 30 km/h).
      More
      >fuel = more pollution.
      >
      >I can imagine a few counterarguments, but they are not entirely
      convincing
      >to me.
      >
      >1. "Slower cars mean fewer cars. This counterbalances the increase in
      >pollution per car." Has this been proved? Also, even if it is true
      we have
      >to face the much more far-reaching and difficult argument about
      reducing
      >the amount of car traffic, as some people would object that they do
      not
      >want to be restricted in their access to the town.

      The only way to speed up cars is to add road capacity, which
      seems always to draw more cars, slowing things down again
      within a few years. You end up worse off than you started:
      more cars driving slowly.

      >2. "Slower cars mean fewer accidents. Breathing in polluted air is
      not as
      >bad as being hit by a car." But with this argument, how can you be an
      >environmentalist and a protector of civil rights at the same time?

      You're proceeding from the assumption that one has to accept
      dangerous, polluting objects on the street. Don't accept that
      basic assumption.

      >3. "You can't live in a town turned into a network of highways." And
      their
      >answer could be: "If that's the price to pay for less pollution, why
      not?"

      The answer is simply that you can't build your way out of
      congestion (and therefore out of pollution), and that trying
      to do so ultimately makes the situation even worse.

      >And then you have been dragged again into the tricky grounds of town
      >aesthetics and social ethics etc. Isn't there a more straightforward
      and
      >simple answer?

      Don't be afraid to argue this point, but I grant you that you'll
      only be likely to win your argument on the technical issues--
      people just don't seem to care about aesthetics any more. sign.
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