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Friends of Southern California's Highways

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  • Simon Baddeley
    Hullo http://www.fixtraffic.org/mission.html I welcome and applaud the arrival of this group on the web. Your presence marks the sea change in the balance of
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 1, 2001
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      Hullo http://www.fixtraffic.org/mission.html

      I welcome and applaud the arrival of this group on the web. Your presence
      marks the sea change in the balance of influence between those who, like
      you, see the future as more of the same and those who promote intelligent
      and creative change in the ways people and goods move around - change away
      from a dominant reliance on more road building.

      The birth of a group called "The Friends of Southern California's Highways",
      claiming and seeking "grassroots" support, means that that vocal and
      intelligent global minority who have seen a key truth about the dangers to
      society, the individual and the globe of further road building are being
      given their political due by those who never doubted that roads were the
      future. In other words those of us who oppose further road-building and
      would like to see the up-grading of many roads to serve more valuable social
      and commercial purposes, are becoming as influential and in some case more
      influential than the old "road lobby".

      Those for whom the extension of roads has been the norm haven't needed to
      form groups that seek or claim grassroots support. They took it for granted.
      Those for whom further road building was the default future are now having
      to go public. They didn't need to before. But now, to defend your vision of
      "More roads for all" you must come out publicly to defend your version of
      the future. Now you've surfaced and entered a global debate and we no longer
      have to argue, often impotently, against the brick wall of what for a 100
      years has been regarded as "common-sense". You are on the web. You must
      recognise you enter into a debate that can involve the world. Let the world
      hear your case for more roads. Let's hear you debate in favour of what is at
      last becoming counter-intuitive. Let's see how well the shoe fits the other
      foot.

      FSCH represent a radicalisation of the pro-roads lobby that was never before
      necessary, because roads were main stream. They were the preferred transport
      system of the powerful. Pro-road interests are being forced, like the
      National Rifle Association, to become radical because the great and the good
      , who, so long as they go with a larger popular flow, do not need to defend
      their policies have shifted their position on the role of asphalt in the
      future of transport.

      The powerful, and therefore generally silent, individuals and interests who
      gave impetus to the great age of road building in America and Europe have
      shifted their position. Who will stand up publicly for more roads? Charlton
      Heston has done it for the NRA? Will we see screen heroes of one of the
      great American road movies speaking on a pro-roads podium? Will we see
      good-old-boys with gun racks on their jeeps rallying for more concrete?
      Watch this space.

      More and more of those businesses who make the materials for building roads
      are altering their long term focus. They are looking to invest in railroads
      and rapid transit infrastructure, but they also see the need to adapt to a
      major social, economic and political shift - from access by mobility to
      access by proximity. In more homely terms this is about the recovery of
      place from a road system that has unintentionally turned "somewherestown"
      into "nowheresville" and imposed this blight on half the world. Commerce
      under a variety of influences is moving away from roads as the lead system
      in transportation. Sprawl makes us crawl. Roads cost the earth.

      These long term trends, especially in the first world, are marked by the
      growing degradation of the highway experience for car and truck drivers.
      Those who adapt change their ways of living and doing business. Those who
      cannot start up pressure groups like the "The Friends of Southern
      California's Highways". Your inception signals a regressive radicalisation
      to defend the indefensible which historians will see as symptoms of the
      demise of the highway era and the sunset of the great car economy. America
      will lead and the rest of the world will learn with admiration and pleasure
      as American genius develops more technically intelligent and commercially
      profitable ways of escaping autodependency and the blight of "asphalt
      nation".

      The future is being invented and it doesn't depend on more roads. It might
      even lead to the removal of some or their enhancement to walking, cycling
      and rapid-transit routes. It is a hi-tech transport future that plays down
      the auto and the truck and the dominance of highways for moving people and
      freight. (To be diplomatic you will admit to picking up some of these ideas
      in Europe, but it will be in America that you will make these new ideas
      work.)

      Welcome, FSCH, to a debate in which you, though still in a majority, are now
      on the weaker side when it comes to power and intellectual excitement. I see
      a day when my friends who once climbed trees to stop the bulldozers and
      chainsaws of the road builders will be watching bemused as a new brand of
      radical sits down with others in a concerted attempt to prevent the
      destruction of a beloved freeway. You call us "tree-huggers". Are you
      perhaps "concrete kissers?". This time the cherry pickers will arrive to
      pluck your bolder members from the columns of your land-hungry clover leave
      interchanges, but will you defend your highways as non-violently as we've
      campaigned against them?

      Regards

      Simon Baddeley
      University of Birmingham
      Birmingham B15 2TT
      UK
    • Roy Preston
      ... Today, we cannot just give up on building freeways, even in already built up areas. Ha ha ha ha ha!!! Roy P(ass the shotgun!)
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 2, 2001
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        >Hullo http://www.fixtraffic.org/mission.html

        <Quote> 'Today, we cannot just give up on building freeways, even in
        already built up areas.' </Quote>

        Ha ha ha ha ha!!!

        Roy P(ass the shotgun!)
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