Friends of Southern California's Highways
- 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
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
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
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?
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT
already built up areas.' </Quote>
Ha ha ha ha ha!!!
Roy P(ass the shotgun!)