Re: [carfree_cities] Greetings from hiber-nation (was: selfish Americans)
- "I" was born with my hands attached to a steering wheel...,
boy, did my mother complain!
They're asleep at the wheel (and I'm not talking about great Texas swing)...
----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Hitchcock" <mail@...>
Sent: Monday, May 02, 2005 11:49 AM
Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] teenage car culture (was: selfish Americans)
>> The car also plays a crucial role in the rites of
>> passage celebrated in American mythology: it's where high school kids
>> first make out, it's what proud middle-class dads give their offspring on
>> getting into college, it's what husbands give their trophy wives to
> Being a recent high school graduate from a suburban high school, it is sad
> how much truth is found in this statement. Younger high school students
> look forward to turning 16 so they can finally learn to drive and increase
> their mobility. Getting a drivers license or car is probably the biggest
> event in most teenagers high school career. My suburb was fairly affluent,
> so most people had cars, but they were then angered because there were not
> enough places around the school to park. The farthest house in the school
> district from the high school was only five miles away, yet very few got
> to school under their own power. Most opted for school bus, car, or
> Most teenagers I met viewed getting a car as the start of their
> independence. When I reached this age, however, my animosity for cars and
> driving began. I did, unfortunately, drive for a few years, but this
> reinforced my belief that I was shackled to the car. It was hard to get
> anywhere without the car, since my neighborhood had minimal public
> transit, and the distances were so large. Half way through senior year I
> finally got fed up and vowed to bike ride whenever possible. I tested the
> time to high school... 45 minutes. Well, I wasn't sure exactly the best
> route, so that'll probably come down. And it did. By the end it was only
> 15 minutes to bike, which is maybe five minutes longer than if I had taken
> the car and parked close, or about the same time it would have taken if I
> had to park farther away. Instead of a car for graduation, like I'm sure
> many people got, I made it perfectly clear that I didn't want one.
> Instead, I asked for a bike and actually got it before graduating, to make
> my daily commute nicer.
> Most of my peers would spend a great deal of time talking about cars...
> much of that time about how theirs broke, or their latest accidents. The
> most alienating thing about teenage culture, in my opinion, was
> 'cruising'. I tagged along a few times with my friends when they went
> 'cruising', but I must say I couldn't really see the allure. Most of the
> time this consisted of either driving around with no destination, or
> leaning on cars hanging out in parking lots. Parking lots! I can't find
> anything worthwhile in this activity, yet it was a huge part of many of my
> colleagues lives at that point.
> Someone we need to move the American (suburban?) idea of right-of-passage
> away from the automobile. If we can do this, hopefully we can raise a
> whole generation that isn't married to their car. Better public transit
> would help tremendously, but that isn't feasible in most suburbs (chicken
> and egg). If pre-teens and younger teens are able to be mobile without a
> car (using bikes and/or public transit), then getting a car wouldn't be as
> such a big deal. Perhaps someone here should write a teen movie set in a
> city with transit and where none of the teens have cars :)
> Hopefully I didn't wander too much off topic. Coming from a suburban high
> school (where I still have some ties), I can see first hand how bad
> teenagers are car obsessed.
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