The Ranty Highwayman)
Active travel in the suburbs is a strange thing. It’s a seemingly car dependent place, although there are of course contradictions and exceptions.
There are those who are surgically attached to their cars with the longest active journey being between the front door and the front seat; these are the people who drive to the paper shop and whenever there is talk of charging for parking, they throw up their arms and threaten to take their business to the nearest out-of-town shopping centre.
There are people who drive to work because of the lack of direct alternatives. They get the bus if the car’s in for repair, but it’s indirect and sits in the same traffic as their normal car-based commute and so why shouldn’t sit their in the bubble they pay for anyway? Then we have those who use their car at weekends because they get to work by non-car means (cycle, train, bus etc) , so car storage is their main contribution to suburban sprawl (yes, I’m one of these people).
We also have the people who don’t live in the suburb. The drive in from further away, through suburbia and into the local town or city. We end up with large roads cutting suburban communities in half and the problems that it brings. It’s all a vicious cycle because like any dependent system, it is hard to get out of it
I often hear things which are indicators of the problems we have created for ourselves and perhaps give an insight into how much of a challenge it’s going to be to change things. Perhaps I don’t have enough quotes for a proper bingo card, but here are some gems I’ve heard in the last few weeks (absolutely true);
You’ve probably heard or read similar and so these views are not really a surprise. Whether these things are actually believed by those speaking them (I’ve no doubt that for many people, they do believe what they are saying) or if they have a little glimmer deep in their brain doubting their view; our suburbs are going to remain a feature of urban places for some time yet; so how do we call time on this?