What I Mean When I Say ‘Ban Cars’ – Doug Gordon – jalopnik
Somehow, every discussion about reducing our automobile dependency gets turned into a “war on cars.” The only option left is to reclaim the language.
Perhaps you’ve seen the slogan float by on social media. Maybe you’ve spotted it on a sticker on someone’s bike. It has even flashed up on a hacked traffic alert sign: Ban cars.
Depending on your point of view, this two-word declarative statement is either enticing or alienating, opening up a conversation or shutting it down before it can begin. Some find it perfectly distills the many problems with automobiles; others believe it’s an absurdly reductive position, one that naively ignores the lives and needs of real Americans.
The truth is, outside of some very narrow circles — mainly urbanist scholars and those who pay attention to “bike twitter” — very few everyday people had ever given much thought to the concept of banning cars. That is, until cable news commentators, who process everything through the lens of the culture wars, latched onto it, spinning a niche sentiment into a vague but terrifying threat that someone, somewhere, is conspiring to take away your car and replace it with a bus pass. I promise, that’s not what we talk about at the meetings.