One of the plusses of this weather, I stumbled across some worthwhile tv, a British series about a woman who is trying to reduce car use over there. A very interesting perspective, apparently the Brits are as car addicted as US, hard to believe. Shows how she is able to win some people over, very worthwhile to watch her process, if you’ve got the cable.
I’m not sure if its that they aren’t as stupid but just the practicalities of life in either a rural setting or in major old metropolises…
As I’ve posted a couple of times, I spent a week in the UK in September on a cycling tour. The actual tour was in Wales, but I landed at Heathrow, so I got to see a fair bit of London and the rest of England.
In the only “modern” city I visited (Cardiff), the traffic was very similar to that of the US. Too fast, too much and too rude. Since it near destruction in WWII, most of the city center was rebuilt and it very, very car centric.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Cardiff and cycling it was a joy due to the separate bike paths… but where the main roads and bike paths overlapped it was pretty scary.
I think they may actually be worse, because on the show, in this quaint little exurban English town, people were driving their kids 1/4 and 1/2 mile to school, and this woman had a hell of a time getting them to give that up.
In the US we’ve set up our suburbs up so it’s almost impossible to walk anywhere, but that isn’t an individual decision that someone can immediately change, that’s a societal and a policy failure.
A friend of mine with kids came back from living in England for a year. She said that here her kids would bug her for rides and be unresponsive to the argument that “When we lived in England, you’d always walk distances like this.” “…But that was different.”
I suppose it varies a lot from town to town.
I’ve wondered about the “drive-the-kids-everywhere ” culture. I think a lot of parents really like the control. Even (maybe especially) the parents that complain about driving their kids.
When I did the GAP, I realized that kids in the trail towns – like the 12 to 16 year old kids – have a lot of options that kids in small, distant suburb towns usually don’t have.
I’m thinking about towns like Bueno Vista, Sutersville and West Newton.
I’ve never been there, but I understand that england still ahve right-of-ways for walking paths through the country.