Thursday, July 8, 2010

Highway of the future? (Give them more rope.)

Again and we have to ask you to believe us dear readers, we're definitely not anti-car -- but sometimes a low-IQ high car-favoring project proposal pops up that puts the case in such flagrant terms that it just screams for attention. Which we are now if not exactly pleased at least prepared to share with you.

In this short and surely most well-intentioned video you can view a proposal for a quite mad urban highway project, aimed at popping an additional 23 kilometers of high-speed elevated urban highway into the city of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco in Mexico. In addition to the base voice-over in Spanish, the whole thing is enhanced by an acid commentary by a number of long time World Streets friends and colleagues who were attending last week's World CarFree Network Conference in York UK. As they say in the Michelin motorists' guides: well worth a detour.

The story behind this is as follows. A letter to the members of the carfree_network came in over the transom today bearing the following explanatory message:

Dear Members of the CarFree Network,

Some of you heard about Jalisco's government project to build a second floor toll express way in Guadalajara, Mexico. During the IX Conference in York last week we interviewed some of you in order to have a compilation of opinions which in practice are strong arguments against it. We edited the following video which has already had a great deal of impact in getting people to discuss and debate the proposed plan. There has been 10,000 hits since Sunday!

I hope it is a good representation of some of the interviewees' opinions. To all of you, thank you. If you have any feedback or comments in reaction to the video please let us know!

Best wishes,

Jesus Carlos Soto, Felipe Reyes and Etienne von Bertrab -

Now let's see if we can give this a bit of historical context. To this end we share with you an excerpt from the 1958 Disneyland TV Show episode entitled Magic Highway USA, Disney's optimistic exploration into possible future transportation technologies. We invite you to chart the mental difference between the two films. After a 52 year learning period , after thousands of ill-considered road-building projects in urban areas showing clearly to anyone who cares to look that this approach is worse than nonsense, here it is again.

As we like to say: Give them more rope.

Thanks to Ian Fiddles of Greenpeace in Sweden for the heads-up.

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