Has there ever been a more contentious time between transportation modes than right now? Cyclists vs. motorists, mass transit vs. new roads and highwyas; light rail vs. bus systems...Its enough to leave a multi-modal person (which is just about everyone to some extent) a little weary.
Of course any time that competing interests are fighting for scarce resources there will be conflict, but is our current situation unique in history? In particular, I find it interesting that citizens are so involved in this debate. This isn't simply a matter of competing economic interests fighting for a slice of the pie. Have people, who don't have an economic stake in the outcome, ever fought so diligently for a mode of transportation?
In the late 19th and early 20th century bicyclists founded the Good Roads Movement in order to convince the government and the public to invest in well-built and maintained roads. But were they calling for investment in roads at the expense of other modes? What other movements have worked for a transpotation mode? Was there a Good Rails Movement?
Are we witnessing a new chapter in transportation history, or simply a new spin on an old battle over scarce resources?
Photo by Jonathan Maus, www.bikeportland.org
Posted by Scott Cohen