Local busybody says too many of us are driving solo

Last week on METRO's blog, Mary Sit highlighted a recent op-ed in the Houston Chronicle by local bike enthusiast Peter Wang:

Peter Wang, a geophysicist in the oilfield services and a board member of the Citizens' Transportation Coalition, pointed out that with oil topping at $100 a barrel and an apparent recession shrinking our economy, we should consider carpooling or vanpooling if we have a regular office schedule.

Wang said he believes most of us don't do so because of socio-psychological reasons. We adhere to the lone cowboy image - especially here in Texas - and we want to drive alone into the sunset. But that, argued Wang, is not the way to build an efficient transportation system.

In a comment to the post, Wang expands his point in response to a question from Kevin Whited:

Kevin, I don't mean to imply steathily that single-occupant vehicles should be gotten rid of. I myself drive my SOV about 75 miles per week. But I will explicitly and publicly state that SOVs are very much over-used in our society, and this overuse creates lots of problems.

Basically, the current generation of Americans have given their hearts and minds over to the marketing people at the car companies. They really do want to be "Ford Tough" or whatever. They will acquire massive debt and waste all kinds of money and resources to implement the lifestyle that has been hypnotized into their brains.

What kind of lifestyle is it do be perpetually in debt, no cash flow, and no forseeable way to even continue in the current mode into the coming decades?

That's the nightmare we are living. We have to change.

What an astounding mindset.

Who determines what is overuse of single occupancy vehicles? What is the criterion? Why does Peter Wang get to say that everyone is in the grip of automaker marketing? Who is he to say that we all are in massive debt, and that we waste all kinds of money and resources on our lifestyles?

Hypnotized?? Is he serious?!

Who is he to determine what is an acceptable level of debt and cash flow? Does he propose government start monitoring our bank accounts? Does he have a crystal ball that tells him what will happen in coming decades.

Just because Peter Wang wants to ride a bike and use mass transit doesn't mean the majority of us want to. Most of us like to have control of our transportation. We like the freedom of being able to run errands when we want to, pick up the kids when we need to, meet friends for lunch when we like to. If our transportation becomes a hardship, then we will make adjustments.

This whole nanny-state mindset is what eats away at our freedoms, our liberties. For goodness sake, the government is going to mandate what kind of light bulbs we can buy in the future. And the light bulbs the government has chosen are more damaging to the environment, AND give some people headaches! But the decision has been made for us. Soon, no more choice.

If we want to change our driving habits and our lifestyles, then we will change them, but we shouldn't be forced to do so because someone else has set some arbitrary standards. Locally, the real nightmare will begin when Peter Wang and his like-minded friends start running things.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 04/20/08 07:03 PM | Print |

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