Strong Towns Podcast
Episode 240

Gross Negligence

Charles Marohn published on

Chuck reviews three different incidents involving children killed by automobiles and asks: Who are really the ones showing casual indifference here? 

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4 Comments
  • Another excellent podcast. In Russ Roca's essay "The Driving Dead" (Taking the Lane, Volume 9, "Disaster!" Elly Blue Publishing, 2013), the author observes that in modern zombie movies and TV shows, terrified survivors always drive everywhere. It never occurs to anyone that riding a bike might make more sense as a means of escape. The hapless victims never reach that point, even when they find themselves trapped in their cars, unable to flee because their cars are, of course, surrounded by other cars that also aren't going anywhere. "Like any good zombie story, The Walking Dead is less about the dangers of the undead than it is an indictment of the living. If what it tells us about ourselves is true--that we are willing to sit in traffic clutching the steering wheel even if it spells certain doom--that is scarier than any zombie movie will ever be."
    No surprise that the reflex response to tragic deaths of little children caused by cars out of control is to find a way to keep the cars moving as fast as ever, but with greater safety.
    We used to move slowly. I had an epiphany on my first visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan some years ago. Near the front entrance, this museum--an encyclopedia of American industrial culture, and featuring a particularly fine collection of antique automobiles--we find one of the original McDonald's golden arches. Of course! We invented fast food because we were driving everywhere. We no longer had the time to eat slowly; we had too many things to do!. When we found that we could move fast, suddenly we had to move fast. In the 1920s the car made many more options possible, and we wanted to pursue all of them at once, so as a culture we had to move quickly. Decades later we still see driving, and driving fast, as part of the natural order of things.
    Strong Towns can change the story.. Rather than posting a slower speed limit on a highway that never should have been built in the first place, let's get rid of it.

  • Ben Alexander

    Kansas City's metro area is full of stroads and places that are easily accessible by stroad/highway, but nearly inaccessible by street, and pedestrians hit and killed as they walk in the shoulder of those roads is a regular news item. Looking at the way our network makes those deaths (not "accidents") inevitable, I have the same reaction as the Toronto commuter guy: "Who the F*CK made this city?!"

    It's hard to be hopeful when I look around at not only an already-built dangerous-by-design environment, but also a huge ocean liner's worth of momentum of projects making it worse.

  • Ghislain Laframboise

    Actually, the guy was speaking about the traffic in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The give away was the guy who said that was even if you take Jarry or Jean-Talon is the same anyway which are those two street who are parallell to highway 40 aka Boulevard Métropolitain. in Montréal. Jarry run north of the 40 and Jean-Talon are south of the 40.

  • Ben Alexander

    I know they're talking about Montreal. Kansas City is just terrible, also.