Take the Bus?

bus

I’d like to respond to the Letter to the Editor by Nathan Bousefield, published on April 18th under the title “Need to change how we work”. In it, Bousefield asserts that if, instead of spending money on improving road and freeway capacity, we spend the money on mass transit – trains and buses – we’ll see a more significant impact on relieving road and freeway congestion.

In his letter, he focuses on one sole aspect of traffic: commuting to and from work. That’s the fatal flaw in his position.

People drive all the time for all kinds of reasons, to go to many different places to do all kinds of things.

Who’s going to take a bus, or a train, to go get a pizza? Or pick up some home improvement materials? Or visit grandma? Or see a movie? Or go to a restaurant? Or hit the mall? Or visit Vasquez Rocks or the zoo? Or take their kids to school? Or go to the beach? Or the mountains? Or skiing? Or to go grocery shopping?

Ain’t gonna happen.

There’s a reason “rush hour” is an all-day condition, including outside of normal “commute” times. The only time the roads are clear is WAY deep at night, when people have finally gone home to sleep.

Mass transit works fine in some places, typically older cities that were designed and built in the era before personal transportation became available: NYC, Chicago, Boston, DC. But those cities that boomed after the personal car became common developed along a different paradigm, centered on a less structured and less centralized environment that exploited the freedom of movement afforded by cars, and a centralized mass transit system won’t work.

Why would I spend at least 45 minutes using a bus system – in addition to having to walk to a bus stop, not one of which is at all close to my house – to go to the mall, when I can hop in the car at my front door and be there in 10 minutes? And then have to reverse the process to go back home, lugging my purchases with me?

Further, this is Southern California, the epitome and birthplace of the “car culture”. You are what you drive. Who wants to be “that guy who uses the bus”?

Nope. As I said, this is just one more example of the socialist utopian fantasy of turning people into ant colonies. The same “logic” that’s brought us the not-so-bullet-train-to-nowhere boondoggle. It’s nonsense.

 

©Brian Baker 2017

(Also published today in The Signal)

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Sneaky Leftists

 (I know… oxymoron, right?)

Over the last few years out here in Commiefornia, capitol of the enviro-whacks, there’s been a rising tide of panic about the “dangers” posed to the environment by the bags used in grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores to package your purchases.

A few years ago, paper bags were the bugaboo, because trees were being “sacrificed” for such a “wasteful” purpose. There was much loud wailing and gnashing of teeth from the enviroNazis about how people should use plastic bags instead.

Then a couple of years ago those same fanatics changed their minds and decided that everyone should have to bring their own bags instead. It seems that plastic bags have also made it onto the “no-fly” list because of their durability (generally considered a good thing in other products); it seems some of them have been spotted floating around out in the middle of the ocean somewhere.

Can’t have that!

The problem is, they can’t sell their whacky ideas to the proletariat. That pesky free will at work again. So the answer was obvious: get their leftist buddies in government to do their work for them!

Of course!

So, in San Francisco (surprise!) and here in LA County, laws were passed to make the use of plastic bags illegal. They were banned, like other dangerous substances such as heroin and cocaine. The only “approved” choice is now back to those paper bags that were previously scorned … at a mandated “fee” of 10 cents per bag, of course. Fortunately for me, LA County has no regulatory power over the incorporated cities in this county, so here in Santa Clarita we still get to exercise our free choice in the matter.

But those stalwarts in the City of Los Angeles aren’t satisfied. Oh, no! Now they’re on the verge of passing a law banning paper bags, too (Link). Their goal, as they plainly admit, is to force people to bring their own reusable bags to the store, kinda like the Russian babushkas had to do in the glory days of the Soviet Union. I always have to wonder what was so appealing about the USSR that our homegrown leftists so often try to emulate it.

Of course, this stupid policy blatantly ignores the problems attached to the reusable bags: they’re unsanitary, most of them are made in China, and that little issue of people being able to make their own choices.

But then, they’re leftists. The only “free choice” they believe in is the choice to murder unborn babies. Anything else must be government-approved.

© Brian Baker 2012