Trolleys, trains, and roads

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hans Noeldner wrote a letter to the editor in reponse to an editorial by Art Webb, president of Stop "Smart Growth" that concluded:
Contact your city, county and state representatives and tell them not to support a Regional Transit Authority or rail transit in Dane County. Our regional economy is dependent on a good transportation system of roads, not trains and trolleys.
Hans wrote in reponse:
Dear Editor:
A better name for the guest column, "Economy is dependent on good road system" would be "President of 'Stop Smart Growth' is 100% dependent on automotive movement". 1403 Starr Road (Mr. Webb's address) isn't located within safe, practical walking or bicycling distance of anything. And without serious infill on Starr Road - 100 units of Section 8 housing, say - Mr. Webb's "neighborhood" is unlikely to ever support any form of public transportation. No doubt Mr. Webb and most other Madison-area exurbanites with rural sleeping quarters want to keep it that way.

It also bears mention that no major roadway expansions (Highway M-138 as South Beltline anyone?) are likely to mar the "rural character" of Mr. Webb's immediate locale. After all, bigger highways always look much better from the driver's seat than from the front door or kitchen window!

Mr. Webb is like countless other Americans who believe they have a constitutional right to drive everywhere and then park for free. The tragedy is that our nation has "occupied" the Mideast/Central-Asian Oil Patch to keep their tanks full. And our departments of transportation have declared war on unpaved earth so they can rack up more highway miles every year.