Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Car-free day

Today is the car-free day in Helsinki, which makes me feel like driving a car. This is a bit strange since I feel no such urge during the other 364 days of the year, unless of course I happen to be somewhere where there is not enough public transportation. My car is usually parked in my parents' backyard, where there is not enough public transportation (I mean in the area, of course - I don't really expect public transportation to run around my parents' backyard), and I drive it when I visit them.

Opponents of cars and driving usually (not all of them) irritate me, because they tend to live in or near the downtown, where you really don't need a car, and apparently either believe that everybody lives in downtown, or that people who live in the middle of nowhere do not need cars. I can even understand the opinion that people shouldn't live in the middle of nowhere to begin with, but most of those protesters don't really believe that.

Driving itself, on the other hand, irritates me because looking for a parking space is annoying and you can't read a book while driving like you can in a bus.

I don't really care about the environment, but I care a lot about my convenience (and to a much lesser degree other people's, too) and therefore am concerned about having enough oil for me to fly places every time I feel like it, which is quite often, and having enough parking spaces for people who really need them, which IMO usually means that most people in cities, myself included, should use public transportation.

That is a general problem in the US (and one of the reasons I moved out of there): if you have a city where most of the people drive every day, you have a problem, because there is never enough space for all the cars. Spreading the city out does not help any, you just get longer distances and less area covered by the public transportation. I wish we could do something about it, but I don't know what can be done at this point, with the suburban sprawl already being as big as it is.

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