With the discussion of Alameda Point heating back up, thought this recent interview with UC Berkeley Professor Robert Cervero was interesting. Cervero is one of the leading researchers of transportation and development (and studiers of real life examples of such things), he’s helping to define the actual effects of land use and transportation as they actually interact. A snippet of the interview:
Q: So you’re saying our system doesn’t work?
A: It’s not to say that our system is broken; a lot of people like the freedom and individualism of the private car. But I think the difference you find in Europe is that people do own cars, they’re just not enslaved to them for any and every trip. They’re much more judicious and selective when they use the car or don’t. So if you live in a place like Stockholm or Copenhagen, if you go into the central city, everybody takes transit. Stockbrokers, day workers, school kids, everyone. But for regional destination trips, shopping, sports events, or if you’re making a late-night trip or doing big volume shopping they drive. For a weekend excursion they drive. So they are not anti-car, but the cities are designed so that transit is a respectable option for many.
Of course, if he were to say such things in Alameda, some would call him an idiot, a smart-growth zealot, a car-hater, etc. I guess he’s lucky he works in Berkeley.