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Is San Francisco Obsolete?

The 'New' InterRailCommentary

Is San Francisco Obsolete?

posted 19 April 2001

We who support better transit service is getting used to being called create names by the pro Highway Lobby. There is the very creative ‘Social Engineer’ (what is that?), and the very basic anti-car person. The whole purpose of these names is to demonize people who dare actually to support transit, and try to show pro transit people as an extreme group who want to force people out of their cars. However the latest attack by the anti-transit groups is not against us we, but against the cities that support transit or are designed around transit service.

That new name given to cities such as San Francisco and New York is Obsolete Pre-Automotive Cities. The purpose of this name is to show that cities built before the automobile or designed around transit service are obsolete and should be abandoned. The reasoning behind this name is to show that people do want cars and that the cities should only be designed around the automobile. They use statistics that show that some of these cities are losing population, and the reason is that people want to live in cities designed for the automobile. Although these people do not name the cities that are losing population, the reason behind most population loses is that there is not enough jobs to support the population. Although looking at the statistics, most of the cities that are losing population presently pre date the automobile, most are in the Northeast, and they are losing population not because they are pre-auto, but because they are in the rust belt where most of the industries are now overseas.

The whole argument flies in the face of reality. Many cities such as Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City and many others are building more housing in the downtown urban centers. Why? Because there is demand for it. Many people like to live close to their jobs, and not have to face that hassles of driving to work. A whole new generation is discovering that living in the urban core is not so bad. Many of these people would be surprised to learn that their city is obsolete.

The Pro Highway forces see themselves at war and are losing battles. They lost one of the most Conservative cities (Salt Lake) to light rail. Our biggest advantage over these people is the facts.

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