City can’t continue to give priority to cars

Brian Gould brings us this story on his experiences living in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Despite living in a great neighborhood with access to transit and many services within walking distance, he still has a problem: the heavy car traffic outside of his apartment.  Shortly after moving there, he developed a cough and had to get an air purifier and keep the windows closed.  We here in Utah know that cars cause considerably air quality problems.  After living in Pittsburgh for six years, my first experience with a smog warning – when children, the elderly, and people with lung conditions are advised not to go outside – was in Provo.  Buses also contribute to negative air quality, and do so more than cars, but on a per capita basis, they are cleaner.  Light rail is cleaner still.  Despite the fact that they still burn fossil fuels at power plants (which need not be dependant on fossil fuels), they are generally quiet and don’t pollute the air where people actually live.  Many areas have reacted to high car traffic by detaching from the street and having thick walls and sealed windows.  Brian concludes: “Simply adding more people and more buses isn’t going to cut it. It’s going to take design — more than density — to make the result truly livable.”

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