Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Paradise Lost or Found?

Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.

Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.

I'll be the first to admit I love my car like the ugly American that I am, and of course I will concede that we will not get to such a place on a large scale overnight, but this article is worth reading and reflecting on.

1 comment:

Adam L said...

Fuck that shit. They can have my car when they pry my limp, dead body from a flaming heap of metal with the jaws of life.

But seriously, living in NYC for two years and now moving to MPLS where I will be driving everywhere and having spent a bunch of time in both places I can tell you that in winter and in summer it is superior to drive. In this godforsaken part of the country (NYC) having a car is a mixed blessing--you don't have to take the subway with its various lovely biological and chemical assaults of varying threat levels-- but in MPLS when you've got all wheel drive like I do it really doesn't matter. Going to a bar in MPLS: walk to car w/ oil heater in detached garage... drive to bar... drink so that my BAC is exactly .07 when I leave... drive back... time spent outside walking like a schnook: almost zero.

I understand why people push other people onto the tracks of the subway in NYC: if I had to live without a car knowing that would be me life forever I'd consider homicide and/or suicide.