The Coast News Group
Community CommentaryOpinion

Public transit is not more desirable than a private vehicle

All of our “urban planners” and “transportation experts” seem to be in lockstep with this faulty idea that public transit is somehow more desirable than the use of private automobiles.  In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.  We could spend billions and produce the finest public transit system in the world, but it would never come close to the convenience, flexibility, and freedom provided by cars.  It’s simple; private cars empower individuals to go wherever they want, anytime they want to.  Our “perfect” public transit system would still see empty busses rolling all over town wasting fuel.

Furthermore, the idea that we should cram everyone into high rise multi-family housing in order to be more energy-efficient is also incorrect.  These structures consume enormous amounts of power for their elevators and for heating, cooling, and lighting of shared common areas.  They do not have enough roof area for solar power systems to provide for their occupants’ demand.  Also, there will always be people who prefer to live in their own house with their own space for a little flower or vegetable garden and maybe a bird feeder to provide some sanity in their urban life.

The solution is simple:  retrofit the hundreds of thousands of existing single-family homes with solar power and battery systems adequate to provide for the occupants’ demand, and also for charging an electric car.  This would reduce the carbon footprint for household energy use to practically zero.  Plus we don’t have to re-invent our urban environment, and we don’t have to twist everyone’s arm to get them to stop driving.

Anyone interested in this subject should read “The Human City” by Joel Kotkin.  (this book should be required reading for all our misguided urban planning experts)

Giles Blair