Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bicycles vs. Cars vs. Buses

A beauty of a picture here:

From The Dish's description:

"Image via SUNY Stonybrook Department of Geosciences (h/t: Ian Swain, Martin Prosperity Institute). This poster, courtesy of the city of Muenster, Germany, illustrates the different amounts of space taken up by different kinds of transit.

  • Bicycle - 90 sq. m for 71 people to park their bikes.
  • Car - 1000 sq. m for 72 people to park their care (avg. occupancy of 1.2 people per car).
  • Bus - 30 sq m for the bus."
I'd love to hear what certain dimwits in the media have to say about this. George Will went on a rant the other day:
"Does (Transportation Secretary Ray) LaHood really think Americans were not avid drivers before a government highway program "promoted" driving? Does he think 0.01 percent of Americans will ever regularly bike to work? Intercity high-speed rail probably always will be the wave of the future, for cities more than 300 miles apart."
Matt Yglesias schools him:
"Will claims to find it unbelievable that as many as 0.01 percent of Americans would ever bike to work regularly. But rather than tossing off ridicule, he might have looked up the Census Bureau’s statistics on commuting patterns and seen that right now 0.4 percent of commuters normally get to work on bicycles. Now that’s a small percentage. But it’s forty times larger than a percentage that Will deems unrealistically utopian. This would be like saying Dwight Howard is 2 feet tall.

As for high-speed rail, San Francisco and Los Angeles aren’t that much more than 300 miles apart. Indeed, they’re about as far apart as Barcelona and Madrid, which are currently served by a very successful high speed rail link. What’s more, while metropolitan San Francisco is about the same size as metro Barcelona (4.2 million people, give or take), metropolitan Los Angeles’s 12.8 million residents is a much larger city than Madrid with its 5.3 million."

IOW, Will is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Which is a shame, because we need smart conservative commentators, not just those who can throw out pithy phrases about things they don't like.

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