The hegemony of motorized travel knows no bounds. Sever one of its vital lifelines and it moves blithely to an alternative. Block the alternative and the alternative to the alternative is found. Does anyone ever imagine the possibility that maybe the trip didn’t have to occur in the first place?
The traffic morass caused by the I-35W bridge collapse has been moving ever eastward. SR 280 was turned into a temporary freeway. But this weekend some connecting ramps are being improved along the detour and the highway department is recommending Snelling as an alternative. The street that runs right through the middle of our Hamline-Midway neighborhood (Star Tribune Aug. 9).
We’re accustomed to the occasional Snelling jam up. Northbound to the State Fair in the morning and southbound from the State Fair in the evening. Classic car show. Same deal. We know how to route around all of that and we are accustomed to adapting with surprising cheerfulness to these consequences of urban congestion. But it is not unreasonable to ask, is all of this really necessary?
Why does the government have such a serious responsibility to ensure absolutely that I can aim my 2.5 ton wagon at any place in the city I want it to be anytime I want it to be there? Does anyone even begin to suggest that maybe I should just, well, stay home or, alternatively, take the bus or ride my bike? That notion does not appear in the Strib story.
The people sitting in their cars during State Fair time could very easily have gone to one of the many park and ride lots where they could ride a free bus to and from the fair. In some cases the free bus goes along a dedicated right of way ensuring no waiting for deep fried food items on a stick. This year, with all of the mess, possibly the Fair organizers could simply shut down the parking option on the Fair grounds and tell all of the fair-goers to park and ride. But that idea seems completely absurd, doesn’t it?