DEMOCRACY CAME LATE TO OUR STREETS (Or, Drivers as Victims)

* Wanted: Curators and contributors for World Streets “Drivers As Victims” Department. Contact eric.britton@ecoplan.org

Drivers as Victims

After a century of fearless and uncontested domination, peace and pandering, car/owner drivers around the planet suddenly find themselves in the midst of a raging process of transition to a very different world of privilege and limitation, laws and enforcement, economics and free rides. And unsurprisingly in their own yes they see themselves as victims: having their territory limited step by step to ever-growing parts of the cityscape where they have long been uncontested kings and queens.

Nobody Likes To Trade Down

Suddenly they are finding themselves having to face a brave new world of access limitation, lowering speed limits, toll and road charges for what was always their free range. Constrained in the New Mobility Agenda to give way to cyclists, pedestrians, and numerous forms of pubic and shared transport. Increasing parking charges in parallel with steadily shrinking availability of convenient and near parking. Slowed down by a variety of speed and access control devices, physical and electronic. And in that being subject to more laws and more and more aggressive law enforcement.

As Gilbert and Sullivan put it so well: The driver’s lot is not a happy one (Happy One!).

Then there are the M2Ws

But that is not all: then there are the other drivers. And more specifically the growing hordes of honest citizens of all ages, conditions and sexes who are figuring out that for them the best way to get around in their city is on the seat of a motorized two-wheeler. But they too are being confronted with increasing pressures for change, both when in motion and when parked. And you can bet that they are in the main not happy at all with these new constraint.

But if we are in a democracy, we need to lean to listen to all the citizens’ voices. Not to crumble before the opposition, but to listen, listen actively, and explain. And one good way to do that is through stories of what is actually going on in this process of transition to a more sustainable and more just city. What works and what does not. What is at best grudgingly acceptable, and what in their view!) is outrageous, unfair and unacceptable.

 

Join us

So here today we have World Streets’ Drivers as Victims department, which up to now has not received much attention, so what about joining in and sharing with the group your stories, pictures, videos, reports and articles on the process of change, of mutation that is being engaged in cities that care. The good, he bad and the ugly. In the hope that we might learn from each other.

Home base: https://www.facebook.com/Drivers-As-Victims-Sounding-off-and-learning-to-listen-435421299985667/

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About the author:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Britton is an American political scientist and sustainability activist who has lived and worked in Paris since 1969. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets, his latest book, "BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Your City" focuses on the subject of environment, equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions. A pre-publication edition of Better Choices is currently undergoing an international peer review during Sept.- Oct. 2017, with the goal of publication in English and Chinese editions by end-year. If you wish to participate drop a line to BetterChoices@ecoplan.org .

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