Friday, September 28, 2007

Kids love their cars

She's only one young woman, but Newton South senior Katie Sander's spirited defense of kids driving to Newton South is depressing:

You can take away my soul but don’t take away my car.

Perhaps I’m being a bratty, entitled Newton kid, but driving to school and work has significantly improved my quality of life (and that of my parents, who no longer have to lug me around). And Sean, I am suprised that you’re surprised that high schoolers aren’t bigger proponents of self-propulsion. If anything we’re leading a call for more parking spots.

Ms. Sanders thoughts are in the comments to a TAB blog entry about a student hit by a car in a school crosswalk.

At who's expense comes the improved quality of life? The neighborhoods along her route to school, particularly those close to the school? Her future self who will suffer the effects of climate change? Not to be too dramatic, but the soldiers dying in the Middle East because we want to protect our oil interests? The kid hit by the car?

It's also depressing that school traffic, much of which is unnecessary, is perhaps impossible to regulate, short of some sort of congestion-pricing scheme. So, the only hope is to convince kids and parents to alter their behaviors.

Based on Ms. Sander's comments, it won't be easy.


Charlie D. said...

It's amazing... most high school kids think it's their God-given right to drive themselves to school. The solution of course is just to not provide any parking for students, and ensure that surrounding neighborhoods have parking regulations that prevent students from parking there as well (i.e. resident permits, 2-hour limit during the day, etc)

Adam said...

I haven't read about the accident, but sorry, Sean, what I've read here regarding driving patterns does sound a bit harsh. After all it's the parents who are the spoiled ones, who for the most part think it's their right as Americans to burn fossil fuels, drive everywhere while talking on their cell phones, and buy cars for their kids to do the same. Actual driving habits are another matter.

Let's be realistic -- when trying to change our culture, we talk about transit-oriented development and other ways of making alternate modes of travel more attractive. Why expect altruism from the kids when their parents don't show this behavior? They go to a school that was built in the middle of a sparse residential neighborhood with few nearby attractions and poorly served by public transit... or safe bicycle and pedestrian routes, for that matter. School buses are even less attractive than public transit. Let's just hope students limit their trips and drive more responsibly than their parents. (sounds like there's reason to believe they're not living up to that standard either)

We used to have a long walk just to get to Fred's country store for a place to go (yes, across that horrible Route 9 bridge) and even that's gone now. Perhaps North kids have less of an excuse.