A leak in the roof can never be fixed by buying a bigger bucket

I have a dream.
Imagine stepping outside your front door into the street. The street doesn’t have an ugly black strip running down its centre; there is instead a lawn stretching left and right, with bushes and small trees, ponds, park benches… a long, thin, peaceful park branching throughout your neigbourhood. Ideal for short strolls, jogging, relaxing, bird-watching.
The pavements remain for foot, cycle, and personal buggy traffic: but they’re now, by tradition and for convenience, one-way on either side of the ‘street.’
Overhead (or, perhaps, underground), there’s an ‘on-demand’ monorail. The nearest access point is within easy walking distance. It’s a personal rapid transit (PRT) system that can get you to work, to the library (now, there’s a thought), to… anywhere you want to go in the country. One day soon, the link-ups with your neighbouring countries will be complete and you’ll be able to go anywhere you want to go in the world from this PRT stop just outside your house.
This is, so I’ve been told, a utopian pipe-dream.
But I believe that something like it will happen eventually, sooner or later, one way or another.*
Such a thing will only ever happen with massive investment, and a huge mindshift. Humongous resources would be needed just to counteract the road and oil lobbies. One way this could come about might be if those who have already chosen to voluntarily give up their obsolescent motor cars were to invest in such a future. Such foresighted people** are saving themselves, what, something like £3000 a year? If all of those people were to voluntarily invest a portion of that saving into a fund, maybe we could get things moving.
I’ll stump up my share. Anyone else?
* Unless we kill ourselves, or our civilisation, off first.
** I’m not yet one of them, I admit: I still need my car to get to work. I live in the sticks, and public transport is currently, well, let’s face it, a bit of a joke even in town centres. Might be a bit better if there were somewhat fewer traffic jams — which can only ever happen if the number of cars on the road are on the decline (rather than on the increase). Building more roads will never be the solution.

About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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4 Responses to A leak in the roof can never be fixed by buying a bigger bucket

  1. Polly says:

    What a wonderful dream! Once, a long time ago I lived within walking distance of a railway station. It was amazing to think that you could go anywhere in the world from there. A utopian dream, it’s something we had once and now have lost. In the sticks around here, it apparently takes two days to go from the north of the county to the furthest point south. (I haven’t calculated it, so it could be a myth. By bus it’s possible to leave a village on any day of the week, but not quite as easy to return.) It must be 50 years since they dug up the railways amid public uproar :-(As for the fund – isn’t that just another tax?


  2. Colin says:

    Hi Polly, nice to hear from you!

    It is indeed a pity that the shortsightedness of The Powers That Were ruined our train infrastructure. But, it’s never too late (well, not until it is, that is…).

    Re: ‘The fund as another tax’ — I don’t hold with the idea that tax is evil. We all want these services, but it seems to me that nobody is ever willing to pay for them. I was talking with my mother the other day, about the various charities to which she donates: they could be viewed as just ‘another tax,’ too. In my view if the charities were funded from tax money, they wouldn’t have to spend as much on their efforts to morally blackmail us all into coughing up for their good works (not to mention the trees wasted by all the publicity materials they have to print and push through letterboxes). Donating to charity is a ‘voluntary tax,’ and a pretty inefficient one.

    Paying £3000 a year (ish?) for the privilege of maintaining a metal box on wheels can also be viewed as a ‘voluntary tax,’ no? And much of that cost is externalised. We all pay, in increasingly valuable time and elevated stress levels, for waiting about in traffic. And most of us do so with our engines running, polluting the atmosphere — another external cost, and the bill for that is not going to be a cheap one.


  3. Pingback: They paved paradise and put up a parking lot | Wibble

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