Letters for June 23 

Readers sound off on Hamas, indie video stores, and poaching in Berkeley.

Page 3 of 3

Arthur R. Boone, Center for Recycling Research, Berkeley


Misc Letters

Transportation a Fundamental Right

After reading all the comments and editorial opinions about bus-service cuts, one question keeps recurring: Has any qualified transportation expert ever attempted to identify which of our various travel options might be considered natural or fundamental rights and which are not?

Nature still does a remarkable job of equipping human beings with a pair of legs, but not with fins, flippers, wings, or wheels. A peek into the foreseeable future indicates nothing that might be considered a trend away from past practice.

From time to time somebody will take the state Department of Motor Vehicles to court, claiming that revocation of a drivers license constitutes a violation of one's constitutional right to travel. In two cases California courts turned the plaintiffs down, ruling that a drivers license is not the equivalent of one's fundamental right to travel. In a third case the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the state court's denial for the same reason.

Streets, roads, and the Interstate Highway System are public works projects intended to benefit everyone. In the case of citizens who don't drive, should that benefit be limited to the trickle-down effect of enhanced economic activity or should it be of a more transportation-related nature? Growth patterns after World War II and completion of the Interstate Highway System forced many to rely on motor vehicles in order to access much new development that was approved by local and county planning commissions and elected officials who apparently gave no thought to the needs of those who don't drive. Is this forced dependence on automobiles an appropriate alternative benefit of public works road projects? Forcing anyone to rely on a mode of transportation so dangerous that it requires an insurance policy seems more like a violation of one's right to life.

Why do we continue promoting smart growth with incentives, tax breaks, and other stimulants and subsidies? Let's replace the New Urbanist rhetoric ("sustainability," "creative class," "world-class transit systems") and other euphonious appellations with terms that relate more directly to the rights of those who cannot, should not, or choose not to drive — then just prohibit all development that is not at least as accessible and functional for non-drivers as it is for those who drive.

Art Weber, El Cerrito

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Readers also liked…

Most Popular Stories

  • Weathering the Heat

    In the decades ahead, as temperatures rise and droughts intensify, Northern California's climate, vegetation, and wildlife may look more like Southern California does today.
  • The Spanish Teaching Shortage

    In Oakland, where the shortage of language instructors is particularly acute, the school district has been recruiting teachers from Mexico and Spain.
  • The Return of the Crematorium

    Overburdened with air pollution, East Oakland residents and activists thought they had blocked a crematorium from opening in 2012. But it quietly began operations a few months ago.
  • A New Richmond Neighborhood

    Richmond has launched a plan to annex North Richmond into the city. But not everyone is excited about it.
  • New Oakland Law Fails to Protect Low-Income Residents

    Despite temporary rules enacted by the city council to preserve low-income SRO housing, property owners are converting buildings into boutique hotels.

Special Reports

Taste, Fall 2017

Fall Arts 2017

Our Picks for the Best Events of the Fall Arts Season

© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation