All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking. – Nietzsche
In car commuting we separate ourselves from each other and our environment. The creative flow of ideas is cut. We stagnate our minds and stifle our collective imagination. Instead of eye contact we have aggression, instead of daydreaming through nature we have a rush to beat the light. The smells of the season are lost, the sound of the birds is drowned out by rumble.
I am a bit embarrassed for Portland with this chart. As a year-round bike commuter I can attest I contribute to the inverse. However, the increase in cars in the city in recent years because of insane amounts of people moving to this city (100,000 new people in 3 years!) wouldn’t surprise me if we have even dropped numbers of walkers and bikers and increased GHG emissions. I don’t even like to bike during rush hour due to the exhaust, and find it ironic that the more cars we have in the city, the more conscious forms of transportation are disincentivized because they become dangerous to health (lungs!) and safety (too many cars, not paying attention!). I think its time for a massive reversal like was done in Amsterdam, putting people before the automobile. Car-free lanes; car-free days; pedestrian only streets; more trees and greenways and less concrete; slower pace of commute and more human and nature connection!