Thursday, August 20, 2009

Paradise Is A Possibilty

I saw this trailer at Amsterdamize. Watching the scenes of the 405 freeway makes me want to cry, truly. This, more than anything, is proof to me that we all need to step back and look at what we are doing to ourselves. Forget the environment, forget the oil. Just think about what existing like this is doing to our souls and how it carries its mark on us into every aspect of our lives.

I am convinced that if we don't, as a people, re-learn how to depend on ourselves for our needs, that we are doomed. By continuing down this path, where we have no need to exert ourselves to achieve our ends, there is no way that we can have a future of health and productive living. The longer we wait, the more our lives look like the 405 Freeway through Los Angeles.

There is hope, if we chose to make it happen.


  1. I'm a new convert to cycling, having just got my first bike. But I was amazed that none of the Amsterdammers have helmets on. There is a very strong message in the UK that helmets are a must. I guess the cycling conditions are different (better) there.

  2. The cycling conditions in Amsterdam are very different than in the UK, which contributes, in part, to the lesser use of helmets. But it goes beyond that- Amsterdamer's do not have fear thrown at them when it comes to cycling, so they just do not feel the need.

    As to you, I am glad you have joined the cycling ranks! The more the merrier!

  3. Angelfeet: for a nice in depth look at Amsterdam from the perspective of a bemused American, take a look at: His take on the helmet issue is classic, and his "Unrelated Helmet Rant" is well worth a read, too. Be sure to check out the comments afterwards, too, as they answer many of the questions he poses. Val

  4. I find the 405 an interesting case study. Built in the 1960s, it was designed to reduce congestion along Sepulveda Boulevard when traveling to/from West Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley. The freeway effectively tripled or quadrupled the traffic capacity, and worked well in its intended purpose for perhaps fifteen years. But then, somehow, it turned into the nightmare we see now.

    It's possible to have a no-car or low-car lifestyle in Los Angeles. I happen walk to most places (work, gym, grocery store, movies, etc.), and sometimes take the bus. My bicycle rides generally revolve around recreation, but I would ride more often for transportation if everything weren't so close.

    Ironically, the Dutch people I know who live here all drive, too. But they miss their bicycles.

  5. Driving in Los Angeles is not enjoyable. It isn't even faster all the time. This is another reason why I starting my cycling endeavor. Driving here is scary for me and riding here is scary for me, but at least riding my bike has benefits.

  6. I don't agree about the frequently made connection between helmets and fear; however, the real point of your post here is about the trailer.

    Our cities and towns would be so much finer if more of us cycled, and if fewer of our young were exposed to the withering look that that understandably bedraggled driver gave her backseat passengers. Yikes!

    The social, psychological, and health benefits of cycling do, indeed, change lives.

    Thanks for posting the trailer.

  7. Val- I am not sure where I saw that in the past, but it is a great post!
    Thanks for reminding me of it!

    Brent- You are so right! Just as a visitor, I find more and more places I can get to by bike. I recently discovered the Orange Line route which is about to be extended from Balboa Park to Chatsworth! I can't wait (my folks live in Chatsworth)!

    Cosmo- Preach it, sister! Driving through LA makes me so tired. It never ends! My recent adventures through LA by bike have been great!

    Bob- I long for the day when people start to see how much of life is stolen from them because of the sacrifices that we are all forced to make to accommodate cars, cars, cars. Glad you liked the trailer!

  8. I have no idea why California thought it best to build so many freeways at the expense of other travel modes. I imagine many are regretting it now. Bye-bye great car-economy.

  9. Having lived in California for 37 of my 38 years, I can not explain why there are so many freeways, although Northern California has fewer than Southern California, as well as less congestion.