It is no secret that Modesto, and our country as a whole, has a deeply rooted car culture. Driving and vehicle ownership has become such a dominant aspect of the American way of life that discussions about the “standard of living” in a given area always include the issues of ample parking and traffic circulation. But as roads are ever widened and parking lots abound, neighborhoods and close-knit communities suffer as the majority of our shared environments continue to degrade into an uninhabitable stretch of horizontal concrete, bearable only within the confines of a car.
It has been shown again and again that widening roads does little, if anything, to relieve congestion. Making it easier to drive and park encourages people to drive more often, even when they live close by. This leads to an increase in cars on the road by discouraging the use of other forms of transportation, like biking, walking or public transit. This phenomenon is called “induced demand” and it is something we all need to keep in mind as more money becomes available for infrastructure projects.
Otherwise we’ll be left with more vast, uninhabitable concrete space. Ideal for our cars, but not for us.
Gavin Bruce, Modesto