It is up to new Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg to enforce this, and Buttigieg has emphasized the role of reformed transport plans in interviews and public appearances. In an interview with Politico, Buttigieg reiterated that saddling black communities with the pollution and bifurcation associated with highways is “not just a matter of halfway accidental neglect” but “deliberate choices made”. He swears reforms; Much of the rest of Politico’s article consists of ex-Obama administration officials voicing their own cautious hopes that now is the time for more profound changes, with both sides either sniffing at each other a little or encouraged by their reporter broker become. That is hard to say.
However, all stakeholders seem to agree that addressing the deliberate damage caused by past and present transportation decisions requires actual funding, not just political reform. Former Obama transport officer Beth Osborne noted that “it would be a bold statement for her to create a pot of money specifically for the amalgamation of re-divided parts of the city.”
In this case, as in many other cases, fighting discriminatory government policies and reorganizing those policies to better reflect our urgent climate crisis is ultimately leading to the same place. Environmental policy is always a civil rights issue, and few examples are as clear as those of the US highway systems. A quick switch to electric vehicles would alleviate the thick build-up of soot that is noticeable to anyone who has lived off a major thoroughfare. Restructuring mass transportation networks so more Americans can use them to get to more places is reducing both the climate impact of individual transportation and giving residents of currently isolated neighborhoods access to far more jobs and services than they currently do. Removing highways to replace them with smaller streets and more green spaces will not only bring together now subdivided neighborhoods, but it will also reduce urban heat island effects, amplify heat waves and put further strain on our electricity grids.
First and foremost, however, our highways are no longer a physically sustainable infrastructure plan, no matter how much money we throw on them.
It is similar to the elevator problem in urban high-rise buildings: the more floors that are added, the more elevators it takes to move people from one floor to another, and the more space those elevators take up on each floor. From a certain threshold, the elevator shafts on each floor must be given enough space that there is little or no space left for actual living or office space on each floor. The people in the elevators have nowhere to go.
In American metropolises, the space for streets, highways, garages, parking lots, setbacks and related structures takes up so much space that island formation in every neighborhood is a perfect achievement. You couldn’t go to a grocery store or other service even if motivated to do so, instead you would need a car to simply drive past all of the infrastructure designated for cars between you and him. Local transport becomes less profitable as the streets and parking lots have limited the population density around each stop, expanding the structure of each city, and forcing transport planners to either put an endless number of stops for people to collect on each line, or decide that the majority of every neighborhood just isn’t served.
We only need our cars to navigate all areas in America that are dedicated to cars. Walking through several acres of parking lots to get to other parking lots that lead to an actual front door in modern shopping malls is a tax on effort and time that can only be partially reduced by owning a car to park in them .
It doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad. As American cities expand to meet the needs of growing populations, and fields are paved for each new residential area, for its streets, for the streets that lead to those streets, and so on, we will reach the point where our cities are all elevators are no more floors to get out of. It will not work.
With government complex, muddy, and forever prone to worrying about the needs of the already privileged and connected, the unprivileged and the silent, it is not a given that a focus on eliminating the climate and environmental damage should be given to our now archaic transport policy is Pay adequate attention to the communities that have suffered the most damage. However, Biden and his team clearly emphasize the need to do just that from the first days of administration. That is a good sign if Congress can gather behind it and provide the necessary funds.