08 September 2011

American City Almost Gets It Right

In the face of rising fuel prices and traffic congestion, Peachtree City, GA, has gone all in on an alternative to the car for shorter trips.

10.000 of the 34.000 inhabitants have invested in this cheap alternative, which they use not only on normal roads, but also on 90 miles (144 km) of special paths, providing congestion-free short cuts and making the relatively slow-moving mode of transport quite efficient compared to cars.

Inhabitants are thrilled. They save money and love the wind in their hair. They take up less space when parking and it's better for the environment.

So what is this wonder of modern transportation?

cruiser chic
The Bicycle.

No, actually. It's the Golf Cart.

They've got the right bicycle-friendly climate in a nice small and flat city. They've got standard human bodies, including legs. They've even invested in the right infrastructure. But then they go and choose the car again, just in a slightly smaller, cheaper, greener and goofier version. So close, yet so far from a cycle-cigar.

Golf carts go slightly faster than bicycles, but they are loads more expensive, they don't counter obesity and they still pollute. Even if they are charged by atomic power, which is fairly CO2-neutral, the batteries still present an environmental hazard in production and disposal.

On a positive note, bikes are allowed on the special paths, and the carts do seem to be a better choice than normal cars. Even so, I am amazed at how stubbornly auto-centric America can be.

See also this video with interviews in English and speak in Danish.

Who's this guy?
As some of you may have noticed, I'm neither Mikael or Mary. My name is Andreas Hammershøj and some of you might recognize me from CopenhagenCycleChic, where I post now and then.
I work over at Copenhagenize Consulting, and have a background in Architecture, Landscape Planning and Urban Design, with a special focus on City Life and all things Bicycle.
I look forward to blogging on all scales of Bicycle Culture, from my favorite local bike shop, to planning strategy and theory.