Monday, October 8, 2007

Morning Constitutional XII

Amy Babich is one of the local bicycle, ummm, somethings. I think "enthusiast" is not nearly strong enough a word - were she mayor (I believe she has run before), she would make downtown Austin a car-free zone. Her periodic letters to the Austin Comicle are usually good for a laugh, even amongst the other free-range idiocy expressed in the letters-to-the-editor section.

Her latest letter (sorry, don't know how to link directly to that letter - just search for Babich) is a typical rant about development not meeting her bizarre worldview. She decries the development of The Domain for not being more accessible to walkers or bikers - from downtown.

The distance from downtown to The Domain, according to Google Maps? About 11 miles.

Hands up? How many people want to walk 11 miles from downtown, enjoy a day of shopping and dining, and then walk back 11 miles?

None? OK - how about biking 11 miles instead?

Still none? I didn't think so. Amy, the reason people don't walk in Austin for transportation purposes is because it is too hot and things are far away. Yes, I can already hear her say - that's the point! If we all lived, worked, shopped and ate downtown, then we'd all be able to walk around in paradise!

But Amy - I don't want to live downtown. I like having a house, with a yard, with neighbors I'm not sharing a wall with. I like that I didn't pay a couple of hundred thousand dollars for an apartment. I like having large supermarkets available, instead of going to a tiny convenience store or the one grocery store (Whole Foods) allowed in the central city. You want to live that way, fine, go right ahead - don't complain about those of us that don't want to live in whatever "Austin Weird" version of Manhattan you are trying to create.

This isn't even the part dumb enough to be worthy of a Morning Constitutional.

No, that part is this sentence. Austin should work to make the city pedestrian-friendly, because:

As a side benefit, the city could evacuate in an emergency.

OK - so let's think about why we might need to evacuate the city. Uhhh, maybe a hurricane is holding together long enough to adversely effect Austin? Maybe there was some kind of terrorist attack (UT is actually a reasonable target for that kind of thing)? You know, either nuclear or biological?

Right - so we're going to evacuate the city. Is your first thought "I better get my bike", "I better put on some comfortable shoes for my long walk", or "I better get in my car?"

If for some reason I really need to evacuate Austin, you better believe I'm not doing it on foot or bike. If so, this city might as well kiss its ass goodbye.

Amy, you really are a single-minded moron. Thanks for making me feel smarter all day long.

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