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Contemplating car usage on the college campus


There is a certain pride that comes with living on the outskirts of campus, a pride that the residents of Hilleboe and Kittelsby can unite under. For we do not flinch at the prospect of struggle, instead we persevere, and if lucky, we may make it to Buntrock before breakfast ends. This ten minute trek, made twice a day, is around 9.5 hours a month, which is enough time to finish at least half of my reading assignments. This has brought me to imagine the time it would take to walk from campus to Northfield Central Park, and daydream about how owning a car could take me there so comfortably and so quickly. 


Elon Musk shares this enthusiasm for fast travel. So much so that he created a prototype of an underground tunnel in LA for cars to speed in, supposedly to ease congestion. Through his unparalleled entrepreneurial spirit, Elon Musk has succeeded in inventing the subway. Again. While I do understand that being a billionaire can interfere with a person’s ability to perform basic logic, there are other ways to get everyone to work quickly. A few of these include buses, trams, trains, and underground metros.  


Cars have taken over large strips of the world, turning land that could otherwise be used to build affordable housing and community parks into highways and car parks. There are a number of downsides to a transport system reliant upon cars. Firstly, it can perpetuate the segregation of communities, where those of lower socio-economic status may be barred from living or working in certain areas due to the travel distance necessitating car ownership. What’s more, not only do cars heavily contribute to the continual burning of fossil fuels, they also use up large amounts of material resources, land-resources, and land that could be more efficiently used to build an extensive and accessible high-speed railway. However, this remains unlikely if government planning is continually made to serve Elon and his cronies instead of servicing all in the making of a new, effective transportation system. 


Ultimately, owning a car may be necessary, but that does not mean that it is at all efficient. Transportation is a basic necessity that should be accessible to all. Not all people can afford a car, not all people can withstand polluted air, and not all people can physically drive. But all people wish to make a livelihood for themselves, all people wish to live in a healthy environment, and all people value their freedom of movement. Investing in public transportation could shorten distances and encourage movement. It could lessen housing segregation and open up places of leisure to more people. Perhaps the journey from Kittlesby to Buntrock is the longest one on campus, but at least the commute does not act as a barrier to my education or manner of livelihood. 

Miri Yang-Stevens is from London, Engl. Her major is undeclared.

Miri Yang-Stevens
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