In what may be the best letter-to-the-editor that the Enquirer publishes all year, former judge Mark Painter rips apart the Hamilton County commissioners for not even letting us vote on a plan to preserve two our our region’s most iconic buildings, Music Hall and Union Terminal:
The people of Hamilton County want to restore Music Hall and Union Terminal. But our good intentions have been frustrated. [...]
But our commissioners won’t even let us vote on it. [...]
Instead, in a breathtaking display of chutzpah compounded by ignorance, two Commissioners, Chris Monzel and Greg Hartmann, at the last minute concocted a back-of-napkin alternate scheme that even they can’t explain. And Monzel is not even sure he will vote for his own plan!
My parents, who had spent much of their adult life in relatively rural and exurban landscapes, adapted quickly. [...]
“Maybe after years in the exurbs or a small town you get tired of it. To be able to walk to three or four restaurants and two or three basic amenities like grocery stores instead of having to get in your car all the time. Well, that sounds pretty good to people.”
The most shocking thing about this driving decline is that it doesn’t seem to be caused by the weak economy. [...]
Some say higher gas prices have caused drivers to stay home. It’s a nice story, but there’s not much evidence backing it up. Gas prices are lower today than they were six and a half years ago. And average fuel efficiency has surged over the last decade, putting the real cost of gasoline usage today no higher than it was a decade ago. [...]
Remember, Americans drove 918 billion fewer miles over the last eight years than they would have if 2006 driving trends hadn’t changed. If a car has a lifespan of 200,000 miles, that ultimately means demand for vehicles over the last eight years was about half a million cars per year lower than it would have been at old driving rates.
But [Ford CEO Alan Mulally] also said he wasn’t sure what role Ford would play in the future of transportation in big cities. According to the Financial Times, Mulally said that adding more cars in urban environments is “not going to work” and that he was interested in developments in “personal mobility” and “quality of life.” Then he seemed to indicate Ford is interested in getting into transit, car sharing, or other models that don’t align with private car ownership.
When Ford gets it…
This summer is the 10th anniversary of the UrbanOhio forum, so we had a meetup in Columbus which included a walking tour of several neighborhoods.