Five Card Story: Car Dependency. Why does it exist and what are its effects?

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a Five Card Flickr story by Mike Matalavage created Sep 19 2021, 01:44:03 pm. Create a new one!

flickr photo credits: (1) bionicteaching (2) bionicteaching (3) Serenae (4) bionicteaching (5) bionicteaching

about this story

Introduction (Picture 1): People all over the USA have different interests and demand different things, like a Fencing Gym. In many cases, satisfying these demands requires visiting a store or facility far from their homes forcing people to take a car.

(Picture 2): The effect of widespread car usage can have negative impacts on both the environments we live in and the climate. Traffic can be exceptionally frustrating to those who are driving, and intercity traffic (as pictured above) can be hazardous to pedestrians who have to cross the road. Additionally, all these people driving cars to different locations contributes to climate change. Vehicles such as cars emit carbon and accelerate carbon emissions. This is concerning, especially since cars are so widespread and almost essential for most people.

(Picture 3): The effect of these increased carbon emissions can impact natural environments such as the ocean in this picture. Rising temperatures will melt glaciers causing sea levels to rise, and an increase in the CO2 absorbed by the ocean increases the acidity of the water which will hurt sea life.

Counterargument (Picture 4): However, not having a car in the USA restricts ones opportunities due to the fact that many American cities are built around cars. Many local governments (especially in western states) have passed legislation that builds new roads and highways in an attempt to fix the issues of widespread car usage such as traffic. Zoning laws passed by local Zoning Boards in large government buildings like the one above force people to build out instead of up which promotes sprawl and pushes people further and further away from their interests. This inefficient use of land and focus on cars essentially forces people who live in these areas to buy a car otherwise they will not be able to access even a simple grocery store.

Conclusion (Picture 5): That being said, there are solutions. A recent trend in urban planning is walkability, which has people living within walking distance to stores and facilities that will satisfy their demands. It gets people outside where they can get some physical activity and enjoy the sunlight. This requires modifying zoning laws to allow for the construction of denser housing which in turn allows for more people to access more facilities in a smaller area. Increasing density will also bring more appealing businesses into the area in order to access the large number of people living there. Increasing public transport in existing areas can also reduce people's dependency on having to take a car. In the end, there are a lot of solutions to reducing car dependency and given the problems that it both causes and exacerbates, I believe the solutions proposed are more than worth implementing.

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flickr photo credits: (1) bionicteaching (2) bionicteaching (3) Serenae (4) bionicteaching (5) bionicteaching

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