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Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile" Book Review

strap書評「Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile」

Taras Grescoe is American and - not an oxymoron - passionately pro-public transportation.

We grew up bumping along inside the 23 trolley en route school in Philadelphia. Thus we are the target audience for this book and know whereof Grescoe writes.

Thanks ironically in part to global warming, the image of public transportation has improved - slightly.

Still, to many suburban Americans trains and buses and subways in the US are the last resort of the those without other means: dirty, dangerous, and always late.

Thanks to US government policy, developers, sprawl, and businesses that favor the automobile - and suburban living - there is often truth to this.

The same people who scorn riding pubic transport in the US are only to happy to gush about how convenient the London Tube or Paris Metro or Tokyo subway is.

In Straphanger, Grescoe fights back, angry and full of factoids. (Among our favorites was this: nine out of ten commuters in America drive to work, 75% of them alone.)

He travels and uses the New York, Moscow, Paris, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Bogota, Phoenix, Portland, Vancouver, and Philadelphia public transportation systems.

Moreover, he examines how we can "undo the damage that car-centric planning has done to our cities and create convenient, affordable, and sustainable urban transportation—and better city living—for all."

For those of us commuting by bike in Kyoto, we can only say Amen.

Buy on Amazon USA


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