Let's declare war on calling transportation arguments "war"
Maryland Politics Watch has a roundup of the Purple Line debate with the inflammatory headline "MTA Declares War on Chevy Chase." In the lede, MPW's Adam Pagnucco calls the DEIS "a Declaration of War on rail opponents in the Town of Chevy Chase."
As far as I know, the MTA does not want to kill, maim, or take as prisoner any rail opponents in Chevy Chase, nor do they want to destroy the town or force it to sign a peace treaty. Instead, they simply want to build a train line. In fact, the residents of Chevy Chase are even allowed to ride it! Can we stop with the inflammatory "war" rhetoric please?
There's a word for not accepting the town's arguments: "disagreement." Is the Town of Chevy Chase "declaring war" on North Chevy Chase, because North Chevy Chase greatly dislikes the Town of Chevy Chase's Jones Bridge bus alternative?
In other war news, Virginian officials reacted with some understandable dismay to the closing of almost all Potomac bridges to auto traffic. Always eager to inflame the car-pedestrian divide, AAA's Lon Anderson and a few community email list participants trotted out the Civil War analogies. And always eager to play along, the Post's Eric "War on Drivers" Weiss wrote a whole article about it.
Reader Stephen Miller just submitted a post about AAA's reaction. He wrote,
The bottom line is that two million people are going to crowd the Mall for the nation's largest gathering ever and AAA thinks we should leave the bridges open for private auto traffic. The issue isn't, as AAA frames it, "security impinging on mobility." Sure, the security will restrict car mobility. But if it weren't, the traffic would even more severely restrict the mobility of the other 1.8 million people not in private cars. As Beyond DC notes, the issue is efficiency. With two million people cramming the Mall, where does AAA think the cars are going to go?
Think of it this way: 1.3 million people commute to Manhattan daily, and most of them don't drive because, if they did, the traffic and parking would be insane. Now imagine almost twice that many people cramming into a space the size of Central Park. Still, AAA thinks that everyone should be able to drive their own car to downtown DC, if they wanted to.
Obviously cars can be a useful and often necessary way of getting around, but this Inauguration is an extraordinary situation. Yet when faced with reality, AAA sticks to dogma about keeping as many automobile lanes as possible open at all times.
(And if you find AAA's stance unreasonable, there are alternative car clubs, competitive on cost and quality. Try Better World Club, which the Car Talk guys recommended over AAA since it doesn't lobby for highways.)
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