I generally hold that Thomas Friedman is an idiot. His unwavering, utopian support of globalization and “free” markets causes me to wonder whether he is evil or just plain stupid. However, this op-ed had some good things to say:
After appointments here in Copenhagen, I was riding in a car back to my hotel at the 6 p.m. rush hour. And boy, you knew it was rush hour because 50 percent of the traffic in every intersection was bicycles. That is roughly the percentage of Danes who use two-wheelers to go to and from work or school every day here. If I lived in a city that had dedicated bike lanes everywhere, including one to the airport, I’d go to work that way, too. It means less traffic, less pollution and less obesity…
Unlike America, Denmark, which was so badly hammered by the 1973 Arab oil embargo that it banned all Sunday driving for a while, responded to that crisis in such a sustained, focused and systematic way that today it is energy independent. (And it didn’t happen by Danish politicians making their people stupid by telling them the solution was simply more offshore drilling.)
…“I have observed that in all other countries, including in America, people are complaining about how prices of [gasoline] are going up,” Denmark’s prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told me. “The cure is not to reduce the price, but, on the contrary, to raise it even higher to break our addiction to oil.”
I live in a city which is still debating whether or not rapid transit is a good idea and is making some very sincere but half-assed motions in the direction of supporting cyclist commuters. Perhaps we should send our mayor and city councilors to Copenhagen for a working holiday.