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Paul Goodman’s Legacy: Your Ideas for Clean Local Transportion | Win a Bike

by Ted Johnson

We propose the banning of all cars from Manhattan Island, except buses, small taxis, vehicles for essential services (doctor, police, sanitation, vans, etc.), and the trucking used in light industry.

The present situation is intolerable and all other proposed solutions of it are uneconomic, disruptive, unhealthy, nonurban or impractical.

Paul Goodman Changed My LifeAnd with those opening paragraphs, published in Dissent magazine, Paul and Percival Goodman set forth an urban vision and a prescription for the ills of Manhattan.  This was in 1961–one of the headiest times in American car culture.

And the message was obviously ignored.  Right?

The thesis of an upcoming documentary film, Paul Goodman Changed My Life, is that the ideas of Paul Goodman are still rippling quietly through our society, and now is the right time to amplify these ideas and give due credit.

JSL Films is giving away two bikes in a contest for people willing to write their local government (mayor, or city council) and submit with five ideas that could be implemented locally involving forms of transportation that reduce global warming.  One bike will go to an North American winner, the other bike to a European winner (a Breezer and a Biomega, respectively).

Sounds easy.

Click here to enter the contest and for more information.

Download the essay, Banning Cars From Manhattan – Percival and Paul Goodman (PDF)

 
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4 Responses to “Paul Goodman’s Legacy: Your Ideas for Clean Local Transportion | Win a Bike”

  1. Aryx says:

    I find it strange the seeming political divide between the left and the right when it comes to bicycles. Being conservative in many ways, I find so much simple reasoning behind the advocacy of cycling in place of driving in increasing measure – primarily for fitness, mental well-being, enjoyment, economy, and environmental benefits. Any conservative would.

    I would recommend, that if you are left-leaning yourself, that when you try to influence conservatives, speak their language – which is the same vocabulary of cycling – love of freedom! Rather than say we need to get rid of cars and regulate (read:tax) emissions, etc. tout all of the benefits. I am someone who has commuted by bike 30 miles RT for years. I would gladly support any movement to provide safer roadways and bike paths. I believe if the safety were available, there would be an explosion commuting ridership!

  2. Josh Lipton says:

    @Aryx
    It would be incredible if bicycle advocacy could become an issue that liberals and conservatives could come together on perhaps even as a rallying point for political consensus. Finding that middle ground of language that appeals to both liberals and conservatives would be crucial in this effort.

    I’m inspired to explore the various ways that bicycle advocacy is expressed and then how it is interpreted from a variety of political mindsets. Thanks for the spark!

  3. BluesCat says:

    Aryx – While I applaud you for your commonsense conservatism and your impressive daily bike mileage, I do hope you realize that you are very, VERY much the exception over there on the right side of the aisle.

    This is because the current leaders of “conservative values,” the Ideologues of the Right, are not so much concerned with being conservative as they are with being anti-liberal. President Obama could put forward a plan to virtually guarantee immediate world peace, without sacrificing a single American ideal, and not a single Republican anywhere on the planet would vote for it.

    When the Republicans talk “compromise,” it means that Democrats have to agree with EVERYTHING in the Republican plan. And NO Republican plan includes anything but automobiles as the ONLY American transportation worth federal funding. As an example, in their manifesto, “Out of Gas,” Republican Senators McCain (AZ) and Coburn (OK) call bike projects “luxuries,” attempting to invalidate them as sound transportation projects.

    Until this philosophy changes, it will be an uphill battle to have a reasonable dialog about bikes as transportation between Democrats and Republicans.

  4. Aryx says:

    I agree that there is a lack of vision, or perhaps over-reaction to anything Left on the Right side, but that is the overall political tone right now.

    I think the most productive way to accomplish what we agree is a most beneficial cultural shift is to strike a politically neutral tone and while a national strategy is good, focus energies at the local level until there is a sea change in opinion.

    A conservative tenet that I agree with is that the Federal Gov’t has it’s fingers too deeply entrenched at the local level.

    That said, I need to put my money where my mouth is and see what I can do in my own neck of the woods! I will begin to keep note of my efforts and see what comes of it – and use this forum if I am able to help in anyway. Likewise, I will speak out in conservative circles about this. I am a firm believer that one person can shift the balance of anything!

    Thanks Josh and BluesCat for the comments!

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