“I seriously disagree with… taking an entire neighborhood and denying them the use of their cars, which I think is an evil thing to do to people, even if just for one Sunday.”
–talk show host Lars Larson
In the interview (mp3 below) Ms. Sinnott provides a textbook example on how to handle someone with a pro-car mentality who is opposed to the ideas and concepts that define the livable streets and carfree movements.
In the interview, Larson asks Sinnott a series of questions about Portland’s upcoming Sunday Parkways event (this Sunday!) in hopes of getting her to argue with him (a stance hosts like this thrive on).
Here are a few of his questions (listen to the interview below for her answers):
- Why was the city willing to close down 6 square miles of streets that people have paid for and people are used to being able to drive on?
What about the people who can’t get around on bicycles or for whom the weather is an impediment, what do you say to them?
95% of people commute in automobiles every day, how is it that cars are in the way?
So, the people stuck in rush hour traffic would be better if they were just walking up the freeway?
Since 95% of the people commute in cars, do you ever think we should make it easier for people to drive cars?
Why is it desirable to move in that direction [encouraging transit and biking], rather than allow people the individual freedom to go where they need to go, when they want to go there?
The final exchange is the best part of the entire interview. As if frustrated that Sinnott never gave him the opening to express his displeasure with Sunday Parkways, at the very end of the interview (after he already said goodbye to Sinnott), he encourages this final exchange:
“By the way, the thing I seriously disagree with you in doing is taking an entire neighborhood and denying them the use of their cars, which I think is an evil thing to do to people, even if just for one Sunday.”
“I’m sorry if you think we’re evil Lars. encourage you to join us on Sunday and see how not evil we are.”
“No, I won’t be doing that, because when you take an entire neighborhood and you say, ‘you are denied the use of your automobile’, I think you’re taking away somebody’s ability to travel and I think that’s the wrong thing to do. I think that’s the wrong way to get your message across, but, it’s pretty typical of people who’ve decided they know the right for people to live is just to force them to live that way.”
“That’s the way a lot of people who bike and walk feel about car drivers.”
“But see, I don’t deny anybody the use of a bicycle*, in fact I pay for the roads they ride on and they don’t pay for the roads.”
And of course, Larson gets the final word:
“That was Megan Sinnott, who is one of those people who believes that we’d all be better off if society was without automobiles.”
Listen to the entire interview below (it’s about 8 minutes long):