17 April 2007

Cars: the insanity

The syntax is a bit odd, and it’s now a month old, but I haven’t seen this bit of news reported anywhere else. I think it’s sad:

For the occasion of the closure day of the Geneva Motor Show, some 10 activists from different organizations were planning to do a small demo at the inside of the Geneva motor show, deploying a banner to point out the hypocrite discourse of the car manufacturers. As a preventive measure, Police Detectives of the Geneva Canton have taken the whole group of activists and the camera crews in their presence in custody, and kept them for more than 8 hours for questioning. Jeroen Verhoeven, Coordinator of the 4x4network and participating in the action, has been hand-cuffed and taken away to the police station for questioning. The activists have been charged of being “the alleged authors of threats alarming the public”, even if the action did not take place! In order to avoid any dissident voice at the motor show, the activists have been phone-tapped, hand-cuffed, strip searched, their DNA and fingerprints have been taken, and video material, laptops and mobile phones have been seized by the Geneva Police.” UK Indymedia (my emphases)
On a related note, I was pleased to see a fellow Wellington (New Zealand) blogger respond to a comment in the local paper about a "bus lane policy that will strip residents of their rights to park cars on busy thoroughfares".
Excuse me? When did it become a "right" to store one's private property on a public thoroughfare? Tom Beard
This is no trivial question. Recent research seems scanty, but in 1992 the World Resources Institute (MacKenzie et al cited here) estimated the value of this ‘right’, for the US alone, to be $85 billion per annum, assuming an average value for a parking space of $1000 per year. The authors argued that parking should be considered part of the normal costs of operating and owning a car and that the free supply of parking is effectively subsidizing the use of cars and trucks. (The same study concluded that road transport subsidies in the USA amounted to around $174 billion in 1989 or 3 per cent of GDP with road users covering only about 20 per cent of public expenditures and costs.)

No comments: