One Track Minds Can’t See the Food for the Traffic Jams

By Wayne Roberts

There’s only one issue that gets all right-thinking North Americans yelling out of the far left side of their mouth. Roads. It’s almost universally believed that roads should be built by the state, from each according to the government’s ability, and to each according to their need… About a fifth of car trips in most cities are for buying food. Most of these car trips could be eliminated if people walked to good food retail outlets on nearby main streets. Road pricing could help support lively food scenes on lively main streets during the start-up phase. I’d rather public money go to making these trips walkable than subsidizing public transit to a faraway grocery… And if we wanted to deal with the vehicles dominant in many highway traffic jams, we could target long- haul food trucks – the ones that bring in about 90 per cent of most cities’ food supplies from some 2000 miles away.

(This article is adapted from NOW Magazine, June 8-15, 2011.)

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