Politics Al Gore Has a Point. Too Bad Greg Nickels Doesn’t Get It.
“We need to change our habits,” former U.S. VP Al Gore said this morning at Seattle City Hall, hyping Mayor Greg Nickels’s Green Ribbon Commission recommendations—which aim to bring Seattle in line w/ Kyoto standards. (Nickels has gotten 212 other U.S. cities to sign onto his homegrown Kyoto pledge to meet the Kyoto mandate of lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels—a treaty the Bush administration flipped off.)
“It is not necessary for us to take 3,000 pounds of metal with us everywhere we go,” Gore advised. Gore’s quip resonated with Nickels’s Green Ribbon Commission’s first recommendation: “Reduce Seattle’s Dependence on Cars.”
The elephant in the living room, however, was Team Nickels’s other big initiative, building a superhighway through downtown Seattle to accommodate 110,000 cars and trucks per day.
Indeed, when Team Nickels is confronted with the smart alternative to make simple traffic fixes to the downtown grid and replace the aging Viaduct with a regular boulevard—an option that would de-emphasize hauling 3,000 pounds of metal around with us everywhere we go—Nickels whines about the 110,000 vehicles that we need to accommodate everyday.
Instead of being an accommodationist to our bad habits, Nickels should follow Gore’s advice and push for urban planning options that don’t perpetuate downtown Seattle as a drive-through greenhouse gas factory.