“If it moves, tax it. if it keeps moving, regulate it. and if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
~ Ronald Reagan on the economic policy of government and bureaucrats
This is my brief message to all bloggers, hipsters and other individuals who, like myself, visited the evening program of yesterdays ‘Blogging the city’ conference in Pakhuis de Zwijger.
Many interesting and beautiful remarks were made but, for now, I’ll stick to the first speaker who is the man behind the ‘Copenhagenize-projects’, Mikael Colville-Andersen a.k.a. Denmark’s bicycle ambassador.
Colville-Andersen told the audience some very remarkable things, such as the idea that “the bicycle may have improved the gene pool, allowing isolated farm workers or villagers to increase their mobility radius in the search of partners” (thus to prevent inbreeding) and what is perhaps even more astonishing was the fact that cities once didn’t belong to cars but to people on foot. In this context, he explained the origins of the term ‘jaywalking‘ which “dissemination was due in part to a deliberate effort by promoters of automobiles, such as local auto clubs and dealers, to redefine streets as places where pedestrians do not belong.” A ‘jay’ used to be slang for an ignorant guy from the country, who’d perhaps be too backward to thrive in the modern city.
The ‘Copenhagenize-projects’ spawn from the thought that “design begins with need and it is people who define that need.” I find this concept very beautiful and many cities seem to be adopting similar ideas.
What really startled me though, was reading that the “Copenhagenize Index has officially recognised Amsterdam as the world’s most bicycle-friendly city.”
Since I completely disagree with this point of view, I wondered why that is? By the way, as a fanatic and perhaps even slightly aggressive city cyclist I sure as Hell know what I’m talking about here. Let’s just observe some of the facts (and since I’ll soon be off to work, it’s impossible now to complete this list):
(1) The local government pursues an aggressive policy towards cyclists who park their bikes on sidewalks, for which you can be fined nowadays. This is especially the case in ‘De Pijp’ neighborhood where parking space is most scarce because of the infrastructural disaster called the Noordzuidlijn and the lax policy concerning bicycle wrecks, who are sometimes left untouched for years thus filling up precious space.
(2) Everywhere in town, there seems to be a tendency to ‘cage’ cyclists into narrow corridors, to make way for cars and buses. The local government clearly dislikes the anarchist on his or her bike who sometimes feels the urge to pass a slower vehicle.
(3) Car-drivers who kill cyclist through reckless driving tend to get off most lightly, while the police is constantly harassing cyclists with fines. Most notably in this respect was the death of Dutch comedian Floor van der Wal in 2011 by the hand of the Goddamn pile of cum-ridden queer-shit Mohammed S. who fled the crime-scene without any kind of shame. He was released in less than five months.
(4) By far most irritating, though, is the fact that tram-drivers seem to have some kind of device with which they can ‘block’ red-lights, so all other traffic has to wait in order for them to go first. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t tend to ignore traffic lights altogether, you’re bound to wait several extra minutes just so that the streetcar with its – on average – three passengers will be on time at its next stop. This is a remnant of our backward socialist past, which we somehow didn’t manage to rid ourselves of. This ‘positive action’ towards trams does not only make you spend more time in traffic than is strictly necessary, but will undoubtedly cause an aggressive backlash since people will want to make up for the time they lost through this unjustified discrimination.
So, dear mr Colville-Andersen, I sincerely hope this blog-post reaches you and that you won’t be fooled again by the bureaucrats and politicians who work so hard in destroying this fine town. And, when they invite you to a brainstorm-session or ask you to lecture them, don’t forget that to them you’re nothing more than an good excuse to organize another drink plus dinner on other peoples expenses, the only activity in which they absolutely excel.
David ‘defenestrationize‘ Frankenhuis