The problem isn’t high gas prices. It’s the lack of choice.

Have you seen the price of arugula? It can be a pricey green for salads, but fortunately salad eaters have choices. That old iceberg lettuce is never that much money and the more dedicated can often grow their own. It’s good to have choices.

Unfortunately for many of us in Southeast Michigan, when it comes to high gas prices, we don’t have choices — at least in the short run. Much of Southeast Michigan is urban sprawl and car dependent by design with mediocre to no transit options. Except for the most urbanized areas, Southeast Michigan’s walkability and bike ability is mediocre to poor as well. Complete Streets are typically a resolution rather than reality.

So while 9% of those recently surveyed blame President Obama for the high gas prices, it’s surprising that local officials that have promoted sprawl are escaping the blame for this automobile dependence.

The area’s main sprawl supporter is L. Brooks Patterson who says:

I love sprawl.  I need it.  I promote it.  Oakland County can’t get enough of it.

Yes, believe it or not, that’s actually his quote. Why is he being given a pass?

Those living in sprawling communities have few options in the face of high gas prices. It’s affecting peoples’ quality of life. We have built much of this region in such a way that residents are more vulnerable to the price of oil — and we’re all paying the price.

It’s time we held this area’s politicians and planners more accountable and demanded better transportation choices.

Additional reading:
Drive to Spend: Sprawl and Household Transportation Expenses

Tags: , , ,

8 Responses to “The problem isn’t high gas prices. It’s the lack of choice.”

  1. » The Problem Isn’t Higher Gas Prices, It’s Lack of Choice Says:

    […] well President Obama will weather the backlash over rising gas prices, the folks at Network blog point out that there are many more deserving targets of public ire: The decision makers who help […]

  2. kelli Says:

    So true. Thanks for this post.

  3. Eric Says:

    People in Oakland County and suburban Wayne just aren’t smart enough to see the connection. They’re so used to driving and couldn’t fathom walking or biking to work. It’s kind of sad.

  4. Tim Says:

    I read all of Patterson’s statement. I’m going to go cry now…

  5. Doug Says:

    It’s not just the politicians at fault here. I would bet that over 90 percent of the voters in Macomb and Oakland County would vote for Mr. Paterson for exactly what he said. When it’s all said and done it is our ideals and culture that created what we have both in the suburbs and the urban centers. We need to educate and enlighten the masses that there is not only a better way to live, but also an imperative need to create a society that is more efficient and economically competitive with other regions not only in our own state but nationally and world wide. We see it starting here now but are still a long way from meeting the critical mass needed to open the eyes of the public in general.

  6. Graham Says:

    Well of course they would agree with him. He’s made urban planners into some sort of communists in the woodpile. While people who think it’s okay that driving down a road lined with fast food chains, unable to tell where one town starts and another ends, makes them red-blooded patriots who piss excellence.

  7. Greg Says:

    Poor stupid people don’t know how stupid they are.

  8. | L. Brooks Patterson and the love of sprawl by Andy H. Says:

    […] Executive L. Brooks Patterson, hosted on the County’s own website.  (Coincidentally, the M-Bike blog highlighted the post this week as well [HT […]

Leave a Reply