No More Road Enthusiasts?

Slightly off topic, I know; but bear with me.

A while back when discussing the origins of Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, I was struck by the notion that it was developed with the ‘road enthusiast’ in mind. The twists, changes in elevation, and surrounding nature all lent to the beauty of the experience of driving. Now it seems, the notion of consideration of the road enthusiast is dead. This CBS news report shows the dangers in America’s roads and the efforts to rid us of them. What are the dangers? Exactly the same features that makes a great road: Curves, trees, lack of cement walls around it.

It’s difficult. I suppose if we remove all of these things, American roads might be safer. But they’ll also be boring as Hell.

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DISCUSS (6 Comments)

  1. Edmund

    Perhaps better drivers are also in order. Mandatory drivers ed maybe? Or at least make it a little tougher to get a drivers licence in the first place.

  2. Mike Jacobsen

    Ed’s suggestion is a good one–European countries make it much harder to get a license, and require some mechanical knowledge to boot. Not long ago there was an article in the LA Times on research into making a freeway that takes control of your car while you are on it. I have a better suggestion. More local subway/ rail lines. Driving will eventually be relegated to a hobby, as horses are now, and we will of necessity have good mass transit. But we need to fight to keep our vintage cars on the road now. MJ

  3. Edmund

    Spot on Mike. I’m relatively young now (28) and fear there will come a day in my life time I can’t drive a car made before the year 2000 or something. I want to restore classics as a profession as well, that too is in jeopardy. All that said, I’m a big proponent of mass transit and feel it may be one of the tickets out of this financial recession just as the construction of the intersate highway system was an economic boost in the 50’s. Not to mention the positive environmental impact it would have.

  4. Gaby von Oppenheim

    Better training. Everywhere in the world. For every generation!Please.

  5. Andrew Macpherson

    As someone who grew up in London, and has lived in Paris, Milan, NYC, and now in LA, (just off Mulholland as it happens) I agree that mass transit is a great idea for cities, as is much more rigorous driver training. The odd thing is making roads more boring gives people more free time to text, check make up in the mirror etc. You can’t do any of that on Mulholland!

    The reason I moved to California is for the roads. To drive from LA to Laguna Seca, something I happily can find reason to do many times each year, is simply a drivers dream. Lets hope they keep the masses on the main arteries, so we can play on the stunning back roads that criss cross this beautiful state!

  6. Edmund

    You’re a lucky guy Andrew. Living the dream. I hope to live out there one day just for the fact California seems to be “The Drivers State”. All the beautful rust free classics, the tracks, and the wonderful winding roads across the country side and along the coast. Not to mention the enthusiast. To bad there’s currently no jobs to be had out there or I’d move in a heart beat. Especially now that the beaches here in Pensacola are ruined. No good driving roads around here either.

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