From the Ministry of Brilliant Ideas comes this doozy of a whopper of a notion: build ten new English "Eco Towns" to combat climate change. These town would provide 20,000 homes and—here's the rub—be largely devoid of automobiles. Let's set aside for a moment some of the obvious political footballs: building additional developments creates urban sprawl, which loads up strain on the underlying infrastructure which leads to higher taxes and so on. What we're really interested in is how this is going to affect cars.
Zoning restrictions would demand no home be built farther than 400 meters from a bus stop, speed limits in areas where cars had to pass be no higher than 15 MPH, and car sharing would replace car ownership. We've been to Europe quite a few times now, and there's a funny juxtaposition there. Their automakers produce some of the most brilliant cars on the planet, and yet, European governments seem to hate cars and hate drivers. Everywhere you go it's gridlock, gas taxation is atrocious, parking is impossible, you can't get from point A to point B without going through points C, D, and E. It's maddening. You're actually better off with a bike or motorcycle. So what we're saying is this story is not a surprise, it is simply further evidence that European governments would rather strangle free enterprise and make it painful to own a car, rather than build a road system that doesn't punish the automobile drivers. [Gaurdian via Treehugger]