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Urbanist speaker: Cars no longer provide freedom, sex

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 by Jack Craver

A group of urbanists convened at The Ginger Man bar on Lavaca Street Monday night to hear Jeffrey Tumlin, an international transportation planner known as an advocate for transit. Tumlin described the reforms he pushed through during his time as transportation director in Oakland, California, including eliminating parking requirements and targeting other regulations that favor cars over transit. Reforming the way America builds its cities and transportation systems is a matter of social justice, said Tumlin, echoing remarks made earlier at the event by Planning Commissioner Angela De Hoyos Hart, who described wondering as a child why people in East Austin “looked like me,” while seemingly nobody in her West Austin neighborhood did. At first she thought it was just a coincidence, but later she grew to understand the government policies, including the current zoning code, that help maintain segregation. Tumlin stressed the importance of young people voting. Millennials, he said, were the first generation to not believe that buying a car leads to “freedom, autonomy, social status and sex.” In fact, he said, young people understand that the one thing that does provide those things – a smartphone – can’t be used in a car.

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