A Modest Proposal
Kevin Pfeiffer (2000)

An organization in Germany is holding a contest to promote and encourage the exchange of ideas between our two countries. "USable" is a new German-American contest, whose goal is to import good ideas from America to Germany and vice versa.

My official entry follows:

Here's an idea designed to further Germany's fall into suburbanism, auto-dependency and poor public transportation--it's based on the American model.

1. Keep gasoline as cheap as water; customers will get used to artificially low prices, buy many more cars, and soon, even be willing to bomb other countries if prices go too high!

2. Build new developments following a strict street grid system and segregate shopping districts from residential districts. This will encourage people to drive instead of walk, even when doing something as simple as buying fresh bread or milk.

3. Place large parking lots in front of new commercial buildings and minimize pedestrian entrances. This will require those few souls who still insist on walking to walk through large, ugly parking lots; dodging cars as they go. Next time they'll remember to drive.

4. Widen streets, reduce lane widths; add right-turn on red; shorten pedestrian crossing times. This will reduce the number of bicycle riders on the street and encourage pedestrians as well to stay home, thereby freeing up the streets for true citizens of a consumerist state.

5. Let automobile traffic speed limits slowly rise and provide only minimal enforcement of traffic laws.

6. Replace bike lanes with car parking.

7. Build new housing developments without providing public transit service.

8. Reduce the budget for public transit and slowly cut back service; this will reduce transit usage and provide even more opportunities to discontinue these services.

9. Build more Autobahns!

10. Last but not least, get rid of those bicycle storage rooms and lockers found in every new apartment building. Provide storage for bicycles, are you crazy?

Follow these simple steps and you'll soon have a fine new city, based on the best American Autotopian model. After all, look what we've been able to do with Los Angeles in such a short time!

Kevin Pfeiffer
Foothill Bicycle Initiative