Peak oil, and the host of economic crises associated with it, is already changing Lexington. One symptom of peak oil will be that there will be more households without personal autos, either due to the high cost of gas, a lack of credit, a lifestyle choice, or unemployment or underemployment.
According to the US Census, the number of households with “no vehicles available” rose 11.39% from 2004 to 2009. (USA change was 5%) Households without cars are nearing 10% of Lexington’s total number. This translates into over 25,000 people at least without access to a vehicle. (The size of the entire city of Richmond, say….)
This is a growing issue as people still need to have mobility – to work, shop, take care of family, or to have a social life.
The health of Lextran is of utmost importance, as is that organization’s ability to grow itself from its past history of what was essentially a provider of a vital social service to one providing true mass transit.
Biking is also growing in importance. Thousands ride daily for fun and exercise, but more and more are riding because they have to. We must get real about implementing the complete streets idea that the city started last year.
Pedestrian infrastructure must also be a top priority.
None of these are fluff. They are vital to the functioning of a 21st century city.
Read how Jeff Rubin explains the zero sum game that peak oil is forcing on us and the importance of having alternative mobility:
“Now, a lot of people will say, “Jeff, economic history tells us that scarcity is the mother of invention. Give us 10 to 15 years of adjustment, and we will develop alternate technology, so we won’t be carbon-dependent.”
And they are right. Give us 10 to 15 years, and we will solve this on the supply side. But as I say, our rendezvous with triple digit oil prices is not in 10 or 15 years; it is in 10 or 15 months. So instead of trying to turn cow-shit into high octane fuel, we are going to have to learn to get off the road, and that is just what happened. In 2009, there were 4 million fewer cars on the road than there were the year before. In the next ten years, 40 million North Americans will be taking the exit lanes. The question is, “Will there be a bus to get on?” Instead of giving $40 billon to General Motors, what we should have done is spend $40 billion on public transit, so there would be a bus to get on.”