Monday, June 2, 2008

The Richard Scary Storybook of Minneapolis

As a child we had this old Richard Scarry book, "Best Storybook Ever," and one component of it was different types of transportation. My personal favorite was the story, "Is This the House of Mistress Mouse?" because it was a romance, but the transportation page was decent as well, due to the inventive and detailed illustrations. Now, at times, I feel as if I were inside of one of the pages of this book. We regularly see around the city the typical cars, SUVs, hybrids, vans, trucks and buses. We also have a variety of transportation vehicles out of the norm. We regularly see people riding on their "commuter" unicycles, some complete with headlights, both the smaller-wheeled as well as large wheel ones. There is the light rail, numerous planes (military and commercial) many many many many bikes, including a 6 foot tall one that is NOT like the old ones with a the large front wheel-- it is more like a regular bike with the seat and pedals on stilts. Rollerblades, heelies, barges, steamboats, cruis-ships, scooters, motorcycles, skateboards, mini-cars help to round out the experience. I really enjoy seeing how a multi-type vehicle transportation system works and to think about what the system could be if even more care was taken to give bikers/rollerblades/etc. a complete seperate roadway, at least a lane. I suppose that this is only feasile in a city of our size, because I know that I needed a car when we lived in Michigan, but it is a lovely thought.

Other food for thought-- Asphalt Nation is a book that I own, but have not read all of and gives a historical and economics-centered approach to why the train-era of America faded and the idea that the automobile magnates influenced the government to make our nation's transportation system car-centered. I was wondering if anyone else has read this book and what your thoughts are on this.


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