To the Editor:
Hyde Park led the way on recycling in the seventies, so why can’t we lead the way building homes for people without cars? My wife and I are a young couple wanting to start a family in Hyde Park. It would be nice to have other young families move to 53rd Street. I went to the McMobil site meeting. I was very disappointed that there was no discussion of whether this project is green or not. All the speakers focused on adding more parking. Just as widening an expressway causes more cars to use it, adding parking encourages more dependence on cars. Suppose the critics succeed in drastically reducing the number of people living in the building while increasing the number of cars per unit? Who profits? Ford! Who loses? The environment! Hyde Parkers should not let this happen. Surely the building could be greener. For example, some of the space devoted to parking could be used for I-Go Cars or Zipcars. This would make the building more affordable for younger and less affluent people, many of whom would appreciate a green option at their doorstep. We have to make things green locally and not just expect President Obama do all the work.
Let’s say that the critics’ worst fear happens and traffic on 53rd Street slows down. I am not convinced that’s a bad thing. Since speed kills, we want the traffic to go slowly. I live on 55th Street. Now that the bicycle lanes have slowed the traffic going around the University Apartments, it is easier for me to cross the street. In the past, speeding cars have actually slammed into the townhouses. I hope that is less likely now. We should not be defeatist about reducing everyone’s dependence on cars. We can live in a greener, safer neighborhood.