Friday, May 13, 2005

Robert Moses and the Birth of Car Culture

"At the very moment… that we have torn down our elevated railways, because of their spoilage of urban space, our highway engineers are using vast sums of public money to restore the same nuisance in an even noisier and more insistent form. But what is Brooklyn to the highway engineer - except a place to go through rapidly, at whatever necessary sacrifice of peace and amenity by its inhabitants?"
- Lewis Mumford, The New Yorker (1959)

Did you ever wonder how we got this way? Bikescape examines the legacy of Robert Moses, the man who manipulated government to conform to his vision of the modern city.

Listen to the podcast

The Gowanis Expressway as it looks today

Transportation Alternatives and the community have sued to prevent the reconstruction of this highway in favor of a tunnel.

Robert Caro's book about Moses, The Power Broker

Robert Moses' Response to Robert Caro's The Power Broker

Jack Thurston's archive of bike shows on London's resonance fm radio. He's got some of his shows mp3'd on his blog. Jonathan at Podbike tells me he's now got a podcast feed.

Cars by The Desperate Bicycles and others of thier songs can be found here

(Gosh, I wish I could get rid of these italics...)



Anonymous said...

What a great show this was!

Anonymous said...

Jack now has a feed button on his Bike Show weblog. This should pick up the mp3 file from each future show.

Jon Oates

VeloDiablo said...

Really good show John. When I heard the Moses quote at the beginning I thought, "Wow, he sounds familiar!"

There's a bad called Pinataland that has written a song about him. Pinataland is a history-obsessed band from the east coast. They use a lot of traditional insturments and sing about defining moments in history. Pinataland

Also want to plug a new project I'm working. Check it out at Let me know if you're interested.


jon said...

Thanks for your kind words! I'm really happy to be getting some good responses. I was expecting to get corrected on lots of historical facts I might have exaggerated or just gotten plain wrong! I heard the pinataland segment on npr a few weeks ago. What was the song about Moses? I heard a few good songs from their web site but not that one.

I'm at a loss for what to do this week. Luckily there's always btw day. My wife Karen just gave me a hall pass to race in the scavenger scramble this weekend too. I guess there's always material...

As for the blogroute thing, please sign me up. I guess I need to give you a reason why i like biking. I'll have to think about that but my favorite blogs are yours (of course) and Jack Thurston's.

Maybe I'll meet you for real sometime soon. Thursday at 111 Minna for the bike away from work party perhaps?


VeloDiablo said...

The song is called Good Days and begins with a sample of Moses talking about how if we paid attention to all the little people we'd never get anything done.

Cool. I'll throw you up on the board and get you a sign.

Oh yeah, I should go to bike away from work this year. I may well be there.


VeloDiablo said...

your blog sign and number (7) are ready. I can't post them here because blogger keeps thinking I'm entering html. drop me a line a and I'll send it out.

thank you for participating. this could end up being a cool thing.

thanks again,


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