When it comes to development projects and crafting changes in planning and transportation policy, opposition will always emerge. A common form of opposition is “NIMBYism” which stands for “Not In My Backyard”. The term refers to folks who generally oppose any form of development in their surrounding area. Not all form of opposition is irrational. If someone was to propose a new freeway, airport or nuclear plant 50 yards from your backdoor, there is cause for concern, and opposition is expected. These proposals do come with real externalities that will negatively affect the area around it, and there is good reason to either relocate the proposal, alter it, or mitigate the negative aspects. At its core, the opposition is selfish, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
A week or so ago, I was surprised to see an article on the front page of the New York Times concerning policies in Europe, which encourage walking, or as the article puts it, discourages driving. I was surprised not by the inclusion of the piece, but by the extremely harsh negative tone it took. The article was written like an attack piece on walking and biking, and I was shocked to see such a one-sided approach to reporting. Especially an article given front page real estate! Made me wonder that if this piece can lean so heavily in one way, what does it mean for every other article, especially the ones where I know little about the subject matter, so the bias will elude me?