THERE’S a particularly prominent man called Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador here in Mexico. Words usually fail me when I want to describe him, but I will do my best to try and describe him: He is a megalomaniatic compulsive liar that caters to faux intellectuals and the misinformed here in Mexico.
I know this is a car thread, but I find it that car culture here in Mexico has always been at odds with politics, not police: Politics. It just happens to be that Mr Obrador is quite the oddball. He has been Mexico’s Trump for decades, and also the former occupier of Mexico City’s highest office. During his tenure as the Chief of Government (basically the Mayor) he invested more than two billion pesos on an a high-speed, elevated roadway affectionally known as the “Segundo Piso” or second floor of the Mexico City ring road. He then, over ten years later during a presidential debate, defended the privatized-car-only-expensive-toll-road as a “social” piece of infrastructure, just to be rebutted by a mustachioed puppet of the Mexican teacher’s union former chief executive. Said executive now is under house arrest for embezzling millions of dollars .
I live close to this magnificent work of idiocy. I call it idiotic because it doesn’t do what it was advertised to do: reduce congestion. It only reliefs richer folk from it, and only slightly. The thing is that, there’s always going to be more people wanting to drive than space for them to drive inside a city, and I don’t blame them, public transport all across North America sucks, and driving is cheap here because of oil subsides and relatively cheap cars thanks to low taxes and lax regulations. Much like the expansion of Interstate I-10 near Houston,Texas, as this youtube video explains, the second floor does nothing for congestion. But I have a solution: Lets make driving incredibly inconvenient.
Bare with me, I’m not saying we should tax driving to oblivion like Europe does, no. we should just make it less convenient for the non-initiated into car culture. what if instead of charging for using the second floor, we make the first floor exclusive for public transportation and cargo vehicles. we then make a couple of lanes in the second floor exclusive for cabs and motorcycles, but for free. what if we make getting a license harder, and inspections more rigorous so that only expert drivers and people really wanting to drive can take the time to pass them. what if we reduce some main throughways from six to four lanes and occupy those lanes for BRT busses. Make schools use busses rather than letting their students commute to school. Tax the rich so that everyone has better public transport and more road maintenance.
Think about it.
Do you have a retro GTi that is kept pitch-perfect but you fear to take it out incase the nut-head in a dented Camry puts a dent in your pride and joy?
Do you have an exquisite, manual Subaru BRZ but can’t bare rowing through first and second gear constantly as you burn your clutch down to ashes?
Wanting, are you, to dazzle your colleagues with your off-road-ready Jeep Wrangler but find it particularly hard to park it because Joe “I think women don’t deserve to be paid equally” parked his car so horribly bad it’s crime against humanity?
Do you want to feel the air rush past you as you drive your impeccable E30 wagon into the sunset? but know that 7:00PM is the rush hour and the only thing rushing is your mind thinking about how that one Audi two cars behind you flashing its brights at the Audi occupying two lanes might give you an epileptic shock?
Are you tired of Ashton in his dad’s Mercedes shining the brights at you in your beautiful Karmann Ghia despite going the speed limit in the slow lane?
Are you tired of that business-casual lawyer screaming into his earpiece, threatening to CALL THE COPS ON YOU/ THIS IS A NICE NEIGHBORHOOD because your car has a tasteful stripe?
Do you hesitate to use valet parking services because you just got your Jeep Grand Wagoneer detailed?
And if you hate driving, think about it too.
Don’t you wish that you were inside that bus that cut you off?
Don’t you wish that you didn’t have to pay tags, gas,maintenence, toll, parking, and loans on a car that depreciates at the same pace as Bill Cosby’s reputation?
Don’t you wish you could leave your office and arrive home in an statistically safer method of transportation?
Don’t you wish your kid’s school was forced to offer free transport to the school, in a safe bus for your kids?
Don’t you wish you could walk the streets without seeing the wrath of Joe in his red Aveo because an Audi cut him off?
Don’t you wish to cycle down to that stylish coffee place for that date without being hit by a dented Camry?
Do you hesitate to use valet parking services because you just got your Honda Accord detailed?
Don’t you wish all your collectable action figures arrived on time in the mail?
I can tell you that if there was a reliable, safe, fast way for me to not drive inside Mexico City I would take it in a heartbeat. I love cars! I really do! but as with fine cigars, I only enjoy cars if the moment is right, if the road ahead is empty and I feel like making my engine sing to the tune of v8. I can tell I don’t enjoy my car when sitting stuck atop the Second Floor listening to NPR because, by that point, I emptied my playlist. If I haven’t convinced you yet, let me pose this final question
Don’t you wish all those assholes in the road were packed into a bus where the only thing at stake is a seat, and not your beautiful E46 M3? Where you know, because the windows shows empty roads occasionally occupied by beautiful cars, that: yes. You can have your cigar and smoke it.