Mayor Javier Gonzales’ proposal to close off the Plaza and its direct vicinity to motor vehicles is nothing short of visionary. I’m actually a bit stunned. I applaud this display of leadership and fortitude in confronting long-standing and, putting it gently, not-so-informed viewpoints from residents and merchants regarding the relationship between cars and economic vitality. Most of the contrary opinions expressed have relied heavily, if not exclusively, upon rash nostalgia and memories of “cruising” the Plaza during one’s youth. This sort of juvenile infatuation with cars is no basis for policy decisions that bear on public safety and well-being.
Nostalgia. You know what? I am nostalgic for the mode of transportation that has dominated human existence for millennia. It’s the form of transportation that is quite devoid of any negative side effects or externalities. In fact, as a means of travel in and of itself, it causes nothing but overwhelmingly positive outcomes to individuals and the community as a whole — which is a helluva lot more than I can say about cars. It’s walking! There is no form of transportation more historic or more human. In the life span of Santa Fe’s Plaza, cars and motorcycles aren’t much more than a blip.