You Can’t Get There From Here

If you’ve ever been to the Mises Institute in person, you know that there’s no entrance from the main street; you have to turn onto a narrow one-way side street and then turn in to the entrance. And then when you leave, you have to continue down that one-way street and then turn on to another narrow side street that finally exits on to an entirely different street.

This way to the Mises Institute! Now imagine what trying to get to the Mises Institute would be like if that one-way street were suddenly to become one-way in the other direction. If you were one of the thousands of people who visit the Institute every year, you’d be able to drive past the Institute, but there’d be no way to get in from the point where the Institute is actually visible. The only way to get to the Institute would be via a tiny side street on the other side of the block where nobody would ever think to look.

But don’t worry; only malice or blithering stupidity would lead city planners to do such a thing, right?


5 Responses to You Can’t Get There From Here

  1. John W. Payne July 26, 2007 at 2:15 pm #

    That would be confusing for anyone visiting for the first time, but I actually do sympathize with what the city council is trying to do here. The intersection of Magnolia and Donahue is terrible pretty much all day, but especially at lunch and around five. That being said, I’m not sure how much it would help the situation to redirect the few cars that turn onto Donahue from that sidestreet.

  2. Administrator July 26, 2007 at 8:26 pm #

    Oh, I sympathize with the city council’s goal. But making it impossible for a newcomer to find the entrance to a frequently-visited institution open to the public is hardly acceptable as a means (even if it were likely to be effective, which is far from obvious).

    In any case the University has contributed to an increase in the already-awful traffic at that intersection by closing off the other entrance to the University parking lot, thus forcing traffic from the south to go through the intersection. More broadly, the multiple closings-off of traffic all over campus in the name of a “pedestrian-friendly campus” has forced all sorts of traffic through that intersection that used to go elsewhere.

  3. Anon2 July 27, 2007 at 2:51 am #

    Somehow I can’t imagine Walter Block being very sympathetic toward Reclaim the Streets and similar movements. If mobs just start walking around streets and setting up tents would motorists lose the right to drive? If yes, then libertarian roads are impractical, if no then they are tyrannical.

  4. Mike Erwin July 27, 2007 at 3:58 pm #

    Well, pedestrian rights-of-way are violated every day. I’ve run into one of those “sidewalk closed, use other side” signs, a mile from the nearest crossing, on a busy six-lane highway with barriers in the median. About half these violations involve road construction…

    The more city governments, or private businesses with their permission, destroy pedestrian rights-of-way or chop them into isolated pieces, the more people will seek to reclaim pedestrian rights-of-way and link them into larger networks. And the roads, currently vehicular rights-of-way, are easily suited to this transformation, and are often created or maintained through the violation of pedestrian rights-of-way, as well as taxes, so the roads get taken over.

    If a society has extensive pedestrian rights-of-way, I suspect that will help protect the vehicular rights-of-way on its roads.

  5. Administrator July 27, 2007 at 5:08 pm #

    Well, Walter thinks anyone should feel free to steal books from, or defecate on the carpets of, government libraries. I assume he’d feel similarly about government streets.

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