Open Letter

An Open Letter to the City Council, Who Wants to Wage War on Cars

I can't drive 25.

November 16, 2016 Published in the December 2016 issue of Seattle Met

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Image: James Boyle

Arrgghh—what were you THINKING? What are you DOING? Sorry, I’m using the talk-to-text app I’m developing for smart phones to dictate this letter while navigating the hellscape that is Mercer, and that was meant for the jabroni who just pulled out in front of me. Where are you going? Where are you going? WHERE ARE YOU GOING? Where was I?

Oh yeah: What were you thinking? I’m talking to you now, council members. So you think your vote in September to reduce speed limits on arterials across the city—buddy, the gas pedal IS ON THE RIGHT—is going to save lives. You know what saves lives? Not starting wars. But by asking me to drive 25 miles an hour in what used to be a 30-mile-an-hour zone, you have fired the latest salvo in this city’s ongoing war on cars. This has gone on for far too long, and by god, I will end you. No, that wasn’t directed at you. That was for a little old lady in the crosswalk.

Do you know how long it used to take me to get to work? Forty-two minutes. Know how long it takes me now that you’ve basically put my car up on blocks? Forty-five minutes! I could do so much with those 180 seconds: make a few calls, drink another shot of espresso, even get the blood flowing back to my fingertips after I uncurl my hands from YOUR NECK, OH MY GOD USE A TURN SIGNAL. Excuse me. Steering wheel. After I uncurl my hands from the steering wheel.

I’ve tried to abide by your rules. And I almost made it through one day. But I refuse to stand by while you bring this city to a halt—we’ve got enough student drivers doing that already. “Twenty is plenty” you say. Oh that’s so cute! You want to spout little rhymes? Fine. From now on I’ll shout, “Fifty is thrifty” as I hop the curb. And mark my words: You will pay for this. YOU WILL PAY for what you’ve done to me. Oh yeah, that one was meant for you—although I guess it could just as easily apply to the bike messenger who scratched my door as I ran him off the road.

—Chip “Full Throttle” Kopelman

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