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Residents respond to misinformation circulating over new city plans: 'These people don't even understand'

"I also don't get why people argue as if this is a new concept."

"I also don't get why people argue as if this is a new concept."

Photo Credit: iStock

Buckling up in the car for a quick cruise to the grocery store is as American as apple pie. But in our neighbor to the north, urban planners in Edmonton are cooking up a different kind of city: one where driving takes a backseat to biking and walking.

On social media, discussions around these neighborhood-centric "15-minute cities" are heating up. But not all the takes shared online tell the whole story.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Malaysian influencer Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) shared misleading claims that Edmonton's proposed 15-minute city would restrict residents' freedom of movement. His tweet spun tales of "Orwellian nightmares" filled with tolls and surveillance.

"Dystopia is coming soon to a city near you," Cheong said.

But Redditors on r/f***cars were quick to call out the misinformation. One user corrected, "We don't have tolls anywhere in this city, and I don't think we ever will."

So, what's really brewing with this 15-minute city business?

The idea is to transform neighborhoods into mini-villages where groceries, health services, schools, and jobs are accessible within a 15-minute walk or bike ride. This cuts toxic pollution from cars while fostering stronger, more tight-knit communities.

As for speculations about restricting driving? Pure fiction.

Fifteen-minute cities build pedestrian paths and public transit around existing roads so those without vehicles aren't stranded. And if Orwellian surveillance ever appears on the menu, we'll send it back to the kitchen.

These neighborhood innovations could save cities time and money down the road. Thousands of people would take a sunny bike ride to pick up eggs from a corner market over sitting in traffic to navigate some big-box store parking lot any day.

Redditors agreed the concept wasn't some dystopian restriction on freedom. 

As one user put it: "I'm convinced these people don't even understand what they are trying to argue against. I also don't get why people argue as if this is a new concept. Like we already have them in parts of NYC/Chicago/Philly, etc."

Another remarked, "Nothing from what he wrote is correct — on the contrary, the plan's primary emphasis is on public transit and dedicated bicycle paths."

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