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Old 04-05-2014, 11:42 AM
Location: Long Island / NYC
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Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
I certainly accept your point about Zurich. If there is popular support for such measures there, then I agree that the measures are legitimate. However, the poster to whom I was responding was talking in generalized terms, and so I answered him in generalized terms.
Ok, though my point was that some democratic societies, depending on the type of place (density, type of infrastructure) could support anti-car rules.

I get what you're trying to say but I'd argue with some of your points. Anti-car rules for the sake of being anti-car would be nothing but ideological but there may some benefits to others from them.

Suppose I were to propose the creation of artificial barriers and impediments to public transit, such as absurdly low speed limits for rail, or a requirement for a station every half mile. And suppose the motivation behind those requirements was simply to kill or severely restrict transit. That would be analogous to what the other poster was suggesting in regard to cars.
Train stations every half mile are common in some denser cities. More stops lower the walk time from the stop. Non-express subway stops in NYC are usually 0.4-0.5 miles apart (in Manhattan, some are almost half that, which is stupid IMO). Boston light rail often stops every 0.5 mile. Obviously requiring them to be every half mile would be dumb. But so would requiring all to be a mile apart. There might be cases where transit is unreasonably slow when there might easy ways to speed it up due to lack of good planning. But yes, not really the examples you had in mind.

In areas where congestion creates disincentives to driving, transit is a natural solution. It is a total absurdity, however, to seek government imposed additional disincentives to driving, that is, additional to the naturally occurring ones. Such ideologically motivated disincentives include narrowing of existing roads and installation of speed bumps. This can only come from an irrational and generalized hostility to cars per se, the "cars are intrinsically bad" nonsense.
In Zurich example, part of the policy question was whether to take away space for cars and give it to transit. Roads are for transportation, but what kind? It said about half of road space in the central areas of the city are dedicated lanes for buses and streetcars. This would greatly speed up transit speed at the expense of inconveniencing drivers. The origonal proposal was to build a subway, but that failed at the polls because the cost was too high. Instead, the popular choice was a way to speed up transit for far cheaper but at the expense of making driving difficult. Obviously, in an old dense city the advantage of driving are smaller and the disadvantages are larger.

As for narrowing roads, I like the street I live on to be narrow. It decreases car speed on my street, I don't want fast moving traffic on my street. For getting around by foot, being around a wider street can often feel less cozy and unpleasant if full of heavy, fast moving traffic. Noise and local air pollution is also a negative. This city street lost a lane due to an addition of a bike lane. Ignoring the bike lane, the now slower traffic feels more pleasant. The fast moving traffic and the long width to cross wasn't that nice, in IMO:,,0,-3.38

Ignoring the architecture and store difference, this nearby avenue is nicer to walk around (and most people there are getting around on foot; the local stores don't have parking, and about half the locals don't have cars):,,0,1.37

than this:,,0,-0.91

not saying the latter should be narrowed, but the extra width for cars is a negative IMO. Each commercial street has different purposes. While we're at it, here's a few more NYC comparisons. In the downtown area of Manhattan. These streets are fun to explore, not great as a driving through street:,,0,1.46

this one is cozy and might more appealing to those bothered by the lack of trees.,,0,2.65

When visiting, I try to get off this one. A loud rumble of traffic most times:,,0,-1.37

Also has one of the higher pedestrian death rates among streets in the area. This LA artist made a narrow streets blog, on how local streets would be cozier if narrower.

narrow streets: los angeles: la brea avenue + 6th street, mid-wilshire (I)

and more examples. No, it's not serious. It's obviously not doable. Maybe you think driving convenience in general is more important. But there are some negatives. And as well, heavy traffic in one concentrated area can lead to high local air and noise pollution. If there are possible ways of access conveniently in those locations, discouraging traffic may be worthwhile.
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