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Old 01-01-2013, 11:26 PM
Location: The Heart of Dixie
7,822 posts, read 12,328,370 times
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I much prefer having a car and can no longer imagine living without one. I live outside Baltimore and here, like in areas outide DC too, using public transportation can turn a 15 minute drive into a 2 hour endeavor on buses especially waiting for connections. Crime is also a major con to using public transport depending on the city/area.

The majority of PT users around here are folks who can't afford a car. I hear its different in some other cities.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:51 PM
1,015 posts, read 1,542,136 times
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Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
In addition to the no-car 30%, 40% of San Francisco households have one car. So we're looking at a city where the norm is 1 car per household, not the 2 or more you'd see in the suburbs.

I think many San Franciscans use cars for precisely the kind of long distance trips you refer to. It does take a long time, especially going north (service to Santa Cruz via Caltrain and the Highway 17 bus is much more frequent and faster--I've done it). This seems like a feature, not a bug, to me. People can do a lot of daily travel by walking, biking, and Muni, which has 675,000 trips per weekday in a city of 800,000 (second highest per capita rate after New York). But constructing a transit system that gets you easily from San Francisco to Fort Bragg wouldn't be the best use of resources at this point. A transit culture doesn't require a car-free city, just a city where transit is an effective means of reaching most local destinations.
Exactly. That is where our new mayor and others made a mistake about ten years ago. In encouraging the building of large apartment complexes with no parking spaces provided in already over crowded areas with little to no street parking and creating bike lanes throughout the city, they believed they would encourage people to ride bikes and give up their cars.

Only part of this came to be. It did encourage more bikes and the lanes made it somewhat safer for cyclists (although also a bit more dangerous in some cases) but many if not most people still clung to their cars using their bikes as alternate transportation. It's just as you said. "A transit culture doesn't require a car-free city....." Even an excellent public transportation system doesn't guarantee the abandonment of the automobile.[/quote]

IMO, the big problem in San Francisco isn't parking, it's street space. When driving, I've never had a problem finding a space in San Francisco, if I'm willing to pay for it. Like any other service, one has to pay for it.

Street space is a tough, complicated issue. It's limited in San Francisco and there's not going to be any more of it. So the question becomes how much is allocated to Muni, to cars, to bikes, to pedestrians. Some of this space can be shared, but that works better for some modes than others. It doesn't tend to work all that well for bikes, thus the need for bike lanes.
Everybody complains about how slow Muni is, and it is slow, so some changes need to be made on the streets to speed it up.

This is the stuff and substance of much of San Francisco planning and politics, I won't offer a simple solution. I will say that traffic engineering, even in San Francisco, from 1945 to at least the early 1970's (when the city adopted its transit first policy) was devoted almost solely to the movement of cars, to the detriment of bicyclists and Muni. Now the question is how does the city come to a more reasonable balance, one that meets its environmental goals while still including movement by auto.

Valencia St. was famously restriped from two travel lanes in each direction to one in each direction, to provide heavily used bike lanes. When I'm driving in the Mission district, I might have the choice of driving on one of three parallel streets: Valencia, on Mission St. with all of its commercial vehicles and parking, or on Guerrero St. Guerrero and Mission have two travel lanes in each direction. I'm usually just as happy to drive on Valencia, with its single lane. I could probably go faster on Guerrero St. but auto movements and turns are a lot less predictable. Sometimes it's a zero sum game between the various modes in San Francisco, but not always.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:59 PM
Location: BMORE!
7,742 posts, read 6,144,011 times
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:58 AM
3,234 posts, read 7,630,288 times
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Originally Posted by thunderkat59 View Post
I need a car occasionally, but for the most part, I am car-free. I have an unregistered old car for tornado and sleet events,
and rent one when going interstate.
I chose my latest city based on two criteria. Lots of local business's and the ability to conduct my affairs car-free. We are such an auto-centric society most people cannot even conceive living without one. Cutting as much car travel out of your life is liberating. You dont know how toxic all the negative time and money spent in/on them is to your quality of life until you dont have to anymore
I go skiing about 10-15 times per year, go to the Adirondacks 10-15 times per year and locally I hike/mountain bike at parks in the outer reaches of my metro area a few times a week from Spring to Fall. Having a car is necessary for this as public transportation does not go to the places I mentioned.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:16 AM
21,189 posts, read 30,372,337 times
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Originally Posted by Carlite View Post

Exactly, most of the car culture-types are too delicate and/or pretentious to be caught dead in one of those "underground thingies" or on a bus (god forbid).
Originally Posted by Nairobi View Post
Says who?

What's ironic is that a lot of those macho "car culture types" in Middle America tend to think of city slickers as the delicate type.
Yes, that is quite ironic considering the reality.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:24 AM
Location: The Magnolia City
8,931 posts, read 11,802,907 times
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Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post

Yes, that is quite ironic considering the reality.
The reality in your mind, of course. The reality which you have no solid evidence of.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:37 AM
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,242,183 times
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Originally Posted by thisguysa View Post
What if driving and being in the car isn't a drag for some people? Some actually enjoy it, not necessarily in traffic, but driving in general. Negative time and money to you might be 20 minutes of peace and quiet and a break from the day for some.
Yeah, it's definitely not a drag for me. I see lots of comments where people complain about being stuck in traffic, road rage, pounding their steering wheels, etc. They then go on to talk about transit in the most pleasant ways...how they can get work done, enjoy their Kindle/iPad, draw from the creative energies that abound on a subway car...

If I had it my way, I would drive to work. I haven't had a seat on the subway for as long as I can remember so there's definitely no fiddling around with the iPad (which I see stolen on trains every month, btw). You're also more likely to get some nasty bug on the train. And there's nothing worse than having a bad stomach ache and having to stand up on a train in the midst of strangers.

Originally Posted by Nairobi View Post
That only makes sense to someone who sees no pleasure in actually having a car that is your own. They don't call it "car culture" for no reason. There are people who truly value their automobiles. Obviously, it's a different mindset that you don't share. That's all.
Cars are fun. I don't see a car payment and gas money as resources that I would be better off directing elsewhere. You could also argue that vacations are money that could be directed elsewhere. Or eating out at every Lebanese, Greek, Indian and Korean restaurant in town, which can add up to more than a car payment for many foodies. It's really all about what you value.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:46 AM
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,242,183 times
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I witness this at least once a month. If I don't see the actual theft, I hear the victim yelling about it.

Electronic Device Safety PSA - YouTube
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:02 AM
Location: Philaburbia
32,377 posts, read 59,836,421 times
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Try for a happy medium: somewhere where you can have a car, if you want one, but have the option of public transportation if you prefer.

Originally Posted by Gantz View Post
Owning a car is not really a "pro" at all. Its not like a house or land, a car is a depreciating asset, unless you own a vintage. By having ownership of a car you actually lose money.
A car is a tool, just like a computer, or a phone, an XBox, or a 60-inch TV.

Originally Posted by PDF View Post
If you're moving to a new city and starting fresh, living in a city where you don't need a car will certainly get you out more and meeting people.
Right. Because I've met all my BFFs on the bus or train.

I don't see many cons to not having a car. As long as you live somewhere where it's do-able.
Well, there's the con right there, isn't it?

Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
Exactly, most of the car culture-types are too delicate and/or pretentious to be caught dead in one of those "underground thingies" or on a bus (god forbid).

Some of my car-less co-workers must be too delicate or pretentious to be caught dead in one of those "thingies" as well, because they're forever bumming rides off the rest of us.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:19 AM
11,172 posts, read 22,375,148 times
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It obviously all depends on where you live, work and play. I would say around 2/3 of my friends don't own cars. They're almost all professionals making $50-$125K a year, but just have no need for a car (like myself).

I had one when I lived outside the city, got it the day I turned 16 and assumed only a nuclear war would every separate me from a car. Had it for about a year when I moved to Chicago - during which time something TOTALLY unanticipated happened. I started HATING the thing. I hardly ever used it, had to move it across the street sometimes, got a few tickets, it needed work, gas, insurance, etc. It went from a beautiful asset to an annoying liability within about 6 months. Finally it broke down and I decided to ditch it and save a few bucks by seeing how long I could go in the meantime before getting another one. One month turned into two, turned into a few years and now it's been a decade.

My key is I work downtown, I've always planned my apartments and now my condo to be within a few minutes walk of the train, and I can walk almost anywhere to bars, restaurants, grocery store, friends house, etc or just take a quick bus ride. I have friends with cars, but they normally only use them for work and then maybe once a week or so to run errands if need be. My BF has a car right there at his house, but of all the places we go, we drive to maybe 10% of them. Costco is the only thing I can think of. Train and bus are just easier cause you don't have to mess with traffic and parking. Usually we just walk everywhere.

I always laugh at just how many people do the "eww....a bus?" when they're not use to riding one. I mean they're full of the same random people just going to work downtown or running errands. I've certainly never felt unsafe on a bus or a train. People don't bother me. Everyone is just playing on their Iphones or reading, sleeping, gazing out the window.

I would certainly buy a car if I moved away though, but for now I LOVE having the extra thousands of dollars a year by just using my $86 (taken out before income taxes as well) unlimited ride for the month.
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