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Old 02-05-2013, 08:59 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
One thing that is often neglected in these car debates is the rural population. A car-free lifestyle is neither practical nor desirable in rural areas under any planning scheme. To these people, the car enabled them to travel long distances at will, as opposed to the restricted mobility of circa 1900.
Partly neglected because this is an urban planning forum, so rural areas tend to be ignored. At this point, rural areas are in a minority of the US, though 20% of the US population is still a lot of people. Most other developed countries have a similarly low rural %, though definitions vary by census agency.

I agree that the advantage of a car is the most obvious in a rural area, and for that reason cars were adopted the quickest in rural areas. Pre-automobile, rural areas must have been extremely isolated from civilization even the word civilization means of cities.

I'm not too familiar with rural employment numbers, but today the % of rural population involved in farming is low, though there are probably a few other industries (forestry, mining?) there is also an advantage to living in remote areas. Otherwise, I'd suspect with cars, far fewer people would have remained in rural areas. A bit of a silly counterfactual, since a lot of agricultural production uses motor vehicles these days (farm tractors I've tailgated them on a bicycle ).

But the advantage of a car is more obvious in North American rural areas compared to elsewhere. For example, in Western Europe, most of the rural population is concentrate in compact small towns, rather than in remote locations. The smaller ones are served by buses and the larger ones by trains. This town of 800 in France has a train station:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=franc...rance&t=m&z=14

Obviously, most still own cars. There's also the option of bicycles, which I used living in a rural house for one week. Less practical in winter, of course.

Quote:
This is in contrast with the urban and suburban population, where car-free urban planning could realistically be implemented, even if it is very undesirable (as I hold).
Very little "planning" is necessary for cars in rural areas; by definition, there's plenty of space for cars and little congestion. I don't think too many in this forum (or outside) have advocated for no cars at all, if that's what you mean by car-free urban planning. Just planning that less conducive (less investment in highways or space given to parking)for cars and more conducive to non automobile modes.

The advantage of a completely car-free planning is in very dense areas, where local noise and air pollution of cars are high and hard to escape, space for wide roads and parking hard to come by, and movement without cars is relatively efficient. See, for example, the small car-free and larger car-hostile sections of old European cities. Some have proposed eliminating cars from all or part of Manhattan; one rather fringe mayoral candidate proposed banning private cars from the island and then building parking outside the island for residents to store their cars. Roosevelt island was planned for residents to store their cars in one parking garage.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati near
2,539 posts, read 3,522,299 times
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I can ride the bus to work and I can walk to a grocery store, so life could go on in the absence of a car. Still, my life would be a lot more dull without a car. Owning a pet would be a lot more expensive and inconvenient, as I would not be able to lug 40 lb bags of food for her up and down the street, and taking her to the vet would be problematic. I wouldn't be able to go camping 10-15 times a summer without renting a car, and my other outdoorsy hobbies would be impractical as well.

I keep pretty tight financial records, and factoring in gas,insurance, maintenance, and depreciation, owning a car costs me about $3500/year, or roughly $.25 a mile. For a comparison, my dog costs me about $2500 a year for food, vet bills, and daycare, and my main hobbies (motorcycles, homebrewing, firearms, camping, and cooking) easily cost me twice as much as the car.

I can't think of any of my possessions that do more to improve my standard of living per dollar spent on them than my car. (I don't count my dog as a possession, she is a peer) I know I am atypical in that I prefer to eat and drink food and beverages that I prepared myself, so bars and restaurants don't appeal to me unless it is just a convenient meeting place (or in my case, a place to do pub trivia, which I love).

I am sure there are some people that don't enjoy my hobbies and would rather avoid driving so they have more money to spend on other things. For others on a very tight budget, I could see how a car doesn't make sense. I just don't see how anyone with significant disposable income without a biased agenda or a medical condition that prevents them from driving could legitimately say they are restricted by owning a car. (Unless the restriction is because they don't have a truck instead). Maybe the car is less important for some, but a restriction? Give me a break.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:08 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Heh, you could always take the dog:

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Old 02-06-2013, 11:15 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,985 posts, read 41,937,844 times
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You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to HandsUpThumbsDown again.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:21 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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^^In general, I don't like repping clubs, but that was cute!
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,699 posts, read 23,655,251 times
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People really can be bothered by the choice of whose who choose not to drive.

I have a confession to make and then I had better duck.

A friend once offered to give me a car for free if I would relearn how to drive again after many years of my one exeperience with driving. It was a really nice two year old car he was giving up for a new one he had purchased. And no, before anyone says it, it was not because I kept asking him for rides. I never had done that. He just wanted to see me behind the wheel because it bothered him that I wasn't.

I thanked him and turned him down. I just don't get why it is so difficult for some people to understand why other people, admittedly very few, just do not choose to drive.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:59 PM
 
3,463 posts, read 4,539,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
People really can be bothered by the choice of whose who choose not to drive.

I have a confession to make and then I had better duck.

A friend once offered to give me a car for free if I would relearn how to drive again after many years of my one exeperience with driving. It was a really nice two year old car he was giving up for a new one he had purchased. And no, before anyone says it, it was not because I kept asking him for rides. I never had done that. He just wanted to see me behind the wheel because it bothered him that I wasn't.

I thanked him and turned him down. I just don't get why it is so difficult for some people to understand why other people, admittedly very few, just do not choose to drive.

I have been following your posts through this thread, Minervah, and its a shame I can only rep you once.
I got a laff out of the post a few hundred pages back that said people like us have just never driven a nice car before. Ha ha People I know really dont understand that my (t)rusty old single speed bike is worth more to me than any bourgie-mobile. Total freedom, and away from all the negative stuff that has been a huge factor in the dehumanization process of our society
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,699 posts, read 23,655,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderkat59 View Post
I have been following your posts through this thread, Minervah, and its a shame I can only rep you once.
I got a laff out of the post a few hundred pages back that said people like us have just never driven a nice car before. Ha ha People I know really dont understand that my (t)rusty old single speed bike is worth more to me than any bourgie-mobile. Total freedom, and away from all the negative stuff that has been a huge factor in the dehumanization process of our society

Glad I have been able to communicate with someone. I used to ride a bike all around Chicago when I lived there. I'm still not knocking the automobile though. I just don't like it when people tell me I am a misfit for not owning one or wanting to own one.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,372,358 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Partly neglected because this is an urban planning forum, so rural areas tend to be ignored. At this point, rural areas are in a minority of the US, though 20% of the US population is still a lot of people. Most other developed countries have a similarly low rural %, though definitions vary by census agency.

I agree that the advantage of a car is the most obvious in a rural area, and for that reason cars were adopted the quickest in rural areas. Pre-automobile, rural areas must have been extremely isolated from civilization even the word civilization means of cities.
[...]
The advantage of a completely car-free planning is in very dense areas, where local noise and air pollution of cars are high and hard to escape, space for wide roads and parking hard to come by, and movement without cars is relatively efficient. See, for example, the small car-free and larger car-hostile sections of old European cities. Some have proposed eliminating cars from all or part of Manhattan; one rather fringe mayoral candidate proposed banning private cars from the island and then building parking outside the island for residents to store their cars. Roosevelt island was planned for residents to store their cars in one parking garage.
[/quote]

This is an urban planning forum, and that is what I meant by car-free planning. I believe banning or restricting cars represents a tremendous step backward for humanity, but that's beside the point. The point is that what I like to call the "anti-car cult" (as insulting as it might sound) completely neglects rural areas in their opinions on automobiles. A car-free Alliance, Nebraska is at least as ludicrous as a mass transit-free NYC.

Quote:
But the advantage of a car is more obvious in North American rural areas compared to elsewhere. For example, in Western Europe, most of the rural population is concentrate in compact small towns, rather than in remote locations. The smaller ones are served by buses and the larger ones by trains.
Population density is much higher in Europe than it is in most of North America. You know the saying: everything is bigger in Texas (and the rest of the West to boot). Let's take two random examples.

Figeac, France, a town of 10 000 people, is...
40 miles away from the nearest town with >20 000 people
116 miles away from both a town of around 100 000 people and a town of 500 000
...and there are many other towns of 20 000-100 000 within 100 miles

Alliance, Nebraska, a town of 9000 people, is...
54 miles away from the nearest town of comparable size (Scottsbluff, pop. 15000)
150 miles away from the nearest town of >50 000 people and the nearest town >100 000 people
250 miles away from the nearest town of >500 000 people (Denver, pop. 4 million)
...and there are very few towns of even 20 000 people located within 100 miles, let alone 50 000 to 100 000.

There is wide variation in both of these figures, but generally the distance to a major hub or destination is greater in rural America than in rural Europe. There is also the matter of being in towns versus scattered in a 10 or 20 mile radius.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:18 PM
 
2,135 posts, read 3,679,335 times
Reputation: 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
People really can be bothered by the choice of whose who choose not to drive.

I have a confession to make and then I had better duck.

A friend once offered to give me a car for free if I would relearn how to drive again after many years of my one exeperience with driving. It was a really nice two year old car he was giving up for a new one he had purchased. And no, before anyone says it, it was not because I kept asking him for rides. I never had done that. He just wanted to see me behind the wheel because it bothered him that I wasn't.

I thanked him and turned him down. I just don't get why it is so difficult for some people to understand why other people, admittedly very few, just do not choose to drive.
Another thing to consider. Driving in NYC isn't like driving in the suburb or the country to anywhere where there isn't a whole of traffic. Not saying you live there, just saying though that driving can be worthwhile if people have a good experience.
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