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Old 05-03-2013, 01:00 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,789 posts, read 10,703,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
To me, the freedom of being without a car carries with it a responsibility to arrange for your own transportation, just as owning a car carries with it a responsibility to pay for the car's upkeep and operation, and comply with corresponding laws.

If being car-free means taking public transit or walking or belonging to a car share organization, then that is taking responsibility for your choices. But arranging your day so that you can beg rides from people with cars, and not take the responsibility of sharing in the costs associated with those rides, is freeloading plain and simple. And that is what I see a lot of among the younger people I work with who do not own cars. They are not "car free" by any stretch of the imagination; they simply do not own a car.
like i said, thats unfortunate for you. I havent encountered that (not recently - I did once know one person like that, but she was not carfree as a matter of ideology) . I see offering (and sometimes requesting) rides as part of "informal" car sharing, that can be done graciously, including offering to share costs, or gracioulsy offering to do other favors in return.

There are of course people who beg favors of all kinds and do not return them. That kind of behavior is impolite, but I dont think its really about the topic at hand. Its broader.

 
Old 05-03-2013, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,275 times
Reputation: 661
Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
1/3 of all americans live in the 16 largest metro areas in the country - Mineapolis/St. Paul (3.42 million people) and larger. Detroit is the only one of these metro areas that lacks any sort of rail system.

1/2 of all americans live in the 40 largest metros - everything bigger than Jacksonville, FL. Only 7 of these next 24 cities don't have a rail system (or one currently under construction). I did not count the monorails in Jacksonville or Las Vegas.

2/3 of all americans live in the 100 largest metros - which basically means metro areas of 525,000 people (Spokane, Chattanooga, Harrisburg, etc) and larger.

Most of the rest of Americans live in small towns with fewer than 50,000 people where transit isn't an issue because there's not much traffic and people don't have to drive very far for most trips. People living in the exurbs are a small minority of americans.

It's entirely possible (if, say, gas hits $6/gallon) for most of these people to be within a 5-10 minute walk of a bus or train station on a route that runs every 20 minutes or less from 6am to 10pm for modest operations costs (say, a local 1% sales tax). Now, I'm not suggesting that's what should happen - just that most Americans live in areas that are relatively easy to serve with transit if people want it.

Transportation is kind of like electricity. Most people walk into a room and know how to turn on a light but they don't understand much else about it. The difference is that even though most people turn lights on and off everyday - most people don't consider themselves electrical experts.

Every road has a capacity. It's why I cringe every time I see a new parking garage built in Philadelphia. With a one lane street only capable of moving 500 cars per hour under ideal conditions (perfect drivers, no pedestrians) there are more parking spaces than there is time in a day to move all of the cars out. The entire system depends on a high percentage of empty parking spaces and other people moving their cars only once or twice a week. Anyway, most roads work fine under normal conditions. When it rains (ie, people slow down but don't decrease their following distance) or if there's an accident most roads don't cope well with it all. When the number of cars exceeds the carrying capacity, even just for small stretches, most roads grind to a halt. Often times the number of cars entering an expressway that tips it from free flowing to a hot mess is less than 20.

Consider that a busy stretch of 3-lane, urban interstate can carry 65,000 cars per day in one direction. It could actually carry more but since too many people try to use it at the same times each day the number of cars able to pass per minute slows considerably during those times. Now consider that 3.5 miles of that rush hour traffic jam is made up of only 1,800 cars. Yup, 600 cars following at unsafe distances (as people typically do) will take up 3.5 miles of a lane of interstate. That's 3% of the daily traffic on that road. That's also about 2 or 3 trains full of people. Encourage that many people to start using transit for their work trip and the relief to the other drivers would be instant. To put it another way, if everyone made one less car trip per week there would be an instant 4% reduction in traffic.

Now, a lot of people who don't use transit as part of their daily life (and even many who do) don't realize that when you live in a place with good transit you don't use that transit for most of your trips. You walk. Most car travel in the US is for trips less than 5 miles. Only 25% of all trips are journey-to-work. An astonishingly high % of trips are for silly stuff like driving 1/2 mile to get milk or to pick up kids from school. If people who drove replaced one of these car trips each week with walking, well, there's your 4% reduction (most americans average 25 car trips per week).



It's funny, I was 28 when I got rid of my last car. People kept telling me, "oh, when you're married you'll want to get another car." No, but we did join a carsharing organization. Then they said, "oh, when you have kids things totally change. you'll want to get a car." No, but we did buy a car seat and we did start using carshare more . . . but it wasn't because I started driving to the grocery store 4 blocks away or the school 5 blocks away. It was to visit grandma and grandpa in the suburbs or for trips to the beach.

The thing is, when most of your life happens within a 10 minute walk of your front door there's very little you have to plan for and very little uncertainty you have to take into account. You can leave when you're supposed to be there and most people won't even notice you're late. I never once got stuck in traffic walking my kids to the pediatrician . . . I'd also venture that it's precisely because most of my peers did not own cars (or when they did it was just one, paid off, beater) that most of us could afford to live in households where only spouse worked full time. (I use the past tense because I moved to a different city - but we still don't own a car).
That's great that such a large percentage of people live in larger metropolitan areas or in small towns, but in order for such easy "walking to everything" and "just taking the bus instead" is concerned, you're assuming that the majority of those people want to live in an environment laid out pretty much exactly like this, which they don't (which I find kind of obvious anyway, but I digress)

That being said, more people will probably want to...at least at a younger stage in their life...maybe even stay as they get older. And I think having environments like that for people to live that way is great...for them and for me, as it gets people who don't want to or like to drive off the road and more space for me and the folks who do. But saying that some huge swath of people in all of those metropolitan areas live and work in places like linked above, or that they even want to live somewhere like that is just absurd.
 
Old 05-03-2013, 05:44 PM
 
12,287 posts, read 15,181,947 times
Reputation: 8100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bideshi View Post
William Kunstler has said "Many people have bought their last automobile, they just don't know it yet."

Prophetic words?
Actually that sounds like something Ralph Nader would have said.
 
Old 05-03-2013, 06:12 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,980 posts, read 102,527,356 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
True. However, some urbanists are committed enough to city living they do the reverse commute. When I lived in DC, I worked in suburban Maryland, but lived in Capitol Hill. There was no way that I was going to move to a major metropolis and live in the suburbs, because I knew I would be lazy and not go out to shows in the city because I didn't want the hassle of driving. I drove every day for work, but work was the only reason I ever used my car, as mass transit + bike handled all of my shopping and socializing needs.

From what I gather, these kinds of reverse commutes are very common in the Bay Area, where many people choose to live in San Francisco, but then have to drive to an edge city for their place of employment.
The bold is kind of weird to me. I really don't care where people live/work, but to me if one is "committed" to urban life, that should mean working in the city as well. I remember someone on the Denver forum who lives in some New Urbanist development saying that one of her neighbors is so committed to NU that he lives in her 'hood and drives 1 1/2 hours to the Denver Tech Center (each way) to work. I said that seemed rather antithetical to the NU lifestyle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
Planners, govts, etc come up with policies that make it easier to A. Life in carfree (as in dont own a car but make occasional trips using Zipcar) B. Be carlite (less than one car per licensed driver) C. just drive fewer miles. These polices range from transit subsidies, to bike/ped infrastructure, to traffic calming, to changes in parking rules, to more "walkable" development patterns.

Some people, for reasons rational and otherwise, oppose those policies. One rhetorical strategy to oppose them is to claim that they only achieve their goals if they get people to be "carfree" in the sense of using non auto means for ALL trips. Its then very simple, in most places other than NYC, to demonstrate that hardly anyone can do that, and those who do will live very constrained lives. Ergo, the policies make no sense. Once you accept that the point of the programs is more broad than a rigid "carfree" life (one that even lacks zipcars) this rhetorical strategy falls apart.

The strategy is not logically defensible (there is simply no way to refute the point that there is a middle ground lifestyle) but if its repeated often enough, people will hear it without hearing the counter, and it will subtly influence the discussion.
You know, for all some people on this forum absolutely rant about road subsidies, auto subsidies, etc, it seems extremely hypocritical for them to propose transit subsidies. I'm not specifically thinking of you, just sayin'. ALL transit is subsidized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
1/3 of all americans live in the 16 largest metro areas in the country - Mineapolis/St. Paul (3.42 million people) and larger. Detroit is the only one of these metro areas that lacks any sort of rail system.

1/2 of all americans live in the 40 largest metros - everything bigger than Jacksonville, FL. Only 7 of these next 24 cities don't have a rail system (or one currently under construction). I did not count the monorails in Jacksonville or Las Vegas.

2/3 of all americans live in the 100 largest metros - which basically means metro areas of 525,000 people (Spokane, Chattanooga, Harrisburg, etc) and larger.

Most of the rest of Americans live in small towns with fewer than 50,000 people where transit isn't an issue because there's not much traffic and people don't have to drive very far for most trips. People living in the exurbs are a small minority of americans.

It's entirely possible (if, say, gas hits $6/gallon) for most of these people to be within a 5-10 minute walk of a bus or train station on a route that runs every 20 minutes or less from 6am to 10pm for modest operations costs (say, a local 1% sales tax). Now, I'm not suggesting that's what should happen - just that most Americans live in areas that are relatively easy to serve with transit if people want it.

Transportation is kind of like electricity. Most people walk into a room and know how to turn on a light but they don't understand much else about it. The difference is that even though most people turn lights on and off everyday - most people don't consider themselves electrical experts.

Every road has a capacity. It's why I cringe every time I see a new parking garage built in Philadelphia. With a one lane street only capable of moving 500 cars per hour under ideal conditions (perfect drivers, no pedestrians) there are more parking spaces than there is time in a day to move all of the cars out. The entire system depends on a high percentage of empty parking spaces and other people moving their cars only once or twice a week. Anyway, most roads work fine under normal conditions. When it rains (ie, people slow down but don't decrease their following distance) or if there's an accident most roads don't cope well with it all. When the number of cars exceeds the carrying capacity, even just for small stretches, most roads grind to a halt. Often times the number of cars entering an expressway that tips it from free flowing to a hot mess is less than 20.

Consider that a busy stretch of 3-lane, urban interstate can carry 65,000 cars per day in one direction. It could actually carry more but since too many people try to use it at the same times each day the number of cars able to pass per minute slows considerably during those times. Now consider that 3.5 miles of that rush hour traffic jam is made up of only 1,800 cars. Yup, 600 cars following at unsafe distances (as people typically do) will take up 3.5 miles of a lane of interstate. That's 3% of the daily traffic on that road. That's also about 2 or 3 trains full of people. Encourage that many people to start using transit for their work trip and the relief to the other drivers would be instant. To put it another way, if everyone made one less car trip per week there would be an instant 4% reduction in traffic.

Now, a lot of people who don't use transit as part of their daily life (and even many who do) don't realize that when you live in a place with good transit you don't use that transit for most of your trips. You walk. Most car travel in the US is for trips less than 5 miles. Only 25% of all trips are journey-to-work. An astonishingly high % of trips are for silly stuff like driving 1/2 mile to get milk or to pick up kids from school. If people who drove replaced one of these car trips each week with walking, well, there's your 4% reduction (most americans average 25 car trips per week).



It's funny, I was 28 when I got rid of my last car. People kept telling me, "oh, when you're married you'll want to get another car." No, but we did join a carsharing organization. Then they said, "oh, when you have kids things totally change. you'll want to get a car." No, but we did buy a car seat and we did start using carshare more . . . but it wasn't because I started driving to the grocery store 4 blocks away or the school 5 blocks away. It was to visit grandma and grandpa in the suburbs or for trips to the beach.

The thing is, when most of your life happens within a 10 minute walk of your front door there's very little you have to plan for and very little uncertainty you have to take into account. You can leave when you're supposed to be there and most people won't even notice you're late. I never once got stuck in traffic walking my kids to the pediatrician . . . I'd also venture that it's precisely because most of my peers did not own cars (or when they did it was just one, paid off, beater) that most of us could afford to live in households where only spouse worked full time. (I use the past tense because I moved to a different city - but we still don't own a car).
Ha, Ha, Ha! Denver's current transit tax is 1% throughout the RTD. The RTD board wisely decided not to ask the taxpayers for more money for their rail boondoggle called Fastracks. Therefore, it is likely never to be finished. We have a good system, but we don't have the majority of people living 5-10 min from a transit stop that runs every 20 minutes. It would take a lot more than that to achieve such a system.

RTD

It's a total crock that there are a lot of people driving 1/2 mile just to pick up milk.

When most of your life happens within a 10 minute walk of your front door, I'd say you have a pretty constrained life.
 
Old 05-03-2013, 06:18 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,980 posts, read 102,527,356 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Maybe that's why SWPLs hate buses so much? Perhaps it reminds them of the shame and indignity they endured in high school because their parents wouldn't buy them a car?
Call me ignorant, but what is a SWPL?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
In the longer run, it's going to be cheaper, as the technology will get to be lower cost than what it takes for a cab-driver to live.

Also, keep in mind cabs are not easy to hail in every city due to artificial supply limitations. Pittsburgh is notorious for this. Cabs will not pick up anyone on the street except in front of hotels downtown. In addition, when you call for a cab, the service reports to the drivers you are available, but often no one comes, because none of them want to head out that way. So more than half the time the cab is a total no-show.
We've been waiting a long time for a lot of things to be cheaper "in the long run". That's what they tell you when you install a solar heating system on your roof, for example, or buy a ridiculously expensive "energy saving" furnace or windows.
 
Old 05-03-2013, 06:21 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,980 posts, read 102,527,356 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by Considering Coming Back View Post
As a SWPL, I'd say we like the bus more than the class of people below us. We are self actualized and don't associate our transportation choices with status. That's probably because it is exactly that, a choice.


BTW, I read your list of DC friend car ownership habits. I have to say it is the exact opposite of my peer group in DC. In fact, I find car ownership more common in the Brownstone belt than in DC west of the River. I imagine it has to do with their fields of work. My DC peer group is mostly transplants on the Hill or in related policy fields. Who would take a job in MD? The Brooklynites tend more towards tri-state natives who visit their families on the weekends and teachers who work in unfashionable areas.
My God, what's with this "classism"? I thought "committed urbanists" were above that sort of thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Considering Coming Back View Post
That does not disprove my statement, you realize?

Break America into income quintiles. The lower quintiles are increasing car ownership rates at faster levels (more room to grow helps).

If you could break Millennials out by income you would find a decrease. Top quintilers under the age of 31 own cars at a lower rate than 5 years ago, 10 years ago, or 20 years ago.

Income stratification explains luxury car sales. That and leases by $30,000-millionaries.


The reason car ownership is increasing faster in the lowest quintiles is because car ownership is lower in this quintile. The higher-order quintiles already own lots of cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Considering Coming Back View Post
Why anything below class X, of course!





I'll say that the list is not surprising. If we fleshed out a few more details, like did the policy dude grow up in VA? Are the lawyers from Tier II schools? How many of them are white/nonwhite? We could better establish the pattern.





I figured as much. Not SWPL.
Gag me with a spoon! What arrogance! Racist, too!
 
Old 05-03-2013, 06:25 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
45,983 posts, read 41,921,149 times
Reputation: 14804
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Call me ignorant, but what is a SWPL?
from this half-satirical site:

Stuff White People Like | This blog is devoted to stuff that white people like
 
Old 05-03-2013, 06:33 PM
 
788 posts, read 1,069,452 times
Reputation: 1229
One of the things I love the most about living in a huge city is that I don't need a car, so I don't have one. I can't imagine ever having to return to a life where I'm dependent upon a car to go anywhere, and I've been an urban dweller for about 10 years. All of my friends in NYC never wanted to leave NYC because they couldn't imagine returning to car-life either. We all found it so liberating to be able to walk everywhere or take a subway - you can enjoy the scenery or lose yourself in a book instead of being stuck in gridlock or having to search for parking. And you never have to worry about a designated driver.

Maybe I'll succumb to car ownership again some day, but I can't imagine when that day will be. I'm well into my 30s and am very happy without a car.
 
Old 05-03-2013, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,414 posts, read 11,910,584 times
Reputation: 10533
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
The bold is kind of weird to me. I really don't care where people live/work, but to me if one is "committed" to urban life, that should mean working in the city as well. I remember someone on the Denver forum who lives in some New Urbanist development saying that one of her neighbors is so committed to NU that he lives in her 'hood and drives 1 1/2 hours to the Denver Tech Center (each way) to work. I said that seemed rather antithetical to the NU lifestyle.
I don't know about new urbanist (AFAIK, no new urbanist designed community has quite got the formula of actual urban neighborhoods down), but for me, there were just too many other pluses for living in DC. I could take the red line virtually everywhere. I could bike around the National Mall or through Rock Creek Park on the the weekend. I had access to many ethnic restaurants and shopped at Eastern Market. I didn't like the commute, but I was fresh out of school, and my job options were limited at that point. Since then I've always tried to ensure my jobs were somewhat more centrally located.
 
Old 05-03-2013, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Howard County, MD
2,223 posts, read 2,993,251 times
Reputation: 3365
Young person here; it's not that I don't like cars, its that I just don't want to feel dependent on one. Also, I like to have plenty of options in place if I want to go out and drink a bunch and not DUI.
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