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Old 09-17-2013, 06:35 PM
 
1,322 posts, read 1,069,362 times
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Forgive me for the inflammatory title, but an interesting tangent sprung up from another thread of mine, New Urbanism... in your Own Words?" about Car Dependency, which I thought deserved a thread of its own.

Since this is the Urban Planning Forum, I figure the best discussions are centered around the question of how to design communities of the near future. And we know that these communities will not exist in a vacuum, as any sort of walkable, sustainable utopian dream. We must start with what we have.

So when it comes to Car Dependency, what is a reasonable goal? We cannot assume that multiple-car ownership will continue to be affordable for every family, into the distant future. So here are some goals that I believe are reasonable and achievable, as new communities are built:

1) Residents should be able to get by without a car on a short-term basis, if their current vehicle is in the shop, or if they are temporarily unable to afford gas or insurance. They should also be able to share a vehicle with a spouse or roommate, and not require a car every day, or for every errand.


2) Residents should feel encouraged to take walks, even if they choose to use a vehicle at all other times. This is good for overall physical health, relational health (enjoy taking a walk with your spouse/family/pet!) and the safety of the neighborhood. And most suburban neighborhoods are unpleasant to walk around in, even if you’re not worried about getting anywhere.


3) Residents should have optimal access to Mass Transit, even if current ridership numbers are low. When one considers the current upward trends in ridership, it is not hard to assume that good access is the only piece missing from the equation in many communities. Additionally, a focus on increased population density will put more individuals within walking distance of any given transit stop. This benefits far more people than the stereotypical "young hipsters" with their "transit fad". Consider also those who are disabled, visiting from another country, or too young or old to drive.



4) Residents should not have to pay for the unsustainable behavior of others, when they choose sustainable options. While neighborhoods should not be built in such a way as to preclude or discourage car ownership per se, new neighborhoods should be built in an efficient and sustainable manner, with the walker, biker and transit-rider primarily in mind. Such neighborhoods are more likely to be affordable for a wide socioeconomic spectrum, and reserve the costs of car ownership for car owners alone.
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Old 09-17-2013, 06:49 PM
 
12,295 posts, read 15,187,836 times
Reputation: 8108
There should be transit that serves everyone in a region, not just people in wealthy neighborhoods who work in center city. It should be scheduled so everyone can use it. Sure the wealthy season ticket holders going to the football stadium but also the cleanup crew. And sidewalks on all State highways and bridges to encourage walking. Maybe even (building owners will scream) unlocked stairways so you can walk up to your office.
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,061 posts, read 16,070,870 times
Reputation: 12636
1) They make this thing called rental cars. If people want to live someplace where that would not be necessary, I think that's great that they can do that just like they always could and always will be able to.

2) I don't find my suburban neighborhood at all unpleasant to walk in. If I did, I wouldn't live there. If you find all suburban neighborhoods unpleasant, I would suggest you just not live in a suburban neighborhood.

3) Mass transit is incredibly expensive, especially if you want to provide so-called "optimal access," whatever that means. Transit should provide transit. With the current usage of transit in the US making the bus less energy efficient than the average car, it's pretty clear there's too much of it and/or it's being grossly misapplied in a way that benefits no one. Minimum levels of services that are so abysmal no one with any choice would use a bus don't really help anyone. Focus on transit corridors where transit can be operated effectively and provide something of value to the community. Suddenly, Development Oriented Around Transit becomes possible naturally and you don't have to have TOD (Taxpayer Only Development).

4) Agreed. Since the bus, as used in the US, is less sustainable than the car, I do feel the costs of riding the bus should be reserved for the bus riders alone. I also think that gas taxes should be what is paying for roads and not general property tax and sales revenues. Largely this ties into the right for "optimal access" no matter where I decided to throw a dart on the map mentality of transit. Several routes here cost less than $1 per boarding (average fare per passenger is $1.10, not quite the same as passenger does not count transfers but unique trips). The routes that actually make sense cost the same as the ones that don't (Why buy a Prius when a Hummer isn't any more expensive to own and operate?) Then there's also that nearly 20% of riders are stealing the transportation. We just got AB 342 that changed fare evasion to a civil penalty from a criminal one, which means these no longer have to be adjudicated through the courts. Hopefully that helps since the courts don't have time to deal with people not paying for their bus ticket.

Last edited by Malloric; 09-17-2013 at 07:24 PM..
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:17 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,992 posts, read 102,554,590 times
Reputation: 33058
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
Forgive me for the inflammatory title, but an interesting tangent sprung up from another thread of mine, New Urbanism... in your Own Words?" about Car Dependency, which I thought deserved a thread of its own.

Since this is the Urban Planning Forum, I figure the best discussions are centered around the question of how to design communities of the near future. And we know that these communities will not exist in a vacuum, as any sort of walkable, sustainable utopian dream. We must start with what we have.

So when it comes to Car Dependency, what is a reasonable goal? We cannot assume that multiple-car ownership will continue to be affordable for every family, into the distant future. So here are some goals that I believe are reasonable and achievable, as new communities are built:

Why not? No one has a crystal ball to know what kind of technologies are going to be developed in the future that might lower the price of a car and/or the price of owning one.

1) Residents should be able to get by without a car on a short-term basis, if their current vehicle is in the shop, or if they are temporarily unable to afford gas or insurance. They should also be able to share a vehicle with a spouse or roommate, and not require a car every day, or for every errand.

Why all these "shoulds"?

2) Residents should feel encouraged to take walks, even if they choose to use a vehicle at all other times. This is good for overall physical health, relational health (enjoy taking a walk with your spouse/family/pet!) and the safety of the neighborhood. And most suburban neighborhoods are unpleasant to walk around in, even if you’re not worried about getting anywhere.

What Malloric said.


3) Residents should have optimal access to Mass Transit, even if current ridership numbers are low. When one considers the current upward trends in ridership, it is not hard to assume that good access is the only piece missing from the equation in many communities. Additionally, a focus on increased population density will put more individuals within walking distance of any given transit stop. This benefits far more people than the stereotypical "young hipsters" with their "transit fad". Consider also those who are disabled, visiting from another country, or too young or old to drive.

Assuming is always a bad idea.


4) Residents should not have to pay for the unsustainable behavior of others, when they choose sustainable options. While neighborhoods should not be built in such a way as to preclude or discourage car ownership per se, new neighborhoods should be built in an efficient and sustainable manner, with the walker, biker and transit-rider primarily in mind. Such neighborhoods are more likely to be affordable for a wide socioeconomic spectrum, and reserve the costs of car ownership for car owners alone.
Let's also reserve the costs of transit riding for transit riders alone.
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,061 posts, read 16,070,870 times
Reputation: 12636
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
There should be transit that serves everyone in a region, not just people in wealthy neighborhoods who work in center city. It should be scheduled so everyone can use it. Sure the wealthy season ticket holders going to the football stadium but also the cleanup crew. And sidewalks on all State highways and bridges to encourage walking. Maybe even (building owners will scream) unlocked stairways so you can walk up to your office.
Re stairways, I actually agree. However, many buildings I am going to are secured/partially secured. Often times I have to get security to activate the floor on the elevator. In situations where that isn't a concern, I do like being able to take the stairs. Especially if we're talking a few flights and a slow elevator it usually is also faster. They get locked because of security concerns, assaults, mugging, rape, etc.
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,509,053 times
Reputation: 7830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
1) They make this thing called rental cars. If people want to live someplace where that would not be necessary, I think that's great that they can do that just like they always could and always will be able to.

2) I don't find my suburban neighborhood at all unpleasant to walk in. If I did, I wouldn't live there. If you find all suburban neighborhoods unpleasant, I would suggest you just not live in a suburban neighborhood.

3) Mass transit is incredibly expensive, especially if you want to provide so-called "optimal access," whatever that means. Transit should provide transit. With the current usage of transit in the US making the bus less energy efficient than the average car, it's pretty clear there's too much of it and/or it's being grossly misapplied in a way that benefits no one. Minimum levels of services that are so abysmal no one with any choice would use a bus don't really help anyone. Focus on transit corridors where transit can be operated effectively and provide something of value to the community. Suddenly, Development Oriented Around Transit becomes possible naturally and you don't have to have TOD (Taxpayer Only Development).

4) Agreed. Since the bus, as used in the US, is less sustainable than the car, I do feel the costs of riding the bus should be reserved for the bus riders alone. I also think that gas taxes should be what is paying for roads and not general property tax and sales revenues. Largely this ties into the right for "optimal access" no matter where I decided to throw a dart on the map mentality of transit. Several routes here cost less than $1 per boarding (average fare per passenger is $1.10, not quite the same as passenger does not count transfers but unique trips). The routes that actually make sense cost the same as the ones that don't (Why buy a Prius when a Hummer isn't any more expensive to own and operate?) Then there's also that nearly 20% of riders are stealing the transportation. We just got AB 342 that changed fare evasion to a civil penalty from a criminal one, which means these no longer have to be adjudicated through the courts. Hopefully that helps since the courts don't have time to deal with people not paying for their bus ticket.
If you are gonna try and make that argument against transit, then you have to admit that the most sustainable form of transportation is by bike or by foot.
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:57 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,819,994 times
Reputation: 9769
Transit by bike or foot is "sustainable" in terms of not needing all that much infrastructure or energy per mile. It has plenty of disadvantages of its own, however.

Personally I don't think we should take it as a given that car ownership, even multiple car ownership, cannot be affordable. Perhaps the best solution really does involve two cars in almost every garage. Perhaps instead of building more and more unpleasant and expensive mass transit systems, we should figure out ways to make personal transportation work better.
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Old 09-17-2013, 10:32 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,061 posts, read 16,070,870 times
Reputation: 12636
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
If you are gonna try and make that argument against transit, then you have to admit that the most sustainable form of transportation is by bike or by foot.
I like bikes, got three of the non-motorized variety in my garage. I don't ride as much as I used to, but they used to be my primary mode of transportation for several years. My traveling distances are too far for them to be sustainable these days since I cover a nine-county area for work. Given my profit margins, driving is a long ways from being unsustainable although it is my single largest business expense.
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Old 09-17-2013, 10:40 PM
 
2,970 posts, read 2,747,804 times
Reputation: 6562
Free energy jet packs for everyone! Oh no, we'd then have air pollution and accidents / collisions with unmanned drones, and we all know the government would have no liability for drones hitting civilians in jetpacks.

The underlying premise behind your argument is energy and infrastructure operation expense related. What if the 1951 Invention Secrecy Act was repealed for alternate energy sources?

Invention Secrecy Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And construction methods were used for longevity and lowest total life cycle cost versus a payback to construction industry?

Ancient Romans cement seemed to last centuries
Ancient Roman Concrete Is About to Revolutionize Modern Architecture - Businessweek

Would it even matter? (Only to the petrodollar based economy )
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:49 PM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
15,728 posts, read 26,757,800 times
Reputation: 20366
Drive to work = 15 minutes door to door. Benefits: Less time on the road. Able to bring everything that I may need. Many times I need things that I can not bring on a bike or on the bus. It is comfortable driving your own car. The bad part: Cost to operate the car. Cost to insure the car. Cost to replace the car or pay it off.

Ride a bike to work = 48 minutes door to door. Benefits: Great way to exercise. Gets the blood pumping, cost is minimal. The bad part: May need a shower. Part of the year is windy and it can be hard to ride the bike. Depending on the temperature may need a shower when I get to work. Safety concerns with cars being able to hit me.

Take the bus = 60 minutes door to door. (Including a 10 minute walk to the bus stop and an 8 minute walk from the Transit center where the bus gets me to the hospital where I work.) Benefits: Over a half hour of exercise a day with walking to and from the bus stops . Cost to ride is only $1.50 Able to read, work on the computer, finish a couple Sudoku games, get to know other riders on the bus. The bad part: Takes longer. You are at the mercy of the bus schedule. people on the bus don't always use deodorant or shower. Can't ride when I want to ride.
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