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Old 02-18-2014, 01:41 PM
 
40,092 posts, read 24,337,358 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
Lack of density is a result of highway subsidies (and other things in the article), not a reason to continue them. Who would pay higher rent to live near work when you could drive five more miles down the highway for almost free? Now if you had to pay a $10 toll or extra gas tax a day you might reconsider how economical that $100 less in rent really is.
Except that a person is already making a car payment, paying for gas, paying for insurance, paying to license the car, etc. That's not driving down the highway for almost free. And that $100 less in rent is likely to be considerably more than $100, and if you increased the cost of car travel, then that inner city rent is going to go even higher, because demand will be higher. Rent is actually very responsive to changes in demand.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,275 posts, read 4,764,240 times
Reputation: 4036
For every traffic pic, someone could just as easily post a picture like this:


Or this:



Personally, I find being in a car much more comfortable and understand why people would prefer to drive, even though I take public transit to work and drive far less than the average American.

I certainly wish we had better public transit in this country. Even in Chicago, which supposedly has one of the best public transit systems in the country, there is a lot to be desired. There are many places you simply cannot access via transit in a timely manner, so driving is the only option. Until that is changed, I don't see how we could charge tolls high enough to cover what roadways really cost without crippling the average family.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:08 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 nei View Post
I think origionally when European countries implemented a gas tax, most people didn't own cars, and cars were considered more of a luxury (which is why diesel is taxed somewhat lower as it's needed for goods transportation). Once a tax is there, it's hard to remove.

The gas tax was never meant as a road-specific tax anymore than a sales tax is.
A tax is for whatever the group that passed it (congress, state legistlature, vote of the people) says it is for. On the one hand, people on this forum gripe about subsidized roads, on the other, they want to use the gas tax for whatever.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
Reputation: 26637
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
Lack of density is a result of highway subsidies (and other things in the article), not a reason to continue them. Who would pay higher rent to live near work when you could drive five more miles down the highway for almost free? Now if you had to pay a $10 toll or extra gas tax a day you might reconsider how economical that $100 less in rent really is.
I would move closer to work if there was a neighborhood that I liked nearby. But I want to live in a more urban neighborhood, and the closest ones are 20 miles away (and uber pricy and not very diverse) so I live 30 miles away. I would absolutely spend a little more to live closer in the right neighborhood.

5 more miles down the highway in the Bay Area can easily 10-15 minutes.

If I lived within 5 miles, I could ditch my car and bike to work most days!
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,247 posts, read 26,214,003 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
Lack of density is a result of highway subsidies (and other things in the article), not a reason to continue them. Who would pay higher rent to live near work when you could drive five more miles down the highway for almost free? Now if you had to pay a $10 toll or extra gas tax a day you might reconsider how economical that $100 less in rent really is.
The fact that Rhode Island was less densely populated than all of Britain in 1950 had nothing to do with highway subsidies. The fact that Britain today is more densely populated than Maryland has nothing to do with highway subsidies. There have always been more people in Europe. When a whole entire country is denser than major MSAs in the U.S., the discrepancy can't be attributed to government policies. And we're not talking about Luxembourg here. Germany is 137,847 sq. miles. Metro Atlanta is 8,376 sq. miles. Yet Germany is still more densely populated.

Could U.S. metros have been denser (more similar to Canadian metros)? Probably. But if we're comparing the U.S. to Europe, I think it's stupid to not cite AGE as one of the chief factors as to why America is more car dependent. You're talking about two places with vast population and population density differences in 1950 (and today). Europe is so much older than America and has experienced levels of deforestation throughout its long, long history that's unwitnessed in America. And there's a certain type of sensitivity to land use that arises from that.

Not to mention the fact that rationing continued in some parts of Europe after WWII. And that Europe did not emerge from WWII with cash to blow on shiny Buicks and Cadillacs. All of these things taken together probably had a huge impact on land use policy. It's the same way someone living on food stamps is likely to be more judicious in his or her spending than Lebron James.
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,247 posts, read 26,214,003 times
Reputation: 11701
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikitakolata View Post
For every traffic pic, someone could just as easily post a picture like this:


Or this:



Personally, I find being in a car much more comfortable and understand why people would prefer to drive, even though I take public transit to work and drive far less than the average American.

I certainly wish we had better public transit in this country. Even in Chicago, which supposedly has one of the best public transit systems in the country, there is a lot to be desired. There are many places you simply cannot access via transit in a timely manner, so driving is the only option. Until that is changed, I don't see how we could charge tolls high enough to cover what roadways really cost without crippling the average family.
Perhaps the tax code can be altered to incentivize the encouragement of telework. If your primary goal truly is the protection of the environment, isn't the fastest and most effective way to accomplish that goal? Wouldn't providing tax incentives to companies that encourage them to have fewer employees show up on a daily basis have much more immediate effects on traffic and pollution than multi-billion dollar transit projects that may or may not be successful?

The assumption is always that people will be stuck in traffic commuting to downtown, thus making expensive rapid rail transit a necessity. But perhaps the American innovation someone alluded to before will be going to the local FedEx Kinko's or conducting meetings from home on iPads. I don't see why the first resort is always "Build a train!"

Last edited by BajanYankee; 02-18-2014 at 03:47 PM..
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:20 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,856,291 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
Lack of density is a result of highway subsidies (and other things in the article), not a reason to continue them. Who would pay higher rent to live near work when you could drive five more miles down the highway for almost free? Now if you had to pay a $10 toll or extra gas tax a day you might reconsider how economical that $100 less in rent really is.
More like the US has a higher ratio of HOME OWNERS who don't need to pay rent and want cheap land prices. Both public transit and the car make it possible to live farther away(the car more so because it eliminates all the transferring and waiting for the bus.).

In the 1950ies living near work could more likely mean living near a smoke bleaching, noisy, smelly factory. Only today now that there is less industry do some want to return to cities. However for many owning a place away from the city center is worth the gas and burbs now have office parks as well as light industry. Not to mention that even within large cities people often work on different sides of town or at night and public transit isn't as well geared for that.
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Valdosta (Atlanta Native)
3,527 posts, read 3,069,435 times
Reputation: 2327
Most of the counties in the Atlanta MSA/CSA shouldn't even be there.

But, to get on topic, don't worry about suburbs. In about 30 years farmers will start getting their land back. For all of you wanting elbow room, can't you find that in the city. I swear sprawl destroys lives. I remember as a kid being alone all the time because I couldn't walk to the park and library. My parents all stressed being stuck in traffic. I am never going back to that. Politicians need to stop subsidising cars.
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,247 posts, read 26,214,003 times
Reputation: 11701
Quote:
Originally Posted by demonta4 View Post
Most of the counties in the Atlanta MSA/CSA shouldn't even be there.
It really doesn't matter. In 1950, Europe had 399 million more people than the U.S. Despite having considerably more land area (Alaska and Hawaii weren't states yet), Europe still had a higher population density than the U.S. (139 ppsm vs 48 ppsm). So if we want to talk about why development patterns in the U.S. and Europe are so different, then that should be one critical fact to consider. Population pressure has never been a real issue here.

England most over-populated country in EU | Mail Online

If you combine the NYC, L.A., Chicago, Houston and Atlanta metros, you get roughly the same population as England. However, you've chewed up more than 80% of the country's land area in doing so. That's not a lot of farmland and countryside left over. In the U.S., we have about 3,754,000 more square miles to spare, so who would really care?
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:42 PM
 
7,888 posts, read 5,024,944 times
Reputation: 13523
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I was waiting to see...

"European cities are significantly older than American cities..." and

"Europe is more densely populated than the United States."

The last point is one that's oft-ignored. The United Kingdom (yes, that's right, the whole UK) has a higher population density than Metro Atlanta.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
... one reason that stands out, imo, is the sheer historical difference in total population between Europe and the U.S.
...
That's certainly not the only factor but is a factor. When you have a wide open country with amber waves of grain, your attitude towards land use is going to be a little different.
Indeed! Public policy, culture, economics and urban planning are certainly significant factors, but demographics trumps them all. Not only is the population density in the US much lower than in Europe, but people tend to be spread out. I don’t just mean suburban sprawl, but a fairly large rural population and lots of small/medium towns situated 10-20 miles from other small/medium towns, with low-density population in between. Let’s take the example of some other low population density countries, such as Australia. There, residents tend to be clustered in narrow urban bands, in concentrations of cities and their suburbs, with vast swaths of the country largely uninhabited. So transportation-needs are intra-urban (getting around Melbourne or Sydney) or inter-urban (fly between Melbourne and Sydney). The US, at least east of the Rockies, is one broad carpet of population-fibers. We don’t congregate in villages or compact cities. So not only are there fewer of us per square mile, there are more of those square miles running one after another towards the horizon, instead of being neatly packed around transportation hubs.
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