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Old 03-13-2014, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,348,864 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schermerhorn View Post
BINGO. I just started reading this thread and am only on page four, so apologies if praise has already been heaped on Jade for this valuable point, but this is the crux of the issue right here.

In today's USA, automobile drivers are favored in every possible way, with every post-WWII development designed around car ownership. Consequently, American society has turned a number of people into de facto second class citizens, without any acknowledgement of the fact. Despite the admirable progress of the civil rights movement, for the non-driver things have been going steadily backwards.

If you can't drive, but think you're OK because you can walk to your workplace a mile away, and your employer transfers you to another location that has no transit, not only will you have to quit, but the situation will be seen as somehow your fault. "Take a cab," the over-entitled car owner will say, forgetting that unless you're making a very high income, hiring a taxi to commute to work will cost you so many hours' wages that you might as well just stay home.

Imagine a company that transferred an employee in a wheelchair from her accessible first-floor office to another building where she has to work on the fourth floor and there's no elevator. She can't get up there, and the boss says, "Can't you hire a home health aide to carry you up there?" The news would be all over that! Arnold Diaz would be saying, "Shame on you!"

But do the equivalent with automobiles, and nobody cares.

Once you see it, you can never unsee it. Ubiquitous free parking, which is often written into city codes. The positions of street signs (optimized for visibility from the driver's seat of a car). The thicknesses of the plastic bags that your groceries are put in (which are designed around a 2-minute walk to the parking lot and not a 30-minute walk to your house). "Free" roads and interstate highways that your taxes pay for even if you're forbidden to use them yourself. The length of red and green on traffic lights. Whether or not employers and schools will declare a "snow day" (you never hear about "rainstorm days" because even in the heaviest rain everyone is expected to get to work, by car, and on a snowy day when the car owners can't make it, you won't get credit for being able to pull on your snow boots and trudge to work, because work will close) -- all of this assumes that everyone drives and does not walk.

The average driver never thinks about all these little things -- s/he just notices, unconsciously, that things seem a lot easier and more natural with a car. And so in the suburbs even people who might enjoy taking the train never do. Seniors who would be a lot safer on a train cling to their cars. And just about everyone born with epilepsy, impaired eyesight, or any other condition that prevents them from driving, finds that the vast majority of American towns are closed off to them and that the average person has no sympathy at all.

In the more hard-nosed 19th century I could imagine "progress" leaving a segment of society in the dust like this. Bit int he supposedly more-sensitive late 20th? How did we let this happen?
It is most assuredly a dilemma of perspective and history. A few pages ago, I mentioned the following:

Quote:
To me, the amount of scattered employment and free parking is a direct impact of the automobile ruling the transportation system. I suppose all these debates and louder lobbying for transit projects has something to do with trying to change the current environment. There's surely no clean/easy way to change it from what it is now to where it's going. And while (or IF) that is to be rectified, transit is still going to be a bad option for most people for a long time.

And this was the response:

Quote:
Well, it is what it is. There's no point in talking about how things could have been different because things are not different. What we've got is a decentralized, auto-centric landscape and transit planners need to work from that reality.
While this is a "why most people don't use transit" thread and not a "why transit sucks so bad for people to not want to use it" thread, it is a matter of past choices that have resulted in what we currently have. And the thing is, people make choices based on the current built environment, which in many cases, equals "transit sucks" because it does. And it will continue to suck when people continue to make decisions for autocentric design and more roads.

If transit sucks in city neighborhoods of some larger cities, then it's surely going to be non-existent in smaller or rural communities.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,704 posts, read 4,683,213 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Most people today do not own a motor vehicles, for personal use or otherwise. It's a privilege generally afforded only to the developed countries or the wealthy.
I am talking about most people here in the U.S.- I assumed we were discussing this situation here in our own country, after all. And what you said is not true- most people here in the US DO own cars. There are about 900 cars per 1000 people in this country, so that roughly puts us at 10% who do not have cars.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,704 posts, read 4,683,213 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Oh, I think they did! Groundhog Day alert, we've talked about this before. My mom, b. 1921, grew up on a farm. In her early years, her family did not have a car, and they took the horse and carriage (I dare you to correct me) to town to shop, go to church, etc.

"Normal speeds for horse-drawn buggies range between five and eight miles per hour."
Amish Safety

Average walking speed is 2-3 mph.
Average Human Walking Speed? - Ask.com
Yes, I am not sure what the poster was referring to- LOTS of people traveled by horse or horse and buggy back in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Maybe not those who lived in already dense areas like New York, but large, large swaths of the country were very rural and wide open back then and unless people wanted to be stuck in their little corner of "nowhere", they had to have a mode of transportation other than walking- and for many that was a horse. That's why all of the towns back then had rows of places to tie up a horse all along the roads in front of the storefronts, similar to the rows of parking spaces you see in front of storefronts today. People often had to travel miles, and without cars they had to use their horses- after all, walking that far would take forever!
My family was in the Midwest and west back at those times, some were farmers and others lived in town- all of them used horses to get around. Farmers did not just walk to where they needed to go- I mean sure if they were just going out to the field for their chores each day they would walk but farmers needed to go into town very often for business, and that usually was miles away- they all had horses to do that traveling before cars were invented or became common.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,312 posts, read 26,328,326 times
Reputation: 11779
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
It is most assuredly a dilemma of perspective and history. A few pages ago, I mentioned the following:


And this was the response:



While this is a "why most people don't use transit" thread and not a "why transit sucks so bad for people to not want to use it" thread, it is a matter of past choices that have resulted in what we currently have. And the thing is, people make choices based on the current built environment, which in many cases, equals "transit sucks" because it does. And it will continue to suck when people continue to make decisions for autocentric design and more roads.

If transit sucks in city neighborhoods of some larger cities, then it's surely going to be non-existent in smaller or rural communities.
The focus of the article is "Why People Don't Use Transit," the implication being that people choose to drive even though mass transit may be available to them. They choose not to ride it because it's incovenient. But incovenient is not the same as non-existent. Even in the sprawled out Atlanta suburbs, you've got Cobb County Transit, MARTA, and other systems that service those areas. Would it suck to have to rely on those? Yes (I've done it). But there's not much more you can possibly expect given the configuration of the region.

So the idea that there are these "bad people" who don't care about the mobility of the poor, the sick, the young, etc. is some utter BS. If that were the case, then these bus systems way out in the Atlanta suburbs or far out Montgomery County, MD wouldn't exist. These systems may not be ideal, but what exactly in life is? You can't possibly connect every single place in any American metro area by public transit and especially not rail (which is what these gripes are really about). Unless, that is, you want to pay billions of dollars to do that. In most cities, people don't want to do that, so there will always be some percentage of the population without ready access to public transit. But how is that any different from people don't have ready access to food and shelter? You do what you can to help those people, but those people will always exist.

And yeah, the urban landscape "is what it is" and there are a lot of Americans who want it that way. Those people who reject the suburban lifestyle are free to do exactly what some of you have done: move to cities or places with better access to transit. For those who don't have access to vehicles, there is public transportation albeit a form of transportation (i.e., the bus) a lot of urbanists don't particularly like. This argument generally boils down to a fight for rail transit, which urbanists want to use to play SIM city on other people's dime.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,348,864 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
The focus of the article is "Why People Don't Use Transit," the implication being that people choose to drive even though mass transit may be available to them. They choose not to ride it because it's incovenient. But incovenient is not the same as non-existent. Even in the sprawled out Atlanta suburbs, you've got Cobb County Transit, MARTA, and other systems that service those areas. Would it suck to have to rely on those? Yes (I've done it). But there's not much more you can possibly expect given the configuration of the region.

So the idea that there are these "bad people" who don't care about the mobility of the poor, the sick, the young, etc. is some utter BS. If that were the case, then these bus systems way out in the Atlanta suburbs or far out Montgomery County, MD wouldn't exist. These systems may not be ideal, but what exactly in life is? You can't possibly connect every single place in any American metro area by public transit and especially not rail (which is what these gripes are really about). Unless, that is, you want to pay billions of dollars to do that. In most cities, people don't want to do that, so there will always be some percentage of the population without ready access to public transit. But how is that any different from people don't have ready access to food and shelter? You do what you can to help those people, but those people will always exist.

And yeah, the urban landscape "is what it is" and there are a lot of Americans who want it that way. Those people who reject the suburban lifestyle are free to do exactly what some of you have done: move to cities or places with better access to transit. For those who don't have access to vehicles, there is public transportation albeit a form of transportation (i.e., the bus) a lot of urbanists don't particularly like. This argument generally boils down to a fight for rail transit, which urbanists want to use to play SIM city on other people's dime.
That's all fine. It doesn't change the fact that this is a thread where people are giving examples of why they don't take mass transit, but several don't live in a place where adequate mass transit exists (some even inferred that they live rural/small town). Kind of like going to AA to ask why people don't like to have a drink.

At the end of the day, mass transit MAY exist, but it's an after-thought in most places and generally only serves those who don't have other options (country-wide). And that is the case because of how things were built, but it's an American perspective. I would assume that in more transit-oriented and densely built cities, less people have a negative perspective because they invested in it more generously.

On the flip side, go to old part of Venice and ask them how they feel about the convenience of driving for their daily errands.

EDIT: And I am not an advocate of changing modern suburbs because I spend no time in them. I'm not one of these "urbanists" you speak of, so I'm not sure why you bring it up when you quote my posts.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:59 AM
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
45,992 posts, read 42,110,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
I am talking about most people here in the U.S.- I assumed we were discussing this situation here in our own country, after all. And what you said is not true- most people here in the US DO own cars. There are about 900 cars per 1000 people in this country, so that roughly puts us at 10% who do not have cars.
It is true for the US, it is not true worldwide, which is what Malloric was saying.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,312 posts, read 26,328,326 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
That's all fine. It doesn't change the fact that this is a thread where people are giving examples of why they don't take mass transit, but several don't live in a place where adequate mass transit exists (some even inferred that they live rural/small town). Kind of like going to AA to ask why people don't like to have a drink.
But the article is talking about people who do have access to mass transit. It's rather obvious that someone living in Bangor, Maine or Butte, Montana is not going to ride transit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
At the end of the day, mass transit MAY exist, but it's an after-thought in most places and generally only serves those who don't have other options (country-wide). And that is the case because of how things were built, but it's an American perspective. I would assume that in more transit-oriented and densely built cities, less people have a negative perspective because they invested in it more generously.
The bottom line is that American suburbs were mostly built around the automobile. It is what it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
EDIT: And I am not an advocate of changing modern suburbs because I spend no time in them. I'm not one of these "urbanists" you speak of, so I'm not sure why you bring it up when you quote my posts.
I wasn't speaking about you specifically.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:19 AM
 
8,226 posts, read 10,819,328 times
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All I know is my income nearly tripled when I became a driver at 22 yrs of age,and I had the same job and title.

People looked down on me for not knowing how to drive.
It also seems as if its a "status symbol" to have a driver license and car in this part of the country(Nyc metro).

Yes,transport is great(esp the Nyc metro and Path). However,with through the roof insurance rates(mine was $800/month at 22 yrs of age,plus it was liability only for a 1996 Ford Taurus) its not really hard to see that working poor people can't afford that.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,348,864 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
But the article is talking about people who do have access to mass transit. It's rather obvious that someone living in Bangor, Maine or Butte, Montana is not going to ride transit.
That's where the adequate comes in. I have access to transit in my city neighborhood, but it's not very good. It works for me because I prefer it, but that's about it. Someone may have a bus stop .5 miles away in suburban Atlanta, but that's not likely to elicit a positive experience (depending on the route and to where they have to go). The built environment doesn't support it well and the investment into transit has been anemic compared to roads.

And that's the case more often than not in the US in most places. So, in a fair number of situations, the reason people don't use transit is because of inadequate coverage and low quality service. And, yes, there are absolutely people who prefer driving.

My assumption is that this thread is meant to give perspective to the pro-urban people (like the article was) as to why people don't like mass transit. While those perspectives are most certainly valid, I think it's important to remember that when invested in AND designed properly, it can be a very opposite experience. Some things may not go away (having to rub shoulders with people or having to do a bit more planning), but some of the most unpleasant things do go away to an extent (e.g. low frequency, poor coverage, no night routes, etc.).
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:49 AM
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
45,992 posts, read 42,110,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
That's where the adequate comes in. I have access to transit in my city neighborhood, but it's not very good. It works for me because I prefer it, but that's about it. Someone may have a bus stop .5 miles away in suburban Atlanta, but that's not likely to elicit a positive experience (depending on the route and to where they have to go). The built environment doesn't support it well and the investment into transit has been anemic compared to roads.
And even if there was lots of investment, it would difficult for it to be useful, and the ridership would be anemic. The built environment gets forgetten sometimes in these transit discussions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
The bottom line is that American suburbs were mostly built around the automobile. It is what it is.
But then there are plenty of posts on the forum on how you "can walk in the suburbs" and "there's transit, too". But in real life, no expects, that most of say, Suffolk County could ever support much of any local transit.
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