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Old 07-18-2014, 10:52 AM
 
1,998 posts, read 2,935,347 times
Reputation: 2150

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
I will say the reason development has to cater to cars is because almost everyone uses a car as their primary mode of transportation in this country. Car ownership is about 900 per every 1000 Americans. So if it were different, where only 100 out of every 1000 had cars, then you'd see the opposite, where development catered to mass transit and not much to cars. It's not that government is forcing us to use cars, they are working around the real world fact that this is how we get around.

Nope, it's not like people all just chose in a free market to make cars their main method of transportation. That decision was shaped by government zoning and road-building decisions and minimum parking requirements that made dense, pedestrian-friendly environments illegal to build in many cities and towns across the country. As a result, in many places the car is the only feasible way to get around. Government isn't having to work around that fact--it created the fact.

It's very naive to think that government didn't play a role in promoting the automobile.

Here's just one piece of reading on the matter: Sprawl is not a product of the free market | Stockton City Limits

If there had been different, more free market policies, of course we would still have cars and car usage would still be high. But I don't think it would be as high because more alternatives would be feasible.

 
Old 07-18-2014, 10:57 AM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,862,208 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
Nope, it's not like people all just chose in a free market to make cars their main method of transportation. That decision was shaped by government zoning and road-building decisions and minimum parking requirements that made dense, pedestrian-friendly environments illegal to build in many cities and towns across the country. As a result, in many places the car is the only feasible way to get around. Government isn't having to work around that fact--it created the fact.

It's very naive to think that government didn't play a role in promoting the automobile.

Here's just one piece of reading on the matter: Sprawl is not a product of the free market | Stockton City Limits

If there had been different, more free market policies, of course we would still have cars and car usage would still be high. But I don't think it would be as high because more alternatives would be feasible.
They did so between 1908 and 1927 as the model T flew off the line. For people in rural areas the model t greatly increased the range they could travel. For people in cities it allowed them to have personal transport for the first time as horses were expensive for city people to keep. Once enough people owned cars then there was more demand for the infrastructure to support them like gas stations, parking lots ect.

Sprawl was born the moment the trolley was invented as it allowed people to live further and further from where they worked. Before the advent of public transit cities were limited in size to about the distance you could walk in 30 mins. The horse drawn omnibus allowed people to live further away and this increases with technology.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 11:06 AM
 
1,998 posts, read 2,935,347 times
Reputation: 2150
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
They did so between 1908 and 1927 as the model T flew off the line. For people in rural areas the model t greatly increased the range they could travel. For people in cities it allowed them to have personal transport for the first time as horses were expensive for city people to keep. Once enough people owned cars then there was more demand for the infrastructure to support them like gas stations, parking lots ect.
But the infrastructure to support the cars wasn't entirely driven by consumer demand. It was driven by government policy in large part. Highways, minimum parking requirements, zoning restrictions on density - none of those are products of the free market.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,692,971 times
Reputation: 26671
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
If all state, local and federal subsidies were eliminated tomorrow, most transit agencies likely wouldn't make it through the week. Layoffs would certainly occur. Hours would be curtailed. And fares would have to be raised to make up for the funding deficit. I'm not sure what the full cost of a ride on SEPTA or MARTA is, but it's a good deal higher than what it is now. The higher cost would cause to demand to plummet. A complete absence of funding would cause transit agencies to go into a death spiral in a matter of weeks.

Needless to say, it takes more than weeks for a road to deteriorate. The City of Alexandria aims to resurface its roads every 8-12 years but admittedly does so every 25 years.

Maintenance Division | T&ES | City of Alexandria, VA
The same is true of roads. I am not sure why transit is always supposed to take the "hit" on being "subsidized." All modes of transit in this country are subsidized: auto, rail, transit, airplanes....

We rarely factor in the supporting infrastructure required for car infrastructure. It isn't just roads we need to devote land to parking at either end of the destination as well. Is that the best use of land in every case? I don't think so. what about capacity issues and the environmental toll?

But the most important question is what value does transit have? If we eliminated transit completely, we wouldn't have enough road capacity in most places, and would need to devote 2X or more as much land for roads. And there there is the social good factor, is it a core value for people without a car to move about freely or is that a subsidy to "poor people." Do we want "poor people" to be able to get to jobs, school, doctor appointments and live life?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
And in many areas, drivers are paying for mass transit, too, because fairly large amounts of gas tax money is used for mass transit. That's how it is here in Washington state- and then they turn around and say we don't have enough money to pay for road maintenance, that we don't have enough gas tax revenue. I say stop siphoning the gas tax money, use it ONLY for roads as it's intended- find out what the true shortfall is- and then raise gas taxes accordingly to bridge that gap. But make sure all of that money goes to our roads.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opin_Yunated View Post
Oh jeez, the driver entitlement syndrome!

Drivers pay about 50% of road maintenance costs at the pump or toll booths, but complain about every other mode of transportation. By contrast, Amtrak covers 88% of user fees.

I'm the real sucker in this one.. because I pay gas tax, vehicle registration / inspection fees, income tax, sales tax, and property tax (all of which heavily subsidize roads), but bike to work gas-free.

I guess its time for the whiney drivers to pay up.
Since most transportation in the US is funded by state or local funds, everyone is chipping in one way or another. It isn't like transit users don't pay local taxes that support roads and such. And most of the federal gas taxes go to support highways, not the local roads we use most often, that are funded by local revenues.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
Nope, it's not like people all just chose in a free market to make cars their main method of transportation. That decision was shaped by government zoning and road-building decisions and minimum parking requirements that made dense, pedestrian-friendly environments illegal to build in many cities and towns across the country. As a result, in many places the car is the only feasible way to get around. Government isn't having to work around that fact--it created the fact.

It's very naive to think that government didn't play a role in promoting the automobile.

Here's just one piece of reading on the matter: Sprawl is not a product of the free market | Stockton City Limits

If there had been different, more free market policies, of course we would still have cars and car usage would still be high. But I don't think it would be as high because more alternatives would be feasible.
Dead End is a really interesting read on how we "subsidized" suburbia.
http://www.amazon.com/Dead-End-Subur.../dp/B00IYIDX2W
 
Old 07-18-2014, 11:14 AM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,862,208 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
But the infrastructure to support the cars wasn't entirely driven by consumer demand. It was driven by government policy in large part. Highways, minimum parking requirements, zoning restrictions on density - none of those are products of the free market.
Highways were created by the government because they were an faster, more efficient way to move people, troops, cargo. The Germans in WWII showed the value of having an highway system and even before WWII there were interstate routes like route 66. An train full of something is an lot, sometimes you don't want to ship that much sometimes you want full control over shipping(instead of needed an rail company). It is inefficient to force everyone to use rail because the road system isn't developed. It would be like being forced to use propeller planes because the airport isn't built for Jets. It will hurt economic output.

Min. parking became demanded as the automobile became popular and people wanted/needed somewhere to park. I live in an city that has lots of older buildings and it is an problem if there isn't enough parking. People simply don't do without the car that easy, they simply take up all available space. There are restrictions on destiny for health and safety as well as comfort reasons. Buildings have an occupancy limit due to reasons like need to evacuate in fire. Height restrictions for all sorts of reason(you probably don't want an skyscraper next to an busy airport). Height restrictions because the local fire department might not have the equipment/training. All sorts of reasons.

Last edited by chirack; 07-18-2014 at 11:25 AM..
 
Old 07-18-2014, 11:32 AM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,862,208 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
The same is true of roads. I am not sure why transit is always supposed to take the "hit" on being "subsidized." All modes of transit in this country are subsidized: auto, rail, transit, airplanes....

We rarely factor in the supporting infrastructure required for car infrastructure. It isn't just roads we need to devote land to parking at either end of the destination as well. Is that the best use of land in every case? I don't think so. what about capacity issues and the environmental toll?

But the most important question is what value does transit have? If we eliminated transit completely, we wouldn't have enough road capacity in most places, and would need to devote 2X or more as much land for roads. And there there is the social good factor, is it a core value for people without a car to move about freely or is that a subsidy to "poor people." Do we want "poor people" to be able to get to jobs, school, doctor appointments and live life?





Since most transportation in the US is funded by state or local funds, everyone is chipping in one way or another. It isn't like transit users don't pay local taxes that support roads and such. And most of the federal gas taxes go to support highways, not the local roads we use most often, that are funded by local revenues.




Dead End is a really interesting read on how we "subsidized" suburbia.
Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism - Kindle edition by Benjamin Ross. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
IMHO the only really strong value for public transit is the social good one. However in an city like Chicago you would still need just as many roads with or without public transit. Chicago has't built an highway since the 1960ies or 1970ies. The burbs have as population increased out in the burbs but that is that. You still need highways for cargo and as for environmental toll public transit can be hard on the environment too.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,975 posts, read 4,083,292 times
Reputation: 1208
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
If all state, local and federal subsidies were eliminated tomorrow, most transit agencies likely wouldn't make it through the week. Layoffs would certainly occur. Hours would be curtailed. And fares would have to be raised to make up for the funding deficit. I'm not sure what the full cost of a ride on SEPTA or MARTA is, but it's a good deal higher than what it is now. The higher cost would cause to demand to plummet. A complete absence of funding would cause transit agencies to go into a death spiral in a matter of weeks.

Needless to say, it takes more than weeks for a road to deteriorate. The City of Alexandria aims to resurface its roads every 8-12 years but admittedly does so every 25 years.

Maintenance Division | T&ES | City of Alexandria, VA
You don't have to wait for a road to fully deteriorate to make it unusable or unsafe. Imagine if we suddenly stopped cleaning the roads and clearing accident and other debris from the road and stopped filling in pot holes. Oh, and stop traffic law enforcement while we're at it. No more government road rangers, some people may end up abandoning their clunkers in the travel lanes if they can't afford a tow. In the winter, no plowing the snow or putting salt on the road!!! A lot goes in to keeping a road running than just the road structure itself.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,975 posts, read 4,083,292 times
Reputation: 1208
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
IMHO the only really strong value for public transit is the social good one. However in an city like Chicago you would still need just as many roads with or without public transit. Chicago has't built an highway since the 1960ies or 1970ies. The burbs have as population increased out in the burbs but that is that. You still need highways for cargo and as for environmental toll public transit can be hard on the environment too.
Perhaps in Topeka, Kansas or OKC this is the case. But even then, the social good aspect is a worthy one, and actually much less wasteful than other things the Government does. if you're not willing to pay for mass transit, would you really be willing to pay for that proverbial car and driver for every elderly or disabled person who simply physically cannot drive? And would you really want everyone who cannot afford a car to go on welfare because they simply can't get to a job, or families to lose their homes because they can only afford one car but need two incomes to do so?

But by the time you get to the level of a city like Chicago or NYC, It is not just for the public good anymore. These cities simply would not function at their current level without their transit systems. Can you imagine if you took away the transit system and then you had to suddenly build enough parking for everybody who was riding the transit system, let alone the traffic flow issues. Forgeddaboudit! For these cities, the transit system is just as vital as the interstate highway system is for interstate shipping.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 11:46 AM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,862,208 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by hurricaneMan1992 View Post
Perhaps in Topeka, Kansas or OKC this is the case. But by the time you get to the level of a city like Chicago or NYC, It is not just for the public good anymore. These cities simply would not function at their current level without their transit systems. Can you imagine if you took away the transit system and then you had to suddenly build enough parking for everybody who was riding the transit system, let alone the traffic flow issues. Forgeddaboudit! For these cities, the transit system is just as vital as the interstate highway system is for interstate shipping.
Oh you get more traffic and parking issues downtown and parts of the north side, but that is just about it.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,263,727 times
Reputation: 11726
Quote:
Originally Posted by hurricaneMan1992 View Post
You don't have to wait for a road to fully deteriorate to make it unusable or unsafe. Imagine if we suddenly stopped cleaning the roads and clearing accident and other debris from the road and stopped filling in pot holes. Oh, and stop traffic law enforcement while we're at it. No more government road rangers, some people may end up abandoning their clunkers in the travel lanes if they can't afford a tow. In the winter, no plowing the snow or putting salt on the road!!! A lot goes in to keeping a road running than just the road structure itself.
Then that means no more transit police. So fare evasion would be rampant. And then there'd be absolutely nada to support public transit.

The fact is that public transit is very labor intensive, which is a big reason why conservatives hate it. There are tons of roads all over America that remain driveable with very little human interference. On the other hand, these is no public transit system in America that can remain in operation for a single day without thousands of employees who are funded in part by local, state and federal taxes. Buses don't drive themselves (yet).
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