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Old 11-05-04, 04:56 PM   #1
Dahon.Steve
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http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/26/ma...9f07471f3e791d

This was an interesting article that appeared in the New York Time magazine not too long ago. There are many errors in his thinking but I'd like to point two huge ones.

First, the writer actually believes we need to build more highways to relieve current congestion!!

From the article:
>>>>>The reason for Los Angeles's traffic morass is that it didn't build enough freeways, incredible as that sounds. The great symbol of sprawl is not what it seems when you compare it with other cities using the Census Bureau's definition of an ''urbanized area,'' which extends until the point where there's open countryside. By this definition, Los Angeles is the most densely populated city in America, with 7,068 persons per square mile of urbanized area. Its traffic is terrible because it built only about half the freeways originally planned, so that it now has fewer miles of freeway per capita than any other major city.<<<<<<<

This is insanity because Los Angeles is two thirds highway and street roads! Where are you going to construct more freeways because I don't see any more room and if you don't believe me, look at Mapquest! There is no more space in Los Angeles to build another 5,000 miles of expressways so this idea is out of the question. Furthermore, I doubt there ever was an initiative to build these highways or there would only be freeways and no city!

The second point is the writer's belief in tolling of all roads as a solution to our traffic problems. While I do believe a high toll will deminish some of the traffic, it raises the cost of driving significantly for the poor and middle class. The tolling of American roads is just around the corner because it has Washingtons' approval and when this happens, driving will no longer be inexpensive. A toll once established raises it's rates ever 2 to 5 years and if every road ends up tolled, we can see a situation like Japan where driving 25 miles to the airport can set you back $50.00 bucks.

It makes you feel good that we have an alternative (the bicycle) should driving get too costly.
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Old 11-05-04, 04:57 PM   #2
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Most people haven't a clue. Why should he be different?
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Old 11-05-04, 05:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by late
Most people haven't a clue. Why should he be different?
You have to understand, this was a feature article in the New York Times magazine and it was full of errors in thinking. The writer was once pro-transit as he lived in New York City. Once he moved out to the burbs, he became pro-motorcar and his reasoning went out the door. Moving out to the burbs can do that to a person.
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Old 11-05-04, 09:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/26/ma...9f07471f3e791d

This was an interesting article that appeared in the New York Time magazine not too long ago. There are many errors in his thinking but I'd like to point two huge ones.

First, the writer actually believes we need to build more highways to relieve current congestion!!

From the article:
>>>>>The reason for Los Angeles's traffic morass is that it didn't build enough freeways, incredible as that sounds. The great symbol of sprawl is not what it seems when you compare it with other cities using the Census Bureau's definition of an ''urbanized area,'' which extends until the point where there's open countryside. By this definition, Los Angeles is the most densely populated city in America, with 7,068 persons per square mile of urbanized area. Its traffic is terrible because it built only about half the freeways originally planned, so that it now has fewer miles of freeway per capita than any other major city.<<<<<<<

This is insanity because Los Angeles is two thirds highway and street roads! Where are you going to construct more freeways because I don't see any more room and if you don't believe me, look at Mapquest! There is no more space in Los Angeles to build another 5,000 miles of expressways so this idea is out of the question. Furthermore, I doubt there ever was an initiative to build these highways or there would only be freeways and no city!

The second point is the writer's belief in tolling of all roads as a solution to our traffic problems. While I do believe a high toll will deminish some of the traffic, it raises the cost of driving significantly for the poor and middle class. The tolling of American roads is just around the corner because it has Washingtons' approval and when this happens, driving will no longer be inexpensive. A toll once established raises it's rates ever 2 to 5 years and if every road ends up tolled, we can see a situation like Japan where driving 25 miles to the airport can set you back $50.00 bucks.

It makes you feel good that we have an alternative (the bicycle) should driving get too costly.
Make driving economically unfeasible for "The Masses", and not put in more public transportation? What is not everyone likes to "eat cake"?
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Old 11-05-04, 09:46 PM   #5
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Most of Los Angeles is a large floodplain criscrossed by a well-connected grid of streets. This is a better setup than we have in San Diego County, where mesa-and-valley topography and tight budgets have left us with limited interconnection via major arterials and freeways.

With 26% of its surface area already covered by asphalt for driving or parking cars, Los Angeles has few options, other than cycling and ridesharing, for reducing traffic congestion. At some point, the problem is simply too many people in too little space.

Disclosure: I lived my first 30 years, except for high school (Huntington Beach, Orange County), in west or west-central Los Angeles, and I would not want to move back there. Unfortunately, San Diego County gets increasingly crowded every year; I haven't decided when or if I'll bail out of here, as well.
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Old 11-06-04, 07:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by John E
With 26% of its surface (Los Angeles) area already covered by asphalt for driving or parking cars, Los Angeles has few options, other than cycling and ridesharing, for reducing traffic congestion. At some point, the problem is simply too many people in too little space.
I believe LA is more than 26% covered with asphalt. In her book Asphalt Nation, Holtz stated that LA was more than two thirds covered with only 1/3 left for housing and commercial building. This is why the cost of living in LA is insane with the only affordable homes being constructed are in Mexican ghettos. (sp)

What gets me are the solutions the pro-motor forces are finally arriving. A toll road has the same effect as gas taxes in extracting money from your wallet. Yet, tolls are going to be the next "gas tax" in the very near future. Like they say, Democrates love gas taxes and Republicans love tolls but it's the motorist who loses.
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Old 11-06-04, 06:18 PM   #7
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Because LA didn't do much city planning, they are ahead of the curve. The numbers speak for themselves. Cars work at low density. Increase the population density and their efficiency drops like a lead ballon. New York has this wonderful traffic congestion plan. Fleets of tow trucks are summoned to jams and haul cars away. It's fast, it has to. They are trying to avoid a superjam where large areas of the city clog up and stop. Of course the motorist loses, it's inevitable.
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Old 11-06-04, 07:07 PM   #8
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Jim Kunstler, author of Goegraphy of Nowhere and Home From Nowhere, has featured this author from the Times on several occassions on his blog. Unfortunately, most people in this counrty will just follow along, thinking that the continual paving of America is a good thing. If it counts for anything, I'm a city planner, and I don't advocate more highways. Hell, if I had my way, we'd tear them all down.
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Old 11-06-04, 07:16 PM   #9
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This guy is probably an "automobile addict", like most people in the USA. Take away their cars, and they go into withdrawals. So of course the only answer to traffic conjestion is to build more roads - that's the *only* answer, right?

Then again, there are people like us who choose an alternate path. If we keep gently advocating, we'll get through to people.
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Old 11-07-04, 07:50 PM   #10
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Same problem here, but on a smaller scale. One four lane road leads onto Hilton Head Island with 65,000 commuters during weekdays. Our public transportation is a joke, no bike lanes, and no real solutions.
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Old 11-08-04, 08:45 AM   #11
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I agree with the author, for many of the same reasons.

With the exception of some very crowded urban areas, transportation policy should plan the improvement, creation, and extension of roadways, not the creation of trains.

As a political matter, cycling advocacy would do better divorced from these questions, too. Whether there are more roads or electric trains, the questions of cyclists in motor traffic are best addressed as just that, in my view.
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Old 11-08-04, 02:18 PM   #12
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I agree with the author, for many of the same reasons.

With the exception of some very crowded urban areas, transportation policy should plan the improvement, creation, and extension of roadways, not the creation of trains.

As a political matter, cycling advocacy would do better divorced from these questions, too. Whether there are more roads or electric trains, the questions of cyclists in motor traffic are best addressed as just that, in my view.
What's more, construction of new toll expressways would (1) be paid for by expressway users rather than everybody, which is only fair, and (2) siphon long-distance, higher speed traffic off of local roads, making cycling more pleasant on the local roads.

I support land use planning that puts people closer to destinations, better street topology and design for cycling, lower emission vehicles, and all that, but the fact is that more pavement in urban areas usually results in better conditions for road cyclists if it is managed properly.

-Steve Goodridge
http://humantransport.org
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Old 11-08-04, 03:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Merriwether
I agree with the author, for many of the same reasons.

With the exception of some very crowded urban areas, transportation policy should plan the improvement, creation, and extension of roadways, not the creation of trains.

As a political matter, cycling advocacy would do better divorced from these questions, too. Whether there are more roads or electric trains, the questions of cyclists in motor traffic are best addressed as just that, in my view.
You can't separate cycling advocacy from highway construction because they both run counter to each other. If you go to the "Commuting" forum, you'll see cyclists who travel on highways with posted speed limits at 65 MPH! They have no alternatives but to commute on dangerous roads because planners did not take into consideration the need for those who want to walk or commute by bicycle. Those of us in urban districts would consider commuting on these roads insane but this is the result of constant highway development gone mad. Planning and improvement with more highway construction has proven to be a dead end as most towns can no longer build your way out of the problem.

Los Angeles destroyed their rail infrastructure and are now painfully spending billions in reconstruction. As someone who uses bicycles in conjunction with lightrail, the train is the cyclist best friend and not the interstate.
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Old 11-08-04, 04:21 PM   #14
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Agreed!!!
I can't believe some of the crap I am seeing here.
The paradox of highway construction is that highways CAUSE congestion, not relieve it. LA is a pefect example. This is not an idea I came up with, it has happened time and time again across the country. The reason why is simple. You build, then the suburbs get built and eventually the capacity of that road is met and then exceeded. It becomes congested. Which is bad enough, but at the same time these new commuters are travelling into the city and adding to the traffic, eating up vast amounts of space for their parking needs, and then at 5 PM taking the paycheck home (so the city has to pick up the tab for taking care of the guys needs, but doesn't get anything for the work they have to put in).
Cars are city killers.
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Old 11-08-04, 04:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by sggoodri
What's more, construction of new toll expressways would (1) be paid for by expressway users rather than everybody, which is only fair, and (2) siphon long-distance, higher speed traffic off of local roads, making cycling more pleasant on the local roads.

I support land use planning that puts people closer to destinations, better street topology and design for cycling, lower emission vehicles, and all that, but the fact is that more pavement in urban areas usually results in better conditions for road cyclists if it is managed properly.

-Steve Goodridge
http://humantransport.org
I have to disagree with that. I cross hwy 407 twice a day on my way to work here in Toronto. The 407 is an express toll road that was financed by a guaranteed loan from the provincial government. The hwy was built by and is owned / run by a private company. So it was built with public money, if it had failed it would have been the public who paid for it and now that it works the profit goes to a private company. A sweet deal for the company don't you think?
The traffic on roads parallel to the hwy may have improved, although I can't say I've noticed it. I wouldn't say that it has taken traffic off the local roads at all. The traffic on roads crossing the 407 is much worse. It has also become harder to find a route that crosses the hwy without dealing with on ramps and off ramps which are painful to get by on a bike. ( Actually there isn't a route across that doesn't have on ramps.)
But that's just my opinion, not a study, so I guess it's not really worth much.
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Old 11-08-04, 05:55 PM   #16
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When the peak oil crises strikes in 3 or 4 years gas prices will go up. In 10 years from now gas will cost more than $10 per gallon. That is going to change a lot of peoples priorities. They will take fewer trips in the car, they will take shorter trips, more people will work closer to where they live, some will take mass transit, and some will join us on our bike trails. The crowding on the road will go away in 10 to 20 years.
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Old 11-08-04, 07:24 PM   #17
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When the peak oil crises strikes in 3 or 4 years gas prices will go up. In 10 years from now gas will cost more than $10 per gallon.
Whereas I wouldn't be surprised if oil became much more expensive, in 10 years, I don't trust your, or anybody else's ability to forcast this. There are too many variables. In 1980- 1982 there were price forcasts for 5 years later, that ranged from about $20/ barrel to $100. These were all formulated thoughtfully by experts. Noboby imagined that the price would dip into the low teens as it eventually did, in the 90s.

A huge push by China and the United States to conserve could pull prices down. A war in another place like Iraq... who knows. It probably wouldn't make gas any cheaper.
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Old 11-09-04, 11:07 AM   #18
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They will take fewer trips in the car, they will take shorter trips, more people will work closer to where they live, some will take mass transit, and some will join us on our bike trails. The crowding on the road will go away in 10 to 20 years.
Here's a good article in USA Today that states that Americans are rediscovering Transit!!

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...it-cover_x.htm


The study shows that millions will move close to transit hubs in the very near future as sprawl gets worse. This is good news folks. Very good news. We are moving back from the burbs to the cities and communities with larger densities.

>>>>The study predicted that by 2025 nearly 15 million U.S. households will want to rent or buy near transit, double today's number. Demand will be highest in regions that have extensive systems New York City, Boston, Chicago and those with large growing systems like Los Angeles.<<<<
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Old 11-09-04, 11:17 AM   #19
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In 10 years from now gas will cost more than $10 per gallon.
where on earth can you make a prediction like that and pretend that you think its accurate? Modern trends, blah blah blah, alternative fuel sources blah blah blah...

real valuable information...

As for the topic, I think that d.steve has it right. Majority of the people will choose alternative modes only when they are forced to. All we can do is keep riding and bring a friend each time. pass on the message that way...
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