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"Carfree future? Not for families"

Old 07-15-13, 12:06 PM
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"Carfree future? Not for families"

Here's an Op-ed piece that's a little more moronic than most things that get published in a metro daily. The author fears that his car-centric lifestyle is being threatened by carfree hipsters. Excerpt:

You canít really trust anyone over 30 who doesnít own a car. They talk a great game of sustainability. Next thing you know they are romantically involved with some guy who owns a Ford Ranger truck and sleeps over half the week. They are keen to beautify their homes with money otherwise spent on car loans and insurance. You can be certain, however, that none of those hardwood floor sanders, cabinet restorers, or kitchen island designers will be pulling up to condo developments in the South End, Jamaica Plain, or the Back Bay in vehicles from the Hubway bike sharing system.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/c...fYI/story.html
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Old 07-15-13, 06:03 PM
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Maybe you should think about having to shuffle elderly relatives around before you decide to have a different opinion!
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Old 07-15-13, 06:16 PM
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I think his mother filled him with vinegar and water on regular occasions, then hung him up behind the bathroom door when she was done.

Typical "all or nothing" stupidity. "Everybody can't do it, so it's a BAD idea."

Go climb back on your hook and wait for your mother to need you again. Boston deserves better.
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Old 07-15-13, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by RyderTheRider View Post
Maybe you should think about having to shuffle elderly relatives around before you decide to have a different opinion!
I can think of several alternatives, especially in Boston where they have a pretty decent mass transit system.

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Old 07-15-13, 06:47 PM
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" You can't really trust anyone over 30 who doesn't own a car "...What the heck is that supposed to mean ??
My elderly relatives who lived in Europe have never owned a vehicle in their life and they all lived into a ripe old age, they always walked, used streetcars, trams , buses and occasional taxi.
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Old 07-15-13, 07:07 PM
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I'm a big fan of the free market. Obviously there's a developer somewhere who disagrees with the author of this piece, and it will be interesting to see if occupancy rates in these places are good. If they are and people are willing to accept the neighborhood with no parking, then I think that's a bigger vote of confidence than some angry columnist with a bone to pick. (I suspect that they'll be fine)



Also here's a more specific look at the 'minimum parking requirements' that Portland passed in April. It's not exactly as he represents it...
https://www.oregonlive.com/front-porc..._approves.html
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Old 07-15-13, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
" You can't really trust anyone over 30 who doesn't own a car "...What the heck is that supposed to mean ??
My elderly relatives who lived in Europe have never owned a vehicle in their life and they all lived into a ripe old age, they always walked, used streetcars, trams , buses and occasional taxi.
I think this guy would also say, "You can't really trust Europeans either."
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Old 07-15-13, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
I'm a big fan of the free market. Obviously there's a developer somewhere who disagrees with the author of this piece, and it will be interesting to see if occupancy rates in these places are good. If they are and people are willing to accept the neighborhood with no parking, then I think that's a bigger vote of confidence than some angry columnist with a bone to pick. (I suspect that they'll be fine)



Also here's a more specific look at the 'minimum parking requirements' that Portland passed in April. It's not exactly as he represents it...
https://www.oregonlive.com/front-porc..._approves.html
The guy can't understand the simple idea that if there are fewer cars, there will be less demand for parking spaces, and they will become cheaper, not more expensive.
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Old 07-15-13, 07:51 PM
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You can't really trust anyone over 30 who doesn't own a car ..
Translation: if you don't already agree with this ignorant bigotry, there's no reason to read further.
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Old 07-15-13, 08:34 PM
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I was happily surprised by the comments to the article. Most people thought the author was a little flaky and very inflexible. I am so used to newspaper comments being anti-change that I was surprised to find these to be progressive.
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Old 07-15-13, 11:34 PM
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I wrestle with this parking thing regularly. I chair my neighborhood association. Our little mixed commercial residential 'hood (the original downtown) has been taken over by breweries and restaurants, which is far better than we had it a dozen years ago when the anarchists were threatening to burn everything to the ground to prevent any "gentrification". However, we have a zoning overlay that allows all these entertainment establishments to come in without providing any parking. Thus, folks drive into the residential portion and park in front of other people's houses. Then they spend the night getting drunk. Along about 0200 they return to their cars with a lot of yelling and door slamming. The result is that this little car-hater (me) is beating the bushes looking for a way to help the poor car-addicted darlings find parking places that don't wake up half my neighborhood every night.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, my neighborhood is doing a pretty good job of moving beyond the car. Less than half our residents use cars as their primary means of transportation. (Roughly 45% car, 20% bus, 20% bike, 15% walk). Maybe our motto should be "We go car free so you don't have to." If we had the more typical rate of car usage, there wouldn't be any parking spaces left on the residential streets for the patrons to park in.

Meanwhile, the city traffic planner makes noises about how if parking becomes limited then more people will use some other means of transportation. This sounds nice, but totally ignores the fact that most of the drunks come from places that aren't served by our buses and would be rather dangerous to cycle to when the drunks are on the road in large numbers, like when these folks are heading home from the bars.
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Old 07-16-13, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
I wrestle with this parking thing regularly. I chair my neighborhood association. Our little mixed commercial residential 'hood (the original downtown) has been taken over by breweries and restaurants, which is far better than we had it a dozen years ago when the anarchists were threatening to burn everything to the ground to prevent any "gentrification". However, we have a zoning overlay that allows all these entertainment establishments to come in without providing any parking. Thus, folks drive into the residential portion and park in front of other people's houses. Then they spend the night getting drunk. Along about 0200 they return to their cars with a lot of yelling and door slamming. The result is that this little car-hater (me) is beating the bushes looking for a way to help the poor car-addicted darlings find parking places that don't wake up half my neighborhood every night.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, my neighborhood is doing a pretty good job of moving beyond the car. Less than half our residents use cars as their primary means of transportation. (Roughly 45% car, 20% bus, 20% bike, 15% walk). Maybe our motto should be "We go car free so you don't have to." If we had the more typical rate of car usage, there wouldn't be any parking spaces left on the residential streets for the patrons to park in.

Meanwhile, the city traffic planner makes noises about how if parking becomes limited then more people will use some other means of transportation. This sounds nice, but totally ignores the fact that most of the drunks come from places that aren't served by our buses and would be rather dangerous to cycle to when the drunks are on the road in large numbers, like when these folks are heading home from the bars.
Sounds like the real problem is having so many drinking establishments so close together, and so close to a residential area.

A more diverse mix of businesses would probably be nicer for everybody--especially all those carfree people who would most likely love to have groceries, hardware stores, beauty shops, insurance agents, and so forth close to their homes.
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Old 07-16-13, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
I wrestle with this parking thing regularly. I chair my neighborhood association. Our little mixed commercial residential 'hood (the original downtown) has been taken over by breweries and restaurants, which is far better than we had it a dozen years ago when the anarchists were threatening to burn everything to the ground to prevent any "gentrification". However, we have a zoning overlay that allows all these entertainment establishments to come in without providing any parking. Thus, folks drive into the residential portion and park in front of other people's houses. Then they spend the night getting drunk. Along about 0200 they return to their cars with a lot of yelling and door slamming. The result is that this little car-hater (me) is beating the bushes looking for a way to help the poor car-addicted darlings find parking places that don't wake up half my neighborhood every night.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, my neighborhood is doing a pretty good job of moving beyond the car. Less than half our residents use cars as their primary means of transportation. (Roughly 45% car, 20% bus, 20% bike, 15% walk). Maybe our motto should be "We go car free so you don't have to." If we had the more typical rate of car usage, there wouldn't be any parking spaces left on the residential streets for the patrons to park in.

Meanwhile, the city traffic planner makes noises about how if parking becomes limited then more people will use some other means of transportation. This sounds nice, but totally ignores the fact that most of the drunks come from places that aren't served by our buses and would be rather dangerous to cycle to when the drunks are on the road in large numbers, like when these folks are heading home from the bars.
I know many areas that limit on street parking by permitting or restricting the hours. Boston's Back Bay is one such place. There are at least 2 neighborhoods in Charlotte, NC that are the same way.

I also agree with Roody that the zoning board messed up by allowing too many bars/brew pubs to be too close together. Again zoning is a tool that can be used to counter act that. In my town they passed an ordnance to only allow so many topless bars in a given square mile area...

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Old 07-16-13, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by RyderTheRider View Post
Maybe you should think about having to shuffle elderly relatives around before you decide to have a different opinion!
Stop teaching co-dependence, it isn't even your responsibility to take care of them.
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Old 07-16-13, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Sounds like the real problem is having so many drinking establishments so close together, and so close to a residential area.

A more diverse mix of businesses would probably be nicer for everybody--especially all those carfree people who would most likely love to have groceries, hardware stores, beauty shops, insurance agents, and so forth close to their homes.
All of those except for beauty shops are next to impossible to establish at small scale. In USA especially, a handful of companies control those segments; groceries (wal-mart), hardware (lowes/home depot/walmart), pharmacy (walgreens/walmart), or are moving "online" (ie. insurance agents - I haven't seen my insurance agent in over a decade, book stores, WALMART, etc). More realistically, you'll have non-chain restaurants, specialty food stores and maybe an ACE hardware or an independent pharmacy has managed to stay afloat despite massive chain box a 15-20 minute drive away.

Not that I agree with that, I think current zoning and policies favour the boxstore model right now (as the mall craze is over and many are failing or have decreased profits), but that trend will hopefully pass.

I hate having drunks come in from the burbs to park in my neighbourhood too, but I also like being able to walk down to the bar for a drink, and I like friends to be able to visit and have a place to put the car if needed.
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Old 07-16-13, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by kmv2 View Post
All of those except for beauty shops are next to impossible to establish at small scale. In USA especially, a handful of companies control those segments; groceries (wal-mart), hardware (lowes/home depot/walmart), pharmacy (walgreens/walmart), or are moving "online" (ie. insurance agents - I haven't seen my insurance agent in over a decade, book stores, WALMART, etc). More realistically, you'll have non-chain restaurants, specialty food stores and maybe an ACE hardware or an independent pharmacy has managed to stay afloat despite massive chain box a 15-20 minute drive away.

Not that I agree with that, I think current zoning and policies favour the boxstore model right now (as the mall craze is over and many are failing or have decreased profits), but that trend will hopefully pass.

I hate having drunks come in from the burbs to park in my neighbourhood too, but I also like being able to walk down to the bar for a drink, and I like friends to be able to visit and have a place to put the car if needed.
I know that what you say is true in many cities. But you can look at the photo in the OP link to see an apparently thriving inner city shopping district with different types of stores and businesses.


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Old 07-16-13, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I know that what you say is true in many cities. But you can look at the photo in the OP link to see an apparently thriving inner city shopping district with different types of stores and businesses.


Yeah but those look like boutique/specialty shops. Not pre-1950s style local grocers/hardware stores/etc. I can kind of make out one of the signs, and it looks like it says "baskets" (lol).
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Old 07-16-13, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Sounds like the real problem is having so many drinking establishments so close together, and so close to a residential area.

A more diverse mix of businesses would probably be nicer for everybody--especially all those carfree people who would most likely love to have groceries, hardware stores, beauty shops, insurance agents, and so forth close to their homes.
Actually, within five blocks of the center of this "brewery district" we have four grocery stores (one conventional, one so-called natural foods and two Mexican), a beauty shop and two bakeries; our hardware store was replaced with a brewery this year. In a small city with two Wal-Marts we are somehow keeping our small grocers in business.

Unfortunately, our zoning laws don't differentiate between a grocery store, a bar, a towing company (we've got one of those too) and a bank. No one wants to be accused of getting in the way of the marketplace with "restrictive" zoning. This trend is getting worse as the planning department is inventing new even less defined zoning codes for new developments in/near my neighborhood.

Back to parking, or the lack thereof. I personally like to see people circling about looking for a place to park. The more time motorists spend hunting down parking spaces the less relative time penalty there is for the folks who choose to ride bikes and I think that is likely to encourage more cycling. Also, for some of these people the two or three blocks they sometimes end up walking to get to the bar/restaurant is the only walking they did all day.
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Old 07-16-13, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RyderTheRider View Post
Maybe you should think about having to shuttle elderly relatives around before you decide to have a different opinion!
My grandmother went car-free in L.A. in her '80s. She put a lot of thought in it and did it properly. No one had to shuttle her around, she had buses and taxis to get her anywhere she needed and all the services she needed were close by.
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Old 07-16-13, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Also, for some of these people the two or three blocks they sometimes end up walking to get to the bar/restaurant is the only walking they did all day.
It's not a zoning issue. It's a health measure.

I also notice that the bars/restaurants located in tight parking areas tend to have a more relaxed clientele. I think the stroll helps more than a little.
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Old 07-18-13, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
I'm a big fan of the free market. Obviously there's a developer somewhere who disagrees with the author of this piece, and it will be interesting to see if occupancy rates in these places are good. If they are and people are willing to accept the neighborhood with no parking, then I think that's a bigger vote of confidence than some angry columnist with a bone to pick. (I suspect that they'll be fine)

In the other thread on designing apartments to get you out of your car (in Portland), one of the linked articles pointed out that developers like the opportunity to build without parking spaces (instead of having to meeting regulated requirements to provide a certain ratio of on-site parking spots per residential unit), as eliminating parking saves them money or increases revenues. So in a free market, probably more builders would reduce or eliminate parkings spots from their buildings.

However, that means the city would end up having to subsidize development costs and local resident parking costs, by ensuring the surrounding streets had enough space for any parking by those residents. So the builders and the residents would be externalizing their parking costs - a market distortion.

So, in fact you have to regulate residential construction, and legislate how much built-in parking there should be. We're just quibbling about what the precise right number is. And as your link points out, Portland only allowed buildings not to have parking in a few areas, and has now backtracked slightly, requiring some minimal number of parking spaces in larger new buildings in those areas,; and Boston is tweaking its regulations to allow builders to get away with slightly fewer spots than they used to require, because they have noticed fewer people own cars.

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Old 07-18-13, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Here's an Op-ed piece that's a little more moronic than most things that get published in a metro daily. The author fears that his car-centric lifestyle is being threatened by carfree hipsters.
I really like this line:
Originally Posted by Lawrence Harmon
By definition, reducing or eliminating the number of required on-site parking spaces at new developments will make street parking scarcer for residents who rely on cars to support themselves and their families.
ie. "By not forcing other people to build expensive off-street parking, you're cutting into my free on-street parking".

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Old 07-19-13, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
In the other thread on designing apartments to get you out of your car (in Portland), one of the linked articles pointed out that developers like the opportunity to build without parking spaces (instead of having to meeting regulated requirements to provide a certain ratio of on-site parking spots per residential unit), as eliminating parking saves them money or increases revenues. So in a free market, probably more builders would reduce or eliminate parkings spots from their buildings.

However, that means the city would end up having to subsidize development costs and local resident parking costs, by ensuring the surrounding streets had enough space for any parking by those residents. So the builders and the residents would be externalizing their parking costs - a market distortion.

So, in fact you have to regulate residential construction, and legislate how much built-in parking there should be. We're just quibbling about what the precise right number is. And as your link points out, Portland only allowed buildings not to have parking in a few areas, and has now backtracked slightly, requiring some minimal number of parking spaces in larger new buildings in those areas,; and Boston is tweaking its regulations to allow builders to get away with slightly fewer spots than they used to require, because they have noticed fewer people own cars.
I believe that more builders would reduce or eliminate parking spots if given the chance like you said. But a balance would be struck and it would eventually be cost efficient again to build with some parking because some people would demand it. Not every apartment has a washer and dryer, and the city isn't forced to subsidize laundromats. Why is the assumption made that the city should do so for parking?
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Old 07-19-13, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
I believe that more builders would reduce or eliminate parking spots if given the chance like you said. But a balance would be struck and it would eventually be cost efficient again to build with some parking because some people would demand it. Not every apartment has a washer and dryer, and the city isn't forced to subsidize laundromats. Why is the assumption made that the city should do so for parking?
I agree, so how do we get city planners to make sure everyone pays for their own parking space? Meters and/or paid permits everywhere?
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Old 07-19-13, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I agree, so how do we get city planners to make sure everyone pays for their own parking space? Meters and/or paid permits everywhere?
For a privately owned lot, the owner of that lot should be able to manage it how they see fit. If a McDonald's wants to cover the price of their parking lot through the food they sell and have 'free' parking, then so be it. If an apartment complex wants to include a parking spot as part of the rent, or charge monthly for a parking spot or not have any at all, that's their choice. This would require dramatically reducing or eliminating requirements for minimum parking.

Only on street parking would have to stay part of the public domain due to its location and immediate effect on traffic. I know that San Fransisco has had success with its SFPark initiative. It increases meter rates as spots fill up, and decreases the rate as usage is reduced so that it's treated like an actual commodity instead of a free-bee that people depend on and expect. It also ensures that there are available spots. I like the idea of metering because it puts a direct point-of-purchase expense on usage of the good so that the user is completely aware of the actual cost.
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