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What will be America's first carfree city?

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What will be America's first carfree city?

Old 03-28-15, 09:11 PM
  #126  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Do you think anybody here is trying to persuade you that you should live like th people in medieval Edinburgh (or whatever the heck you're talking about). What is all this crap about horse crap? What does this have to do with anything in the realm of reality?
Whatz up with all the chatter about reality on this playtime thread, Big Boy?
See: https://www.bikeforums.net/living-car...l#post17649735
Originally Posted by Roody View Post
There you go big boy! Try to have some fun with it!

Would the garages have retractable roofs so the gyro planes can fly out of them? And why will they make the planes out of rotisserie lamb meat?

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Old 03-28-15, 09:39 PM
  #127  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I think we're now sophisticated enough that cities of the future could recapture what was good about medieval cities - compact, lively, mixed use, everyhing you need close at hand - but without the sewage.
Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Do you think anybody here is trying to persuade you that you should live like th people in medieval Edinburgh (or whatever the heck you're talking about). What is all this crap about horse crap? What does this have to do with anything in the realm of reality?
Oh, there we go!
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Old 03-28-15, 10:02 PM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Oh, there we go!
I don’t think there's any contradiction. A futuristic car-free city could look a lot like an historic one but with better plumbing.

Last edited by cooker; 03-30-15 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 03-29-15, 07:16 AM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Roody, you'll have to read back through the thread.

But it stems from the fact that people will never give up their personal, individual, convenient methods of transportation. And people will continue to seek out new personal, individual, convenient methods of transportation.

In the "old days" it was horses, etc. ... then the car came along as an improvement to the horse ... next up ... ??? But there will be something.

Public transportation won't be the solution ... and neither will any sort of transportation where a person has to exert themselves, such as cycling.
It surprises me that you don't list the bicycle as a "personal, individual, convenient method of transportation." They certainly fit that bill for many of us. I think you classify bikes as toys or sporting equipment, not as real transportation.
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Old 03-29-15, 07:22 AM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
It surprises me that you don't list the bicycle as a "personal, individual, convenient method of transportation." They certainly fit that bill for many of us. I think you classify bikes as toys or sporting equipment, not as real transportation.
Bicycles are not toys ... although they are for fun.

Bicycles are indeed sporting and fitness equipment.

Bicycles are personal and individual methods of transportation ... but they aren't convenient. At least, not for the majority of people. They are convenient for a small minority. But if you ever want what we currently know of as "cars" to disappear, you're going to have to find something that is a personal, individual, and convenient method of transportation for the majority.
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Old 03-29-15, 07:29 AM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Bicycles are not toys ... although they are for fun.

Bicycles are indeed sporting and fitness equipment.

Bicycles are personal and individual methods of transportation ... but they aren't convenient. At least, not for the majority of people. They are convenient for a small minority. But if you ever want what we currently know of as "cars" to disappear, you're going to have to find something that is a personal, individual, and convenient method of transportation for the majority.
Except that in some places, large numbers of people already do ride bikes. These are places with sensible bike infrastructure and good public transit as a backup or alternative. Think Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Portland, and a few other places.

There are also places where the majority of people are carfree, such as parts of New York. More than half the people do not find it inconvenient to use transit, and some even dare to get on a bike.
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Old 03-29-15, 07:36 AM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Except that in some places, large numbers of people already do ride bikes. These are places with sensible bike infrastructure and good public transit as a backup or alternative. Think Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Portland, and a few other places.

There are also places where the majority of people are carfree, such as parts of New York. More than half the people do not find it inconvenient to use transit, and some even dare to get on a bike.
Just a few places ... just a few people in those places. Not an overall majority.


Actually, it's kind of funny, but I can think of a place you haven't mentioned where quite a few people cycle but there isn't "sensible bike infrastructure". That sort of thing isn't actually needed.
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Old 03-29-15, 10:27 PM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Just a few places ... just a few people in those places. Not an overall majority.


Actually, it's kind of funny, but I can think of a place you haven't mentioned where quite a few people cycle but there isn't "sensible bike infrastructure". That sort of thing isn't actually needed.
Where is that?
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Old 03-29-15, 10:46 PM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Where is that?
Hualien Taiwan.

The bulk of the traffic were variations of motorcycles/scooters. The next largest group was probably bicycles. Then cars, trucks, etc.

There were no bike lanes or anything ... everything, including pedestrians, were all just part of the traffic. At first it seemed like utter chaos and I cycled with my heart in my mouth. But after a few days, a pattern emerged ... an ebb and flow.


I should add that the weather and terrain were conducive to motorcycles/scooters/bicycles ... relatively flat around that area and warm.

Also, there were some amazing bicycle paths ... paved in marble! And when we got out of town, the highways had lovely wide shoulders for slower moving traffic such as ourselves ... and for drying various foods in the sun.
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Old 03-29-15, 10:50 PM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Bicycles are not toys ... although they are for fun.

Bicycles are indeed sporting and fitness equipment.

Bicycles are personal and individual methods of transportation ... but they aren't convenient. At least, not for the majority of people. They are convenient for a small minority. But if you ever want what we currently know of as "cars" to disappear, you're going to have to find something that is a personal, individual, and convenient method of transportation for the majority.

Your travels and extensive time in Canada and Australia, two of the least dense western nations in terms of population density, may have colored your view. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Americans and Europeans live in cities and commute very short distances that would be quite convenient by bike. In fact, if we took away the subsidies for cars, I doubt if more than 25% of my fellow Americans would drive to work. (Of course Americans would fight tooth and nail to keep those subsidies, so we'll not be able to perform this experiment.)

There's also that little issue of public health. Is it less convenient to ride a bike an hour of so per day or to develop diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, cancer or some other sedentary lifestyle disease?

I'm not saying people will embrace cycling as transportation, but it's certainly not an inconvenient way to get around for the majority.
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Old 03-30-15, 02:07 PM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Your travels and extensive time in Canada and Australia, two of the least dense western nations in terms of population density, may have colored your view. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Americans and Europeans live in cities and commute very short distances that would be quite convenient by bike. In fact, if we took away the subsidies for cars, I doubt if more than 25% of my fellow Americans would drive to work. (Of course Americans would fight tooth and nail to keep those subsidies, so we'll not be able to perform this experiment.)

There's also that little issue of public health. Is it less convenient to ride a bike an hour of so per day or to develop diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, cancer or some other sedentary lifestyle disease?

I'm not saying people will embrace cycling as transportation, but it's certainly not an inconvenient way to get around for the majority.
What subsidies? People around here drive because of laziness.
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Old 03-30-15, 02:25 PM
  #137  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
What subsidies? People around here drive because of laziness.
They drive because it's cheap and convenient, which is partially due to subsidies received by the auto/oil/highway industries. They also drive because infrastructure subsidization has been so car-centric that the alternatives to driving often suck by comparison.
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Old 03-30-15, 02:45 PM
  #138  
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Some cities might designate car free zones or they might charge money to enter certain parts of the city, but I doubt that there will ever be a real car free city in the USSof A, except as I mentioned before, rising sea levels inundate certain coastal cities. As for Boston, the recent winter showed that public transportation is essential for this area; without it, it's gridlock.
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Old 03-30-15, 02:45 PM
  #139  
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I have to be a naysayer on San Francisco. Being 7x7 square miles and relatively dense would be the only argument. People in SF love their cars. I have to fight for a parking spot in Central Sunset. Walking (or driving) through the city you'll see parking garages under all the apartments (once upon a time they were single / multi-family houses). Here's another thing, SF is essentially a NIMBY city. What's built in the majority of the city is going to stay that way. People (the owners) really like the way it is.

To dream a little...I'd say Manhattan. Just off hand, there would need to be massive loading docks all around the area of the car free zone. Choke points to be sure.
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Old 03-30-15, 03:22 PM
  #140  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
They drive because it's cheap and convenient, which is partially due to subsidies received by the auto/oil/highway industries. They also drive because infrastructure subsidization has been so car-centric that the alternatives to driving often suck by comparison.
If the subsidies didn't exist then things would obviously be more fair to the car free. But that's a tiny majority. If the drivers had to honestly pay their way, I fail to see that their monetary output would increase dramatically, because they're already paying for the roads without it being labeled as such. The people that drive (for the most part) would keep doing so.
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Old 03-30-15, 03:26 PM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
It might be necessary to engage in political activism and trickery to push the cars out, just as the car lobby did with pedestrians and horses and bikes.
https://www.amazon.com/Pedaling-Revol.../dp/0870714198
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Old 03-30-15, 04:17 PM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Thanks cooker - ordered me a copy.
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Old 03-30-15, 04:57 PM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Bicycles are personal and individual methods of transportation ... but they aren't convenient. At least, not for the majority of people. They are convenient for a small minority. But if you ever want what we currently know of as "cars" to disappear, you're going to have to find something that is a personal, individual, and convenient method of transportation for the majority.
Mine is very convenient. Right here in my living room. It's not as fast as a car. Seems like that's the problem for most people. It interferes with other important activities (like watching tv).

For somebody with a moderate concern for their health and fitness the bicycle is a time saver. You get your exercise done at the same time as the living. And around town, it's not even much of a time consumer. If I ignore everything but the actual travel time, I think you can drive in my city at about four times the rate you can bicycle. But the actual trip time is more like 1/2 because there are lots of shortcuts on the bicycle and no time looking for a parking spot and the parking I ride right up to is generally close to the door.

edit: I grocery shop with my cargo trailer and roll two weeks of groceries into my kitchen in one trip. When I drove that was probably four trips back and forth to the car.

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Old 03-30-15, 05:28 PM
  #144  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
Mine is very convenient.
As I said in the next line ... "They are convenient for a small minority."

Bicycles should be convenient for everyone here because this is a cycling forum and we're all avid cyclists. BUT ... we're not the majority of people out there.
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Old 03-30-15, 07:57 PM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
If the subsidies didn't exist then things would obviously be more fair to the car free. But that's a tiny majority. If the drivers had to honestly pay their way, I fail to see that their monetary output would increase dramatically, because they're already paying for the roads without it being labeled as such. The people that drive (for the most part) would keep doing so.
While the 57% of road building/maintenance that is paid for out of general taxes is still largely paid for by the 88% of the population that drives, I would think it is obvious that forcing motorists to pay for it on a per trip basis would dramatically reduce their driving. Just look at the reduction in driving when gasoline prices climbed from $3/gal to $4/gal (with almost all of the reduction in driving happening at the high end of that rise). Imagine the impact on driving of a tripling of the non-fixed costs. Bills that come once a year are paid and forgotten. Bills that are paid daily/weekly and depend on daily behavior can be powerful incentives to change behavior. This is why the car industry is so strongly against gasoline taxes or pay-at-the-pump insurance.
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Old 03-31-15, 08:30 AM
  #146  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
As I said in the next line ... "They are convenient for a small minority."

Bicycles should be convenient for everyone here because this is a cycling forum and we're all avid cyclists. BUT ... we're not the majority of people out there.
With good infrastructure and locations closer together in a denser environment--as in a carfree city--bikes will be very convenient for a very large number of people.
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Old 03-31-15, 01:15 PM
  #147  
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
While the 57% of road building/maintenance that is paid for out of general taxes is still largely paid for by the 88% of the population that drives, I would think it is obvious that forcing motorists to pay for it on a per trip basis would dramatically reduce their driving. Just look at the reduction in driving when gasoline prices climbed from $3/gal to $4/gal (with almost all of the reduction in driving happening at the high end of that rise). Imagine the impact on driving of a tripling of the non-fixed costs. Bills that come once a year are paid and forgotten. Bills that are paid daily/weekly and depend on daily behavior can be powerful incentives to change behavior. This is why the car industry is so strongly against gasoline taxes or pay-at-the-pump insurance.
Seems like OPEC knows how keep us hungry for alternatives to gasoline, but not quite hungry enough to do anything about it. You mention the car industry being against gasoline taxes/other. And the fuel companies too, I would add. And that ignores that 88% of motorists that will show up at the polls when their subsidized lifestyle is threatened.

With the richest corporations on planet earth against it along with the vast majority of voters, don't hold your breath.
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Old 03-31-15, 01:34 PM
  #148  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
Seems like OPEC knows how keep us hungry for alternatives to gasoline, but not quite hungry enough to do anything about it. You mention the car industry being against gasoline taxes/other. And the fuel companies too, I would add. And that ignores that 88% of motorists that will show up at the polls when their subsidized lifestyle is threatened.

With the richest corporations on planet earth against it along with the vast majority of voters, don't hold your breath.
The richest petroleum execs have much to lose from global warming and the other harmful effects of their products. As things get worse, even they will want to change. The real question, will it be too late?

Heirs to Rockefeller oil fortune divest from fossil fuels over climate change | Environment | The Guardian
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Old 03-31-15, 02:06 PM
  #149  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
With good infrastructure and locations closer together in a denser environment--as in a carfree city--bikes will be very convenient for a very large number of people.
I think bicycles will continue to be used by a minority - particularly where significant hills are around, which means most of the world. I do think that in a real dense area you can get a whole lot of people walking. I'm thinking of districts of say, Boston or DC where there's lots of shopping and restaurants within about a 1/4? Mile radius. And once that gets a foothold, then more and more people bike too, but only so many.

I remember about 20 years ago my brother was taken in by the advertising for some sharp new lightweight bicycles. He laid down about a grand for a nice bicycle. A couple of months later he was selling it. I asked him about it and he said (half joking) that for that much money, he shouldn't have to still pedal it! He found going up the hills in his neighborhood to be difficult.

And I have to agree with him. It IS difficult! You don't just soft pedal and glide up the hills around here. The difference is that I don't mind the difficulty! If it were easy then I might not want to do it so much. I like the physical and mental challenges and the feeling that I'm keeping myself strong and enabled to enjoy nature and travel the globe cheaply.

For a lot of people (most?) exerting your muscles at 80% effort feels difficult and unpleasant. Something to be avoided if possible. Or maybe for just a minute. For me (and probably most of the people that will ever read this) it not only feels good and actually energizing, it often just moves to the back seat of my mind while I think about other things.

But to most people I'm over-the-top crazy.

I'm not saying that you won't have more cyclists. I'm just saying that getting people to walk will be a lot easier. Then the cycling crowd grows as people get more fit and are ready for that challenge (and the privilege to go about four or five times faster).

But how do you get this new car free city going? You have to interest lots of drivers in completely giving up their car cold turkey. Even when you generate interest, they'll still be scared and will chicken-out. After all, when you change jobs and move to a car free city and then decide that sucks, you've made a costly mistake. I would do it now that I know first hand what car free life is like. But frankly, it's not how I would have become car free. I've had experience with imagining what a certain set of living arrangements would be like. I've learned that the idea and the reality can be quite different. So I make changes a little at a time if possible.

So I agree with an earlier post where doubt was expressed about a truly car free city. It won't be a new city. IMO you are far more likely to see certain parts of a city become car free. But even then you're asking quite a lot. What about the people that live there and don't want that change? You could probably get away with restricting some of their routes out of and within the neighborhood. But expect a big fight if you ask everybody on a given street to give up the car.
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Old 03-31-15, 02:23 PM
  #150  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
The richest petroleum execs have much to lose from global warming and the other harmful effects of their products. As things get worse, even they will want to change. The real question, will it be too late?

Heirs to Rockefeller oil fortune divest from fossil fuels over climate change | Environment | The Guardian
It very well may already be too late. From what I've come to believe, there may be a lag of a few generations in the effects of greenhouse gases. So if we cut emissions to zero now (impossible to do that or close to it) we could be living with more traumatic climate change for another hundred years and then who knows how long if ever for the effects to reverse themselves.

Melt the polar ice caps, and now they don't reflect as much radiation. Then the melted water is helping the rest of it to melt. It has a snow ball effect. Reducing to CO2 then doesn't undo that. You might need to wait twenty thousand years for an ice age.

Global warming is in a class of problems humans are not well designed for. We're pretty good at watching out for problems that are just about to nip us in the ass. Farmers have the foresight to have contingencies for a bad growing season or two. But problems that won't be upon us for a generation or two? Obfuscation and arguments and procrastination are more than enough to shutdown preventive measures until nothing can be done.

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