For example I live in a very public transit friendly city, but the buses are un-ridable most of the time due to the rampant homeless issue(and all that comes with a large homeless population) while the light rail is usually better about being a semi-safe, semi-clean environment, that just happens to be so overloaded between between 7am-9am, and 3pm-6pm, that there is almost any price I'd pay to avoid it.
The sad part is that no matter how excessive the taxes or how limited the parking the ones to suffer first, and worst, will be the low-income families and workers. The homeless will continue to do whatever they can get away with, and those of us with higher incomes will grumble a bit and pay the taxes. The only solution I've seen that has a chance to change this is to come down hard on poor public transit behavior, perhaps by putting actual people on the buses with the specific job of cracking down on the drunk/high/piss soaked/etc types, in an effort to improve the quality of the service to the point that the middle-upper income groups uses it again.
It's more like the other way around: the idea is to make public transport cheap
and efficient enough that it's a reasonable alternative to driving everywhere.
>> For example I live in a very public transit friendly city, but the buses are
un-ridable most of the time due to the rampant homeless issue(and all that
comes with a large homeless population) while the light rail is usually better
about being a semi-safe, semi-clean environment, that just happens to be so
overloaded between between 7am-9am, and 3pm-6pm, that there is almost any
price I'd pay to avoid it.
I live in a small town on the South coast of England, which just happens to
have one of the largest populations of homeless people, nationally. It also
has very good public transport, namely, buses, that are always full. I've
never seen a homeless person using a bus as crashing space, or causing trouble
of any sort. I can't say I ever particularly noticed homeless people on a bus.
If homeless people on buses are a problem where you live, that has nothing to
do with public transport in general.
Anyway, I think everyone gets the public transport they deserve. If everyone
wants to go around by car, then we won't have good public transport- because
why would we?
That would be nice, but that's not the general opinion of urbanists in the US. They (generalizing) really do believe as the parent describes, to "make driving too expensive and/or too inconvenient, to force people to use public transit", and they truly believe this will magically fix public transit across the nation.
It's the urbanist version of "the beatings will continue until morale improves".
They'll often lie about it, saying "we don't hate them, we just want them to pay their fair share", or "to remove subsidies". But mostly, they just really hate cars. Especially electric ones (since they largely solve most of the problems of cars, while still being cars). Just browse the top 20 posts of /r/urbanplanning on any given day to see this in action
I don’t hate electric cars more than gas cars, what I will say is that electric cars don’t solve a lot of the externalities that actually bother me on a day to day basis (that said of course I would prefer all vehicles switch off of gasoline),
My big issues are that cars take more space than other forms of transport, cars endanger me more frequently when I’m trying to do my thing & we expend insane resources on supporting car centric lifestyles that we needn’t expend.
Basically I’m tired of subsidizing other peoples car centric life styles at the expense of my own.
They solve air pollution and some of noise pollution. But they don't magically cause people to carpool.
And even if they did, net passenger density for buses is higher, rail substantially higher again. An NYC subway R160 carriage can, in the space of about 4-5 car lengths, carry about 250 people, meaning those trains move a thousand or more people in the distance from a T-intersection to the back of a cul-de-sac.
Cars are expensive. It's just that you don't pay for it at the car.
They solve air pollution
Even pure displacement of air pollution to smokestacks is a huge plus in places like midtown Manhattan where the most respiratory health harms due to particulates, NOx, ozone, etc. are taking place. Less kids getting asthma, people getting heart attacks/strokes, premature births, etc.
There are 2 kinds of homeless, normal people down on their luck, and people who need psychiatric or addiction care. The normal people go use the bathroom in an alleyway or a bush somewhere, the ones off their rocker piss themselves while sleeping on the train. There are far more 'normal' homeless vs. mental homeless, and it's the mental homeless that cause the problems.
Unfortunately not. Mental illness is rampant among the homeless population. And, to be honest, even the most "normal" people will develop mental illness once forced to live on the streets for long enough.
Generally regarding the NHS and mental health, the subject is very controversial. Resources are continuously slashed and the care available is not adequate, in many parts of the country.
When you hear of people being aggressive, high, inconsiderate, or here in Portland two people had their throats slit on the light rail recently near my house, it makes the public not feel comfortable using the public transportation. Since it's called public transportation and these things effect the public and the transportation, it actually has a lot to do with the public transportation.
If homeless people on buses are a problem where you live, that has nothing to do with public transport in general
Example: VTA (Santa Clara County). They started allowing "homeless" to just hang out on a given long route bus all day, recirculating directions, so they could claim higher ridership. Of course, the real-world effect is that those people who would have used buses for legitimate transportation were displaced, and a death spiral of constantly falling legitimate ridership continues.
VTA's explanations (paraphrased):
2005-2008: "oh, so many more people are employed, they can afford to drive" (or, more realistic, they need prompt, reliable transportation).
2009-2012: "oh, so many people are out if work, they don't need buses to get to work"
2013+: GO TO 2005
Local transportation policy, maybe, but that is not "public transport in general", i.e. the concept of public transport in the abstract, as opposed to its implementation in specific situations.
To put it bluntly, Santa Clara County is not the world.
In Austin, they took the perspective "if we won't build it, they won't come". After the unwanted growth happened, it sure feels like the sentiment is "if we don't build it, they won't drive." There are fundamental problems with the driving infrastructure and instead of addressing it, they patch over it with toll roads, some planned or are only a quarter mile long, to allow "those who care (can afford)" through. They ignore major issues, like if one of the major bridges needs work or goes out, the city will be devastated.
When the limited public transport options do come up, they've seemed to be forward looking projects which is fine except they don't do anything about all of the other problems.
> I live in a small town on the South coast of England, which just happens to have one of the largest populations of homeless people, nationally. It also has very good public transport, namely, buses, that are always full. I've never seen a homeless person using a bus as crashing space, or causing trouble of any sort.
My guess is that if this isn't due to better services for the homeless, then the main factor is probably the local climate.
Talk about missing the forest for the trees. Or should I say, the city for the abandoned human beings.
If you aren't taking public transit because you don't like the homeless people on the buses, how about you help them become less homeless or have a place to stay, rather than just shooing them away?
This issue only comes up in SF because of the large wealth disparity between the upper-middle class and everyone below them. Here, the upper-middle pays for the option to remove themselves from public services.
The single tracking and random fires have been the issues here.
What changed was case law, as the court rulings made it much more difficult to keep mental patients in treatment against their will.
But how does it cause there to be more homeless addicts?
- It is very likely that drugs are more addictive when you are uncertain about obtaining your next fix. http://www.stuartmcmillen.com/comic/rat-park/
- The criminalization of drug addicts turns them into an excluded class. They find it harder to get jobs or even to stay out of jail. If they start young -- and many will, once the problem becomes generational -- they are prevented from developing certain life skills and successfully develop their personality into adulthood.
- If drugs are criminalized, people will be afraid to ask for help.
- The war on drugs guarantees an unregulated black market for drugs. This means there will be no quality controls. Drugs are laced with all sorts of things that can be much worse than the pure version of the substance.
- Being arrested for something that harms nobody instills a distrust on society that, many times, never goes away. Imagine being sent to prison for years for smoking cannabis. Your life ruined. It doesn't take a lot of empathy to see how one would never trust society and its institutions again.
- The solution for addiction is, many times, other drugs. For example methadone for opiate addicts, and Ibogaine -- which appears to be a miracle cure for many addictions, but that is Schedule I in the US (and by consequence in many other countries). The war on drugs is based on pseudo-science and fear.
These are not just a bunch of hypothesis. They have been empirically confirmed by a nation-wide, multi-decade trial in Portugal.
Policy-makers that ignore all of this are not driven by the desire to help people. They have other incentives and/or irrational biases.
We do need to provide "free homes" but we also need to coerce acceptance of assistance.
The homeless population in Seattle (where I live currently) vastly decrease my quality of life despite the vast sums of money our government spends on them. I would happily contribute a lot more to taxes if it actually solved the problem but I have yet to see anyone give a good solution.
I mean, the stupidest thing about this is this isn't that hard a problem to solve. Homeless people are just regular people with a problem and no resources to fix it. You provide them resources and help and they are no longer homeless and no longer a nuisance. Instead, people see them like pests, as if rats invaded the buses and need to be exterminated.
Typically the government would be the best way to provide funding and access to the resources and help, but they suck at execution, and they always get screwed in funding. If citizens would see that funding for helping homeless people would improve their commute & community, they might invest more, which would both solve their immediate problem, as well as the homeless' problems. A citizen led organization could do this with a combination of private funding and grants (as many today are), but first they have to convince selfish privileged assholes to reach out and help. Good luck there, as it seems privileged people just don't want to help, even though it would actually be helping themselves.
But to say that simply providing resources will fix the problem is naive. It's hard, and heartbreaking. I believe there are solutions that we can and will work toward, but they're not simple.
For example, if someone is mentally ill, maybe they just need medication. But still don't have any income and perhaps no housing. What happens if they get mugged, or lose their meds, or forget to take them? Now they're unstable again. They need housing, and some small bit of income, food, security, and assistance. These are all resources, and providing them _all_ gives someone a much better shot at getting better and staying that way.
But it's also a misnomer that most homeless are addicts or crazy. One out of every 30 children in America were homeless in 2013, a disproportionate number being LGBTQ. 12 percent of homeless are veterans. In 2009 there were >535K homeless families. In fact, mental illness and addiction are the third and fourth most common reasons for homelessness.
Homelessness disproportionately affects children, destroying their education and keeping them in a cycle of poverty. If we focused more on providing them an education as well as food and shelter, this would have a big impact on outcomes of future homeless. Is providing these things simple? No, but the decision by the population to commit to actually providing them, is simple. The work will get done if we decide to.
We went to the moon on a whim. Surely we can feed and educate some kids.
We all want to "fix" the problem of homeless people misusing public transportation, but at least 10-20% of the homeless people I have worked with wouldn't even agree that a problem exists.
I want to add resources to "fix" the problem, but first you have to get all parties to agree that their is a problem to fix. There is a ton of grey area, and we don't talk about Hobo's anymore like we did in the 60's. But many people choose homelessness.
Of course that leads to massive social decay.
Agree with your other points, but both is the correct answer. It'd be wasteful to treat someone's mental health and leave them in a situation that deteriorates their mental health.
We also require they call the police when a crime is occurring. And the fire department when a fire occurs. And the city's department of works when a water main breaks. We also require they follow minimum driving standards and laws, take a test to certify they can drive, and make sure their vehicle passes a regular safety inspection.
"Public safety" in America is funny sometimes. In the rest of the developed world, produce and eggs don't usually come pre-washed, and you can even buy unpasteurized cheese and milk. But we Americans take so little responsibility for our own welfare that we literally force our society to protect us in every possible corner case, because taking the time to protect ourselves is too much to ask.
Except when it comes to necessities, like guns. Then we'd much rather be dead than safe.
Another fun example of how it's a citizen's responsibility to help: ending unjust laws that unfairly target people with no ability to defend themselves. Like the homeless. In many cities in America, it is illegal for a citizen to give a sandwich to a homeless person. They also are banned from many public spaces, and pushed out of the few places that they can actually have a space to rest or sleep, like highway underpasses and abandoned train tracks. They can't form a coalition and petition the city on their behalf; they don't have the resources. But we do.
We also have the resources to vote to install more shelters, more food banks, more outreach programs, more clean needle exchanges, more job programs, or hell, even just a place someone can have a shit and a shower. We have the resources to vote for programs to help hire homeless people, and to vote to expand low income housing. We have the resources to vote to distribute blankets and food during the winter, and expand safe spaces for more vulnerable homeless like women, children, LGBTQ youth, and so on. There's a lot of things we could do as citizens that wouldn't require you to actually do anything other than check off a box on a ballot, and maybe fork over an extra $1.50 in local taxes.
That's the least a citizen could do, but I don't see that being done either.
Which cities? This is the first I've ever heard of this.
It's the job of the people we elect to govern our society.
Just as a man riding on the same transit system, I totally believe that level of frequency and wouldn't expect anyone to be willing to put up with it. There were other anecdotes about drunks vomiting, fist fights on buses, racist slurs, and more.
I love the idea of transit, but it has some serious personal space, privacy, and safety problems that make personal transportation much more appealing.
She also avoids the last hour of transit.
We also got a car recently and this was one of the big reasons.
Skytrain - yes, you sometimes have the one off homeless guy, who jumped the compass gates, on the train who makes it awkward for all riders. 98% of the time during the normal commute it's peaceful. Last few trains of the day, you should anticipate the drunks on board. At least they are not on the road driving
Bus - when it's crammed, it's crammed and awkward for everyone. At least Translink now has a means to track rider data to understand the routes that require more frequent services to mitigate the crammed bus situation.
Considering Uber and Lyft have had blocks thrown in their way for approvals in Vancouver, we do not have the alternative means other cities do. Transit and bike lanes is slowly improving, but still has a ways to go.
How can this be true? Public transit allows your attention to wander and typically is much, much faster than traffic. Adding uber/lyft will get two of the worst attributes: traffic and high cost, although you’ll be able to do something else simultaneously.
Furthermore, it’s not clear how parking fees affect low income families: for my commute (between east bay and SF), public transit is an order of magnitude less expensive than driving, especially if you consider parking.
Finally, it’s not clear what homeless people have to do with this. The cost of affordable transit is interacting with your neighbors. If you don’t like your neighbors, please don’t screw them over by investing in car-oriented transit.
It's so bad she refuses to use public transportation here in seattle without me due to how unsafe she feels.
Buses and trams are slower as they're still in traffic, and now have to stop every 500 m to pick up or drop off passengers.
I'll usually take an uber if I actually need to get somewhere on time and it's not near a train station.
Excuse me, but- where does that happen?
I mention in another comment that I live in a town in England, where I've never had any problems with homeless people in public transport. I also work in London, travel by rail across Europe and often use public transport in three different European countries, France, Italy and Greece. I have never noticed the kind of problem you and the GP flag up.
I'm getting the feeling that it's a problem local to a very specific part of the world and by no means a global issue that has to do with the nature of public transport, in general.
Trains are mostly fine, but I won't take a bus or a tram if I can avoid it. If I can get somewhere by train or bus, and the train would be 10 minutes slower, I'll take the train.
The other day on the tram I had to deal with drunk ex-con listening to his bluetooth speaker and verbally abusing a poor Asian lady to the point she had to get off the tram. I was disgusted, but I wanted my teeth to remain in my mouth, so I couldn't do anything.
I've had to deal with plenty of abusive arseholes on the bus too. And even just people being noisy, like South Americans treating the bus like it's a nightclub (which I personally don't mind) or just drunk people yelling at each other because they've forgotten their inside voice.
Then some people treat public transport like it's a landfill. Especially on a Friday or Saturday night, public transport will be filled with beer bottles.
The drivers don't care. They sit in a little perspex box so that they can't get assaulted by the passengers and just drive the bus or the tram around.
Sydneysider here. I didn't realise the trains were bad in Melbourne. I travel to Melbourne regularly but rely on cabs when my legs won't suffice i.e. to/from the domestic airport. The MEL CBD is very walkable thanks to being a grid.
Do you think trains are more affordable in Melbourne, thus a good option for the homeless? I can't figure out what the difference might be, but I imagine the Opal card system here might be a barrier to people with little money.
> Ferry is the best option though.
Being able to enjoy a beer/wine/cider on the ferry is great. That you can tap your credit card to pay the fare is cool too.
> Perhaps it's because of the sunshine?
I always thought Melbournians were more artsy (for lack of a better word) because of the cooler weather. Just as in Europe the colder climates encourage quieter pursuits (philosophers, poets and thinkers) while the Mediterranean caters to hedonistic pleasures.
I don't think that trains are bad in Melbourne, although I haven't been to Sydney to compare, it's the buses and trams that have the anti-social behaviour. Having cops at all the train stations at night definitely helps keep the trains in a better state.
Affordability doesn't factor in at all here. The people who cause trouble on public transport don't pay for public transport. I'm not sure what it's like in Sydney, but most train stations don't have gates and the driver doesn't do anything if you don't tap on on the bus.
Ironic that you say that warmer weather caters to hedonistic pleasures when all the clubs in Sydney close at 3, meanwhile Melbourne is one of the few cities in the world that still has 24 hour clubs.
Minor stations lack gates, popular stations have them. We still get people avoiding fares, homeless people sleeping on seats, people who leave a lot of rubbish etc. But Sydney's modern Waratah trains would be the best I've tried compared to trains in Japan and France...well the Shinkansen is pretty cool but it's not your average commuter train.
> all the clubs in Sydney close at 3
Depends on where you are. The CBD has lockout-laws but a lot of the nightlife migrated to areas like Newtown where pubs and bars can close at 5am. I've noticed Melbourne is very CBD centric, whereas Sydney is similar to LA in that there are many satellite cities/communities that are the cultural hubs. I'd say some of the most boring areas in Sydney are the tourist traps, i.e. CBD/Circular Quay.
The transport system was better before Myki in my opinion. More affordable, weekly passes, and paper tickets. In contrast, Sydney's transport used to be a mess with every operator requiring a different ticket, so no transfers from train to bus or ferry. Now with Opal, everything is much simpler, and the best part is going to the airport is really cheap now, if you let your Opal card go negative :)
A friend who lived in Athens, Greece once told me how his sisters, who live in New York, came to visit him. He said that they were afraid to go on the tube, because they thought it wouldn't be safe. He said that they were used in the NY tube that they didn't think was safe.
I've had a few similar experiences myself (e.g. people being afraid of side streets in my cheery seaside town, where the biggest danger is someone from a hen or stag do getting sick on your new shoes). That's even more striking considering I don't actually meet that many US citizens. The few I do seem to always be looking over their shoulder.
I guess, the flip side of it is that people in Europe don't realise how safe our little region of the world is. We kind of take it for granted that just walking down a street in London or Paris, or other big European capitals doesn't automatically put your life and property in danger. For people living in places with high rates of violent crime, like the US, South Africa, Brazil or Mexico and so on, it's all very different.
I get that, in that sort of context, public transport is seen as unsafe- because anything "public" is seen as unsafe, and probably for good reasons. But that's not because public transport is inherently unsafe; it's public spaces that are unsafe in specific parts of the world. It's hard to decouple the two in peoples' minds though :/
Even if they people on the bus are okay, they are still uncomfortable.
But the bay area local governments are self-sabotaging parody where it's difficult for anything like that to get done.
Sorry, but that's called society and it will never be able to compete with the bubble you've built for yourself.
If more people were willing too embrace society instead of hiding from it then there's a better chance of improving it.
It's hot, noisy, uncomfortable, nausea inducing, and I have to put up with people falling asleep on me or homeless people harassing me.
The light rail (in Seattle) is fine, but the coverage isn't good enough.
Driving is subsidised in about a zillion different ways in the US; it's already hideously, ruinously expensive, we just don't realize it. You wouldn't have to artificially raise the price of driving to make it less appealing, you'd only have to make the actual costs more transparent.
It's a self-reinforcing status quo of people who accept government spending on roads, traffic congestion, crash casualties, total cost of ownership of a car in the thousands of USD per year, physical inactivity, and air pollution. And they expect free parking and cheap gasoline.
Of course everyone has different thresholds. But I'd guess most people work hard to earn enough for their own time saving luxuries, even if the external costs will hurt their children later in life.
If you've got a city that really is dense enough to be pedestrian-friendly, I think it's likely to be the case that the time situation is shifted considerably. Not only will it take less time to walk and bike places, but you probably find that the kinds of places you might want to walk or bike to end up being located closer to where you live and work. At the same time, driving becomes less convenient due to congestion.
Whereas, in car-centric cities, it often ends up being the case that businesses float out to the periphery of town.
My own pet theory, which seems to hold in every place I've lived or visited, but hasn't been backed up by any any rigorous data gathering, is that, no matter where you live, everything you might need to get to (e.g., the supermarket) ends up being 10-20 minutes away using the dominant mode of transportation in that city, regardless of what that mode is.
> Smeed also predicted that the average speed of traffic in central London would always be nine miles per hour, because that is the minimum speed that people tolerate. He predicted that any intervention intended to speed traffic would only lead to more people driving at this "tolerable" speed unless there were any other disincentives against doing so.
Anecdata: there are 3 grocery stores within a 5 minute walk from me. But I live there because of that.
My commute is a 7 minute walk. I go home and eat lunch with my family several days a week. I would have a very hard time giving that up, and I couldn't even imagine going back to spending 10% of my waking hours stuck in traffic. Life is too short for that.
If there are two or more in a small car, it's also usually less expensive.
If the parking problem were forthrightly addressed, this, along with the increasing use of efficient Uber/Lyft/taxi, would greatly reduce traffic and associated pollution. Most of those cars are orbiting, looking for a parking spot. The half life of a parking spot is about 20 seconds.
We'd fill a shopping cart with all the heavy items we needed for one or more weeks, sorting a few fragile or temperature-sensitive items. We would fill one or two bags to carry home with us immediately by taxi. The rest went back to the cart and got a delivery ticket attached at a service counter. Within an hour or so of us getting home, friendly supermarket staff would be delivering the remainder to our condo doorstep.
Meanwhile, we had walkable, outdoor markets where we could grab produce or even some short-order carryout stirfry. So, we'd often grab just a few items at a time, lived with a much smaller refrigerator than we do in the US, and only did the supermarket run for heavy bottled/canned goods or the odd import item that helped with culture shock or homesickness.
1. You can always get wheeled carts to carry your groceries. I take transit everyday and see a lot of senior citizens doing their groceries this way. If those frail 80 year olds who need sometimes a minute to get off the bus because they are so slow are happily doing it, it shouldn't be a problem for most other people.
2. In a walkable city, your shopping habits and life change. I live in the walkable (not downtown) part of my city. Usually I get off the train back from work, walk 5 min to the grocery store, buy 2-3 days of groceries easily carried in resuable bag and walk 10 min back to my home. This has been an excellent change over my past life because I am always able to cook with fresh ingredients and barely have to freeze anything or eat processed foods.
I recently downsized places for a much more walkable environment. Keeping less stuff in my house is a feature. One I was worried was going to cost me.
But my budget has largely not changed. Any increase in costs associated with bulk buying are at least offset by lowered transport costs. It’s really hard to exactly account though.
My instinct is that it is much more efficient for stores to warehouse things & me do JIT buying. I’d love to see research on it.
I don't really keep any food in the house, except for herbs and spices, and condiments. I don't keep anything perishable or frozen.
Every day or so, I'll go to Aldi and get my vegetables for one or two meals.
My food wastage these days is about zero.
Conveniently I live practically next door to an Aldi so I don't pay a lot for my food, I'm down to $7 day or so as I've moved to a vegetable based diet.
We could stop by not subsidizing it in the U.S.
Corn, Oil Exploration, Oil Reserves, federal highway funding, and many state highways and local roads, and vehicle police are subsidized by income tax payers instead of tolls, fuel taxes, or vehicle registrations.
For example, in Japan there are many less homeless people on the buses and trains. No surprise there though, as there are very few homeless people in Japan. Even in Tokyo there only about 0.1 per 100k, compared with 795 per 100k in San Francisco.
If someone is in a car, that does naturally insulate them from the homeless people, though it certainly does nothing to alleviate the root problem of there being a lot of homeless people.
If our homeless epidemic is so bad that it is ruining our public parks, transit, and sidewalks, one would hope fixing it would become a political priority. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much political will in the US these days to take on big, difficult issues. :/
Also, just curious, where did you see the strategy of cracking down on public transit behavior that was effective?
It's chicken and egg. Public transit needs ridership to get better. It won't get ridership until it's better.
The large stick of presenting more of the previously hidden costs of driving, is partly banking on public transit getting better as more people are nudged towards it.
This is why I'm really happy to see in my area two towns are putting in a rapid transit bus system between all the major hubs (two malls, a downtown, regional transport, and two universities) and the universities are getting all students, faculty, and staff plus families passes. These passes will also cover regional transit (mostly useful to get to the airport).
There is enough incentive in all of this for a massive influx of people to use public transit and make it a way of life (the universities signed 10 year contracts) such that I hope the way of life will have sticking power if they don't renew the contracts.
1) We need to think outside of the box.
2) We need to redefine what public transportation means. I would classify Uber/Lyft and dockless bikes/escooters as public transportation, at least from a city planning perspective.
Most of the article talks about walking, and making cities more walkable. This isn’t about public transport.
The housing problems and transport problems in many cities are both symptoms of the same urban planning decisions; in a nutshell it’s about zoning regulations.
>I've seen that has a chance to change this is to come down hard on poor public transit behavior, perhaps by putting actual people on the buses with the specific job of cracking down on the drunk/high/piss soaked/etc types, in an effort to improve the quality of the service to the point that the middle-upper income groups uses it again.
Or you could, I don’t know, treat them like human beings, get them counseling, and reintegrate them into society?
Zurich did just that in 1973 after a public referendum killed a projected metro.
The city figured out long and hard what makes public transport attractive and determined that it's not necessarily the time that you spend to get from A to B, but more importantly the expectation of time needed.
Consequently trams (streetcars) were provided independent tracks wherever possible and trams and buses were granted priority at all signals.
Additionally the attractiveness of roads for private vehicles was reduced and parking was restricted. In 1996 the "historical compromise" was reached to restict the number of parking spaces on the level of 1990 .
Another important factor was the creation of the S-Bahn (regional rail transport system, comparable with Paris' RER). Combined with that an integrated ticketing and fare system for the entire canton was introduced. Except taxis you can use any mode of transport within your tickets validity.
I think calling it a roaring success and extremely visionary is not an exaggeration.
Now if the city would only become more bike friendly it would just be about perfect in all respects of public transportation.
With a more leftwing government chances are that there's finally more movement in that direction.
Sure, that model is not easily transferable to other cities and it took decades to grow to what it is now. But there certainly are other shining examples of successful public transport implementations in (mostly) Asian and European cities.
It's not impossible once the fetish for cars and parking (which is heavily related) is put aside.
I think the best you can do is that every building is next to one one-way car lane (shared with bikes going the same way) and one bike lane (for going in the opposite direction). The road should not be asphalt but some softer, less conductive material. No street parking. If you want to own a car, you can't externalize the cost to society but build a garage for yourself. Of course, there is a maximum size on the cars that you can buy and 30 km/h speed limit on most roads. You can have mini-buses (20ish people) and subways to take people around.
I think this is already a massive improvement on car centric cities. With the right distribution of retail and housing, you can have people enjoying a really nice life.
You can however plant a lot of trees which would make a huge impact on the sustainability of cities by regulating the heat/cold much better. Also if you look at old European cities you can pretty much compress away all the car space. Jan Gehl's "Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space" is a fantastic read if you're into thinking about this sort of thing.
 ISBN 978-87-7407-360-4
The solution is to charge correct prices. Nobody in the US knows what the actual societal and cost burden of driving is, because none of them pay for it. Yes, that would make it "too expensive" to drive for those at the margin, if that didn't happen it wouldn't be a solution.
The way that you get the benefit of correct prices without burdening the poor specifically is to refund the difference via a general tax mechanism like the income tax. If driving taxes go up by $5000/yr but income taxes go down by $5000/yr, then the net burden is zero for those who don't change their behavior but it's a net benefit for those who do.
That being said: I prefer biking, and with two saddle bags I can easily do the shopping for two.
And I've seen friends get e-bikes and ditch a lifelong car lifestyle on the countryside.
And "by the way": why do the richest societies of the world afford themselves the " luxury " of having homeless people at all? It's so weird...
They could do more for sure. But it's a bottomless pit. The more you invest the more "poor" people are "pulled" into orbit of the programs requiring more spend, which brings more poor which requires more spend ad inifinitum.
> I am fine with spending "other people's money" (AKA money belonging to people who don't need it)
Oh ok then, I just decided that you don't need your money and I will spend it on the poor. Since I am "good" and I have everyones best interests at heart because I said so, then there's no problem. I will also decide who does and doesn't "need" their money. What an awesome power to wield.
What weasel word language you're using "life for those with the least advantages" just because you are poor doesn't mean you didn't earn it or don't deserve it. What simplistic logic you are using, what gigantic and awesome powers you propose to wield with such little thought.
The most basic standards of care and concern are absent from them, they litter and loiter and harass and stink and steal without any regard. So attract them to your city at your peril.
>That being said: I prefer biking, and with two saddle bags I can easily do the shopping for two
^This right here. You don't come into contact with them ever, so you don't see the problem. You probably never will but you cluck cluck whenever somebody who does have to deal with them complains.
Although your rhetoric is terrible, you're not entirely wrong there.
But using jackbooted thugs to kick homeless people off public transport is not the solution though, and doesn't achieve anything. It simply pushes the problem somewhere else. You need to actually solve the causes of the problem, rather than trying to cover up the symptoms. That's not even starting on how you determine if someone is homeless or not. I saw a hipster the other day who I genuinely thought was homeless, until I saw that he had a bottle of craft beer under his arm, rather than a $2 bottle of wine.
If anything, banning homeless from public transport is just going to make the problem worse, because you've just pushed them somewhere else. Now they have no means to move anywhere (or they'll just steal bikes), and they're just going to shelter anywhere else that they can, including breaking into buildings.
Society does need to find a way to "deal" with homeless people, but you can't just make being homeless illegal. Just like you can't "deal" with heroin addicts by banning needles.
They already do all of these things.. and also they befoul public transport and harass people on the subway and buses.
You merely assume I want to do unethical things to them meanwhile you don't really condemn their unethical behavior denying their agency while amplifying mine. I think we should just round them up and take them to a place outside of town that feeds them clothes them and gives them whatever drink and drugs or amusements they want so long as they stay there. ALL benefits are contingent on life reform so they can continue to receive benefits if they leave, or they must stay there (kind of like a gilded cage).
When a small town grows into a medium, it makes sense to add car infrastructure rather than rebuild everything. Again when you grow from medium to large it remains cheaper to add that new interchange rather than change the fundamental structure of the city. Growing from large city to metropolis often means incorporating other cities and their car based infrastructure, and making a coordinated move to anything else is extremely difficult/expensive.
Edit: I doubt we could properly identify the "next big metropolis" early enough to put the proper infrastructure in place. Even if we could, the politics surrounding who gets the infrastructure spending would cloud the process. Neither do I think we could simply set up a new metropolis some where and "build it correctly from the start".
The best bet is to find a means of bootstrapping the conversion of existing metropolises to walkable/dense/transit oriented methods. How do we mortgage the immense future benefits to apply pressure to make changes now? Is there an achievable half step toward the goal that provides enough benefit to drive the rest of the conversion? When I'm confronted with a switching cost vs scaling cost problem in operations, I would be putting in dual use infrastructure. Maintain compatibility while removing dependency.
Were did that came from? In a small town, you can get by fine with walking, bikes and so on -- like tons of Europeans do in tons of small (and even larger) towns, including towns where cars are totally forbidden and others were (because the town was built in medieval times and its buildings still stand just fine) they are impractical in large areas of a town.
And besides costly transit infrastructure like subways (which you probably have in mind), buses and trams are totally find for small towns as well.
In (most of) Europe you don't have to be a heroin addict or homeless person to ride the bus. Nobody has a problem riding the bus.
>When a small town grows into a medium, it makes sense to add car infrastructure rather than rebuild everything.
Again, what? Who said there's any need to "rebuild everything"? You can keep the "historic center" (as it's usually referred to), that is, the original small part of town, and build around it, all the while improving and extending transit infrastructure.
No reason to extend the city around car infrastructure -- like the horrible sprawls one sees in Texas for example.
In fact the US has a nice example of a "city" (speaking of the main area of Manhattan up and slightly beyond the Central Park) that has great density, and if there was the will, could be equipped with a great modern subway (not the way NYC subway is now), and lots of quality buses (modern, air-con, well maintained, not meant for the piss poor), a trolley line, and so on.
The area could be expanded from ~ 1 million people, to say 5 times the size, and with all those plus Uber/Taxi options, bikes and electric scooters, nobody would even care for driving their car there.
There used to be a railroad that came up from Boston and deadheaded here. It went out of business, was revived, and failed again. There isn't even a scheduled bus through town.
The nearest Lyft is 45 minutes away right now. Meanwhile, my car works great. It's convenient, clean, fast, private, and fairly inexpensive. It hauls my goods, my kids, and my pets. I only need to drive it a few thousand miles a year, so gasoline costs aren't much of a consideration.
See, this is where cultures clash. You don't expect people with shopping bags in bike friendly European cities either. Why? Because they don't buy groceries for a week at a time.
We (parents and us) used to live about 4 miles out of my hometown. One can always bike or use the regular public transport (bus e.g.).
But if you live 6 miles outside a city you can also drive there. What we were discussing was about not building the city itself around car traffic -- not not connecting it to the rest of the area / country.
>I don't see anyone biking with shopping bags, even in the summer. We bike for recreation. We've made our choices.
Well, that's a choice.
Fundamentally the US simply has a density problem at all grades of construction. Its just more apparent in cities where the overconsumption of land per capita impacts more people.
I recently looked it up on a map, and school was 0.7 miles from home -- a 15 minute walk. The worst part of the walk was that it crossed a 4 lane road, but it had a traffic light.... there were no sidewalks in our neighborhood, but that didn't stop us from walking to the bus stop.
Ironically, our neighborhood bus stop was 2 blocks from home in the opposite direction of the school, so I walked 0.3 miles away from school to take the bus... so in reality, the bus "saved" 10 minutes of walking time, though I spent more time than that waiting for the bus.
Now that I'm older and wiser (?) I seek out bike friendly commutes (through housing and job choices) and commute 15 miles by bike even though I have transit and car options. And I'll take a longer commute route to stay away from schools, seems that kids still aren't walking to school much, and my community has decided not to offer regular bus transportation so parents drive their kids, and it's like a car war-zone near the school
The US real estate market is built like it can go infinitely wide, but the real world demand and price structures show the reality that density matters.
In a small town, most of the population served by the amenities in that town don't actually live within city limits. The people in town may be fine with walking or biking, but providing non-car transportation options to rural people isn't as easy. Most people who live on farms would find it difficult to get by without a car.
>W[h]ere did that came from? In a small town, you can get by fine with walking, bikes and so on
This isn't really the point. Sure, you can build a small town which prioritizes walking over cars. There are even examples in the US, such as Helen, Georgia. However, most people (US) would not prefer to live in such a town. In Europe, those towns are already in place, and people already live there.
Citation needed. Most people in the US were never given the chance to live in such a town (all other things being equal, like them being able to afford to live there).
And there's also the cultural conditioning.
Besides, there are rich areas in the US too, with little to no cars and lotsa walking and jogging, and people go live there just fine, paying millions for a house there too.
I know plenty who'd kill to live in Manhattan (and not drive, like bona fide Manhattanites) but can't afford to precisely because too many want to live there and since it's an island not much further expansion is possible.
There is no need for a citation for such a claim. It is well within the boundaries of my personal experience. I live in America, I have known lots of people, and I've become familiar with what they want.
>And there's also the cultural conditioning.
People should only be conditioned to live the ways you want them to, of course. It's only "cultural conditioning" when you don't like it.
Or you know, conditioning can go either way, and a society should decide what's better (including for the environment) and push for one or the other.
Suburban sprawl, wastelands designed around traffic, obese citizens who seldom walk anywhere, no urban center for communities to meat, and unfriendly crime ridden cities don't seem to work that well...
I hate this bullshit of "America is too spread out for transit." No, it is now. It's only happened in <100 years. It was because GM and Ford bought up all the street cars and replaced them with buses or killed them. It can be reversed.
Jena, Germany is a town of $100k with 4 trams and 3 intercity rail stations. Chattanooga, TN, home of the famous song about the Chattanooga Choo Choo, has 200k people and doesn't even have an AmTrak station.
Public transport is the single largest factor in reducing poverty in any town or city. Car ownership should never be required of any American. It should always be a luxury item.
The vast majority of American towns, with their lower density and wider streets than their European counterparts, were simply better served by the automobile than by mass transit in 1920, and after 100 years of car-centric planning are even more so today.
The genie is already out of the bottle, and with the exception of a few rapidly-growing cities, mass transit use in most American cities is falling.
> The reason the streetcars went away in the US was because of competition from cars, which, not coincidentally, were beginning their rise to dominance ~100 years ago. GM and Ford were in the process of killing streetcars the moment the Model T went on sale.
They killed it because they knew that a car-dominated culture would substantially increase their markets. By killing streetcars, they were simply increasing their market. They did not do this out of any sense of altruism.
The other step that greatly helped was convincing the Federal Government to invest in an interstate highway system that deliberately cut through the major cities.
> The vast majority of American towns, with their lower density and wider streets than their European counterparts, were simply better served by the automobile than by mass transit in 1920, and after 100 years of car-centric planning are even more so today.
They weren't always this way. Suburbia as we know it now was a consequence of the postwar boom and white flight; most towns fairly dense. In fact, they were dense enough to be effectively served by trams!
> The genie is already out of the bottle, and with the exception of a few rapidly-growing cities, mass transit use in most American cities is falling.
No its not.
Here in Seattle our roads are at capacity and the city is actively working to increase density, creating a virtuous circle of improved transit availability and frequency. This is great when I need to get to the airport during rush hour - I live near the UW and can take the light rail and be guaranteed to be at there in an hour, with a bus transfer. Outside of rush hour, I ask someone to drive me there in ~25 minutes. If I lived farther away from the nearest light rail station, I'd necessarily choose to get a ride every time.
Unless your city is actively making transit a priority, or its road system is packed to the gills, the shift from cars to transit is not going to happen on its own.
article on falling US transit ridership:
Unfortunately, the American population has also exponentially grown in that same time period. It really isn't that easy to switch back to streetcars or light-rail or bicycling, and if someone figures out how, it'll probably be the biggest infrastructural development of the next fifty years.
Even if that were true (I'm pretty sure even with immigration, the doubling time of the US population has been increasing over that period, so the growth has not been exponential, which would be constant time to any given multiple) why would that particular shape of the growth curve make a difference?
If you are just misusing "exponential" to mean "fast", more population in the same area makes mass transit more, not less, viable an alternative to individual transit.
Anyway, city planners are not looking at aggregate population statistics and making their decisions based off those. Usually, cities grow due to migration of new people. As more people enter the city, city governments decide what infrastructure to add in order to sustain population growth. For many years, the consensus was simply to add more roads. Studies eventually revealed the phenomenon of Induced Demand  which caused more roads to be consumed after creation of the roads. This and the realization that roads filled with single-occupancy vehicles don't scale well has led to a more "modern" consensus that transit makes sense once cities become big enough. For a long time, people thought that building more roads was the way to make a city more accessible.
This is true. Look at the bedroom communities surrounding Chicago. There are plenty of them where people take commuter rail into the city, then get around their home towns largely by foot. Cars are only used to go to the outlying malls and neighboring small towns.
Chicago is also doing something interesting with the whole notion of "streets."
Essentially, the notion is that since streets are public property, why are we allowing people to store their private property in them? Specifically, cars.
Parking spaces are being turned into miniature parks, or the parking lanes eliminated entirely in what are called "traffic calming" schemes to make streets more pedestrian-friendly.
Unfortunately, the backbone of the project -- Making it harder to park on the street to encourage people to park their private property in private parking garages -- got derailed when the mayor leased the city's parking meters to a private company for 99 years.
Now every time a parking space is removed from use (whether for a parade or a street festival or turned into a pocket park), the city has to pay the private company for that space. The payments are in the order of $30 million/year.
So, it'll be a good project in 94 years or so, when the parking spaces become public property again.
What? Why? It seems like it would be better to add additional lanes (shared left turn lane + 2 bike lanes or some similar configuration) to increase overall efficiency and throughput. When you have raised sidewalks traffic speeds don't really doesn't affect walk-ability as long as there's crossings at lights (regardless of traffic speed you won't find an opportunity to cross anywhere else if traffic is reasonably constant)
Studies show that narrower streets cause cars to drive more slowly, making neighborhoods more livable. (Less noise, among other factors.)
There are other methods used that also cause cars to slow down - road humps, textured (fake cobblestone) crosswalks, pedestrian refuge islands, pedestrian bump-outs, replacing parallel parking with angled end-in parking, etc...
When you have raised sidewalks traffic speeds don't really doesn't affect walk-ability as long as there's crossings at lights
No, walking on a sidewalk with traffic whizzing by at speed is not a pleasant experience.
increase overall efficiency and throughput
Increasing throughput is last century thinking. Current best practices is to encourage people to use transit, especially in a city like Chicago that has (in spite of its flaws) has pretty good transit for an American city.
Here's a PDF from CDOT explaining much of this: https://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/cdot/st...
[Edited to add PDF link]
I'm all for banning garaging on roads, and I don't see why private cars need to be driven in the centre of major cities at all, especially during the day. Things like the London congestion charge for all cars from say 7AM to 9PM (depending on when transit is running well) are great, although should really scale with the value of the car.
But when the supermarket drops the weekly shop off, they need somewhere to park for 10 minutes.
They're very compatible with the rest of the curbside lane being set aside for parking (if they're actually enforced), or with that lane being built out with sidewalk extensions, micro-parks, bicycle parking, bus bulbs... etc.
They were widely forgotten until a pile was driven into one beneath the Chicago River and the river flooded many of the buildings in the downtown's Loop district.†
Today a few are still used, though not for deliveries. Mostly for running fiber optic networks, and the Palmer House Hotel uses its section to raise mushrooms for its restaurant.‡
That's what the drones are for
Why should we give cars such privilege when they are so wasteful of space and fuel?
Europeans tend to have cities that have been around much longer than cars have, and you can see it in the design - they were built back when horses were the fastest mode of transportation.
Many small American towns were built after the introduction of the automobile (or at least significant chucks of the towns were).
Trying to undo history, or even taking a new mode of design is extraordinarily difficult. The discussion threads on this post seems to highlight that difficulty, while many miss that root cause.
The really bad stuff only really started coming out after we got zoning and then accelerated with post WWII development.
Can we make something just as walkable and nice as those Italian cities? Maybe not, but we can certainly walk back some of the worst excesses of the late 20th century.
This site has a lot of ideas and discussion: https://www.strongtowns.org/
Oh, and it also turns out that much of suburbia is not very sustainable financially, and nor is it great for the environment.
Can we "fix" cities to be more functional in a world dominated by autos?
And yes, it was walkable, because things were close to one another.
But I bet almost everybody has a car.
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
With modern levels of obesity and pollution, why don’t we want walkable cities?
I think it would be beneficial if there was some kind of standard at a state level for not just building codes but zone codes. It would also be nice if there was some kind of zoning and code for underground, so lower levels could be built as density increased (i.e. Lower Wacker in Chicago) to allow vehicles to still park and travel but allow the buildings to narrow on the upper street. It would then also provide a separation of humans and cars which would help for safety. 
That also would allow for the potential building of middle-ground assets that are much more affordable like the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to allow for BRT/Light Rail. 
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multilevel_streets_in_Chicago and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wacker_Drive
As yardie mentioned, there is a huge demand for mix-use properties. To keep with Chicago as an example, I lived near a large area of small mutli-family (Du/Quad-plex or multi-story flats) and large single-family homes. There was plenty of commercial space but there was a huge local demand for mix-use property which led to it being developed. Called "New City" it was a tower on top of a movie theatre, a grocery store, with surrounding retail and restaurants.
 https://firstname.lastname@example.org,-87.6488544,17z & http://experiencenewcity.com/
I wouldn't be surprised to see more zoning like that in small to medium cities, however, it's likely they would be more like landscrapers than skyscrapers.
The trick is to make it possible for cars to come in the surroundings of a city center without interacting with people.
This post is too short to explain the details but when you have a walking area in front of shops you can have a parking area at the back side of the shops.
Cities keep on inexplicably designing these cool pedestrian only areas for the able bodied and young. There are people who can only travel limited distances, so if you set the beach front back half a mile, you've now cut it off from many older and disabled people.
What I am saying is: For the physically young and able, vehicle-less areas as great, for the elderly and or disabled, vehicles are an absolute lifeline to be able to gain access to things.
For a specific example, where I grew up the shops were pedestrianized (think outdoor mall), my mom had a stroke and struggles to walk, but can drive. The distance from a car door to a shop is a good ten minutes, so she simply doesn't go there. She goes to out-of-town supermarkets with disabled bays right near the entrance.
If the utopia this article wants comes to pass you have to design it with disabled access in mind. "Walk ten+ minutes" is a non-starter.
Further not everyone with a disability can't walk or bike. What about legally blind people? Auto-centric infrastructure is terrible for anyone who is legally barred from driving.
Lastly, every able bodied young person (and that's the majority of the population) that you get out of a car means that road infrastructure get's better for those who genuinely need to use it.
The fact is that us able-bodied people need spaces that we can enjoy too. We need to find a way to inhabit the same space without inhibiting each other.
If you go from heavily vehicled areas to large pedestrian areas where vehicles are banned, you've gone from one extreme to the other. In both cases disabled people are left behind.
> The fact is that us able-bodied people need spaces that we can enjoy too.
I thought that was everywhere, including nature.
The thing I'm concerned about is that reintroducing cars into these areas is a trickle opening onto a floodgate in terms of causing us to backslide into car-centrism. And by your argument ADA compliance becomes a good excuse to erase all the pedestrian- and cyclist-only areas and replace them with "good old" city streets again. It effectively becomes an argument for people who want car-centric infrastructure only to disguise their desire and hide behind the disabled to accomplish their goals.
What I'm wondering is if there's a way to accommodate without using cars? In a market we could provide some scooters or other motorized transport that's more compatible with the market's layout.
Also, a mobility scooter is a perfectly acceptable form of transportation in pedestrian areas.
Got it. For other places, step 1 is to build a dome over the city to establish San Francisco climate.
Well it doesn't have to be but it certainly can be. Like that GP comment up there ^^^ said, making walkable spaces that require foot travel can certainly be ableist to those who can't do that.
I mean I could rephrase your comment in a way to say "it's not ableist to allow people who'd like to use the stairs to use the stairs and it's not ableist to build our cities to allow stairs" - except if what I mean by that is that I want the city to build places where stairs are the only option then yes, it is ableist. And if what I mean by "walkable" is that I want the city to build areas where walking is the only option then it's the same deal.
>Framing it like it's ableist ignores the near century of subsidies and prioitization of the automobile in the US.
No it doesn't. Those subsidies have nothing to do with what is being discussed. It's a completely separate issue.
>The fact is that us able-bodied people need spaces that we can enjoy too.
Lol, just reread what you said.
>We need to find a way to inhabit the same space without inhibiting each other.
By which you mean you would rather the able-bodied not be inhibited by having to accommodate the non-able-bodied?
...which is rather ironic, considering "ten-minute walk from parking lot to shop entrance" is an almost unique American suburban problem: we need huge parking lots because everybody's driving.
Construct a city so that 95% of the people take public transportation, and you can keep parking space for the rest 5% who really need it, and they will be practically at the front door when they get off.
If you had stores and jobs within walking distance of your house you would not need a car. As a result you wouldn't find a car worth having. As a result you wouldn't need all the space dedicated to the car. Also as a result you would take public transportation.
It also hurts that our focus on not allowing change means that even when someone is willing to spend their own money to tear down a smaller house/apartment to replace it with something larger we won't allow it. Thus areas that "want" to grow denser cannot do that. The only option is to grow outwards. That means people need to be farther out, which implies more time in a car, which implies more roads and parking spaces, which in turn means less density is possible.
Note that the above is simplistic. I ignored many other factors. It is a complex problem and no one change can solve it.
Moreover, the choice isn't between only pedestrians or only cars; there exists combinations of the two that are more favourable to pedestrians but allow access by vehicle for those that need it.
If people cannot traverse the distance required, it doesn't really help.
For example someone with bad osteoporosis, and who doesn't have a $10K+ wheelchair and a $75K minivan to carry it, won't really gain much by theoretical ADA sidewalks if the distance is too far.
Claiming stuff is "disabled accessible" without really considering the people we're talking about is just a lie society tell itself to feel less guilty.
Wheelchairs and scooters can be funded by the Government, generally in a means-tested manner, and we have something called "Handydart", though where I live _all_ transit is wheelchair accessible.
You can't exactly escape the cost issue. The alternative you present is that this person has a car, which is quite expensive itself, and presumably someone to drive them given the bad osteoporosis.
Regardless of the design of your hypothetical city, such people may just need family help or public assistance to get to where they want to go.
One solution to this is this person should move closer.
The article imagines "building cities for people, not for cars." That implies re-imagining the suburban model of doctors, shops, et cetera being spread across miles. My Manhattan city block, for example, features an allergist, several restaurants, a grocery store, a book store, a daycare, a coffee shop and--in all likelihood--half a dozen other things I have yet to notice.
It can't be overstated how confining it is when anything you'd like to do or see involves logistical wrangling to work out when exactly you need to be there, how long you'll be there, when you need to be picked up, etc. I've lost count of the number of times I've just decided to not bother with all that and just stay home, which makes for a pretty depressing existence after a while.
Things like uber can help, but you're still placing your trust in someone you've never met to be able to get you there, and more importantly, to be able to get you back home. Not to mention having to do an upfront value analysis to determine if the trip is worth it, and for disabled people this can be a tough call given the difficulties with employment and income in general.
If you do live in an area that is more car friendly than anything, a van might be the better option: https://nicolagriffith.com/2018/05/26/new-car-an-accessible-...
My logistical disability is a visual impairment, so while I'm able to walk, there's relatively little to walk to in the area other than suburban sprawl. Unfortunately, operating any kind of motor vehicle is right out, and while it would be legal for me to bike around, I'm not confident that it would be safe given my poor vision, particularly in any kind of traffic.
I just had surgery that requires me to be on crutches for a few months, so I'm temporarily disabled.
If you're young and able-bodied (like me pre-surgery) and want to understand what it's like to not be young and able-bodied (which you almost definitely won't be at some point) you should put your right leg in a brace, and try not to let your foot hit the ground for a day or two and try to live that way. The ground is lava for one leg.
"Walking distance" means about a block or two before you get sore from crutches or your arms get tired or your hands fall asleep.
Disabled access is a godsend, everywhere. And while I can't cook a meal in my own kitchen because I can't move around and hold a plate of things at the same time, I can drive to get takeout and carry the bag inside.
The world changes when you can't easily walk.
Edit: Those electric scooters at Costco aren't as fast or fun as they look.
Cars cost 50 cents a mile, go anywhere at as fast as anything that doesn't fly, and require negligible physical exertion or special skills to operate. When there is adequate infrastructure that's pretty optimal.
Electric mobility scooters are, per-mile, much much cheaper than cars, and cost much less to purchase.
for the extra hour+ that scooter would take (given no/low traffic) there is no price where its worth it vs the ~$10 that trip costs in a car. (20 miles, irs rate of ~50c/mile)
Now I'm all for effective public transit and dense neighborhoods, but walking and/or biking are simply worse for a lot of use cases.
But what stops public transit from being the solution here? In fact, over a 10 mi. radius, public transit scales much better than single-occupancy vehicles, and even fully loaded sedans. Go to Tokyo and folks take trains all day. If you're taking about low-to-medium density areas (which isn't a city) then yes, cars are the most effective.
Most electric wheelchairs have 10+ mile ranges,can be fully recharged for pennies, require even less physical exertion and special skills than cars. And they don't put other residents at serious risk.
I did find I was able to cook so long as I kept things simple and didn't do anything that would have required moving heavy pots around. Decent takeout options are pretty limited around where I live so I felt I had to just cope with cooking the best I could.
There are also disabilities that are exacerbated by driving rather than aiding. Legally blind folks can walk but have a much harder time driving.
It's also a myth that disability automatically equals driving. I have a friend with impaired vision who can't drive but can ride a bicycle. I would like for him to be able to do that as safely as possible.
> Cars are not the only solution here. Transporting a single disabled person does not require a 100+ horsepower 2-ton vehicle.
We can't just throw out having nice things because they aren't "required."
But that's not the analogy here. This is for the "last mile". Perhaps a more appropriate analogy is using a lightweight laptop (rather than a phone)
I wouldn't assume driving for 30 min in traffic is "nicer" than a 30min train ride.
Or one billionaire with similar ambitions.
What if a corporation started a city instead of a billionaire? "Hello, welcome to Amazon!"
I was with you until this part. I'd rather not live in a city with an 'owner'.
Say some 'hippies' try to bootstrap a city that's very walkable and people flock to it because they want to live in such a city. But it takes a while to get used to a new situation and during that time it's very easy to say "I like to walk to the shops, but I'm used to doing my groceries once a week, so allow me to use my car for that." Before you know the 'short-sighted yuppies' overwhelm the 'stubborn hippies' and cars are allowed everywhere one exception at a time.
The biggest disadvantages of a dictator are overcome by being able to move easily and the city being part of the larger legal framework of the country it's in.
These guys https://www.seasteading.org/ are working towards building floating cities. In the short term, they want to figure out the technology part of it, but in the long term, they want to build cities in international waters and declare independence. Then you can do whatever you wanted to.
It was a solid initiative after all. It just went sideways afterwards.
I’ve watched the doc and further read about the events. I didn’t want to spoil the doc with details.