1. raised / structural separation between the road and bikes path.
2. bike paths can be used for just about anything that is not a car/motorbike or a pedestrian. Skaters, skate boarders, mopeds and bikes can all share a common separated path way.
I have tried biking in Boston and it is a nightmare. Bike Lanes marked on the road are taken as suggestions by cars, rather than a proper space for bikes. Taking the side of the road causes cars to pass me too closely and taking a lane draws verbal abuse ( happened 3 times in 1 month...then I stopped). Technically Boston suburbs allow bikes to ride on empty sidewalks, but that draws silent stares and again occasional verbal abuse.
In addition to that , everyone from pedestrians to car owners seem to be complaining about the new bird bike scooters and boosted boards. With major ride sharing companies trying to move to 2 wheelers and community shared biking hubs becoming a thing, giving all the problem children their own space would be an excellent solution.
All of these alternate means of transportation run at about the same speed and can't cause fatal damage on collision. Definitively separating them from cars should significantly improve safety.
IMO, biking might be the solution that allows for zoning laws to be lax, as increased density wouldn't affect traffic as adversely. The increased density should also cut commute times. Aren't those literally the 2 biggest complaints about tech hubs in US ? The decreased pollution and healthcare benefits just the cherry on top.
Unfortunately even cities that consider biking infrastructure often seem to ignore how to connect bike lanes in a reasonably safe way. The only city I've seen that does this is Portland, OR and they make heavy use of separated paths to do so.
This is because they are designed by non-cyclists who are thinking purely of recreational use: someone casually dawdling their way to work on a sunny day three times a year.
"Oh, well, here of course they will dismount and then use the crosswalk ... that's what I'd do!"
* AT AN INTERSECTION
* Dismount and walk the bike across the cross-walk, as a pedestrian.
I don't know how to handle bikes and turns at an intersection, separation of level would be far more ideal.
Requiring dismounting would be the way to discourage cycling.
Separation of levels can work, too, but is more expensive and takes more room. Examples at https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/tag/tunnel/ and https://vimeo.com/71511991
1. Bikes can't go on sidewalks, so you're already screwed one way or another.
2. It's a huge hassle to get off and on at every intersection.
Of course there's a problem with the bike acting like a vehicle too, even if it can keep up with traffic. Stoplight sensors don't register bikes so you end up waiting for a car to show up so it can trigger the sensor and change the light.
If you're a cyclist and stopped on a red, waiting for it to change, you're seriously breaking ranks. :)
I mostly just bolt for it when the coast is clear.
There are places where I wait, but if it's keyed to a sensor coil, I'm definitely not waiting for a vehicle to arrive.
Camera based sensors are far better than the induction loops used on older installations in my experience. Replacing the traffic light with a roundabout is even better :)
This makes crossing with the bike on the crosswalk even more inconvenient than it would otherwise be on the bike, which as the other poster pointed out, slows one down considerably. Maybe separation of level is the right answer. Bike boxes, painted areas that let cyclists cross lanes in front of stopped traffic, may work but only if the intersection is adapted for them, otherwise they're just yet more deceptive deathlures.
With regard to right turns, the easiest situation, though not feasible everywhere, is a dedicated right turn bay. Cyclist going right sticks to the curb. Cyclist going straight goes between the right turn bay and the straight lane.
While these trails are nice (obviously, we need recreational spaces), they don't do anything for congestion or commuting.
When there's a road next to a mixed-use path, I'll usually take the road since it's safer and easier than sharing with the pedestrian traffic.
So it's more about commute distance than a pure question of speed.
I have a 12 mile bike commute. The bus is an option, but it only runs once an hour.
I used to live off of a mix use trail and could ride my bike on it to work. I now have to ride on the street, and given the choice I'd take the trail any day.
After a while, they put up gates on the trail where it crossed an access road. These gates required that cyclists dismount, walk their bike around the offset bollards while crouching to go under the gate arms, cross the access road, and repeat the process when getting to the gate on the other side. After that, I just started riding on the road again.
The plastic white posts are better than nothing, but still not enough IMO.
I like the white posts for this reason. I can still get out, but cars will likely not get in (unless they're completely out of control in which case they'd probably hop a small curb as well).
I'd say anything above 50cc is probably off limits.
I don't agree -- skaters, skate boarders, mopeds and bikes all travel at different speeds and have different styles of locomotion - in particular, skaters and boarders tend to swerve back and forth across the lane, making passing difficult, while a 30mph moped is a hazard to 15mph cyclists -- even 20mph eBikes can be a challenge.
Close passes are a safety issue; verbal abuse is not.
Walking has low requirements for infrastructure. An uneven sidewalk is no problem. An unpaved trail through the woods is fine for most people. I have seen people posthole through blizzards in a walkable neighbourhood when nobody could bicycle or drive a car.
For the individual, there is no mechanical equipment to maintain, no parking spot to find; they just need some decent footwear.
More people can walk than can/will ride a bike. Many old people avoid biking due to poor balance and strength, but can walk without issue. People that cannot walk, such as people in wheelchairs, also benefit from the short distances between destinations. The blind can walk, but cannot ride a bike.
Uh... because I want to visit friends? Go see a show? Explore? Take a job that's not immediately next door? There are a million reasons why.
You know what cities were insanely walkable? The endless concrete enclaves of Khrushchyovkas in the USSR. Walkable does not mean pleasant.
In a walkable environment you can still make longer trips using other modes.
I can't speak to the cities of the USSR, but your "counter-example" is meaningless regardless.
Biking allows you to move without moving your full body weight across your for and ankle. Bicycles are great for people with lower body joint issues.
Three wheelers work great for people with balance issues.
Tokyo is a testament to the power of bicycles to increase mobility for all ages. I agree with you, but I also recognize that bikes can be better for many people than walking, plus they extend the practical range significantly.
Maybe taking a backpack would do the trick. But loading up my bike, or my bike plus a trailer, is far more pleasant for all but the shortest distances.
Maybe I've just not experienced it yet, but it's hard to fathom every hardware store, grocery store, bar, restaurant, workplace, school, city rec center, post office, etc that I would ever really want to visit could reasonably fit into a quarter mile square.
Unless you are talking telecommuting or the like.
The bars and hangouts my friends visit are all over town. And for the things nearby: Would I rather spend an hour walking 5 miles to a park or restaurant, or 12 minutes with good bike lanes?
In the south, you don't want to stay out long unless you're ready to sweat. 10 minutes at a casual biking pace is several miles, 10 minutes walking is a mile, maybe, and with less wind for the energy expended.
I hazard a guess that you're from a northern coastal area, or Europe.
That arrangement precludes walking as a practical form of transportation. Build things closer together. Your typical destination could be 12 minutes away on foot, not an hour. When you want to travel to something that is an hour's walk away, you can bike instead. Bikes work fine in places that are walking-scale. Walking doesn't work in places that are biking-scale.
Not sure what else to say about the temperature. The design of a place can be altered to make it more bearable, like having plentiful street trees and awnings for shade. In the end, some people cannot bring themselves to exist outside of artificial cooling and heating. It's largely a cultural thing. People walk in other very hot places, and in other very cold places. Dress for the weather, endure some discomfort, and take some judgement from the weaker people.
At 25k people per km^2 you get 200 thousand people within 1 mile radius and 0.8 million people within 2 mile walking distance. That transforms most US population centers into tiny little walk-able islands.
Public transit can spread things out, but lower density is a real trade-off.
Breaking out of that loop requires building safe infrastructure for cycling, like indestructable cement dividers between bike lanes and vehicle lanes or no-vehicles-allowed-in-<large area of city> days
The initiative to reduce car-pedestrian collisions in LA has stopped because the drivers put pressure on politicians to stop slowing traffic down. Advocates are implying (and sometimes outright saying) that a few dozen deaths a year are an acceptable price to pay for a shorter commute. That's how far we are from solving this problem.
The webpage for the LA River project: http://lariver.org/
The webpage for the LA River Trail: https://www.traillink.com/trail/los-angeles-river-trail/
Why are you implying that this is faulty reasoning? I mean traffic deaths would be virtually eliminated if the speed limit across the board was 15 mph. But I know I would rather drive 65 because the risk is worth it -- and over a large population that increase in risk turns into real tangible deaths. Same with any risky behavior that we all engage in every day.
Let's do the back of the napkin calculations, take Columbus Ohio as the example of an everycity. Columbus had in 2014 750,000 commuters and say your average person makes $25/hr ($55k annually).
Say you were able to shave on average 1 minute off their commute.
($25/hr) * (1hr/60m) * (1m) * (2 trips/work day) * (261 work days/yr) * (750,000 people/trip) = $163,125,000/yr
How does a few dozen lives compare to $163 million dollars of value? Is slowing down traffic worth it?
EVEN if it did - what if, as traffic were slowed and bike lanes and walking lanes were put in, commuter life improved? Society appreciated the new living space and they got healthier and spent less on fuel and cars? That new economies were enabled by new, healthier, cheaper forms of transport?
Anyone that says “someone else should face high risk and cost for my convenience” is not to be trusted.
Affluence is a factor. Later on post-affluence may permit a social signal to again take up biking becuase it’s a choice of the upper middle class and become aspirational..
It annoys me how entrenched car culture is and how defensive some people get about it (and the amount of anger that is directed toward cyclists, many of whom legitimately fear for their lives on a daily basis).
I think it's deeper than that -- many people still view bikes as a kid's toy. Children bike, adults drive.
The problem with all this of course is that it snowed here yesterday, and that's just the first sign of a trend that's going to last until April.
For the cold you've got to keep your extremities protected. I've got big dumb loose fitting mitts that slide on and off easily, and really warm socks. For my core, though, sweat is more an issue than freezing your ass off. If you dress to be cozy for the first 5 or 10 minutes of the ride, you'll be sweating once your blood gets flowing.
Note that this is only really a problem below -5C or so; at "merely" freezing I can manage.
With that said, the U.S. is not the Netherlands. Like most Americans, I depend on my vehicle to get my kids to school and myself to the grocery store, which are 4-5 miles away from my house. This country is not predominately compact or dense. Cycling is not the de-facto best solution for every place. 
I wish we could stop bringing up Amsterdam with every conversation about bike lanes. I'm all for building bike paths over green space but I don't support the closing of busy traffic lanes to support a relatively small cycling commuter population. It creates traffic snarls, more pollution, and wastes a lot of people's time.
None of these experience miles of gridlock like LA, but it's been enjoyable to see & experience.
I've had some passing involvement with bike advocacy and have been a bike commuter in Los Angeles for the past six years. My impression is that in the early 2000s, there was a flowering of bike advocacy and infrastructure.
But now we've reached the point of resistance where other transport modes are pushing back against any more consideration for bikes. In short, cycling is now big enough to matter but not big enough to win.
I've often wondered if there was an approach other than the incrementalist, go-along-get-along approach that most bike advocacy has taken. The electric scooter startups have changed the transport landscape more quickly than anything else I've seen.
For instance, inside DC there was a number of dedicated bike lanes, and even a good number of segregated bike lanes. I could get all through the core of the city on a bike with relative safety, once you got out into the north Virginia suburbs the bike infrastructure turned into mostly painted lines, with a few notable trails and then by the time you hit the outer suburbs there was nothing, but they were starting to put painted lines out as far as Reston, VA ( 25mi outside the city )
My worry is that there actually aren't enough people to use the bike infra to justify continued/increasing costs--or at least makes it easy to argue against. For example, there is a bike path next to a new light rail line in West LA (expo line for the curious). I used it to commute for ~1 year and the traffic I observed on it was very minimal considering the cost it must have taken to put in and maintain (lights at night too).
Yeah there are a couple bike hotspots like Portland and Minneapolis (maybe DC?) but outside that, the demand is minimal unfortunately.
I think an important part of having a more bikable city is that it leads to a more livable city. My bike ride to work takes me through the south-east part of town which was previously segregated. These areas aren’t well-suited to biking, but should be. If you are poor and your car breaks down you still have to have a way to get to work. A car is a hell of a lot more expensive then a bike or a bus.
Flatness is not a pre-requisite for a cycling culture.
I recall reading the meteorological explanation for why the wind changes direction on ocean cities. The net effect for me is that I'm nearly always going into a local headwind and it's quite horrible.
The truly bad things happen because of radicalism - it should not be bikes + public transit vs cars. It should be a healthy, safe mix of both.
Have you ever seen what happens in a Tube strike in London? Gridlock like you wouldn't believe. I was cycling to work and I saw an ambulance stuck in traffic dead stopped with sirens blaring because there was no open space for any cars within earshot to move out of the way. There were tens of thousands of people walking to work along the A3 (Northern Line corridor) into the city like refugees because it was faster than car, cab or bus.
The point is, the transit capacity of a city with a dense transit network is orders of magnitude greater than the typical American city, and SF/SV is barely a notch better.
Easy. With a trailer. My wife and I have two bike trailers for our 3 kids. The oldest will often ride her own bike (she is 5) and then when she gets tired, you can throw it in the back and she climbs in.
Another friend of mine has one of those stretched out e-bikes where he hauls his two kids around. Oh, and he sold his car in order to buy it.
> It should be a healthy, safe mix of both.
This is true, but we are no where near the point of a "people jam" (or bike jam) in much of the US/Canada.
I bike two miles to a train station downtown, and I take the train to a stop in a nearby city, bike two miles to work. Sometimes I bike all the way home (20 miles-ish) for a nice, convenient workout. I also get to work from home two days a week. I read books on the train, I have made great friends on the train. This is the best commute I have ever had, and I will miss it dearly if/when my situation changes.
That said, I can never go completely car free. My wife and I like to go hiking in the mountains or go to the coast with our dogs on the weekend. A car is the only way to get there with our pets.
Saved us tons of money, garage space, and if many families in our town did the same thing, traffic would completely evaporate. Yet everyone would still have access to a car for surfing & beach trips.
And heaven forbid that you have to interact with other people on public transit. How ever will you survive?
If you want to let your life be controlled by the worst comment section on the local news site that’s fine, but don’t waste our time with your nonsense.
*note, I lived in LA for 4 months w/o a car; It's a pain to fit a longboard in an UberXL.
Do you honestly do this every day? No? Then don't bring that up. Use a car when it makes sense, and don't when you don't have to.
"2) Public transit is all good, but have you ever been in a PEOPLE jam during rush hour in a subway? Because I had. And I will take SV traffic jam over it any day."
Increase funding so you can increase the amount of trains. Or shift your commute a bit. Either way, I don't believe for a second that one would rather spend 3 hours driving each way.
"The truly bad things happen because of radicalism - it should not be bikes + public transit vs cars. It should be a healthy, safe mix of both."
It should be a mix. But people like you are turning it into an either/or battle. You're spreading so much FUD that cycling, walking, and public transit don't get any say.
Basically it creates a trade-off. Some percentage of people will decide one way and some the other way. This is going to affect adoption if you try to build a city around this idea.
Incidentally, there are also issues in hotter climates. Here in Texas, it hit 100°F (37.7°C) more than 50 days this summer. And it doesn't get cold at night. You can try to avoid the heat by biking to work early, but even at 6:00am, it might still be 80°F (26.6°C) and humid. So you will arrive sweaty, and if you don't do something about that, you will smell bad all day. (The ideal is if your office provides showers.) You're also probably going to end up taking two showers every day since you are sweaty when you get home.
This is an underrated aspect of commuting by bike. I ride 8 miles into San Francisco every day, and more often then not I get a little bit of human interaction somewhere along that route. It might be waving and saying "hi" to a member of the homeless community on the side of the bike path under a freeway interchange, or another bike commuter asking me about my electric bike, or just a driver smiling and waving me through an intersection ahead of them. These small human touches bring joy to me on a regular basis and are one of several reasons why I love my commute.
It's time IMHO that extreme convenience comes at a high price. That is, car access to every city block doesn't need to be the status quo. Make me walk a few blocks if I drive to town, or make me use transit/etc if my car can only make it up to major city boundaries. At the very least, put high incentives in place to keep daily flows down.
There are fair solutions to be found that do not disproportionately different working classes/income levels.
I know about Denver and Minneapolis...they both have times where cycling is a non-starter
We could use concrete barriers between bike lanes and traffic, that's for sure, but there are enough options that you can usually avoid having to be in traffic.
It's certainly not even close to the crazy quantity of cyclists we normally have, but it is by no means a non-starter or dead out. Fatbikes really make a difference.
Source: Resident of MPLS.
I think that you considerably overestimate the capabilities of “almost anyone”
I'd love to see safer bike highways, but the city doesn't seem able to do more than mark the pavement with sharrows. I understand that Pasadena's urban planning model frequently pits cars and bikes against each other - but, I wonder if we could cut into some of the significant lawn space on each side of the street in order to make bike lanes?
 It turns out people in the affluent parts of Pasadena aren't driving because they can't afford a bike.
That's the problem with the keep as far right as practical law that only applies to bicyclists. For other slow vehicles, it means that they use the rightmost lane available for traffic. For bicyclists, it means that they need to share the lane side-by-side with a car in a lane that's only wide enough for the car by itself or two bicyclists riding abreast.
If the bicycle specific keep as far right as practicable law was repealed such that the cyclist could just use the entire width of the lane they're in, then people riding a bicycle in traffic wouldn't have the lane sharing problem you describe.
> A 2013 report by the city’s legislative analyst estimated that 4,085 bikes worth $4.6 million were stolen in 2012, with the downtown and South of Market neighborhoods the hardest hit.
I have fixed rear wheel lock fixed to the frame, and a chain lock that I carry around the seat post, and use to lock the frame to a bike rack or other fixed object. Most people do the same.
The biked that get stolen are the very fancy bikes and bikes that are left unlocked or poorly locked. Ride an ordinary bike and remember to lock it, and you'll be fine. Personalize your bike with stickers and such, to make it much less desireable. And get insurance.
Some get around this by buying multiple locks and keeping them at commuting destinations.
Personally I try to OneWheel since I can ride it and pick it up with me. Don't have to worry about it being jacked by the SF petty crime syndicate.
Motorized scooters, semi-motorized bikes (the ones that "flatten hills"), "hoverboards," motorized skateboards along with those one-wheeled self-balancing things that I want so badly. :) Haven't seen motorized roller skates in the real world but I'm betting on them arriving soon.
And then there are the self driving cabs that we know are coming soon. Combined with the rentable scooters and bikes, these can allow mixing it up in interesting and practical ways.
It seems like thinking of cars, bikes and pedestrians as 3 distinct categories is not going to work for long. Maybe a bit fanciful, but I could almost imagine rainbow stripes drawn on the roads, with red being for cars, purple being for pedestrians, and if you're using a motorized skateboard or a bike, you'd tend to ride in the greenish area.
there is a perceptual quality that is often neglected when calculating the differences purely in terms of physical forces.
we agree a lighter bike will only be marginally faster in terms of speed on the ground but to say a rider doesn't notice a 1% difference in their speed requires an appeal to perception not to physics. those few seconds of a commute count.
i think that's why big granny gears that could roll a tank up a hill still don't solve the problem -- they just feel too slow
you could say to someone, "don't complain about your bike -- just lose 10 lbs and you'll get to your destination faster than you would by changing your bike".
yeah ok, but like losing weight is easy (actually it is if you bike a lot, hehe).
but if you put that person on a walmart beater and compare their commute with a carbon bike, they sure as hell will report a difference, even if the clock doesn't.
the point is that we are concerned with getting people on bikes and moving their bodies, not about time trials (which ironically is where fast bikes are marketed, because the premise is that it doesn't matter for everyone else. maybe it does!)
does it matter enough to spend 10k on a carbon bike today? well that depends on your finances. but when they are cost competitive? yes, please.
Sure, the weight reduction matters when you're racing, but carbon frames don't stand up very well to the bumps and scrapes of a bike commute. If you crash a metal frame, it may bend a bit, and if it's unsafe to ride, it's generally immediately obvious. A carbon frame can look perfectly fine, but suddenly snap at an inopportune moment.
For commuting and everyday riding, you want something slightly heavier and beefier. Most bikes these days are aluminum, and some people still swear by lugged steel frames for their durability.
carbon fiber is extremely strong for its weight -- if you have an accident that is going to render it unsafe, you are sure likely to know. its true you can bend a steel frame back into shape (not so much with aluminum), but steel also rusts, and with anything the quality of the build matters (what do the welds look like, is it lugged, etc)
in any case im talking about a future where carbon is cheaper and replacing it doesn't cost the equivalent of a college degree
if anyone wants to read far too much about this stuff, ya gotta read sheldon brown:
This can of course be mitigated, but that's part of why CF frames are expensive.
And in the end, the weight savings are rather small, most people do fine on hills as long as they have the appropriate gearing.
The 'shared space' concept, where traffic-calmed cars are in close proximity to bikes and pedestrians, relies both on traffic devices, the emergent slow speed of traffic to act as a barrier to overtaking, and on the psychological inhibition of drivers to not flaunt the idea and drive like madmen anyway. It also trades physical separation of pedestrians for an emergent one, which is a raw deal for some disabled people (e.g. those with impaired sight, hearing, or mobility), or those with small children. This is a tradeoff that some communities don't find acceptable.
But for the majority of people for whom it works, mingling car traffic, bike traffic, and pedestrian traffic in close proximity has the advantage of decreasing the utility of high speeds that could otherwise be attained by cars and increasing the utility of lower speeds and non-motorized forms of transport. This effect encourages the town's urban form to be compact and provide employment and services close to residences or transit nodes (like train stations), which leads to the cityscape familiar from the Netherlands.
Areas that were developed with the assumption that the sole choice of transportation will be the automobile face many barriers to retrofitting other modes of transport as a realistic choice. This is because density is a key metric: a car covers 20 times the distance in the same amount of time as walking. If there is no employment or services within a walkable radius, any sidewalks or bike lanes are largely for recreation, and don't offer a meaningful everyday alternative to driving. This is why dense areas like CBD Vancouver can mull over these changes, but doing the same in Surrey is a lost cause. In the US, where urban employment is a mix between those living there and those commuting by car from far away, the streets of cities are still dominated by cars that are trying to cover distance in little time. Market Street in San Francisco is chock-full of transit and pedestrians and stoplights, which prevent it from being an urban highway, but other streets in SF are far too rapid to safely host pedestrians or bikes, even though the city around it was clearly built at a time when slower transport was the norm.
1) Privacy - sharing a wall or floor should NOT give my neighbors privy to my arguments, love-making, or guitar playing.
2) Personal transportation != pedal-pushing. I gave that up when I turned 16. I'll take a scooter.
3) Reliable public transport for long-distance travel. Meaning well-maintained, to useful destinations, and not subject to wage strikes (probably meaning automated.)
I already loath going into my ice cold car and waiting for the heat.
The biggest problem I have with electric cars is that they continue to encourage low density low efficiency suburbs with hours long commutes into the high density cities. This is economically unsustainable, roads are expensive, and will only get worse as EVs pay no gas tax and weigh more than their ICE cousins. Considering that America's road system is in bad need of repair and we don't have the will or funds to fix it, doubling down on them is not a wise call.
Also, it's not like producing an EV is a carbon neutral act.
Personally, I think the Boomers are in for a big shock when they try to sell their homes for a "fair" price, and discover that Millennials neither want nor can afford large suburban homes. Once that happens the market (and politics probably) are going to do some really freaky things.
I see this often. Very few people want large homes when they are either single or don't have kids.
As soon as you do have kids and they start to grow to an age where they want to play outside, having space to run, play sports, be away from traffic, have their own room, etc gets a lot higher on your priority list.
You can also get a suburban home without it being "large" and still get a lot of space to go with it. People used to get "starter homes" and then periodically trade up if/when their incomes increased or they had some equity in the home.
It seems like the biggest barrier to this today is that people want to go straight to the HGTV home. I can't tell you how many people I've known who, straight out of school, overextend to the most expensive house they can afford.
If you want more house, for your money...that usually means buying farther away from density.
It is totally possible to live in a walkable area with urban amenities without being inside a dense mega-city. These used to be called "street-car" suburbs-- urban nucleations that exist just outside of the central business districts of medium-to-large cities. They're sort of like cities unto themselves. They're sometimes referred to as "main-street" communities.
Lots of people live in such places and don't realize it or they've managed to give too much away for automobile infrastructure to notice that, YES, it is possible to live such that not every trip necessarily begins and ends with an automobile in a parking space. This can be done in many places _without_ moving to NYC/SF/Chicago.
How much house one needs (if any) is a lifestyle decision that can fluctuate over time. People can adapt. It starts with demanding things like "complete streets" (https://smartgrowthamerica.org/program/national-complete-str...), walkability as a target in new developments and intelligent requirements for parking so that we don't end up with "ocean-of-asphalt" parking lots.
In Europe the children can go to a shared park or a playground. Strolling along a street is also safe and quite pleasant when there is little traffic. There is more space and things to do than you can have in your backyard. And more importantly, they get to play with other children.
This sounds exactly like the US suburbs I've been in!
I have a lot of friends, with kids, who have had to look farther out into the suburbs because of home prices and inventory. And nothing in this price range is HGTV material, believe me.
Your argument basically presupposes that there’s something desirable about suburban homes, and that people not buying them is abnormal. I find this both unconvincing and historically incoherent.
It's not shaming to point out a thing is happening or that it a thing is biologically necessary to further the human race. You're welcome to call it anything you want, but there's a lot of "shaming" that's gone in the other direction as well. I've watched it my entire life.
Desired home locations are just a side effect.
That is after all, how humanity worked for a few Millenia.
You're arguing for the Amish.
Even today, with a global fertility rate of 2.5 children per woman and a population of over 7 billion people I don't think there's any need to worry about biological mandates. On the contrary, I think that in developed countries where each human being consumes much more (and consequently generates more waste) than other countries the birth rate should be heavily lowered. Of course, our economy/society may not be engineered for that but better start doing it sooner than later.
On the other hand, getting eaten by a tiger, living with ringworms, having your teeth fall out before middle age, or having 50/50 odds of dying by the age of 4 is perfectly natural, does not go against biology.
I don't think biology is a great litmus test for how we want to structure society.
Which is a natural expectation of the species...
No, because they don't believe they're financially stable enough to support children. Millennials have dealt with stagnant wages and rising housing costs.
(While some of the responses to that story () do indicate a desire to do things other than raise children, many of the responses indicate a desire, but a lack of ability. Additionally, leveling off the population growth of humanity would likely have benefits for the environment, though certainly some current government schemes assume infinite growth, and those will have a bad time.)
I'm personally in the "can't" not "won't" bucket. Real-estate in SV is nuts, and I will have to (as James Mickens calls it) complete the "sisyphean task" of escaping SV and its housing crisis.
I happily bought my suburban home instead of living close to others in a condo or a townhouse.
It doesn't make you a bad person to be taking advantage of bad policies. But cities do need to incentivize sustainable living over unsustainable suburban sprawl.
Sprawl is not unsustainable if you internalize the external costs, and I'll argue it'll get cheaper as mobility moves to electric vehicles and trucks, new infrastructure (with higher longevity) is built in new subdivisions instead of trying to replace 100+ year old gas, water, and sewer mains, etc.
@village-idiot: To your deleted comment, yes, my Teslas have a carbon impact during their manufacturing, but it is less than the SUV and pickup truck we used to own. It is very difficult to have no impact whatsoever on the Earth; optimize the best you can.
I also don't have any kids and won't be having them.
The suburbs also have less attraction for me as a parent. In the old days you could let your kids roam a suburb freely - now you can't. So why not live in a city? You have the same restrictions, but also a lot more distractions such as free museums.
Nothing structural has changed about letting kids roam, but the social side has.
There are plenty of foreigner investors who'd be happy to buy their property.
It’s just like the issues with rail — because you have so many landowners, the capital costs of transforming a single family block or subdivision to higher density is really expensive or requires eminent domain, which would be politically difficult.
You can have scenarios (especially now that it’s ok to walk away from mortgages) where prices drop. Single family isn’t going away.
Due to the economics of supply and demand, if the former clause is true then the latter clause cannot also be true.
Sure, you won't turn Tampa into Rotterdam overnight but those changes are important and they do add up. 50 years of these policies would give us much better, even if not perfect, cities.
If so, we may have vastly different ideas about the definition of a city.
Also, Seattle, Philly, Boston, Miami, and lots of other smaller cities are very much unlike living in the suburbs.
As far as I'm concerned, there's a ton more "city" in those neighborhoods than those high-rises. Density is only one variable in an incredibly large equasion. Seattle has a good deal of its own as well. Even in neighborhoods as nice as Queen Anne.
That said, I wish most other cities had it as good as Seattle. And I wish Seattle was far more diverse than it is.
I had the impression suburban homes tend not to be well-built. They may last a few decades, but that's about it.
Unfortunately, my bike commute only happens occasionally now that I work in the 'burbs - which, at least here, is where all of the new office complexes are moving.
Or I could just get in my car with a light jacket and blast the heat. Rain, shine, snow, blizzard, whatever. I'm good.
When the snow is cleared you are generally fine with normal tires on bikes btw, because you can just go a little slower.
Come to Copenhagen or Amsterdam. We bike in all kinds of weather, backed up by great public transport.
I've scrapers are not a burden to carry in a car, but they do cost money, and require physical effort to use.
You should visit Copenhagen in the winter, and enter a dimension of slush, the freezing/thawing cycles make it extremely unpredictable to ride or drive in. Actual steady freezing temperatures are so much easier to deal with.
Also distressing was the number of people convinced that all wheel drive made their car safer in the snow.
I'm not very experienced with this stuff, but one of the issues is having sufficient traction to make it up hills, and all-wheel drive is superior at that. If you have to roll back down a hill and try again with a running start, that may be doable, but that makes things more chaotic and unpredictable on the roads (compared to making it up the first time). In an ideal world, other drivers would be attentive enough to handle it, but in reality not so much.
Also, more generally, because static friction is greater than dynamic friction, any time your tires lose grip, you have less control over your car at that moment. All-wheel drive means tires are less likely to lose grip when accelerating / applying thrust.
The most important thing you can do with a car is brake and turn, as those affect safety the most.
All cars brake with all four wheels, drive type has absolutely no effect at all. All modern cars have enough braking power to slide on clean concrete, let alone snow and ice. The only thing you can do to improve braking distance is to change your tires.
Steering is only affected by drive type when you’ve got the hammer down, as you may be asking the front tires to propel and steer the car at once (this is partly why FWD cars often understeer). But in a snowy situation you won’t be driving flat out, so which wheels are driving will have little effect on steering, and zero effect if you’re coasting or braking.
What AWD is great at is getting you off the line in low traction scenarios, which is convenient. It also means that you can get an AWD car up to speeds that are unwise in the present conditions (remember that steering is two wheeled in almost all cars).
The only real advantage that AWD has is that AWD cars are typically heavier than their two wheel drive cousins, and weight absolutely confers safety in snow.
> The most important thing you can do with a car is brake and turn, as those affect safety the most.
Yep, I could notice that when I was leaving north of arctic circle. Each time my driving mates ended up in the ditch (failing to turn on a crossroad), it was with a 4WD. I tried to explain to them that 4WD does not help to brake and turn (especially when their 4WD land rover/cruiser is 50% to 100% heavier than their regular car), to no avail :-(
Luckily most of the landings happened in the snow banks and were relatively smooth, but the lesson was not learned :-( But hey! they finally get to use the 4WD to pull back out of the ditch :-)
That much insulation seems utterly counterproductive for hot-weather exertion, though it probably would at least protect from sunburn.
Also, my Asian nose doesn't hold glasses very well. Once while biking in the summer (with sweat dripping) they fell off in traffic. I was basically blind. It was terrifying.
Don't waste your time. Pro-cyclists are the most biased and privileged people I've ever met. Just get on your bike, it's so easy! forgets that some people have bad knees. All you need is some goggles when it rains! forgets that people wear glasses. Just wait for the snow to be cleared! forgets that some cities don't clear snow. Just buy knobby tires! forgets that smaller people will struggle with the extra weight. Just wear a face mask! forgets that some cities ban face coverings and certain demographics get looked at strangely if they wear balaklavas
I just find your hatred for cyclists utterly bizarre. Did a cyclist murder a family member and you need revenge, or what?
What I disagree with is the idea that we can build a society around cycling. I was lucky to be able to live close enough to work and be abled enough to do the ride 5 days a week. And I was lucky that, on days with bad weather, I could work from home because of my job as a software developer.
As I started to look outside of my own life, I saw that not so many people were lucky. Actually, most people weren’t this lucky. How would I ride to work as a construction worker, with all my equipment and rotating job locations? How could I do this as a nurse, where I would be on my feet all day working odd hours? The more and more I considered all the ways people participate in society, the more I realized that the very narrow constraints of cycling just don’t work for most people.
So sure, build the cycling lanes and bike racks, I’m not asking you to rip those up. There are many people who can cycle and we should accommodate them. But that’s it - Just accommodate them. Don’t try to uproot the core structure of our way of life. You’ll want the roadways when you get old and injured can’t ride any more.
People use this same logic when others suggest eating healthy and exercising.
"And if someone works three jobs and has ten kids? Hmmmm? Then what?? Gotcha!"
Begins to reek of someone using the condition of others to rationalize why they themselves can't be bothered to do something. Not to mention the fact that you're more privileged in a car than on a bicycle.
Cycling really does attract the same nonsensical aggressive reactions as eating healthy and exercising.
As opposed to a bike: "This thing has a very constrained set of operating parameters, therefore I use it occasionally when the situation fits best"
There have been a bunch of studies trying to measure the relationship between commuting time and (subjective) quality of life. Most of them find exactly what you'd suspect: longer commutes reduce quality of life.
The weird thing is that they found a small uptick at the absolute extreme edges of commuting, like in the 5+ hour a day range. It's still shittier than a 30 minute commute, but it was better than a 4 hour commute. Nobody really seems to know why this is, but it's there.
Either way, I walk to work. There are few better ways to commute, IMHO.
The bicycle is one of those ways. It's faster and significantly more efficient.
Personally, my commute would be too short with a bike. I like a good 20-30 minutes between home and work to clear my head and get in/out of the zone. But that's just me.
Personal limits of multitasking, I guess :-)
Locating offices unnecessarily in the middle of high-density cities creates long commutes.
Because the traffic in the suburbs is usually nowhere near the level of traffic in the city. The commute time tends to be relative to the traffic density more than the distance.
I drive to the same location, 15 miles away every day. Depending on the time of day and the traffic, the drive will take 15 minutes or 45 minutes.
The commute problem is forcing all of those cars down those same roads at the same time. Locating offices outside of the middle of cities would largely correct the problem.
Another example with even worse traffic (but you can usually walk a little bit for lunch time) is Sandy Springs + Dunwoody.
FYI these two job centers are, easily, a 30 minutes drive from each other.
These are scattered all around the city so choosing to live in a suburbs really limits your working options if you need to get to an opposite-side suburb. (60 - 90 minutes one-way would be normal to get from Alpharetta to Marietta with any traffic)
Compare that to the offices in downtown Chicago for example, where a large percentage of the workers arrive at work via Metra (medium distance commuter trains) and el (inner city public transit).
Similarly, going crosstown in Atlanta without highways is also bad.
Why are people willing to spend out their butts for just the right housing, when all they really need is a half-decent car?*
*and perhaps a two-thirds-decent library of hair-raising music or enlightening podcasts
Switching jobs is much easier if you can essentially keep the same commute. Companies are more efficient if their employees can easily meet with clients, potential recruits, attend conferences or just have coffee with their peers. All the positive spillover effects would go away if each company had its office in some random suburb.
The problem with your top-down utopian "we shall raze and rebuild our cities" rhetoric is that it always crashes against the massive inertia of the existing built-up landscape. No to mention that people genuinely like their houses, but we don't even need to bring that up.
Hopefully people aren't literally thinking that, considering that cars are only one piece of the carbon problem. It's not even the biggest piece.
Just because something is old does not mean it is a bad idea. By the way, bicycles were first developed in the 19th century (not 18th) and have been continuously improved since then. And motor vehicles are not much newer, anyway. The Benz Patent Motor Car was sold in the 1880s. For comparison, the most popular type of bike sold today, the "safety bike" became popular in the late 1880s.
I've explained cycling to high-tech types as taking advantage of the literal nanotechnology the human body uses. Bikes make use of the human body much more than cars in my view.
I never said bikes are better in every way, or even more efficient. Actually, I think a well designed motor vehicle could easily beat a bike in efficiency, particularly for common diets, but it would be smaller like a bike. E.g., a motorcycle could be better.
My argument was that old technologies aren't necessarily bad and that motor vehicles are nearly as old as bikes, so the age argument also applies to cars. I don't disagree that cars have benefits.
Newer is not inherently better.
Ideally I'd love to see more of these bicycle silos, both attached to transit hubs and in office environments:
They help solve the safety issues with leaving your bicycle somewhere. More traditional parking is great where space and trust allows, too (say, in a private office or behind a monitored door).
I think there’s a quiet bike revolution going on right now, EV bikes went from exotic and home made to common practically overnight. I’m excited to see how this will change our society.