I’d love to see a major metro area in the US do this. San Francisco would actually be a decent candidate for this. Market St + 4 blocks in each direction.
Cities existed before without cars and I suspect they will exist again after they leave. Sucks that I had to live in the time period with them.
Life is more than just figuring out how quickly and cheaply you can go from one place to another. I feel like a lot of you are missing that.
Cars and the point-to-point transit that they offer are a GODSEND for me and many other people who are somewhat mobility restricted, but not so bad that we need wheelchairs or crutches. They enable me to live a very normal life that would be impossible in a heavily pedestrian optimized environment. The fact that you don't even consider some of the alternatives as viable - automated shared cars, electric cars, strong hybrids ... all of which solve the problems you identified (wasted space on parking, pollution, etc.) leads me to believe that you actually just hate cars, and not any of the (solvable) problems that are caused by their current embodiment.
Consider that everyone's circumstances are not the same as yours. Have some compassion for your fellow humans.
To those who are saying that we'll still allow those with disabilities to have cars: many states require that you be able to walk less then 200 feet to get a disabled plate. On most days, I can walk at least 500 ... so by almost all standards, I do not qualify. However, walking 5-600 feet doesn't get you far enough to survive without a car. If the world were to go this route, we would have to reconsider what constitutes 'disabled'.
Another thought that surfaces is that with my 36-37" inseam (I wear 36" pants because that's as big as they sell, but they're really still too short), I do not fit in most public transit, and most cars. Thankfully, because cars are privately owned, I can pick from the 2 or 3 models that I actually fit in. A public transit world is a world that marginalizes peoples who are in the last 5-10% in terms of height/weight.
> A few spots are left, converted into parking for disabled drivers or EV charging, and some streets are open for delivery trucks for a couple of hours in the morning. Emergency vehicles still have access.
Nobody who has thought about this issue for a bit is suggesting that we ban cars like we banned chemical weapons. Simply that the number of cars can be cut by a factor of 5-10 easily, leaving behind only those users who actually need the car, and not using it as a convenience at enormous unaccountable externalities.
Not to mention that the the health of many (but not all) is destroyed by absolute minimum exercise needed in car centric cities. When everyone starts walking 5-10K steps everyday, many mobility related ailments are avoided or controlled or managed sufficiently.
If you are reluctant to harass legitimately disabled people, some amount of abuse would slip in. I think unless the abuse is so rampant that legitimate users get denied access (e.g. so many fakers are parking in handicap spots that the real ones have no spot) ignoring most of it as the inevitable price of not making lives of legitimately affected people yet harder is the right way to go.
man sometimes you just have to let externalities happen in the name of not screwing over the 99% of people who do it by the book
I don't see how this would be any different.
That being said, IMHO it's better to tolerate a moderate amount of abuse than going over the wall with enforcement.
And then you see the people who really need it and would make a difference if they didn't get those very front spots taken up by these folks.
I just have some anti-American culture hate going on right now (I am an American). You can just feel the entitlement coming off some of these people.
But you can't see that the person gets fatigued and suddenly can't walk very far. (And we are talking about fatigue that makes folks nearly pass out, not just mere tiredness) Or they have a history of numbness and trouble walking and keep a cane at their desk for this reason.
Like others have said, you cannot tell from the outside. This isn't freaking "entitlement". If you want to hate American culture, there are plenty of other areas to do this that doesn't make one crap on sick folks. I'd suggest focusing on letting folks go without health care or letting folks starve, but there are plenty of other choices.
The nicest accommodations are those you don't even have to ask for.
While I want able-bodied people to take the stairs, I think it's great when we can afford enough elevators that nobody cares. The situation where they are rationed, whether by needing a special key or just by a sign & dirty looks, is always less pleasant. But when it comes to cities and transport, this is genuinely hard, as cities with so much parking that it's free for everyone are radically different to mostly non-car cities.
Yours is not that case. You have a medical need, as do many people. But it's still reasonable to move away from the mentality that's common in the US of viewing road use and car use as a human right, and towards one that's about explicitly opting into or out of trade-offs about how best to make use of limited road space and government funds. Specifically: if we're going to subsidize road use, should we subsidize all of it, and if so, all of it at the same rate? I think you make a good case for why people with mobility restrictions should have access to such a subsidy, but I don't think it follows that because they should, everyone should. Maybe people who are able to take the bus or walk should have incentives to do so, or disincentives to not do so.
SF isn't even an anomaly here- look to the coastal mountains above Palo Alto. Lavish houses on large plots of land. Yeah, they are expensive, but you ain't getting no mansion and ten acres in the heart of SF for a paltry $50M.
If you really have a desire to 'stick it to the wealthy' while still enabling all to use the roads, sell access to HOV lanes at some extremely high cost and use it to pay for improvements to the infrastructure as a whole. I honestly think that this is a much better plan than the current (ridiculous) trend of offering HOV access to hybrids and EVs, because getting people into hybrids and EVs does nothing to ease congestion, which is the purpose of HOV lanes. Charging an extremely high tax for single-occupied HOV use would provide additional money to build improved infrastructure for all users, which would achieve the HOV goal of reducing congestion and pollution (because for traditional cars, congestion = horrible MPG).
PS - hybrids and EVs don't make sense in all areas. I have a Fusion Energi which has a plug-in range of about 20 miles, and I live in Michigan. I bought it because I wanted to be able to eat lunch in my car without idling the engine (to save wear and tear), but in general, hybrids and EVs are a complete waste of time in the midwest. 1/3 of the year is spent in arctic conditions below 30 degrees, and another 1/3 of the year is spent in sweltering 85+ degree temperatures ... and in both cases, hybrids and EVs don't do notably better than gas cars (first hand experience here).
As an additional aside, until we build more nuclear plants, and/or provide infrastructure to charge EVs during the day, they are kind of pointless. Solar power is not available at night (when most people charge EVs), so the electricity ends up coming from hyrdocarbon fuels plants. The conversion and transmission losses associated with going from Thermal->Mechanical->Electrical->High Voltage->Transmit->Low Voltage->DC->battery are so high that EVs really are currently not better than gas vehicles in much of the country. In areas where the waste heat from the gasoline is used to provide cabin heat, EVs are significantly worse in terms of overall energy use (especially those that use resistive heating for cabin heat).
Not to forget that the escalating climate change tax on petrol was paused some years back.
Taxing something less is not the same as subsidising it and it is disingenuous to claim that it is. Is the government subsidising you by taxing you less than some hypothetical percentage?
Also, uber and Lyft would get to decide the prices, that could cost much more to the city.
I think a public transport has to be public, ie publicly owned.
And wouldn't it be better to have the same thing but public (so that benefits are used to actually improve the service, and not pay dividends)?
Another way to think about it: you can view drivers paying for transit as a subsidy, but you can also view it as paying for decreased traffic, from which they directly benefit.
Don't forget a fee for the air and noise pollution they cause.
Though, one more thing I'd tax is noise from music bumpers. Those people drive me up the f-ing wall. I challenge anyone to think about how much damn awful music pollution is. Then come back in a year, after seriously considering it - if you've become the crazy old guy at the end of the street waving his cane (like me), then you know it's a problem.
Most modern freeway builds include noise mitigation in their designs. This cost should be passed on to the freeway users via use fees.
Some quotes from various sources:
https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-air-pollution-repo... - "Los Angeles remains the nation's leader in harmful ozone pollution from car tailpipes emissions ... but the report said the nation's second-largest city also achieved its best overall air quality score of all those years."
https://www.livestrong.com/article/156537-facts-of-car-pollu... - "The American Lung Association reports that 30,000 people are killed by car emissions annually in the United States alone. Air pollution also causes numerous respiratory and cardiovascular problems and may exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as asthma. More than half of Americans live in areas that fail to meet federal air quality standards at least several days each year."
https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/motor-vehicle-pollution - "Motor vehicles give off more than half of all carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions in Minnesota. These emissions, including microscopic particles, can contribute to breathing and heart problems along with an elevated risk of cancer."
https://owl.cwp.org/mdocs-posts/elc_pwp6/ - "Metals can follow many pathways before they become entrained in urban stormwater run off. A recent California study sponsored by the Santa Clara Valley Nonpoint Source Program suggests that cars are the dominant loading source for many metals of concern, such as cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc."
I drive a PHEV in Michigan, and for around 6-8 months a year, its mileage isn't any better than a standard 4 cylinder due to poor hybrid performance in extremely cold or hot temperatures. You get into the car, the BMS determines that the battery is either baking or freezing, and scales regen/assistance back to minimal levels. You essentially end up with a gas vehicle with an expensive start/stop system (and below about 10-12f, they actually often idle even when stopped to maintain engine temperature).
> Let users of cars pay for the
> infrastructure they use (through
> gas and plate taxes),
Automobile use is insanely subsidized by our society.
What helped me a lot was getting an e-bike that I'm able to cruise around town at 20mph (32kph) in. I understand that this particular solution doesn't apply to you, since arthritis is triggered by joint movement, whereas my pain is triggered by impact on the damaged foot and ankle (and e-biking is low impact).
But this experience got me thinking a lot about small electric vehicles.
One could imagine a city center where most people walk or bike, and people with a medical permit could drive around in speed-limited, electric golf carts, which are fairly compatible with pedestrian-only areas. Perhaps the city itself would staff the golf carts with drivers who were summonable via app.
So people like us could drive to a parking garage on the outskirts of the city center, and then there would either be rentable golf carts at the garage, or golf carts able to be summoned to go into the city center.
This really made staying independent possible, for the months it took before I could walk properly. Sure it was slower to drive to the supermarket & park underground there, instead of walking... but much quicker than waiting for someone else to have time to help.
I agree that solutions other than a traditional car would be possible. But right now, thinking through other places I've lived fine without a car, they would all have been hell.
After the first week I broke down and just took cabs everywhere. Perfectly practical, but only when somebody else (in this case, my employer) is paying for it.
In defence of the transit, it has to be said that (in a city that size) those cabs could not work without it. The roads are only passable because 90% of people aren't on them.
Which is to say, the fares have to be out of reach (as a daily expense) for > 90% of people. I imagine most employers would balk at the cost of catching cabs everywhere in Oslo.
Oslo, and European cities without or with much less cars, have tons of people with arthritis as well and they're doing just fine. A walkable city will be even more welcoming for things like powered wheelchairs, healthier to breath for everybody, and will have low cost (and in some cases in here, free) mass transportation.
>Consider that everyone's circumstances are not the same as yours. Have some compassion for your fellow humans.
Yeah, because nothing says compassion like car ridden cities, and urban areas designed around driving.
Also, I'd like to point out the economic disadvantage that comes from having to own a vehicle to drive to certain jobs. I've had to turn down jobs back in the day because I couldn't save up enough to purchase a vehicle and maintain it as well. You end up losing a lot of personal time waiting on buses. I remember having to get up at 5:00AM to catch a bus a mile away, and then getting home around 9:00PM too tired to do anything else but sleep and repeat.
I don't think I world make it through the traffic and all the red lights in the same time. Finding a parking spot would take a significant amount of time again.
Nowhere near 90% of cars in city centers, where all these bans are taking place, fit that description.
Most people do not need to drive. It is a selfish, ultimately stupid choice they have made.
I'm not generally opposed to people owning cars and using them. I'm opposed to people offloading the costs and space requirements of their private property onto the community.
All in all, a car free space can be far better for the disabled than what we have right now.
“Underlying Moses' strikingly strict policing for cleanliness in his parks was, Frances Perkins realized with "shock," deep distaste for the public that was using them. "He doesn't love the people," she was to say. "It used to shock me because he was doing all these things for the welfare of the people. . . . He'd denounce the common people terribly. To him they were lousy, dirty people, throwing bottles all over Jones Beach. 'I'll get them! I'll teach them!'... [...]
Now he began taking measures to limit use of his parks. He had restricted the use of state parks by poor and lower-middle-class families in the first place, by limiting access to the parks by rapid transit; he had vetoed the Long Island Rail Road's proposed construction of a branch spur to Jones Beach for this reason.
Now he began to limit access by buses; he instructed Shapiro to build the bridges across his new parkways low—too low for buses to pass. Bus trips therefore had to be made on local roads, making the trips discouragingly long and arduous.
For Negroes, whom he considered inherently "dirty," there were further measures. Buses needed permits to enter state parks; buses chartered by Negro groups found it very difficult to obtain permits, particularly to Moses' beloved Jones Beach; most were shunted to parks many miles further out on Long Island. And even in these parks, buses carrying Negro groups were shunted to the furthest reaches of the parking areas.”
Also detailed in this book is destruction of poor and minority neighborhoods and communities by the common policy of appropriating their land for roads and highways. The lasting effects of these practices is plainly obvious in so many US cities and will not go away without active efforts to reverse the damage. In comparison, disabled-friendly infrastructure is frankly more easily solved.
That is not logical. What is logical, is that if car usage was heavily reduced inside urban areas, it would leave more space for the few cases where cars and lorries are actually needed.
It is a variant of the old argument "but without cars and lorries there would be no food transport" (or ambulances, constuction, or something else where it is easy to see the benefits). That has always been a false premise. The biggest problems with cars in urban areas in cogestion. Fewer cars would mean more space where it's most desperately needed.
What do people with your condition in Paris or Rome do? Most of Europe isn't designed around cars the way the usa is.
The only American cities where "it was designed for cars" is an excuse are those built largely after the 1940s, when cars (and air conditioning) became commonplace: LA, Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, etc.
> you NEED a car to reasonably participate
> in most parts of society.
So, I'm not exactly sure how much the car culture is actually working in your favor. The alternative (public transportation) means parking lots can be smaller and closer to the actual destination.
All that being said, Oslo is NOT a good city to live in if you need a wheelchair or crutches (which I do, with unfortunate regularity). 500 meters might as well be 100 kilometers if you are on crutches in the winter. Even if where you are going is right next to a train stop, the stops are not very accessible (long ramps way out of the way etc). The curbs do not consistently have ramps at crosswalks. The sidewalks are often covered in ice in the winter. There are stairs everywhere. Even with a car and being able to park near your destination, you still dealt with these issues.
So, I guess my point is, Oslo making the city center mostly car free is not what makes it unfriendly for people with mobility issues. Taking public transportation is still better than parking and walking wherever. But it still sucks if you have crutches.
Also it sounds like a mobility scooter is kind of what you want?
You are fortunate enough to be able to afford cars and think that we should continue to design around what works for you. That simply benefits you - and not the handicapped, disabled people who use public transit every day.
I've heard this before... and maybe I'm not qualified to speak, as I'm not yet the age where I really have to worry, but from what I know of current technology, I can totally go out and buy a walking speed electric wheelchair that is safe to operate even after my vision and attention degrade... but self-driving capabilities in cars are still quite some ways off.
Personally, my body would have to degrade a lot before I needed that wheelchair to make it a few blocks; but my attention and vision? that wouldn't have to degrade as much before I would not be able to safely operate a car.
This is actually something I've thought a lot about; I mean, I personally am bearish on self-driving cars, and if we don't get self-driving cars? I think I might need to plan on retiring to New York, as that's probably one of the few places I can count on aging without being expected to drive.
Seriously, we can come up with something other than 2 ton vehicles.
Hundreds of millions of people will live better lives if we can build our cities without needing cars.
The parking spots aren't just for people with wheelchairs. My grandmother got one when she had to use a walker.
You deserve it!
With that said, I would really hate to not be able to take my car anywhere I need to go, because a good day can turn bad quickly. In fact, it is among the many reasons I am glad to have moved to a rural area.
the difference between newer cities built for cars and old pre-car inner cities is quite extreme in that regard. i've got a supermarket 150m and a smallish shopping centre 500m away, which might be too far for you, but an elderly or visually impaired person could still get their shopping done on their own.
the shopping centers at the edge of the city - which are pretty much only reachable by car and you seem to depend on - have a disastrous and self reinforcing effect on inner city QOL (at least that's true for all the smaller cities around here, where cars are required to get around), as they cause most of the small local shops to die off, increasing the distance you have to walk to get to the remaining ones. removing cars from the equation brings those back, which also means the distances are getting smaller. that said, i doubt i cover a much smaller distance on foot when i drive out to the big shopping centers at the city pheriphery, as the distances from most parking spots to the destination inside a huge box store are at least as big as what i'd cover walking to my usual local shop.
of course this doesn't help you much if the distances are to big no matter what - i could see you getting around on a motorized scooter around here without problems though (as a few of my neighbors do).
so, from the perspective of an european inner city dweller, getting rid of cars would be much more inclusionary than the other way round.
As other people mentioned, there'd be workarounds for people with mobility issues for sure.
I suppose there are pockets of high density that aren't counted for. Also Calgary is probably unusually spread out for the given population compared to larger cities like New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco.
A car can fairly be seen as a grossly overpowered wheelchair with an extra ton of metal or two.
i can't imagine taking a car to get to a bodega on the other side of the block or across the street is easier than just walking to the bodega directly.
Just consider the trip to the Wal-Mart. I haven't lived in North America for a long time, but in my recent trip to Canada to visit my parents, we went to Wal-Mart. Look at those sprawling mall complexes with their massive parking lots. We had to drive from parking lot to parking lot, just to visit another store!
And the Wal-Mart itself was this behemoth structure with football field after football field of space under its roof. I mean it's half a kilometer from the frozen pizza to the checkout line. If you can't walk 200 meters, you can't shop in Wal-Mart without using their motorised carts (which are admittedly very cool).
Imagine a completely different situation (one which I thankfully live in every day). Imagine that you had stores that were close to where you lived. So close, in fact, that you could walk there if you were abled bodied. But if you were not, you could take an electric bicycle (which many elderly people use where I live) or even an electric cart similar to the one that you can find at Wal-Mart (these are really rare where I live -- most people are quite happy with their electric bicycles, but I've seen them frequently in the UK where I used to live).
Imagine that instead of several square kilometers of parking lots to contend with, you had hundreds of small shops. You had butchers that are just big enough to house the meat it sells. You go up to a counter, which is less than 10 feet from the door and you get your meat and -- lo and behold! There's the cash register, not 3 feet from where you are standing.
I could go on, but the biggest thing that makes this hard for people in North America to imagine is that it is so different. The lifestyle is completely different. Instead of going once a week or once a month to some massive discount store and buying a van full of goods, you go every other day and buy enough to fit in a basket on your bike. It seems like a lot of time, but instead of driving for 30 minutes to the store and spending 20 minutes fining a parking space, you walk 5 or 10 minutes to the store. That's what it means to build cities that are good for walking.
I write this with the full knowledge that my words are not good enough to explain this concept. Even my parents don't understand. When I stayed with them, I discovered that there was a shopping centre only a 20 minute walk from their house. I started walking there to pick up small things for dinner every day (hey 40 minutes of walking a day is not bad). They thought I was insane. Why would you walk to the store when you can drive? Why would you spend 40 minutes when you could send 10? They couldn't understand that the walk was the point.
And so, while it is unreasonable to expect North America to become Asia or Europe suddenly, I think there is a lot of things that can be done to improve the situation dramatically -- like rezoning areas so that shops can be build where people live. Things like mandating that parking lots have pedestrian paths that allow you to walk to the store without being driven over by a mini van. Things like having down town cores which are already mixed use to have walking only areas. Things like building safe public transit. Things like not approving large box malls in the middle of nowhere surrounded by seas of parking lots and no access to public transit.
Do you think there are people with arthritis and disabilities in Europe?
So many city centres make cars a nightmare, but they are infinitely better places to live than the US.
Not to mention our healthcare but that's another thread...
we should reduce car usage for energy, pollution, life quality
but let's not be extremists
It makes them heavily dependent on able-bodied drivers (family members, taxis, hired helpers, ...) to move about.
Children are much more independently mobile in cities with good transit. In car-centric suburbs parents or other caretakers are responsible for personally carting their children from place to place, with huge negative impact on children’s quality of life. Children end up sheltered, over-scheduled, over-controlled, and dramatically delayed in learning to live for themselves.
It is for good reason that many college campuses and retirement homes are organized as little self-contained car-free villages.
In my opinion car-centric suburbs are optimized for healthy, wealthy 30–50 year-old full-time workers, and increasingly hostile as people get further from matching that.
My parents have a car but mostly walk around town.
Would I be right in thinking that you come from a car centric area where people don't walk and this lose their ability to get around at a younger age? Perhaps you have difficulty conceiving of life in a pedestrian friendly city.
If so, I don't blame you, there are almost none in the us.
The solution, of course, wasn't to figure out how to get him behind the wheel. The solution is weaning communities off of their car dependence.
But what of Rome, and Paris? Do people with your condition live in them? Those cities aren't built around cars, yet have millions of people from all walks of live.
If we make cities built around cars, and people don't walk, then people get more health problems and die younger. That has to be considered alongside cases like yours.
Also, think of the people who can't drive and for whom getting someone else to drive them is too expensive. That’s a lot of elderly.
Cars kill a lot of people every year. We need AI cars before something changes there, and when that comes, the conversation on exclusion will be very different.
I am sick and tired of subsidizing drivers.
I am done with the irresponsible and unsustainable policy of ignoring costs associated with road maintenance in the United States.
I am done with building roads through lower-class neighborhoods and damaging their property values.
End welfare for drivers. Make the drivers pay their own way.
Low-income people take the bus. That's what we should subsidize.
The reason to subsidize rail is that if you didn't, many people wouldn't take the train, they would drive or take the bus, and we don't have the road capacity for that. Rail is an exceptionally efficient means of moving lots of people with not very much space, and drivers and bus riders benefit from those people having been moved off of the roads in the form of reduced traffic.
If you define "metro area" expansively, that's true, but rail mode share in the closer-in suburbs (Montgomery county, Arlington county) is decently high, and individual counties' contributions to WMATA's budget are commensurate with use. Not many people in Loudoun county use metro, but they also don't contribute very much, and nobody it Charles county does, but they don't contribute anything.
Those costs would be the costs that “we the people” accept as valid usage of taxpayer money. You could throw in costs for other public interests like emergency logistics (e.g. FEMA moving goods and personnel for hurricane relief), first-class mail, etc., and you’re still probably only accounting for a very small portion of the taxpayer money that is currently going toward regular interstate maintenance.
The rest of the taxpayer costs are just subsidies of private interests, namely commercial freight and personal transportation. Those subsidies aren’t “free.” They come at the expense of other private interests, like freight and passenger railroads. These subsidies undoubtedly drastically change the economy, pushing everything toward just-in-time fulfillment, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, etc.
I would like to see these private subsidies reduced or eliminated, perhaps by charging tolls.
In other words, I question the premise that federal interstates reduce the cost of freight if you include the environmental externalities.
All in all, if you have such a strong proposition about not paying for roads, it seems like you should already know these things. Now, could roads be replaced? Probably, at enormous cost both financial and environmental. Building massive rail networks is not quick or cheap, you’re talking about megatons or steel and iron being welded after all.
I cut my commute time in half, I got a lightly used motorcycle + gear for less than the price of a used Prius, I get mileage that's comparable to an economy car and performance that rivals that of a performance car.
Heck, I even took it to Los Angeles and back over the New Year's and I was surprised at how comfortable I was for the entire trip despite doing ~90 mph in 45 degree weather. In particular, my back would be uncomfortable if I had spent 6 hours in the car, but 6 hours on the bike was great.
It's just so cool that a machine that works so well in congested cities can also work so well on the open road. It's not like driving a large sedan or SUV - where the open road is a joy but city driving is terrible. If we could just get 25% of people out of cars and into motorcycles, we could reduce congestion dramatically -
I would find the risk unacceptable. Basically any flinch of anybody on the road can literally kill you. In a car, you are at least surrounded by the steel walls, so if somebody decides to do something stupid, in most cases, it's metal that gets smashed. In a motorcycle, the only thing between hunks of metal wizzing around and your flesh is a thin layer of leather. Not enough for me.
If and when the circumstances change, the calculus may change too.
The efficiency gains of a motorcycle vs economy car aren't that significant and the emissions are worse.
Although many motorcyclists do ride well maintained, quiet machines responsibly, there's a minority who modify their exhausts to increase noise and pollution in pursuit of a little more power. The noise levels can be ridiculous!
Personally, I can't wait for electric motorbikes to take over.
Loud motorbikes are very bad for your own hearing and disturbing everyone else's peace, but it does make you safer as cars can hear you come. Except if they are playing some loud Metal on the car stereo.
My car would be more noticeable (and therefore safer) if I held my horn down while I drove around.
I've lived in enough metro areas to know loud bikes are low on the list. There's plenty more annoyances. God forbid you live near an airport, hotel (idling diesel buses), or a plethora of other annoyances.
The emissions are worse, but not worse than older cars that are still legal to drive.
More than in anywhere else? Citation needed.
I ran the numbers for myself. Statistically, the amount of time I save per day by riding a motorcycle in San Francisco heavily outpaces the number of average life-minutes lost due to the risks of riding a motorcycle.
Those are the minutes spent stuck in traffic vs the minutes spent being dead. Some people might want to use a weighted model here.
1. They're harder to drive.
2. They're more dangerous for the driver.
3. They're uncomfortable in rainy weather. (And even more dangerous during icy weather.)
This is pretty subjective, but I disagree. There are some ways in which they're slightly more difficult (e.g., a manual transmission) but that's an incredibly minor additional challenge. On the other hand, on narrow city streets, they're often much easier to drive since your margins of error on either side of you are so much larger.
It's just a matter of what you're used to. Now when I hop into the driver's seat of a car I'm amazed at the extra cognitive load of having to pilot a vehicle ten times wider than myself where I can't see the sides or edges, where my vision is obstructed by the A-frame, and where I can't use aural cues to know what's happening around me. It's just different, not harder.
> 2. They're more dangerous for the driver.
Fair, but IMO this is a tragedy of the commons. For every car on the road that's replaced by a motorcycle, the road becomes net safer. This is the same situation with SUVs just in reverse: SUVs are often safer for the driver than a passenger car, but they make the road more dangerous for everyone else.
We should find way to disincentivize driving over other forms of transit like motorcycling, public transit, and cycling to help combat this.
> 3. They're uncomfortable in rainy weather. (And even more dangerous during icy weather.)
Honestly, they really aren't even slightly uncomfortable in rainy weather. Most motorcycle jackets will have a waterproof liner in them, helmets are intrinsically waterproof, many armored gloves are waterproof, you can buy a pair of overpants for like $20 that slip over whatever you're wearing in ten seconds and are totally waterproof.
The only thing that won't necessarily be waterproof are your shoes (unless you're ATGATT). But you can choose to wear boots on rainy days, or even if not, most shoes will hold up long enough to get to your destination (for common weather and distances in San Francisco, which GP was discussing).
FWIW I'm not arguing with your thesis that these things are often why people don't ride. It's true! I just think that these concerns are actually more overblown than people realize.
I say this as a cycling fan currently getting rid of his car. If it's raining, it's Uber time.
Note the vanishingly small number of manual transmission cars on the market.
> IMO this is a tragedy of the commons
Yes it is.
They don't call motorcyclists donors for nothing.
I used to ride moto-x as a teenager. Never in a million years would I ride a motorcycle on a public road, you are just so dependent on other people looking out for you and, in my experience, most car drivers aren't doing this. My partner once remarked: 'You always move over for motorbikes, nobody else does?.
I commented elsewhere but having run the numbers for myself, the number of minutes I "gain back" per day by riding a motorcycle over other forms of commuting more than makes up for any increased danger.
Sometimes I wish we as people weren’t so self-destructively impatient. I’m not trying to single you out here, and I’m far from innocent, but really, what kind of world do we live in where we decide we’d rather DIE EARLY than sit in traffic? Why not just move? There are so many more options.
In college, I sat next to a guy in class every day and one day he was absent. A couple hours later in chapel, they put his picture up on the screen and said he got hit on his motorcycle and died instantly.
Motorcycles are hands-down the fastest way to get anywhere in the city. This gap only widens when you consider that parking instantly becomes a non-issue.
We have perfect weather for it year-round. Lane filtering not only gets you to your destination faster, it's actually statistically safer. They're cheaper to buy, cheaper to operate, cheaper to insure, cheaper to fuel, and dramatically cheaper to park (at home, at work, on the street, and in terms of not worrying about parking tickets from street sweeping since you can often park off-street).
If do you need to carry more cargo than the bike will carry, you can always take a Lyft or Uber.
I get that a motorcycle isn't a workable option for some people. But it's certainly a better option than car ownership for many in the city, and I'm astonished that it's an option that so few people seem to consider given how perfectly-tailored this city is for it.
The noise of them is super anti-social.
Every metro region in the country must be a unified under a single transportation agency. They should have enough power to force major changes. If transportation is designed at one level above a single city (esp in a metro area), there could be a lot of efficiencies that can be derived. E.g, coordination between bus and the subway system to pick up passengers within a few minutes of disembarking from the train. Expanded subway coverage for arterial routes at least. Mini buses instead of big ones for feeder routes - with increased frequency. This is not uncommon outside the US btw.
Next up is zoning changes. Local groceries must be encouraged. There should be space kept aside every few blocks and it shouldn't be just a liquor shop - there should be explicit guarantees on providing basic amenities and produce. Small scale restaurants must be allowed in all areas. This reduces the need to go too far for regular shopping.
Then, increase gas tax - don't tie it to gas price. Calculate based on the needs of costs of highway maintenance and public transportation needs. Use that to provide subsidies for public transport.
Why should anyone pay for anything they don't use? I understand this is a fairly common position to take in general, but this situation is not unique to public transit.
Regardless, true cost of driving private cars is already obscured beyond just for road construction and maintenance. Free or subsidized municipal on-street parking, below market rates, is one big example.
That's not accurate.
New Jersey has a single, statewide transportation agency (local jitneys notwithstanding). It's better than nothing, but it fucking sucks.. Increasing the scope of an agency, at least in the US, isn't a panacea; it just replaces one set of serious problems with a different set of serious problems. The US needs more fundamental changes than just changing the power/scope of agencies. Unfortunately I don't know what that is.
This seems like a 'nobody goes there it's too busy' sort of argument. If it's a no-go for private cars then it should be almost empty apart from a few taxis and a bus or two? Which would make it not a no-go for private cars...
Society should be organised bottom up and decentralised.
Communities and regions need more autonomy. Decision making power belongs at the edges, with those who have the most context.
Bazar significantly outcompetes cathedral at scale.
Personally I've always felt that about our system. Income taxes should be city 20%, State 5%, country 1%. Think about how fucked up it currently is compared to that.
I get that you're speaking in anger and ignorance instead of reason, but this happening any time soon would spell so more problems than it would cause. Have you ever traveled outside of a population dense location?
The automobile will go by the wayside in its own time, just like the horse and buggy, but we're slaves to the automobile because (outside of population-dense areas) the automobile is an incredibly valuable tool. I expect big cities to follow Oslo's direction, and while the time passes, cars will become more efficient and quieter.
My point being, for armchair futurists who predict the death of the automobile, it tends to be a serious passion. Arguing with these people tends to be fruitless, because more than anything they want to preach. I try to avoid it myself, because right or wrong, desirable or undesirable, there is way too much money to be made selling cars for the business model to fall, short of being confronted with a superior replacement (a la cars vs. horses).
There are more productive uses of limited lifespans than... this.
I find it interesting that many people don't realize that city with cars have exisited for a very long time. Romans did not pave roads all over Europe just to make it more comfortable for pedestrians.
The only difference is that back then, cars where horse-powered. As a result, they were more smelly, poluting, and noisy than now. Also, many farmers, artisans, shop-owner did have cars to transport goods.
But, the traffic became really dense only when the population became really dense during the 19th century. The first traffic light was in London in 1868. I have read 19th century articles complaining about traffic jams and bad driver behavior in Paris.
No, they did it because paving makes roads comparatively weather proof and it sucks to try to maintain a continent spanning empire by military force if rain cuts your lines of movement and supply, not for comfort.
Sorry, my "just" was not intended to be ironic. Roads were also important for pedestrians.
If you really want to see more people walk, then do more walking yourself as a form of basic transit.
I've lived without a car for more than a decade. Everywhere I go, people start walking more. As more people start walking, crime goes down. (See Jane Jacobs: "Eyes on the street" is the key to urban safety. This means pedestrians on the street.) Air pollution goes down. Plant life greens up. Locals start having less financial stress.
I have had the passing fancy of starting a "Pedestrian Ambassador" program or something. But, eh, I have enough half-baked projects going nowhere that don't pay squat. My life gets better when locals walk more.
If you want to see more people walking, be the change you wish to see. And watch it go viral.
Fighting Car Culture takes more than a few people walking.
I'm just trying to imagine what my (and my pregnant wife's) options would have been with a car-free version of NYC
Also maybe you don’t need to get around so quickly. That’s kind of my point about how much damage the car has done to society.
Venice even had old people, pregnant people, and children! The trifecta. Rumor has it these people still roam Venice today, although in smaller numbers.
Hard to talk about public transportation without getting into statements that sound like judgments. Definitely not judging your actions. But it's not really a useful analysis to insert a particular solution midway into a situation when the solution wouldn't have allowed the situation to happen in the first place.
Not everyone is a healthy 20 year old.
I commonly see people walking in all sorts of weather - rain, snow, freezing weather and sun. Proper clothing makes these things tolerable in addition to simply getting used to it. I see pregnant women walking. I regularly see mothers with young infants in strollers. I regularly see elderly folks, sometimes with canes or walkers. In fact, I did some language practice in a nursing home and somewhat regularly went for walks with a few residents. The folks that did language training in a preschool were outside daily. The elementary schools have sleds and buckets for snow.
The combination of walking and public transportation usually works out well, and you do not need to be a healthy 20-year old to deal with it.
Making the city center car free and making the city center motor vehicle free are not the same thing.
You literally suggested that it would be, at the very least, impractical to get around if you're not a "healthy 20 year old", and yet cities all over the world are filled with people who are not, in fact, healthy 20 year olds, and they manage just fine.
And yet after an extremely blatant strawman, you have the audacity to call someone out who was responding to that strawman with a similarly extreme, but obviously tongue-in-cheek statement.
You either have a limited definition of "quickly" or a limited definition of "around".
> Also maybe you don’t need to get around so quickly.
Or maybe you do.
> That’s kind of my point about how much damage the car has done to society.
There have been positives as well.
And yes, as much as they seem to clutter city streets, electric scooters and the like are seemingly becoming a viable last-mile transportation option.
Baby steps instead of basically saying themagician is trying to kill my pregnant wife on a 20 mile hike in the forest and openbasic is going to run over my kids!
There are a lot of comments in this thread assuming that everybody else wants to ban all cars (like Mr "I can't sit on a train because I have arthritis" above), but I have yet to see one that actually suggests that cars should be disallowed altogether.
The complaint is that cars are overemphasized in city planning. In New York City, something like 90% of street surface is devoted to the use of drivers, in the form of lane space and free parking, who make up only 35% of the population (not including Staten Island, where rich white suburban people bring it up to 45%).
We have those. That's called a Shopping Mall.
I can’t otherwise imagine being pregnant and stranded outside at 1am in freezing cold nowhere near other transportation. It still could happen, but you’d call an ambulance to help you out.
Other than that, there's plenty of public transportation.
And you don't even have to make the entire city center free of cars, i.e. make every 5th street available for cars (limited, like 1 open lane). As long as you can walk a couple of blocks you'll be able to grab a taxi.
We've the same (next generation) bikes here in Bergen, open 365 days a year: https://bergenbysykkel.no/en
There is a mode of point-to-point private-vehicle transport that is quite fast at dense urban scales: bike share. Oslo has it as do many/most European city centres.
It really is just a matter of shifting your expectation. Waiting for a train with friends late at night can even be a really fun experience that you can share with the other groups of tipsy people that are on their way somewhere. You might even meet someone new and special. To me, this is what city life should be, rather than the isolation of swiping on your phone in your ride-share.
IMHO I think with all the money we save on road maintenance, cities would start should look at ways to improve sidewalks. One interesting improvement might be some way to cover them like is done in parts of Seattle or Las Vegas.
Nope, their cars were called "horses and carts" (or donkeys, oxen, llamas, camels, etc.). And they were used not because people were idiots, but because walking and carrying stuff on your back has limits, and those limits have been reached by the economy thousands of years ago. And if you think modern cars are dirty, think about what comes out of a horse and where it goes when the horse feels like it. And how much would it cost to own one and maintain it in a working order. Of course, back then most people that weren't rich wouldn't hop the city back and forth because something interesting is happening on the other side, and would buy everything they need at local store or make it themselves. I'm sure homemade wooden shoes are almost as good as Nike. We just have to drop our living standards to medieval times, and we'd be fine with horses and donkeys. Or we can go further back and get rid of them too. Clean pre-industrial living like people lived 10 thousand years ago. I'm sure it was excellent then.
> Cities existed without cars
Yeah, and if you ever had to leave the city, it was a multi-day dangerous journey by horse-back to get anywhere.
Again, there is an argument to reduce cars in big, dense cities. But making driving cost $1/mile would cause irreprable harm to the lower-middle and lower class who have to drive many miles to thier minimum wage job.
Not so much. There used to be inter-city rail that people used regularly.
This old railroad map (https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4121p.ct001917/?r=0.329,0.288,...) shows how dense and sprawling the railroad network was, even in 1900. Towns like Rhinelander, WI (and ones even smaller) that aren't even served by inter-city bus routes today had regular train service.
Obviously the automobile is the problem and bikes and public transit is the solution, which we can see has happened here in Olso but also famously in Amsterdam and Copenhagen before it. There is no excuse and reason for having cars in city centers, after you build out good bike, bus, and train transit inside a city.
I've always wanted to establish high tolls on entering dense urban areas, you can leave all the roads as-is but introduce a high tax on driving that last mile and supply free busing to compensate, some rich dudes will still drive everywhere but after a few years of high tolls you could probably ban cars outright with good public support.
The key would be to have the toll be quite low generally and make most of its money when there is high demand. In many countries the tolls are set to maximize revenue and this usually done by having a very high toll and almost empty roads. What would better for most people would be almost free roads (trucks always pay something as they are what wears out roads) and charge when the road is getting close to slowing down.
Also: Maybe it is a good idea to let your highly productive people (rich dudes) be able to get around cities quickly. They will be even more productive that way.
Every tiny spot had a train station.
Ps you've advocated taxing petrol, but EVs are now a thing. Pay per mile road pricing?
I’ve spent some time in Belgium’s city center which has few to to cars, and small beach towns with few to no cars. It’s amazing. You spend a few days in an area with no cars and think to yourself, “Wow. Wow. It doesn’t have to be like that. What are we even doing?”
To me the car is just a phony sense of freedom and control. It drives the modern economic engine. But at great cost.
This! They closed down large parts of my city during a big week-long bike event last year, including the street where I have my office. The difference was astonishing, like night and day. You could easily talk while strolling down the street. With all the road noise gone you suddenly noticed bird chatter, etc, etc. More people used the public benches on the side walks (what's the point of relaxing on a bench with noisy cars blasting past you).
Local politicians are now running a pilot project to make one city district car free, which is fantastic.
Then I got a chance to try the North American urban sprawl living with a car. And I find myself much happier - for me, that sense of freedom and control proved to not be phony after many years now.
Yeah kind of what I was thinking. I suppose if you could reliably separate car a business tool from car as personal transport. I fear you'd just get everyone setting up as 'builders' and 'delivery drivers' though.
I also think that outside of dense city centres you'd run into competition and economy of scale issues. If you're only now within range of one shop for x, prices are likely to increase in short order. And that shop will have less shoppers.
This is one issue that the (usually upper middle class or better) car-free advocates completely ignore that really ticks me off. I don't want people who don't have much money to have to choose between spending that money somewhere local but overpriced and taking a bus across town to go somewhere that actually gives them a good value.
I grew up somewhere that is almost an island and when there's little competition (everyone has to choose between the same few local options) all the businesses turn into rent-seeking scumbags. I remember when we used to leave that dump to visit relatives we'd always do our shopping on the way back because the non-local supermarkets were cheaper. When I go visit my parents I still ask if they want me to bring anything from Walmart.
most of the traffic near city centers are not residents but commuters and shoppers. the goal is not to decrease the number of miles driven but to decrease the number of cars in a zone.
But apart from that, just needlessly taxing gasoline everywhere seems silly when you're trying to just reduce congestion in cities.
It will increase costs for shipping by truck, but would it also better reflect the true costs of what it costs to ship by truck, drive on highways, etc?
In most areas, if you want a more affordable house, you go further out. So now it'd get prohibitively expensive to drive to work.
so besides leaving some low capacity, slow roads above ground, let's put a few high capacity, fast roads underground (we could call them lowways!) along with a bunch of underground parking. sure, it's expensive but in a wealthy high density area like market street, we can afford it. and yes, price in the externalities and use the money to build/maintain. best of all worlds! (better solutions probably exist, so let's find 'em)
ps - dockless electric bikes in SF totally beat driving, ride hailing, or public transit for me.
"Over half of all vehicle trips are between 1 and 10 miles." 
~35,000 people die on American roads each year. 
Let's call a spade a spade. Cars are the villains. The over-reliance on your fast, personal, point-to-point convenience is killing too many people.
Considering that cars are the preferred method of transport for the vast majority of people, you could just as well say that "people who want to leave the house are the villains."
What really bothers me about the Urbanist attitude is that it seems to be based on shaming people for the ways they choose to live and comparing it with a mythical urban car-free utopia that doesn't exist.
I like transit and use it frequently but I detest the shaming and condescension.
Or don't take the car for short journeys. Be part of a positive change.
Or don't take a job that requires long commutes. People want to live in location A and want a better job in location B and accept the fact they increase the risk of death in others, directly and through pollution, as a reasonable trade-off for their comfort.
I don't drive (34, Sacramento). Most people don't need to drive.
So is the population.
> Most people don't need to drive.
This is a depressingly provincial attitude. Public transit is not available within ten miles of a majority of the US population. Widen your perspective.
if you want to reduce vehicle deaths (which have already been steadily declining) make getting a license much harder (e.g., demonstrate true defensive driving skills like both braking and accelerating out of trouble) and develop & enforce better safety laws (i.e., not some proxy like speed, but actually reduce behavior likely to cause death).
besides, we've long collectively accepted the tradeoff that we want fast personal transport more than a perfectly safe transportation environment. life is full of risks, and some risks will always be out of your control no matter what you do. hundreds of people die per year from bathtubs. are we over-reliant on those too?
It's both. It's way harder to kill yourself or someone else if you and everyone around you is biking, and if they're just walking it's close to impossible.
Driving generates danger. Period. Sometimes that danger is worth it, but let's not pretend that it's not currently vastly more dangerous for others than other forms of transportation.
Of course. The problem is externalities. If the people enjoying their energy-dense personal transportation aren't incurring the full costs of that transportation, then 1) there will be probably way more of it than there would be in a market with costs internalized and 2) the people who don't use it have a good reason to be upset.
If urban cores were allowed to be built high and dense, to accommodate all those people who prefer to live in dense urban areas, then the grass and trees and backyards of the suburbs would also fit closer to the urban core. Shorter distances even from the suburbs to the core.
I grew up in a suburban area, and even though I live in a dense city now, having a car still seems mandatory to me somewhere deep in my brain, even though I know I could now get by with the occasional zipcar.
Suburban areas typically require a car since public transportation is nonexistent, and growing up in an environment for 20 years sure can condition someone’s preferences.
I wonder how many people truly like driving? And where’s the line lie between “I am willing to drive” and “I am willing to not drive” ?
Also you really want gas to be a dollar a mile and make all of your things expensive? This whole comment is ridiculous to me.
So, on largely removing cars from cities, I'm with you.
But seeing this top post about totally banning cars is absurd, even at the $1/mile proposal, and I'm all for radical steps to reduce climate change. You may have a zero mile telecommute, but most people have to move to where they work. Outside of the cities, a bike isn't even practical. I have a 25mi commute to my office, my spouse 35mi in the opposite direction. I even looked into a motorcycle for it's better mileage and smaller carbon footprint, but rejected it for too dangerous (& I've won championships in DH ski racing and sportscar racing). And I'm not even that rural -- others have longer daily commutes.
Unless you've got another system that can transport this scale of people to this scale of locations, your proposal just sounds like an out-of-touch elitest. The key point here is both the last mile problem, and the centralized maintenance problem. Look at the massive commuter transport systems of Boston and NY areas. They are a rolling disaster, almost terminally unreliable, and yet most of the riders still need cars to get to the train station. The build-out to get everyone withing a mile walk of a train station would be insane, even if eminent domain weren't an issue.
>We are slaves to the automobile in so many ways.
>Sucks that I had to live in the time period with them.
Focusing your hatred on inanimate man-made objects does not address the root of the problem (and is probably not healthy). You wouldn't blame crowbars for break-ins (I mean you might, but I hope you don't).
The way forward is to develop superior alternatives (in the same way that the car succeeded the horse) not to increase cost. Increasing cost is zero sum at best. Developing better solutions is a net gain. Also, there's only so much pedestrianization you can do. Unless you turn LA (for example) into Manhatten density wise it is always going to be fundamentally pedestrian unfriendly because most of it was designed around cars. Cities that were designed when people walked everywhere and goods were transported in animal drawn carts are going to be more walk-able. Some amount of individual and private (they are different things) transit will always be necessary (assuming quality of life is to stay the same or increase).
My hatred for the automobile grows every day -> My hatred for how pervasive automobile are in cities and for how they damage city planning grows every day.
There, now GP hates a trend in society.
For the second part: this is essentially choosing how free you want markets to be (and how much of society you want to be a market).
In my opinion better alternatives would be more walkable cities and better public transports, which are helped by zone-based auto ban.
Regarding raising the price of gasoline I agree that it would be a terrible choice, it would impact the least the cities and the most industrial transports and rural areas (the only sectors were car/trucks are truly needed)
crowbars have legitimate uses (the fact that they look like they are designed to feel scary and dangerous does not change that). Should there exist special crowbar licences?
> People will find ways to buy gas at far less than a $1 a mile if you simply raised gas prices (i.e buy teslas)
gilets jaunes disagree
Yes I definitely think the yellow vests would similarly be upset as well - again it's not solving the issue.
Real life shows us the opposite. The more expensive it gets to drive, the more the working class has to live farther away from the city.
Effectively, every dollar you take from people via commuting penalties, comes out of their housing budget. And since urban housing only ever gets more expensive, working class people just get pushed further and further away.
It is common here in Michigan to drive 20 miles to work.
For instance, a nice 3br 1500 sqft house can be had outside of the city for under 100k (which works out to < $1k/month for principal, tax, insurance). A nice 3br 1500 sqft condo rents in the city for nearly 3k/month.
I've also lived in GR for around 4 years. I think there is no congestion there because the city is still quite small. Downtown is a very small area and the population is tiny compared to the sprawl.
And you do that on the backs of those who live in denser communities.
Why have suburban areas, and cities in some places, been built with this kind of sprawl? Partially because there was no significant downside not to spread out.
I’m curious if people actively enjoy driving 20 to 30 minutes, and what kind of policy or other changes or incentives could be introduced (governmental or otherwise) to encourage people to bunch together more so driving would be much less necessary in places like you mention in Michigan.
It would also be political suicide, but this whole subtopic is a theoretical discussion anyway.
This is exacerbated by health care costs; state minimums coverages haven't followed increased costs; realistically, if more than 2 people get injured in any given automobile accident, 50% of drivers face bankruptcy.
I suppose you could say current rationing is first come, first serve? That seems to lead to congestion so it seems to me we could do better.
You're right, I'm not sure a regressive tax is the best way. Is it worse than the current system though? What would be a better system?
How about we make it income-tested, and charge everyone who supports that idea, say, $10/mile and up? Even if you want to go on a road trip in a rental. Or get your kid to a hospital. At least that would be fair to people who actually work for a living, need to get places, and can't afford to live near transit because it has all been bid up through the stratosphere by techbros who can afford hiring ubers, muncheries, wags to do all the tedious jobs for them while they nonchalantly drive their electric scooters through what once used to be livable cities populated by different groups of people and complain about those uncouth nasty people who dared to drive their rusty beaters 50 miles to clean and cook and do all that menial work them for polluting "their" air.
In your hypothetical world, I would support splitting everyone by ideology so that the people willing to pay for nice things go to one city and the people who want to mooch go to the other. Let them each go their own way. We'd all be happier.
My dad asked recently: 'I don't know how most people can afford to run cars?'
I said: 'I'll let you into a secret, they can't.'
You'll be surprised how high that cost has to be in order to force a lot of people out of their cars.
We have a pilot program for scooter share, multiple car-share options, lots of bike-share stations, light rail stations, even a flippin trolly! So they could easily start with a tight area around Pioneer Square and make it ped/scoot/bike-only then expand it out little by little as the businesses discover it's actually a good thing.
But instead we have "vision zero" which is a pretty good description for our city leadership.
Without engine powered vehicles yes, though man power and horse powered (with the loads of poop that come from the animals) were there though.. (unrelated note, personally, imho, i dislike horses more then cars)
That’s not true. The electrical subway predates the personal car by a couple decades. Paris, France, and its suburb had 108 (electric) tramway lines in 1900. Autobuses were all over the place when the first “modern” cars first appeared in the city.
For the average person in the US, who can't live in large cities due to cost, is lucky to have the job that is 25 miles away from home, and has to shop at the Walmart (10 miles in the other direction from home) cars provide a ton of value - in fact, they probably couldn't do without them.
I mean, yeah. There's a reason people in, say, Germany do not really have this problem, and it's because cities and towns there aren't built around the assumption that everyone must have a car.
Also compare the cars made in the 1950s and 60s to today. The Citreon, the Mini, the VW Beattle, Fiat. They were lucky to get 50hp and up to highway speed. Todays cars are like personal jets. Everyone is rolling around in their own personal jet.
It's not perfect, though. Some of these will let government vehicles on them, and they do often enough to make it a nuisance, like those annoying electric carts in the airport.
And sure, yes, cities existed before cars. And people lived in caves with no running water, too. Or, maybe more pertinently, people lived just fine (oftentimes better) without a good chunk of "disruption" and "innovation" that comes out of SF/SV. Should we ban them as well? Or maybe tax every Twitter and AirBnB... say a Billion a year to partially cover all the negative externalities?
Actually, the last one might be a good idea. /s
The two lane highways I take are the only way I would be able to see my family. Passenger trains and airplanes don't go to those places. A bus could get me there, after taking a grand tour of some of the other metro areas in the state.
For those of us out here, traveling the two lane blacktop in a gas powered vehicle is the only way we can live or survive.
Maybe if the big cities didn't rely so heavily on things made on farms and ranches, like cotton, grains, and livestock, less people would be inclined to live out there.
Knowing those types, they love the rural life and wouldn't want to live in the big city, with all its big city problems.
Do you enjoy the strolls across our fecal matter smeared pavement, littered with heroine needles and adorned by snoozing outdoor denizens, who have been known to physically assault pedestrians from time to time?
Would this future of yours have any consideration for the accessibility challenged or elderly people?