I never understood why people choose to drive with a car on the roads that cross the city (if they don't live there/uber/taxi drivers)
Main streets in cities should be car-free
I'm glad to hear about Berlin decision. For many more to come
A better exception would be EVs. Then lower their speed limit to 20 or 30 km/h in the city center, narrow car space to one lane in each direction, and free up the rest of the space on the streets for pedestrians, bikes, electric scooters, etc.
I'm not saying everyone who uses them needs to use them, but if you ban them outright you ban certain people outright, which is discrimination in the absence of alternatives.
Can't make this argument any longer. Plenty of electric vehicles which can serve as taxis, and in the UK they manufacture one especially for the purpose. 
That said, the trams can still be really awkward if you're disabled, particularly if you're in a wheelchair as, somewhat incredibly in this day and age, not all trams are wheelchair friendly. And on those that are, you are reliant on the conductor to manually push out a ramp for you.
I do also agree that taxis are a form of public transport, and I don't personally think they should be excluded from places that buses and trams are permitted.
Maybe I'm ignorant of this exact situation, but if it's only one road that's closed, shouldn't the other roads be close enough? What stops a car from entering an alley so someone with limited mobility can enter it?
Some people have 2-3 bags. Good luck rolling them around on cobblestone streets during a rain storm
I'm glad you can fit your life in a backpack but that's not realistic for many day-to-day situations.
They are less broad, seating is in-line rather than side-by-side (more suited for a taxi), they are designed to move through messy traffic such as pedestrianized areas rather than on open roads, at lower speeds, with lower energy expense.
Wouldn't that just lead to everybody becoming Uber drivers that just happen to never quite getting around to picking up passengers?
Same with delivery trucks. "No officer I'm not driving to work, I'm a one man delivery company delivering this briefcase to my office in my car".
I'm in no way a fan of the medallion system, but if your goal is to put a hard limit on the number of cars in a city then you're going to need some way to enforce that limit.
One idea might be to rework the "medallion" system so that they're sold at auction at the start of each year, and are only valid for 1 year. Then let both taxi companies and Uber/Lyft/etc. drivers bid against each for medallions once a year in an open market.
Biking or public transit it the answer.
People with ilnesses and/or mobility issues also come to mind.
Cars' carrying capacity and weatherproofing are useful. As long as the number is limited and their usage is shared (taxis, carsharing), their existence can be a net positive in my opinion.
Nevertheless, the examples you've stated are easily dealt with by allowing as-needed exceptions for the disabled. I don't see what moving houses has to do with wanting to go to the town center in a car though.
I think what he means is that when you want to move a couch/bed/big television for example you don't really have good options, because even disassembled these are usually pretty bulky boxes to move through public transport or by bike.
In Berlin, where I live (in the center in fact), we're big on reusing and recycling. I don't own a car, but quite often I need to transport bulky second hand items from wherever I bought them, or bulky trash to the recycling center. So I drive one from a car-sharing app.
I've also needed to take someone to a hospital, and it was just quicker to grab a car2go than waiting for an ambulance.
My point is, there are many use cases where the ability to drive or call a taxi is better than the existing alternatives. I agree that cities everywhere need far fewer cars in them, and I think Berlin with its focus on biking and public transportation but availability or car-sharing vehicles for on-demand private driving is heading in the right direction without having to outright ban cars.
We SHOULD use cars. But we should treat them as garnish, not the main course. Use them for exactly the things they're great for: moving houses, needing to visit the hospital, long road trips to a destination where you'll need flexibility to drive around once you reach etc.
I'm not advocating a ban on cars. I'm not even advocating not owning them. The simple step of banning them on the main shopping street is a far cry from any of those things, but makes the actual experience of being on that street a lot better for the shoppers.
You don't use a taxi for moving residences, you use a moving truck.
For shopping, if you can't carry it yourself, then have it delivered.
But if you're out socializing, you may be drunk (so unsafe to bike) and late (where transport networks start getting sparse). That's when taxis make more sense.
Sure, but why does the taxi have to pick you up right outside the club. Most of the time it's not unreasonable to expect people to walk a short stretch to a place where a taxi can pick you up.
And about costs: At least here in Germany health insurance for isntance cover some costs for Taxis (when going to a doctor ... while they got stricter) Also in Germany Taxis have regulated prices in order to give some affordability. (Which is one of the critiques on Uber over here, as Uber can pick the routes they like and can raise prices on high demand, while making it cheap innorder to compete with regulated market during other times in hardly predictable ways, which isn't good for people who depend on working transport infrastructure)
A solution doesn't have to be 100% perfect immediately to be of benefit to people.
For other shopping, you can usually park in a relay parking (a parking close to public transportation) and you will be 5 to 15 minutes from the shops. And unless you brought a real shitons of things (which already means that going shop to shop is going to be annoying anyway) it's not going to be an issue.
I lived 8 years in my city without a car. I was very rarely a problem.
The only thing is for people with disability. I can understand that for them, a car can still be practical.
It then becomes annoying for everybody: As a driver, you will be stuck in traffic and pollution most of the time. As a pedestrian, you will have to always mind your surrounding to be safe and you will have to smell the horrible car exhaust.
Since our center is mostly car free, it honestly feel more convenient. Sure you have to sacrifice the convenience of being close to your car, but you can be in and out of the center in a matter of minutes, never be stuck in traffic, and being there is much more enjoyable.
Also, my city converted a lot of road into pedestrian way and they added a lot of place to sit down, take a break, ... Before that, you where always stuck in a narrow sidewalk, bumping into other people with cars going full speed less than 1,50 meters next to you... Not really a pleasant experience. Your only hope to catch a break was in the shops themselves, meaning you where trying you damnest to go from shop A to shop B as quickly as possible. It made people overall more aggressive and your experience very bad.
And finally, they added more green space which help prevent flood which started to appear in the last years because we had too many area covered in asphalt.
however, the infrastructure must be in place to make the public transport option viable in the first place.
We already live in a society that is WAY too convenient. Instant messaging, online shopping, GPS, Google and all the rest of it has moved us one step closer to a ultimate, permanently-cathetered lifestyle of never having to leave the couch.
Let's welcome a reduction to the tiresome noise of internal combustion, methinks.
unfortunately, after leaving that job i could never get back into that habit - maybe because my only other option (two blocks from home) was a large chain store, and the food quality was never quite the same.
I can understand taxis, delivery vans, busses, chauffeur cars, disabled people, but when I see a private individual in a small cheap car driving through the very centre of somewhere like London I can't think of any explanation for that whatsoever. I wouldn't attempt to drive through a major city unless my life depended on it. Even if you were radically pro-car there doesn't seem to be any logical explanation as for what these people are doing.
I think it's coming from both sides -- there's an entire industry that sells car ownership as a lifestyle, and on the other end people think driving is a constitutionally protected right. If you think people are using logic, I encourage you to sit in on a bike lane proposal meeting.
Living in a north american city, it was insane how much faster I could get to places compared to drivers in a 10 min window.
This isn’t coming from somebody who commutes in a car either. My decision to do that has meant some benefits for me, but those come at the cost of other benefits I no longer enjoy.
The most surprising finding for me was how rare one could see more than one person in a car. Most of the traffic where you saw more than one person inside was vans with workers of some kind. Regular cars were mostly just the driver with their personal 6m².
If cars didn’t exist and we had to come up with a system of individual transportation today, it wouldn’t look anything like a car. And I think one can see that more clearly living in Europe, where most cities weren’t designed with cars in mind.
Reminds me of :https://thumbs.gfycat.com/CharmingShamelessFrogmouth-mobile....
It actually isn't as bad as the photo makes it seem: that seems to be taken with a telephoto lens, flattening a kilometre's worth of traffic into a single layer.
It's probably impossible to measure exactly, but I think it's far from a given that NYC is losing money by providing some free parking.
- it was cheaper
- I didn’t have to deal with any car related stuff anymore (insurance, maintainance, remembering where I parked, ..)
- The cars are usually just close by to where I lived and needed to go, no long roundtrips to get to the car or from the car somewhere else
Whether this works depends on the amount of usage – but should your usage decrease, it could be a viable alternative.
The maps directions routed me straight through Checkpoint Charlie and down Friedrichstrasse, and I got 10 solid minutes of being that tourist who seemingly didn't know where they were going.
That's 4 hours by train or 6 hours by car. The train costs 160 Euros without any reductions. I wonder what you paid for the car rental and fuel costs etc. A random calculator I consulted estimated about 60 Euros for fuel alone.
(Much of this is moot, of course, if you did other stuff than just do a single-person straight Munich-Berlin trip.)
Likewise for commuting, the U-Bahn and the ironically underground S-Bahn is more reliable in that area than the surface traffic (including busses) because there’s too much surface traffic and therefore jams.
“The term S-Bahn was until 14 March 2012 a registered wordmark of Deutsche Bahn, where at the request of a transportation association the Federal Patent Court of Germany ordered the wordmark to be removed from the records of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. Prior to the said event Deutsche Bahn collected a royalty of 0.4 cents per train kilometer for the usage of the said term.“
Eine "Stadtbahn" ist eine Straßenbahn, die auf separatem Gleiskörper fährt, also nicht auf derselben Spur wie Autos. Der kritische Unterschied zwischen Stadtbahn und S-Bahn ist, dass erstere unter die BOStrab (Betriebsordnung Straßenbahn) fallen, letztere aber unter die EBO (Eisenbahn-Betriebsordnung). Das heißt insbesondere:
- Stadtbahnen fahren auf Sicht und folgen den Straßenschildern und Lichtsignalen für Straßenbahnen. S-Bahnen hingegen folgen den Schildern und Lichtsignalen für Züge und fahren ausschließlich nach Signal oder (bei Ausfall der Signale) nach per Funk erteiltem Fahrauftrag.
- Stadtbahnen verwenden das Stromnetz des jeweiligen Straßenbahnunternehmens, also in Berlin z.B. 600 V Gleichstrom. S-Bahnen sind Eisenbahnen und fahren mit Bahnstrom, also 15 kV 16,7 Hz Wechselstrom.
Wrong, in Hamburg it uses 15 kV AC only on one track outside the city, everywhere else it's using 1200 V DC.
So they don't live there, they can't be going somewhere in St James as there's nowhere you can park, and they're not driving for pleasure. So what on earth are they doing? Did they somehow pick a route that includes driving through one of the most congested places in the country? Why would you try to do that?
It maybe a some one working a late night shift going home or some minimum wage delivery driver working for Just eat etc
There's a lot of commercial parking available, and it's not that expensive either.
The other larger cities and conglomerations in Germany don't compare favourably, with Rhine-Ruhr (which stretches roughly from Cologne to Dortmund) being particularly bad.
In Europe Berlin's public transport system probably is only rivalled by those in London, Paris and Amsterdam.
I've been to berlin about five times and I've never used a car or taxi. I'm not afraid of walking so I walk to the hotel from a public transport stop, most I've experienced is around 2 km.
While there I find riding a bike a superior means of transportation. You can even rent electric ones and Berlin is _flat_. Also the public transportation works well. I've not been to Rhine-Ruhr area but down south around München it's not so good but still passable, I didn't need a car there either. It was a bit slow though when going far like München - Erding.
Amsterdam is pretty good although I wish the trams would run a little longer in the night. There are always buses and rickshaws though.
London I wouldn't even dare to drive, they do it on the wrong side! But I've never needed a car there either.
It wasn't my intention to insult anyone's home town, Berlin's history explains a lot of the situation, which I mentioned in my comment, so please don't take it personally.
And unless you are driving at night or the early morning it's also not faster than the S or U-Bahn with the added hassle of having to find a parking spot.
And I'm not saying that the car is superior for any and all connections, but that it's superior for many that aren't easy to do by PT. It's similar with trains: Berlin to Hamburg is easy by train, but if your destination requires a switch or two, the car is often the quicker option on medium distances.
Actually, the worst part of the whole travel was the way back with the ICE. The part in Germany went great (apart from having terrible LTE connectivity but I also saw loads of forests and such so that makes sense). It just stopped at the middle of nowhere, in Bad Bentheim, in December, with snow and all. The train wouldn't go further in The Netherlands. The DB allowed us to remain in the train with the heating on while NS (Dutch Railways) got another train instead which took an hour to arrive, was less luxurious as ICE, and was full. At the same time I caught a flu on the last day which was setting on during the train travel. Together with all our baggage, and a 6 months pregnant partner who I don't want to carry much. Fun times...
OK, one more point to make: German people are attached to cash money instead of cards. So sometimes I could not even pay with card. I like it, in a way, because it adds to privacy, and there's a nostalgia feeling, too. But if I'm used to card, it also feels like a step backwards.
Edit: forgot to mention dirty and often unsafe.
Another story are the renovations and building projects that just cut whatever part of the public transportation down for days/weeks. There are alternative routes one can always take, but I prefer to stay out of the hot U-bahn during the summer days. There can be some nice surprises, like that one Monday morning when this guy decides to start smoking heroin in a full and sweaty U8.
Edit: Forgot to add that the trams are awesome. Air-conditioned, fast and comfortable in the eastern part of the city.
Never felt unsafe, but the heroin usage and dealing is very open and in your face during the commuting hours.
Unreliable: true for the S-Bahn, outages are frequent.
All things considered, it's still better than all other big cities I have visited.
Just an anecdote: I once witnessed a really large muscular and completely drunk guy attacking an actor that was dressed up as Friedrich II., including what looked like a rapier or small sabre. The situation was definitely unsafe for the actor and (if he would not have managed to protect his rapier, because that was what that drunk guy was after) potentially dangerous for anyone else.
Another day I had to interrupt some aggressive youngsters trying to rob other passengers in the middle of the day. When they left it turned out they were armed with knives. Not a fun thing to learn. I notified the subway driver once I got out (the gang was moving from wagon to wagon), but he essentially did nothing to stop them.
I have not witnessed such stuff in other cities' public transport. And certainly not in that frequency.
Anyway, this is a (tiny) start but it won't do much else than move the congestion a few blocks. I'd be in favor of much more aggressive measures. Simply making parking a lot more expensive will help discourage people using their cars inside the city. Some people actually commute by car inside the downtown area. This is not a thing in most normal cities these days.
Where I live (town of around 250k inhabitants), cars were banned from the main shopping street in the city center in the 1970s. It was an extremely controversial decision. Today it is one of top 15 most expensive shopping streets in Germany and the 9th most visited shopping street . If anyone would propose to again allow cars there, there would be an outcry from the public and the businesses.
They slowly extended car-free zones during the 80s and 90es. Five years ago, they closed down another major 4-lane street and made it a pedestrian or reduced traffic zone, which was also (again) hugely unpopular, but is now seen as a big success (despite minor controversies which have nothing to do with banning cars) .
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cb/Werthman... (the black building replaced the abhorrent building in the previous picture)
And maybe even more putting it in perspective: Berlin's senator of traffic and environment has announced a lot of things regarding "traffic change", new bicycle paths etc. But there's a really huge gap between announcements and what's really happening.
Also, they decried a "moratorium" on new underground lines, which are very much needed, with the growth of the city. It's especially visible in the North an NW parts.
Ironically, Morgenpost wrote today exactly about that: https://www.morgenpost.de/berlin/article226722951/Berlins-Ro...
In my small hometown it took construction work and the resulting closure for months of one of the main retail streets with no bad consequences to traffic flow at all to convince local politicians in the 80s to turn that street into a pedestrian only zone (originally it was planned to just open the street back up to traffic).
In that way temporary experiments might just be a good idea to demonstrate the worthiness of an idea but I fear that closing something for a couple of days might just be too short. In the beginning these disruptions will always be bumpy and unpleasant, so you probably won’t be able to tell a good change from a bad change within only a couple of days.
Check Google Maps for some representative distances (i. e. picl some apparment building, then map the route to the next supermarket, doctor's office, etc).
You will have a store within 500m for the vast majority of residential buildings, and often within 200m. The closest bus stop should also rarely be farther away than about 150m.
Wheelchairs and electric scooters are used almost exclusively by paraplegics, not by, say, elderly people with arthritis. Having far lower obesity rates compared to the US helps.
My impression is that car ownership is exceedingly rare among the elderly, below the already low 30% of households owning cars.
But these pedestrian areas don't make too much of a difference: they tend to be just single streets, so you can always park on the parallel streets and walk just one block.
My grandmother is 90, and is unable to walk more than a few feet at a time without being in debilitating pain from advanced arthritis and her being too old for knee replacement surgery. These are the edge cases I'm interested in, especially as the first world rapidly ages and the number of people in the population with mobility issues increases. If the solution is exceptional accessibility for wheelchairs and electric scooters, perfect!
I wish more American politicians would visit Europe and see how great closing off a few streets could be.
How's that going to help anything? American politicians are just doing what they were elected for by the American people, and the American people love cars and hate public transit. Enlightening some politicians will either have them doing nothing different because they want to appease their constituents, or doing something different and losing their re-election bid. The problem isn't the politicians, it's the voters.
If you get caught there you'll probably get a nice fine. And you can be sure all the pedestrians will make you drive slow.
Finally, the road usually has tiles so you don't get in there by accident, nor would you want to.
It didn't really work as a pedestrian mall. I've been in other European cities where it did work, i.e. no vehicles.
Where in Denmark was that? I don't see any loudly beeping delivery cars in Copenhagen.
What happens if everyone moves to electric cars and the pollution problem from car exhaust disappears or is greatly abated in the inner city? Does closing the street off still make sense?
Specifically regarding Friedrichstraße: It's in the city center, brimming with tourists. 3 major subway lines have stops there. Few cars drive in there as it is, because you have bigger streets nearby that are better connections. If you still want to go with your car, you just park in a parallell side street, there are even parking garages if you don't want to look for a spot.
Having it car free will be lovely for the tourists, cafés and restaurants will put out tables.
The same was done in other city centers like Budapest or Vienna decades ago, and it worked out extremely well for everyone involved.
Rolling at speed means two surfaces are ground together which will produce tiny particles of stuff that get stuck in your lungs. Which causes a statistically detectable increase in breathing problems, thus a small bump in deaths.
Getting rid of motor traffic in city centres mitigates this problem, regardless of whether the cars are ICE or electric. We can't make it go away altogether because rolling fast is very useful - the public transport will be doing it too, but we can significantly reduce it.
Generations of racism have had a huge, huge affect on American society and the design of American cities.
Not complaining though; it's a beautiful walk.
However, everytime I go there, the street is still full with cars: delivery trucks that bring the retail goods to the stores (which are not easily accessible otherwise), construction trucks for the apparently constant repairs they're doing on the road, ambulances, etc. Even when most of them are not driving you're still constantly surrounded by (mostly big) vehicles.
Dutch cities and towns have had car-free or car-poor shopping streets since as long as I can remember, certainly the early 1980s. It's not unusual even in smaller towns. And Munich shows that car-free city centers also exist in Germany, just not in Berlin.
It also attracts a lot of tourists due to historically relevant spots.
Wow, I was just thinking an hour ago that they should do that to queens boulevard, while crossing it (always very scary).