Cars pollute the air which makes the people living and walking in the city centers sick.
Cars pollute with noise.
Cars cause pedestrian and bicycle accidents.
Its nice for peoples health to be able to walk and run in open areas.
Streets which previously was used by cars can be converted to public green areas and you can also plant trees there. It would open up new green areas for cafes and restaurants.
Public transport should replace cars in such dense environments. You will thus ride to the outer part of the city park your car there and take public / electric bike transport from there.
Here is story about Spanish city Pontevedra which banned cars
Wikipedia article about Pontevedra, "Pedestrianization" section
"As a result, 65% of trips in the city centre are made on foot. Pontevedra was recognized in 2016 as one of the 15 best cycling cities in the world"
Of course, the locals were throwing an absolute fit when the change came: "We won't be able to move furniture!", "What will the emergency vehicles do?", "How will old people cope?", "It will ruin the real-estate market!", "OH the humanity, who will WALK all the way from a parking spot?!"
Turns out - it worked exceedingly well. We need more of this.
You would have thought by now the pattern was well recognized and we could skip the middle part, but no, it seems like we have to go through the same ride over and over again.
Having lived in a few places I've seen it again and again.
But I think you're over-estimating how hard it would be to get rid of traffic in many other urban cores in the US. You don't need to do the entire city; you can just do the densest parts. It's not that hard to beef up a city's existing bus services and use them to totally replace cars.
Atlanta's pretty run down in parts, but downtown really isn't that bad.
I have a pet theory that states that land values are higher on the coast mainly because sprawl doesn't have as many places to go, so it concentrates in smaller areas. Atlanta was historically a rail hub, exacerbating sprawl because transport could always move people farther outward. Picture pouring money onto a map, and walls are anywhere it's infeasible to develop the land. The money will spread out where there's no natural barriers. It will pile up if there's a lot of them. Money piling up means increased property values.
But the good thing is, parking lots are huge opportunities for developers. I'm from DC, and the city has radically developed itself over the past few decades in turning what used to be entire blocks of surface parking lots into massive apartment and office buildings up to ten floors tall. It's very easy to develop a parking lot; that land tends to be relatively cheap to acquire and demolition costs basically nothing.
That's not correct. Battery Park City was developed in the mid 1970's. And that development is particularly significant here as it includes a car-free green space in the form of Hudson River Park which begins there. Hudson River Park itself also being significant in that it won out over the proposed Westway Project which would have placed an interstate highway there instead. The extension of Hudson River Park all the way up to the 72nd St Boat Basin is also a very recent and significant development.
There's been a lot more reclaimed land than that added to Manhattan since 1811, but they mostly slotted into the pre-existing established grid system.
1.) Delivery vehicles early in the morning (~6am) and late at night (~1am+) can come through to supply businesses in the closed area. They have a remote that opens the street blockages.
2.) If an oversized personal delivery needs to be made to a resident, it's possible to get a onetime permit that allows a truck to access the area.
3.) For people who have trouble walking the city has provided a few free electric powered golf carts/taxis that you can call and they come pick you up and deliver you to a destination (picture: https://www.visitljubljana.com/assets/Ljubljana-in-regija/Ka...). Since they're small and quiet they don't bother pedestrian traffic.
I wonder if Uber/Lyft could provide such service in US - they're already doing electric scooters, so why not electric transport for car-free areas?
Note that this is strictly old town center which has relatively small amount of residents but it's mostly dominated by businesses, hotels and airbnbs these days. The area is small enough to walk across in ~15minutes by foot. Near the edges there are underground parking garages so you can reach it via car (since public transport in the city isn't that great).
Electric vans also could be the preferred method of supplying shops with goods. That need not be much more expensive if containers can be moved from larger vans onto such smaller vans at city boundaries.
If you have furniture that’s so large that you have to hoist it up and get it into the building through a window, you likely already need a permit to use the device that hoists up the furniture.
Where I’m from there’s a tradition in the bike community called a “bike move”. When you’re moving, you invite everybody to show up on a certain day with their trailers and cargo bikes. Everybody packs and moves you in a distributed manner! All you have to do is provide coffee and donuts in the morning and pizza and beer for after. Fun, community-building way to move.
They make trailers like this for big and heavy stuff:
Edit: Ah, I see your username now =)
Also frequently used to justify buying a big SUV, just to learn that the average piece of furniture doesn't fit in the average SUV.
Besides, the statement was "big SUVs".
This pattern has started showing up in several European capitals these years - I know for certain of Vienna, Berlin, Zurich, London and I've seen some in Barcelona as well.
It doesn't have to be 100% closure obviously and it doesn't have to be a dumb implementation that just closes off full traffic to an area with 1.7mil people without addressing major downsides. There IS a place for nuance in this world ;)
I could see something like this working out well if appropriate provisions were made for these things.
State St. in Madison WI is paved, but only allows mass transit, emergency, and local deliveries.
So many problems that we Americans fight about have been solved ages ago in other countries around the world with far less drama. We're not as unique as we think we are.
Same if you take a look at the Superilles (Superblocks) in Barcelona (http://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/superilles/es/), they still have a way for vehicles to navigate, but the space for them is much smaller and has a lower limit of speed.
The lack of sidewalks makes it so that the road's primary users are pedestrians, so cars are forced to drive carefully (slow) at all times, making these roads even less desirable for drivers.
The "soft pressure" leads to cars mostly using car-friendly roads unless they absolutely have to use the pedestrian ones.
The vast majority of this traffic is from Manhattan - otherwise it wouldn't be spread across so many routes. If you want to designate a cars-ok route in Manhattan between the Battery Tunnel (to Brooklyn) and the Holland Tunnel and let that back up, you could do that and it would be less of a mess than the status quo: it would stay on West Side Highway out of the way and it would have less traffic.
One time I took a taxi from Newark to my home in Brooklyn, and the taxi driver dropped me off right after getting out of the Holland Tunnel (next to a subway stop) saying he didn't want to deal with more traffic. There is no effective vehicular link between New Jersey and Brooklyn right now. There is a moderately effective link between each of those and Manhattan, that's it.
This should have been impossible, and I should have been forced to leave my car where it was, take a bus to St. George, and get on the ferry.
I’m just loosely estimating here but $50/day for vehicle storage seems like about what I would expect it to cost based on other land use in Manhattan. But of course none of it would be possible without a massive subsidy in the form of public road access.
Everyone gushes about how awesome transit is, but that’s only true for a few areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn. If you need to take a trip that isn’t in the happy path, a car is way better.
Your take seems rather shallow. Accessible infrastructure includes curb cuts (originally designed for wheelchairs, also make sidewalks useable by the elderly, strollers, etc who have issues with a 6" step), audible crossing signals (meant for visually impaired, also alert those who are looking at their phones), bike lanes (meant for cyclists, improve the conditions for pedestrians and residents too), .... The list goes on and on where minor improvements in infrastructure design create massive improvements in public spaces.
I'm raising this in the context of the elimination of cars. The current infrastructure pushes a lot of people into taxis. So if you eliminate cars you either have to expand accommodations or just declare the island inhospitable to anyone that doesn't pass a fitness test.
You can support effectively restricting the wealthiest hub of our largest city to just people who are like you and in your life situation, but it's not going to be a widely held position.
My taxi story is an anecdote, sure, but it goes to show there isn't reliable NJ/Brooklyn transportation via Manhattan streets. If I had been going towards the airport I would have missed my flight. Or put another way - right now on Google Maps, getting from where I am in Brooklyn to EWR would be faster via Staten Island than via Manhattan. If the argument is that X is reliable, examples of X being unreliable once in a while are in fact evidence against it and not just anecdotes.
That only works well if your origin or destination is in Manhattan. To go from Union City NJ to Belmont Park on a weekend is a 45 minute drive or > 90 minutes on transit consisting of bus, subway, LIRR, another bus.
There are similar examples even within NYC, like Red Hook to Jackson Heights.
It is essentially a inversion of priorities: instead of having roads with pedestrians and cyclists allowed, you make it a pedestrian area with cyclists and cars allowed.
A city like Manhattan would not make it without taxis
Why are you saying that we wouldn't survive without taxis?? I almost never take them except to the airport, and I'm easily willing to give that up if it means I don't have to tangle with horrible congested car traffic on a daily basis.
Do you live in Manhattan? What makes you so sure we couldn't survive without taxis, given that we have the densest subway network in the United States, even more bus lines than that, and Citibike?
lmao imagine high paid consultants politicians and tv celebrities on Citibike.
Am I supposed to feel sorry for them for having to take the subway with the rest of us plebes? They don't deserve any better than the rest of us.
And you probably have functioning limbs, respiratory system, eyes, etc.
> ...the densest subway network in the United States...
Manhattan is not very accessible. The stations do not have elevators in most cases. The platforms are narrow and often dangerously crowded at peak hours.
As an experiment, I suggest you push a bad of flour around in a stroller for a week or two. Be sure to have a bag with at least a diaper, wipes, and a bottle with you.
After the experiment, imagine doing it after recovering from a recent surgery.
So if you truly care about helping the disabled, then it definitely makes sense to get rid of most of the rest of the vehicles off the road.
As for kids, yeah, lots of people without cars in NYC have them. Given how rare/expensive parking is, it's definitely more hassle to try to use a car for those trips than to not use one.
At any given time it's a minority. But everyone is a baby, has a baby, or is elderly at some point.
At any rate, people with babies and mobility problems don't take elevators to the subway platforms because generally they don't exist or they double as outhouses.
In Manhattan, these people spend a lot of money on delivery services or rent for walkable neighborhoods (because the subway won't cut it, as I explained). It is a luxury to live this way. People with these concerns generally move out of places like this.
In outer borroughs, there is bus service, but one doesn't wait 10-30 minutes each way (not an exaggeration) in freezing weather for a bus with a baby or a heart condition. And the bus stop that probably wasn't accessible to stroller or walker due to unshoveled sidewalks and berms of trash-pepoered ice.
I am not saying it's impossible to live this way. People somehow do it, though I suspect they are shut in for large portions of the winter. I am saying it takes various forms or privilege or hardship to make it work. It's flippant for able bodied and financially well off people to hand wave about how walkable New York is without trying it out with their own canes and wallets.
It's a bit like saying, "let them eat cake" to be honest. It's just lacking a sense of experience and practicality.
If you want more words, let's look into "public transportation", "paratransit", "vehicles that are not cars", "walking canes", and "false dichotomy".
In other words, the answer to your question is "no", and the proposed solution is friendlier towards people who are old enough to have difficulty walking (and some of whom maybe shouldn't drive anyway).
I suppose there's no law saying you have to allow the housebound to live in a region.
I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. Here's someone moving a fridge (!) on a bike trailer. And that's on a regular bike, not an e-bike.
We wouldn't. We wouldn't even allow bikes in a pedestrian area.
people who spend an hour+ a day for years on end in their car have mentally expanded their subconscious definition of themselves, their corporal being, with the skin of the car. this is a necessary mental process to prevent them from clipping mailboxes and 'rubbing paint' with other drivers that they then can't really "turn off". its why road-rage reactions are on a par with being physically assaulted or threatened, and its why whenever we talk about shifting public space and roads from cars to anything else they feel personally threatened and attacked.
IIRC: Overstimulation of some senses simultaneously shuts down those senses (autoamputation) and makes us hyper aware of other senses.
The thing that I like about this particular change they implemented in manhattan is that it notably increases the bus-accessibility of the city. But if we’re widening the conversation to “just ban cars”, we really should look at what impact that would have on plumbers, drummers, and the elderly.
Because 95% of Americans truly can't live without a car.
If you banned cars today, I could never get to work, never see my family, my child could never attend school, we could never get groceries, and within two weeks we would all become broke and homeless. This situation described 94% of the people in my city (population around 1 million)
> even a lot of people in your city do it.
Yep. ~3% of the population of my city take public bus transit instead of the public car transit everyone else uses. The bus folks spend 2+ more hours commuting every day, and have access to only about 15% of the MSA (by population), or 10% of the MSA (by land). They also pay higher rent than everyone else, for this privilege. And the cost to provide this service to them, has a TCO higher than just providing them a 'free' car in the first place.
(And, to clarify, I don't even consider this a bad thing. I get it, for kids, or elderly folks, disabled people, people who just don't want a car or whatever. It's good that the general public makes sure everyone has transportation, and it's good to spend tax money to ensure this happens. But it is by no means more "efficient" or "greener" than driving is)
Could we "fix" this? Sure! If everyone was a super wealthy millionaire, like in Manhattan, it would be no problem. Build a whole bunch of luxury condo buildings, make everyone live in them, ban all existing public car transportation and make everyone take some LRT train/bus that only goes to the few places you allowed, is often late or broken or screwed up in some way (at the same rate that MTA is, for example). Soft-ban parenting and children while you are at it, everyone will be so busy paying off their rent they won't be able to afford kids anyway. Force everyone to re-wire their whole lives to live in your box.
And we have that in my city too. About 3% of people here are wealthy enough that they can judiciously rewire their entire life to support "car-free" living. They are hyper wealthy, so they can afford to live in the heart of downtown, in a glass condo, living right on top of their satellite office, where they pretend "banning cars is so amazing and eco-friendly" as they pay to get their shopping delivered (by a poor person in a car), get their groceries delivered (by a poor person in a car), eat at restaurants (staffed by poor people driving in via cars), and drink at bars (staffed by poor people driving in via cars).
This is why most Americans are looking to renewable energy and EV vehicles. It's realistically the only shot non-wealthy Americans have at living any sort of sustainable lifestyle. The financial pollution from cities is just too much to handle, and has no functional workaround for real people.
I'm calling bullshit on this. Way more than 5% of Americans are already living without cars. You don't have a great read on how many people actually get around. Most cities of any size have buses, and people actually do take those buses.
Also, the median household income in Manhattan is ~$70k/year. I have no idea where you're getting this idea that everyone who lives here must be "super wealthy millionaires", but it's not remotely true.
You're making the typical false claim that rich people can afford to not drive and poor people are dependent on cars, when it's actually precisely the opposite; richer people are more likely to have cars, whereas poor people are more likely to not have them, and be dependent on public transportation. The poor people aren't driving into Manhattan each day for work, that's for damn sure! They can't afford the $60/day parking cost! And this is true in all cities, not just NYC.
I'm reading the numbers direct from my local bus authority. I'm sure transit ridership in Manhattan is higher (since they actually have a real subway system and such). But of course, most Americans don't have any access to LRT / subways, so...
> You're making the typical false claim that rich people can afford to not drive and poor people are dependent on cars.
Because it's mostly true? Especially for all the Americans who don't live in Manhattan, the literal wealthiest place in the nation.
I know this is going to sound odd, but most Americans don't live in NYC. Hell, most NY metro residents themselves don't even live in NYC (only about ~43% of them do, according to the census estimates)
It's true that living in, say, Rantoul, Illinois is going to be difficult without a car. But the list of cities that have at least some form of bus service does go down to some pretty small cities (<100,000), and most of the country anyways lives in large cities or their suburbs, where transit is viable.
How are you defining wealthiest place in the nation? There are many cities with much higher median incomes than Manhattan. The median income of Palo Alto, for example, is $137,000/yr, which is about double Manhattan's. And there's plenty more cities like Palo Alto across the country with high congregations of wealth. And Manhattan, of course, isn't a city in its own right; the median income across all of NYC is only $50k/yr. Manhattan is much more diverse class-wise than you seem to realize. I think you're conflating all of Manhattan with just a few of the most tony neighborhoods. Here's another source; no county in NYC comes close to the list of top-earning counties in the country: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-income_countie...
Please, show some figures supporting your claims about Manhattan.
And it's literally not true that rich people tend to drive the most and poor people the least. Here's a source (one of many) on that: https://nhts.ornl.gov/briefs/PovertyBrief.pdf Here's a quote from the abstract: "Households in poverty are limited to a shorter radius of travel compared to higher income households. They have the lowest
rates of single occupancy vehicle use and the highest usage of less costly travel modes: carpool, transit, bike and walk. Households in poverty have lower vehicle ownership rates, which has led to an increased use of alternative modes of
transportation and higher vehicle occupancy rates."
Genuinely curious - what city do you live in ?
I've never owned a car here, so I made it work. Fortunately there's buses, and buses are quite accessible.
I don't really understand your question? People who live here generally don't own cars anyway, so what alternative besides public transportation exactly are you expecting? Keep in mind that traffic is so congested during commuting hours that the subway is typically faster, and also, two taxi/Lyft rides per day is quite expensive and beyond the reach of most people.
It is true that the MTA needs to do a better job of retrofitting elevators onto the stations that don't have them yet.
In which utopia is this?
Do you have anything substantial, say affecting on order of a million people? Or even an area of 100k people?
I wish that was true.
First, since there are no freight railroads into Manhattan; everything consumed by the residents and the much larger daytime population has to arrive by truck. Most freight into Manhattan comes via the Hudson River bridges and tunnels since the container port is in New Jersey and the rail yards are also there. There is little barge traffic, although I think that garbage is barged out via an East River pier. Given the density of population in Manhattan, which doubles to 4 million during the daytime hours, the freight requirements are large and trucks and vans are a considerable part of the existing traffic bringing goods to Manhattan and then distributing them around the borough.
Second, Brooklyn, Queens and the rest of Long Island are also supplied mainly by trucking crossing Manhattan from the same Hudson River bridges and tunnels, as well as via the Goethals and Verrazzano bridge or via the Tappan Zee bridge. Rail freight goes north to near Albany and then back south with only very limited connections for freight on the Long Island Railroad. Eliminating truck traffic across Manhattan would substantially increase costs for Brooklyn, Queens, and the rest of Long Island.
There have been proposals to put a rail freight tunnel under New York Harbor from roughly Bayonne to Bay Ridge, but there is no perceptible progress. Even with a tunnel, the LIRR third rail system is incompatible with modern container well cars and clearances are not adequate without a great deal of replacement of bridges, etc.
POV from someone that lives here: Leave an exception for electric trucks no bigger than a Sprinter between the hours of 4am (when bars close) - 8am. Force delivery fleets to innovate and rely more on dispatch software and small vehicles to get the job done more quickly and efficiently.
I agree with the motivation, but the execution cannot be "simply" banning how these businesses operate.
These aren't high margin businesses that can handle disruptions like this. Small business owners have mortgages to pay, and they'll just close-up shop or "simply" choose to service a different area.
Private autos are probably on the order of half. It would be interesting to know what percentages are trips NJ to LI/outer boroughs, LI/outer boroughs to Manhattan, and NJ to Manhattan.
I personally would not drive in Manhattan unless absolutely necessary (not for decades!) and have only crossed it in the dead of night or from the GWB to the Bronx.
I actually would support this if it was part of an honest effort to improve transportation and livability in the city, but most of these proposals make it harder to live here, not easier. I suspect the real motivation is a mix of environmentalism (cars contribute to global warming) and classicism (only the rich drive cars in NYC).
NYC politicians should be focused on how to move the most amount of people, the safest and quickest way, for the cheapest cost. If they want to ban cars due to effects on the environment, they should say that maybe promote electric vehicles. If they want to tax the rich, they can simply impose a more progressive income tax structure.
The current muddled response is actually making transportation in the city more expensive, often causes more emissions due to longer rides, and has an insignificant effect on the rich while hitting the pocket-books of everyone else much harder.
And, it seems to have worked, at least from early indications! Buses now move much faster! If that holds up, it would ideally allow for even more improvements, like running more buses, speeding up official bus schedules to account for the lowered congestion, which hopefully will in turn result in more ridership, etc. https://www.wsj.com/articles/buses-cruise-through-manhattan-...
The speed of buses is not the appropriate metric by which we should be evaluating policy. Speedy empty buses are not exactly a win. Instead, we should be asking how much time and money does it take to get from point A to B.
A guess: I'd be very surprised if speeding up the buses doesn't end up a net win here, given the density. In fact I believe that was evaluated in the proposal to make this change, but I haven't read it. I have been reading some preliminary proposals for new bus lanes in Washington, DC, and on the 16th St corridor there (which is less dense than Manhattan by a large margin), buses already, without dedicated bus lanes, account for 50% of passenger throughput during rushhour, despite being only about 3% of vehicles. At those kinds of ratios, it becomes fairly easy to come up with bus-prioritization schemes that end up as a net-win for commuting hours saved, even if you completely discount environmental impacts.
I'm not so sure, especially on 14th street. 14th Street is one of the few east-west streets that has decent crosstown subway service, the L train. Even with faster buses, I suspect it's still faster to hop on the train to get across 14th than to take a bus.
But this doesn't have to be an rhetorical argument, it can be clearly backed by data. If, in 6 months, the MTA shows that more people are moving more quickly across 14th St than before the car ban, I'd support it. If it can't show that, I'll be against it. If it just says that its buses are moving faster without citing the number of people moved, I'd be very suspicious.
Another metric to optimize for would be safety. Having the occasional bus driven by a rules-abiding, professional driver is much safer than having constant cars whizzing by.
There probably are more people on buses, but that's the incorrect question to ask. You should be asking whether the additional people on buses is greater than the decreased people on cars. If before the policy, there were 3,000 bus riders and 10,000 car drivers, and after the policy there were 10,000 bus riders and 0 car drivers, that's still a net loss.
Whatever it costs to maintain 14th St between 9th and 3rd Ave, if it’s restricted to mainly buses, bus fares should pay to maintain it, like fuel tax and excise taxes from personal vehicles pay to maintain roads.
My experience as a resident is that the fewer cars on the street, the easier it is to live here. (Sometimes in a strictly literal sense of fewer things that could run you over, less clogged road for emergency vehicles - I wouldn't want to have a heart attack in Manhattan at 5 PM - and so forth, but more generally in a quality-of-life sense.)
Can you expand on how it makes it harder?
There are a huge amount of people organizing here, me included, because cars are outright dangerous, and are driven by asshole drivers who are never held to account by the police. The safest thing to do for everyone is to just start getting rid of the cars, since it doesn't seem like there's any other way to make them safe.
Compared to all other forms of transportation in the city, cars transport the smallest number of people and take up a lot of space. Removing cars would free up space for other means of transportation that transport more people and use less space, such as buses, bikes, scooters, etc...
Electric vehicules are usually better than thermal ones, but they're still a big carbon emitter. Except if they're shared.
No individual vehicule heavier than 50kg can be considered good in terms of climate impact.
My argument here is always that even if all electricity was produced from coal power plants(it isn't) surely it's much better to have one big carbon emitter far outside of the city, than thousands of smaller carbon emitters in the middle of the city. Yes, it is just externalising the emissions, but I think it's important to improve the air quality where people actually live, no?
(I'm not against electric vehicles, I'm for aiming most subsidies towards mass transit and cycling infrastructure & most externalities taxation at carbon emitters).
So yes, even powered by a coal plant, EVs are better than cars. But no longer better-enough for that to be ok on its own. It is more important to figure out ways to de-car lifestyles than it is to foster EV adoption. They're both important, just de-car'ing is more.
I've glossed over many factors to be sure, but the point is while a lot is lost powering an EV, internal combustion engines are just as bad or worse.
Such an argument requires citing a source, or I'll just believe it is cheap hearsay. What is your source?
And the way to do this is with trains and buses, not cars.
Cars are not known for being cheap, safe, or space-efficient.
This is a great example of "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure." Expending vast resources to move people quickly is really something we should avoid. We should be working to locate people within easy walking distance of everything they want, minimizing the number of miles they have to travel using any vehicle.
Ultimately, maximizing the distance traveled on foot might be a good goal (since humans are pretty picky and will actively work to minimize this number.) Also, for most people failing to minimize this number has health benefits, while failing to minimize vehicle travel has health costs.
Well, then banning cars is certainly one way to get the rich to care about making transit better...
(and also of the middle class, whether that's the underinsured or carrying insurance against under insured divers.
Chicago hasn't expanded in a while, but they maintain their tracks, buy new stock and renovate stations. I don't think people appreciate how incredibly important all that maintenance is to the city. I hope Chicago can get enough funding one day to expand and start on the outer loop project, but not at the expense of keeping what's there in good condition.
NYC's rail network covers 4 boroughs and goes all the way to the end of Long Island. They are spending $100 million just this year alone building additional freight transfer points in Brooklyn & Queens and adding more marine barge terminals explicitly to remove more trucks entering NYC.
NYC's subway network is not owned by NYC but by NYS which is operated by the MTA, they can't really run it themselves and it's a point of political fighting.
However, there is tons being done by the MTA while people bitch and moan while dedicating no effort to educating themselves.
Over 1k new subway cars are on order (and honestly, there hasnt been a time in the last 2 decades they haven't been, the subway just requires a shit-ton of them).
There are track geometry scanning trains that run and down the lines at least once a week per line to scan rails for defects. And they recently acquired another train to do so as well. This helps reduce unexpected failures.
They have been replacing all wooden ties with concrete ties as they can. They are also switching out for continuous welded rail as they go as well.
Signal work is disastrous because the amount of track (>700 miles) AND multiple subway lines intermix meaning every mixed line needs to be replaced at the same time. All while maintaining 24/7 service, AND DONT YOU DARE DISCUSS HALTING A TRAIN LINE AT NIGHT TO EXPEDITE WORK LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD, you'll be voted out of office.
People that own cars in Manhattan use them to escape on the weekends...not drive around during the week
The classicist subtext you allude to above has no place in NYC transportation policy, and will likely make inequality worse. If you want to make the rich pay their fair share, then raise income or wealth taxes. A multi-millionaire won't be fazed by a $10 congestion surcharge, they'll keep driving their Hummer directly through midtown. But the commuters from Queens or Staten Island, the senior citizens that can't easily walk down subway steps, the families car-pooling their children to different activities, and the countless businesses that need to lug equipment and supplies around the city will feel the pain.
Perversely, congestion pricing will probably benefit the rich. It will clear the streets of folks that can no longer afford to drive, making their Hummer joy ride through mid-town much more pleasurable.
2. The proposal has neither classist subtext nor text. It isn't "The rich need to stop driving because the rich suck," it's "The rich need to stop driving because they have perfectly reasonable alternatives, people who live and work in less affluent areas underserved by transit often don't have a perfectly reasonable alternative." Nobody would care if the rich want to drive their cars in Staten Island all day, as long they're not causing congestion. Nobody is trying to hurt the rich. They're trying to solve congestion without hurting people, and those who drive private vehicles in Manhattan are, it is believed, least hurt by this proposal.
And your own argument demonstrates this: obviously congestion pricing is more affordable to the rich, but people still think it's a good idea. If three billionaires want to drive Hummers around midtown all day but in exchange there are protected bike and bus lanes, I am all for that.
If you think the rich are actually being hurt by this proposal, it would be worth arguing that claim. But it is not an injury in my opinion that the rich could previously do something from their richness and now have to do what everyone else does.
Meanwhile, taxing the rich simply because we don't like them (as opposed to because we think that they disproportionately benefit from government resources, or that setting this tax policy has particular benefits to the economy, or whatever) would in fact be a gratuitous injury to them, so I'm not sure why you think that's a kinder alternative.
(Disclosure: I work for a hedge fund, I take the subway, and I think taxes at my bracket and above are too low.)
What annoys me personally about rich Manhattan types with cars is mostly their political influence. Fewer than a quarter of Manhattanites own cars, but the ones that do have historically been disproportionately well connected in local Democratic machine politics.
I've lived in Manhattan pretty much forever and don't own a car. Most "rich" people I know in this borough are rich because they bought an apartment in the 1970s and are now millionaires on paper based on their apartments current value. They may have outsized influence, but they've also lived here for a long time. While I can understand your irritation, they are not exactly an insignificant constituency (22% of a population is not trivial).
The super rich have always been in NYC, and will be able to get around however they want. Transportation policy should not mix with classicism on either side.
Eventually you can't offer any more carrots and you have to start using a stick.
At least you're open that you want to force them to do what you prefer, instead of what's best for them. Most people who want to force their preferences on others are not so clear-eyed.
Either people will shift, moving or working someplace else. Or buses can be added (and more effective not being stuck behind thousands of cars).
Removing cars doesn't happen in a vacuum.
- listening to the radio
- smoke freely
- don't share a ride with "the poors" in the bus or metro
This need, this "have to" must be defined. It hides serious things and ridiculous ones.
Obviously I'm not saying "there'll be no art or live music in NYC if this happens!" I have a car and unless I have a damn good reason I don't drive into the city, especially during the crazy traffic hours (the PATH trains run all night). I think we need to consider what other damn good reasons people have for driving into Manhattan before we consider something as radical as this.
Every street is still accessible by car. You simply wouldn’t want to go on the pedestrian streets until you absolutely have to because like in car free European cities today, you’d be intermingling with pedestrians with a speed limit of like 5mph.
You’d simply drive the vast majority of the way on the car streets, and then the last 20-30m on the 5mph street so you can take your stuff up to your doorstep.
I think focusing on the history as justification perhaps results in an incomplete argument. What people care about is how is this going to affect my life, so to really convince people who currently rely on cars to do business and make stuff happen in NYC, one needs to explain the implementation and how it won't make their lives way harder. That being said, I love history, especially the history of the places my life is intertwined with, and I enjoyed the article in that regard.
In contrast, out here in the midwest, it's easy to throw a mountain of gear into a minivan, and parking is abundant. Venues also have more square footage and are designed to be louder -- big rooms with high ceilings and no materials to absorb sound.
I have a hunch that volume levels are killing live music.
Overall I'd give up my car and hump my bass on the subway, in return for a more pleasant performing environment.
I would assume that the solution would be to ban traffic on most steets, but leave a coarse grid of open roads for passing traffic. This should still cut down on commuter car traffic on these.
Modern society uses the same system for individual transportation, which makes it inefficient in densely populated areas. Banning individual car traffic works in cities works because alternatives can be more efficient and they are practical because of the short distances involved.
The amount of gear required for even a small production can be significant. I also do sound for a wedding DJ, and the rig that we bring to any event even if they have their own PA requires multiple trips with a large folding cart to bring from the vehicle to where it's going. We currently handle this by finding the closest place possible to pull up, throw our hazards on, get all the stuff inside, and then go find parking. Requiring another mode of transportation to and from the venue would add a bunch of time and difficulty, no matter how convenient it is.
This isn't a hypothetical; we did a gig in Atlantic City last December that was at the end of a long pier into the ocean, and the closest we could get was a no-parking zone on the other side of the board walk (the venue actually told us this was SOP). After unloading we put the cars in a garage a few blocks down (when you're using muscle power to move hundreds of pounds of gear, you get as close as possible, it's a safety concern). Not only did it take hours in freezing temperatures, but we had to bring an extra person with us to stay with the cars to make sure they didn't get tickets. It sucked. Hard.
Its use is being expanded in Germany and the Netherlands, by DHL, the big German carrier.
What specific equipment would you be carrying in that the venue wouldn't already be providing?
That's also specific to musicians, like I said there's a bunch of things that have these same types of requirements. Catering comes to mind off the top of my head, and they have to worry about temperature control for their products as a safety concern. I've never seen a caterer on a subway lol.
The catering example falls into the general delivery use case. Yes, there's still going to be a need for delivery vehicles. But they need to be made much safer (right now they're the #1 cause of death for cyclists, and they kill a lot of pedestrians too). And when we get rid of most of the cars, at least that'll free up a lot of on-street space for loading zones so you won't constantly see trucks that are illegally double parked or blocking bike lanes.
Specifically on the truck safety issue, we need trucks that adhere to pedestrian/cyclist safety standards, i.e. smaller, non-articulated ones that have full skirts all the way around that prevent people from being driven over in the event of a crash. Right now we have all the way up to full semi-trailers driving through the city (which are illegal but the cops don't enforce), which make super wide turns and can easily sweep people under the wheels and crush them to death.
The "Urban EV" would have to meet strict requirements: Electric Vehicles only, within a small size of footprint (smart car sized) and have pedestrian anti collision safety features.
The EVs could have cargo trays as well for deliveries.
Pedestrian zones with Urban EV access (scooters, ebikes included) could utilise a small bike lane sized road down the middle of the pedestrian areas with dotted lines to keep the EV traffic moving efficiently. Despite this, pedestrians and vehicles will be maneuvering around each other. Of course, EV's would be expected to give way to pedestrians by law.
Urban EV zones could eventually also be linked together with bike lanes and tunnels.
This would simultaneously make for more cyclist friendly cities while accommodating and making far more modern, social and interesting urban environments.
If we zoned cities pedestrians first with smart public transport we have plenty of room for ‘ev bike lanes’ for small personal mobility vehicles across huge areas (think 14 x 14 city blocks) it would look vastly different to the congestion you are describing from cars owning the spaces
And some people - notably, those with disabilities - are at a disadvantage with most options. It shouldn't be a requirement, for example, to spend multiple hours on buses just to run one errand because it's the only accessible solution.
Cars are designed for high speed, multi-use, multi-environment, safety-critical use cases, that are a byproduct of the environment cars have to drive in, and how they are operated. Take out most of those requirements and we'd have lightweight, cheap, tiny contraptions that fit cities better. You can even build cars that fit in bike lanes!
I remember showering after getting home from bars and the smell of smoke coming out of my hair. People claimed we'd lose business to Hoboken bars where people could still smoke.
Within a couple years, Hoboken had to ban smoking in bars and restaurants to stop losing business to Manhattan.
Give me European style efficiency and punctuality in public transit before telling me about European-style plans that make me use public transit.
You could plan a day to shut down some street for 100 blocks and do a series of stunts. Mock up bus and bike lanes, and do trial runs all day of bikes and buses moving up and down the corridor. Then run the results in the paper with the title "the future is here".
The "right" solution is presumably "sharing" car stack (no not Uber style sharing).
But boy I am not sure the politics or even economics stack up.
Plus there's not enough space on the streets themselves, so the cars just crawl. Anything is better than driving. There's plenty of areas that are so congested during commutes that a brisk walk is faster than driving. Bikes, scooters, etc. are way faster than driving.
Cars might be a good last-mile solution out in Podunk, but they don't work here. The city is too dense for them.
If you are an able bodied 20-something then public transport already solves the transport of your body.
But it's not just for transporting an adult - it's for children, economics and more
My Dad used to carry a bushel basket of corn on his shoulder, from the bin to the troughs in the barnyard, with no apparent effort.
I work a few blocks from 14th St and, man, the place was eerie this week. I really liked it and support the concept of banning cars, even as I own one because I live in the far reaches of an outer borough.
Policing itself changes significantly when much of the population isn't in a car. And police may be able to see crime in action rather than reaction.