With weather apps that give you the rainfall down to a few minutes, you can escape the weather by either biking in the lulls, participating in a e-bike scooter sharing system, or falling back on public transport when you need.
Very rarely can you get someone faster by driving than you could by biking or public transport (at least according to google maps) so long as you live within the ring. Outside of that I don’t think cars are going anywhere, and there is ample parking near the major public transport hubs. I know plenty of people who park there and take a quick train or metro to their work and don’t complain about the hassle.
It’s a different way of living and I miss driving sometimes but it’s really nice once you acclimate!
I think I was in "the ring", if we're talking about the adjoining canal systems that circle around the center part of the city.
..coming from a city where cars will speed up if they see you crossing the road, and regularly muscle bikes into the gutter.
Hey, I just made an account to ask what weather app you're talking about? I have tried Dark Sky and Buienradar on iOS but they don't seem to send rain notifications as expected. Right now I'm looking out the window and it's raining (like, the water is collecting on the ground/rooftops) but neither app has notified me. I've just checked to make sure that they have notifications and location access allowed as well.
If your travel stays inside the ring (the highway circling the city), yes, travel time is not that long. Although 15 minutes is optimistic. While I have destinations I usually reach in 10-15 minutes, there are other places that take me 25-30 minutes. Which I don't find worth complaining about anyway, but not everything is 15 minutes away.
Living inside the ring is very expensive though, and many workplaces are outside of it. In that case, biking can take 45 minutes to an hour, or become impractical. I have friends living in neighborhoods from which biking is impractical (Bijlmer, Geuzenfeld).
You can always take public transport, of course, and mix it with biking. But biking through a city with 800.000 inhabitants in 15 minutes is not possible.
Electric scooters are around, though. There are a ton of mopeds at the moment, but I share your suspicion that they'll eventually be banned (and I don't totally hate the idea -- Amsterdam would be incredibly quiet without them).
Walking is great and effective. Biking works well too. Public transport is there for you too. Keep 1-2 extra "station bikes" parked in practical locations around town. Then you can use whatever method you want based on the circumstance.
You can't ride an electric scooter on the sidewalks (or the paved areas in front of shops and such); it's just too chaotic, with stones and gaps and things that won't do well with scooters. And you would have to be pretty bold to ride a little scooter on a bike path along with all the people who are on bikes (you WILL have a collision at some point, and you'll be on the losing end when compared to a big Dutchman on a 50lb steel bike)... or worse yet, a big moped will run right over you.
My advice is go there and be open minded and flexible. You'll find a mode or combination of modes that works (everyone else does).
I don't know the accident statistics offhand, so this might justify our refute your point.
A child's kick scooter is small, but adult sized electric ones are long and fairly bulky.
A folding bicycle is roughly backpack sized, and easy to stand over (like a backpack) on a metro train.
Further you can still take taxis, rideshare or rent something like a car2go, for which parking is more feasible, if you use it every now and then.
I mean... what else is there to want?
I would add Amsterdam is one of the easiest cities to get around in, I don't know why you would exclude public transport as an option as it is clean and efficient there.
Careful here. "Scooter" can mean two different things in English. It can be a moped (which is what Dutch people call a scooter), which is entirely legal in Netherland if you've got insurance for it; or it can be a motorised step, which is currently illegal. Although that's not stopping one of my co-workers from using one for his commute.
Also legal are e-bikes, although that's a developing issue, as they're technically electric mopeds, which means they require a helmet, whereas the users would prefer to see them treated as a bike, which wouldn't require a helmet. I don't think anyone actually uses a helmet (except on the super fast ones), but legally they should.
Honestly that sounds a bit like "what are my options for breathing other than using my nose or my mouth?".
Live in one of the satellite towns and commute with the train. You'll have a proper quality of life and commuting here is easy.
They have been banned.
I live about an hour commute from Amsterdam in an area where the air quality is considerably better than it is in the cities.
Edit: Everything I read about these urban Paradise concepts screams "small town" to me. Where I grew up, that was how a small town functioned and of course it was quite nice. But that is not how a city functions.
Personally, I wonder how long it will take cities to depopulate after they made commuting too hard. In my observation, the car just acts as a proxy for the conflict between people living in the city and people that merely work there.
This concept of a city didn't stop cities from functioning before cars and it won't stop cities from functioning after them.
A more apt comparison might be London right before the car became common place, though.
Rome's 1M population is a disputed number. Cities of tens of million inhabitants are all post-industrial and none work solely on mass transit. The car is an essential piece of the equation.
Car-less cities are an interesting thought experiment, but none has gone past the implementation barrier. That part of the equation should go into the though experiment.
Can you provide a link? I'm either confused about what "Victorian" or "London" mean, because it seems to me that metro London definitely had over 1M people in the late 19th century.
If we're going to identify something key to the growth of cities, surely it is mass transit. Much of this isn't apparent in modern cities in the USA because so many of them tore apart their streetcar systems in the middle of the 20th century as policies shifted to favor the private automobile. But mass transit seems to me like the thing that drove the growth.
And if you reverse the situation, and imagine a city with free public transit that is then considering adding a fare to it, said fare would be extremely regressive and would hit the worst off the hardest.
I never understood why. This study from Talinn, Estonia shows that the overall impact on passenger numbers was very small (+1.2% increase) and that most of it is due to a decrease in pedestrian traffic and bicycle use.
> And if you reverse the situation, and imagine a city with free public transit that is then considering adding a fare to it, said fare would be extremely regressive and would hit the worst off the hardest.
Personally, I believe that cash transfers are more ethical and less paternalistic than in-kind benefits, but if you want, you can still give poor people a high discount on public transport or simply limit free public transport to poor people.
I'm also really curious to know what "less desirable" means, exactly.
https://ftp.fdot.gov/file/d/FTP/FDOT%20LTS/CO/research/Compl... is the research I remember that was more critical.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_public_transport is also good.
Less desirable means people that other riders are less likely to want to ride with. From the paper above:
> In the Austin, Texas fare-free demonstration, both anecdotal and official data suggest that problem riders increased substantially and drove away other riders. Joy-riding youth and inebriated adults, as well as vagrants, increased. In addition, in both the Mercer Metro and the Austin, Texas experiences, problem riders actually drove away many of the regular bus commuters. In none of the experiments did the increase in transit ridership include automobile commuters enticed by the fare-free service (Connor, 1979; Kounes, 1993; People for Modern Transit Technical Committee, 2001).
And if you compare public transport costs to housing, it's nothing.
Average commute is 22.6km . You need to go there and back again - 45 * 0.162 + 0.96 = 8.25 eur/day * 22 = 181.5. That's almost 13% of your money.
Or anecdote: my wife travels from Amsterdam to Utrecht. Seasonal train ticket is about 180 eur but there is another 200 eur she spends on bus and train of getting to and from train station. Compared to taking the car which costs like 150 eur in gas. It shouldn't be cheaper to take the car alone compared to public transport!
I do agree that it shouldn't be cheaper to take the car to work, but you did not take into account two major factors for the cost of commute by car:
1. Depreciation, insurance, maintenance and taxes paid for the car
2. The cost of parking in Amsterdam
A small sales tax hike is palatable to enough people that it is politically viable, whereas a $2.50 fare every time you board a bus or train makes more people not ride transit who otherwise might.
Now admittedly more people would start using it if it were free, but that's a feature not a bug. And the marginal cost of higher ridership is much lower than the sunk capital costs of constructing the system in the first place.
Well, you could always not accept payment at the door. But more passengers doesn't equal faster buses; after a point the service will bog down as the buses bunch up, and increasing the number of buses will not solve that.
A small base fare goes a long way to persuade people to walk short distances instead of catching the bus.
Where is this? 11% would put your system near the bottom of farebox recovery ratios for major systems.
Some recent coverage: https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2019/05/02/are-utahns-o...
2019 budget: https://www.rideuta.com/-/media/Files/About-UTA/Budget_Book_... page 57
Despite all that, we really have a pretty decent transit system for the metro size. I have reliable 15 minute service to downtown and it only takes me twice as long to take the bus to work than it takes me to drive.
Is the concept of a public benefit collecting fees for its own operations that strange to you?
And of course not everyone is better off the more people use it; regular business commuters will be turned off by "problem riders" (See above comments for details. Having a nominal barrier to entry reduces the percentage of problem riders.
One of the main reasons people elect not to use public transit is personal safety and comfort. ( https://transitcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/TC_Whos... )
Yes. This seems to be the thing that kills public services. If you are going to have everyone spend a lot on the initial cost, it seems wild to me that people don't want to spend a little more to make sure their investments are well maintained. Would you buy a car and then not maintain it? That's just asking for things to get broken down sooner.
Public transit cannot just raise prices, as higher prices reduces ridership.
Incidentally, this is one of the reasons public housing in the states has such a different reputation than public housing in the rest of the world - housing is expected to make enough money to maintain itself while also providing housing for the poorest. (Also, maintaining giant buildings is much more expensive than, say, maintaining a bunch of 4 story apartments.)
Down is much cheaper.
What if they were more like balloons?
I think in the far future we will be able to transport and it will be the cleanest method of travel.
We would save in road salt. Might be a good idea to start building stores/housing below and would serve as protection against climate change.
It's incredible how many people are able to commute at once using the bike lanes.
I don't know specifically about Amsterdam, for what it's worth.
Also, a cyclist riding in the road is not necessarily unsafe either. Many bike lanes are poorly designed and contribute to safety problems.
I do know I’ve biked in places where there were dedicated bike/scooter lane and despite there being rules about signals and left turns (which had prominent signs for them), often times people ignored the signs. On occasion, you’d see the stark result of ignoring the signage.
Also, I'd contest the behaviour being characterised as 'sneaking' - in most places, bicycles are still considered road vehicles, and allowed to use regular lanes.
The level difference is there to discourage cars from going on the bike path. Of course it also has the opposite effect.
It generally is good practice for the fastest cyclists to get up to the front of a waiting pack so that they can pull ahead and not get stuck behind people once it's clear to go.
When a bicyclist judges that they can safely cross a road, suddenly everyone cares.
One or two knips would solve the entire issue.
Clearly there are people looking to influence the HN crowd one way, especially with the anti-car narratives. Here's a different narrative about cars that shows the other side:
Cars are fast, and in areas that are not ultra high-density, they save time relative to ANY alternative (walking, biking, buses, trains) and therefore drastically improve your quality of life. They don't require you to wait on someone else's schedule, especially given the often inconsistent timing of buses. They work in all weather (such as rain) and in all terrain (such as hills) and are viable for older folks who may not be comfortable riding a bike everywhere. They don't require you to risk sitting down on dirty seats (6-year-old girl stabbed by uncapped needle on bus: https://metro.co.uk/2019/06/08/girl-6-injected-needle-hidden...). They don't require you to expose yourself to violence (40 to 60 teens rob BART train: https://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/BART-takeover-robbery-5...). They let you travel all over the land, including away from cities, and therefore give you a greater degree of freedom than the reach of fixed rails or transit systems that are limited to cities.
It seems most of these anti-car articles conveniently ignore the massive benefits we get from fast, private, point-to-point motorized vehicular transport.
PS: literally less than 10 seconds after I posted this comment, it was down-voted. No one reads that fast, and this is clearly a spiteful downvote from someone who doesn't want any visible challenge to the prevailing narrative. That's unfortunate and a sign of degradation in discourse within the Hacker News community.
My personal opinion is that the HN crowd likes looking at transit in large cities as a complex optimization problem. There are a ton of variables to play with, and we're currently so far away from anything approaching optimum. Cars downtown give me the same feeling as a 10MB web site that has two paragraphs of content. We can do better than this.
One train per day isn't exactly convenient. And once you get off the train, you still somehow need to get to the trail head.
These are city-dwellers who don't own cars doing these hikes, so "driving your own car" isn't even an option. Renting a car for the day/weekend is, but that's much more expensive than round-trip train tickets.
Although I will say, the drive isn't that much faster than the train ride. And driving is dead time, whereas train riding time isn't.
This assumes that people are simply so oblivious that they aren't aware of driving being worse for them. This can happen occasionally, but let me assure you that whenever you see people stuck in traffic, for overwhelming majority of them, being stuck in traffic is preferrable to alternatives. It might not be so to you, but they aren't you.
Don't assume stupidity, but rather try to understand why people would rather be stuck in traffic driving a single occupant vehicle than take a public bus. This way, you might learn things that could lead to improving public transit and making them more attractive to all.
In short, people have differing preferences, and your model of reality should account for that.
But I also believe many people are mistaken about their preferences. Using your example of physical activity, I find that people greatly overestimate how difficult cycling is when done regularly. Fact is, you'll get in better shape, and what was once far too hard becomes easy. Similarly, many people seem absolutely opposed to sweating at all and that seems to be what stops them from cycling. But I actually don't know a single transportation cyclist who takes a shower after their commute. Yes, they do sweat, but they find the amount of sweating acceptable.
There seems to be psychological research about this phenomena, e.g., here's a random article I found via Google: https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2004/04/pelham
Similarly, many people have views about cycling that are false. For example, I've talked to several drivers about buying groceries on a bike, and I was surprised by how few seem to consider that you can add cargo capacity to a bike. Groceries seems to be many anti-cycling drivers "gotcha" question, but it's really not a problem.
I don't think these things are obvious, but most drivers I've talked about these issues with seem to take very little initiative to investigate these assumptions. The easiest way would be to ask experienced cyclists.
Also: I don't think that I'm calling drivers stupid or oblivious. If you think I am, can you explain how?
It helps that my commute is only about 5 to 10 minutes each way, but I'd keep cycling without taking a shower even if it was longer.
Anyhow, perhaps not all cyclists agree about the the necessity of showers. My point was that this is an issue where one's opinions may change.
Of course, I do agree with it. I can also confirm that going to gym regularly and getting jacked is not all that hard either. Nevertheless, median American is in terrible physical condition, obesity is rampant etc. Point is, there's quite apparently a wide chasm between knowing things, and actually restructuring your life according to those ideas: this requires committment, effort, planning, foresight etc. We gave up on expecting those things from average person in other areas (e.g. consider recent idea of "food deserts", which implicitly assumes that a person affected by those is unable to have enough foresight to make weekly or biweekly travels to grocery store, something our ancestors 100 years ago were perfectly capable of), so I find strange the incredulity of cycling proponents when it comes to understanding people shunning bicycles.
There's no "gotcha". It's simply extremely convenient to do grocery shopping with a car compared to a bicycle, and adding cargo capacity only alleviates some of the inconvenience. The only reason people bring up groceries, or ferrying kids to school, or all the other excuses you've certainly heard fair share off is that when you say "car is simply more convenient to me", you're met with incredulity, and are being explained to, like the grand parent poster, that driving actually makes thing worse for you. You need to keep explaining the exact ways in which alternative ways are less convenient (less cargo capacity, more physical exertion required, more time spent on commuting with public transit etc), and the response is usually either minimizing the cost, or moralizing about health benefits or externalities.
Indeed, "it's simply more convenient" is not the acceptable response here, you need to ask experts to tell you that you're wrong.
I don't think I quoted anyone calling drivers that, but the grandparent comment certainly implied that people driving in Manhattan are making choice that's simply wrong for them, which implies that they are either stupid, or, more charitably, oblivious.
If the main argument against cycling is "seems like too much effort for me to figure out how to make cycling work", okay, I can understand that. But that's not what people have been telling me, so it's not what I have been responding to. (That's not to say it isn't something I should be responding to.)
I’m one of the minority of Manhattan residents who use a private car instead of transit. My schedule and routes are unusual enough that transit doesn’t serve me. Even when doing a more traditional UWS->Financial District commute, I often prefer to drive because of the knock-on benefits: I can shop at Eataly and bring home some goodies for the family; I can make stops at a few stores along the way that would otherwise be too far from the standard subway commute route. I don’t enjoy sitting in traffic, but it’s so much easier for me than any other alternative. I pick my travel times to minimize delays for myself (and presumably others) and I’m tired of being labeled an entitled snob, an idiot, or a murderer of cyclists.
Where are you stopping between UWS and FiDi that has convenient parking?
I use all of these hacks and more to make it possible to zip around town in a personal car.
Not any more. Now a car is an expensive pain in the ass and aside from in the early hours, roads are pretty much constantly full. Full enough that even a motorcycle isn't quite the fun or freedom it was when I passed my test 40 years ago.
Anything that reverses the trend to a car (self-driven or not) being a necessity is good in my book. I'd far rather have an infrastructure that promotes public transport and cycling like the Netherlands does.
The sooner we get back to streets safe for children to play in, the better.
I won't play tit-for-tat with equally emotive and useless links to stories about people having watches and wallets lifted at lights etc.
Mainly the sheer annoyance of increasing delays and gridlock. Which of course correlated with my ageing, as it's increased over the years. The journey to work being an increasingly unpredictable journey, timewise. The fun of the increasingly rare empty road remained, as did like of motorbikes, or the fun of a track day. We use the car less and less, despite the intentional political neglect of public transport.
We did a fair few trips with the kids by train. I don't believe they ever got a car journey to school wherever we lived - they walked. Luckily the street they grew up until around 12, was traffic calmed with no through traffic, so they got to play out plenty, kick a ball around the road etc. Other places made that far more difficult. Playing out today on the street _I_ grew up and played on at similar age would be suicide.
Other than air travel, a car is probably the most expensive transport option there is.
Roadblocks? Why were there roadblocks?
But it doesn't have to be this way. I think that depends on the particulars of the city. Seattle, for example, has been very drivable until the city enabled a large population influx in the last 5-10 years, undertook significant upzoning, and simultaneously purposefully degraded driving infrastructure (unnecessary reductions in speed limits, for example). I would say medium-density cities can be very car-friendly rather than frustrating, if they avoid trying to make one large city-center and instead aim for something more distributed with several smaller centers.
> The sooner we get back to streets safe for children to play in, the better.
I feel they already are on neighborhood streets, which are almost always limited to 25 MPH in the US. Highways and arterials are not where children are expected to play.
> I won't play tit-for-tat with equally emotive and useless links to stories about people having watches and wallets lifted at lights etc.
While I do not have data on hand, I'd wager that watches/wallets lifted at lights are rare compared to robberies/assaults/harassment at bus stops or on subways. I've personally heard public transit horror stories from friends several times, but never something similar in their car.
> I feel [children] already are [safe] on neighborhood streets
Much of Seattle's neighborhood streets don't even have sidewalks or traffic calming devices. 25mph is a suggestion, at best, when people are trying to get around the lights on Aurora, for example.
> I've personally heard public transit horror stories from friends several times...
The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'. You already seem to dislike public transit, and may surround yourself with people who feel similar. Could also be confirmation bias.
TL;DR driving would be lovely but for the other vehicles. :)
> limited to 25 MPH in the US
I'm more thinking of traffic calming such that there is planting and chicanes to ensure no line of sight, equal priority, and drivers naturally tend to dawdle at 10 or 15mph along like they might if driving through a town pedestrianised high street.
A city centre night out or shopping trip is far nicer when the streets have been pedestrianised, and there's no traffic except the odd service vehicle and public transport. Sitting outside with a coffee is much more pleasant without the taste of fumes.
> Highways and arterials are not where children
No they're not, but you have to get to them, which is where a lot of problems arise. At that point I may as well get to the railway station instead of the highway. Except thanks to lobbying and politics, that's comparatively neglected, so not as appealing as it should be.
The only way that policy decisions should be made is with hard data. Policy decisions shouldn't be made on the basis of little girls getting stabbed by needles, just like they're not made on the basis of people getting hit by lightning.
Yes, there's circumstances where cars are essential.
Dense urban environments are not it. There's a massive set of negative externalities that cars and the mindset that people should never have to walk more than twenty feet between their front door and their destination bring. They've lead to greatly reduced quality of life in these urban areas.
It shouldn't be surprising that lots of tech workers who hang out on this site live in dense cities like SF or NYC, and are interested in how cities can be improved by removing vehicles, which don't scale to high urban densities anyway.
We definitely want HN users to feel like their concerns about possible manipulation are heard and taken care of. At the same time we want HN users not to bully and hound each other out of prejudice—which unfortunately is happening, not on purpose but because the frames through which people interpret others' comments are much too small. When someone else's view is, say, more than a standard deviation away from one's own, people don't think "wow, that's really a different point of view". They think "astroturfer", "shill", "spy", "bot", "troll", and even "communist agent".
I think there's probably a big generational shift here, by any chance are you over 50? Talking about sitting down on dirty seats, and exposing yourself to violence are not typical concerns of younger people I talk to, they are usually far more concerned with climate change and ensuring equitable access to the city. Though security on public transit is a huge privilege for men, so I could also perhaps see your concerns coming from a women who's less than 50 as well! Don't mean to box you in.
But the big demographics on HN are younger males, so thinking that Citylab articles are astroturf would seem to be missing a huge thrust of the current zeitgeist.
The articles are here to point out the non-obvious downsides of cars, and people upvote them because they find them interesting.
Edit: also, it looks like you've been using HN primarily for ideological battle. We actually ban accounts that do that, because it destroys intellectual curiosity, which is what this site exists for. There's lots of past explanation here: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que....
Would you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and take the spirit of this site more to heart?
I typically post when I am reasonably informed about a topic and see representation for one viewpoint, but not the one I have. I also do this when existing comments are dominated by a single uniform perspective or feature one perspective repeated many times relative to others (groupthink). I view my postings in such situation as diversifying the information represented in a given discussion. Very commonly, I see these situations with single-viewpoint domination present themselves in topics that are 'political', and perhaps this is because the HN demographic (location, profession, and so on) is relatively homogeneous. And so I end up commenting in such discussions more often.
Additionally, I am less interested in some of the purely technical discussions (such as "why is framework X better than framework Y") and more in the economic/cultural/political discussions that take place here. Given time limitations, even though I may lurk on many different topics, I post on those few topics more often. Those discussions are inherently ideological in nature, and taking any position could be considered ideological. I don't understand why the litmus test for being a good HN citizen is "posting on several different topics" since that basically means one cannot participate or contribute without investing time significantly, or by artificially keeping up some balanced spread of contributions.
To bring things up a level - we all live our lives and contribute to broader society in specialized ways, since we all have different interests/values/experiences. So why require something more generalized and diffused by way of commenting?
When we tell people they can't use the site primarily for political or ideological battle, that's because the purpose of battle is to defeat enemies. One uses whatever tools and weapons one can, over and over until the enemy is defeated. Repetition, in battle, is key to victory. But curiosity withers under repetition. Curiosity looks for something new that hasn't been said or seen or thought before. Curiosity wants to encounter difference—ideology wants to defeat it.
Not only do ideological arguments on the internet tend to be repetitive, they also tend to quickly turn nasty, and that is another quality that kills curiosity.
You're right that I often tell people that a good HN user tends to comment on a diverse range of interesting things. But that's just a proxy for curiosity. If that's not how your intellectual curiosity works, that doesn't need to be a problem. What starts to be a problem is if you're using HN to push some sort of political or ideological agenda rather than to gratify curiosity. Users who do that have a wrong goal for HN—their goal is to bend the threads in the direction their agenda is pre-focused on. The right goal is to bend the threads in whatever direction is most interesting—and that tends to be unpredictable.
I mean, of course, does anyone deny that. They improve your life over the lives of others. Cars are incredibly bad for society, insanely bad. If someone had come up with the idea of a private car today, they would be rightly lambasted for their idiotic and dangerous idea. 2 tonne chunks of metal hurling down streets at 50mph mere feet away from unprotected people? Insane.
The key in this sentence is "that are not ultra high-density". This does not apply to Amsterdam. Also, you are comparing one of the worst public transportation systems (SF) to once of the best transportation systems (Amsterdam) making sound like just because public transportation sucks in SF your only real alternative is a car. I lived in both places and I do not want to commute in SF by car at all. This is one of the reasons I have moved back to Europe, I do not need to own a car here. You are downvoted because your argument is very one sided. I do not mind citylab articles being on HN at all. Just so that we have more numbers your argument about cars:
I really like not owning a car and going to work without the hassle. I can read on the train or tram or listen to music, even write code if I want to. I occasionally use car sharing services if I want to go outside the city where I could not go easily without a car. I chose when (off peak) and am not in rush. The psychological impact of driving to work every day is just misery.
Things could be improved by using multi floor parkings more often, but as someone who has spent 3 months in the bay area, I think the current state is a disaster.
2. Buses in other countries don't have inconsistent timing. I can go out of my place in London to the bus station that is 3 minutes away and then wait for a bus come in 5 minutes or less, consistently. Yes, a bus comes every 5 minutes. No its not the city center.
3. Public transport is not affected by weather. Cycling is also possible in most rainy weather with the right equipment. The cases where cars are really needed are very rare compared to typical day-to-day use. There are still some, but not nearly enough to warrant actually getting a car, for a vast majority of people
4. Your anti-anti-car rants ignore the drawbacks of the widespread overuse of cars. For example, buildings taking 2-3 times the space due to parkings needing to accommodate so many cars, together with huge roads accommodating the crazy number of cars further increase of distance between things, making walking and cycling an even less viable option. Add to that pedestrian and cyclist unfriendly development (no sidewalks to enter the commercial area!) and you end up with a result that is unusable for anything but cars!
Not only that, but commute times tend to grow extensively. Do you like driving for 1h or more every single day, during which the only thing you can reasonably do is listen to a podcast? Do you like wasting 10-15% of your waking life on driving a car? I know I don't. I'd rather do a much less stressful activity, like sitting in a train for 30-40 minutes while reading or doing some light work. (maybe with the addition of 5-10-minutes of walking and cycling on both ends)
The sad thing is that people take that self-inflicted state into account to judge how viable other modes of transportation are. Well yes, they clearly aren't once you've built things for cars. But why not read about how it can be successfully viable, in other countries?
FWIW, a downvote shortly after posting is a common occurence for comments on front page articles. Almost every comment I've had in the past 10 years that eventually hit double-digit points went to zero or -1 within minutes of posting.
This is actually quite interesting to me. We each build up a notion of what the HN community is and what we believe to be its core principles and when we see the 'regulars at our pub' (for want of a better metaphor) suddenly in violent opposition to our views, we immediately conclude it's because it's a bunch of shills. But what about the counterfactual? What if our friends actually violently oppose our views. What would it take to convince ourselves of this?
FWIW I think HN is too big to have any sort of unified core principles. It isn't even pro-startup anymore, which is sort of ironic.
Here's my hypothesis: Lots of people on HN fully believe the pro-public-transit narrative. You're not downvoted by Chinese voting rings, you're just being disagreed with. Just like when I'm pro-Internet-advertising I'm not downvoted by Big Patreon, I'm just in opposition to the rest of the community. I downvoted you because I hate downvote whining and shill accusation.
"Please don't post insinuations about astroturfing, shilling, brigading, foreign agents and the like. It degrades discussion and is usually mistaken. If you're worried about abuse, email us and we'll look at the data."
"Please don't comment about the voting on comments. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading."
The voting mechanisms here makes discussions less diverse. I'm especially not fond of the feature where downvoted comments are marked 'dead' or have their font color changed to make them less readable. Leaving aside the obvious accessibility concerns, it leads to echo chambers, just with a slower degradation rate than say Twitter or Reddit.
Here in the DC area, while DC gentrifies and pushes out middle class people and families with kids, the predominantly African American suburbs of PG County are growing. The same thing is happening on the other side of DC in Fairfax county and Arlington county with Hispanic families. For these folks, cars enable a huge increase in quality of life that would be foreclosed otherwise. (My cousin, whose family immigrated here from Bangladesh, grew up in a small apartment in Queens. I remember visiting back in the 1990s and think it looked post-apocalyptic. Now, her parents have a nice house in Long Island. They’d never be able to afford anything like that near a subway station.)
I don’t think this is intrinsic to societies generally. There are lots of reasons why housing prices are out of control in US cities, and lots of reasons why people of color are underrepresented in the kinds of professions, such as programming, that enable people to afford housing near transit. But that is what it is. Until we fix those problems, urbanist snobbery will have problematic race and class undertones.
Building more mass transit won’t fix the schools, and mostly just seems to facilitate gentrification. It costs billions of dollars to extend the DC Metro these days. That means anywhere remotely desirable that gets a new metro line becomes totally unaffordable for middle class people with families. The structural cost problem has huge knock on effects. If building rail here cost what it does in Europe, you’d be able to build five times as much. If we had five new lines in the last decade, instead of just one, maybe rents near subway metro wouldn’t be skyrocketing. But that’s not the world we live in.
Land near metro got expensive (very recently! U St used to be (ugh) "ghetto") because it's GREAT and wealth inequality means rich people can bid up its price. The answer is to build MORE of this great thing so there is enough for poor people too.
98% of all commuting is by car. Driving is one of the most egalitarian and universal experiences in the US. There is a small minority of urban poor reliant on mass transit, but that doesn’t even account for the majority of poor people. Meanwhile, rail transit is heavily used by higher income people. (Median income for DC metro is $115,000.)
> The answer is to build MORE of this great thing so there is enough for poor people too.
I agree. The problem is that at current prices, a new rail line is a once in a generation project. Metro’s 2040 plan doesn’t even contemplate a new rail line.
The statistic I'm seeing is that 76% commute to work by driving themselves. Another 9% carpool, and then the rest walk, bike, bus, train, etc.
It is a pity we do not see enough posts on problems of public transportation though. All those articles about beauty of public transportation and biking in high-density, nice weather areas are highly misleading.
From all that work, experience, and data, I've learned how utterly misplaced these cheap claims about astroturfing and manipulation usually are. They mostly have nothing to do with reality. What's going on is that when people encounter views they dislike, they get upset and reach for explanations of abuse, bad faith, manipulation, disingenuousness, etc. as a way to ward them off. People on all sides of every issue do this. It's against the spirit of HN, which is why the guidelines ask users not to.
The only claims you've ever made about abuse on HN, unless I'm forgetting something, have been complaints about your ideological opponents. The opposing side makes exactly the same claims about yours. Everyone who thinks this way is sure that HN is secretly dominated by their enemies and the mods are probably in cahoots with them. But they all, of course, have a different picture of which side is dominating—always the one they dislike.
In the case of the OP, it's clear that the submitter is here to promote Citylab. But there's no evidence that the voting on these stories has been manipulated. They're just articles that a certain class of (legit) HN users like and tend to vote for. When we notice a submitter with a promotional history, we penalize the account; we want users to submit stories that they ran across and personally found intellectually interesting, not because they or a friend or an employer have something to promote. Still, this is the mildest class of bad behavior that we see on HN; such submitters usually haven't got a clue that they're doing anything wrong, and they're doing nothing underhanded behind the scenes.