the ball whisk

May 12, 2009

NYT goes Carless

Filed under: VeloFietsen — groenefee @ 11:38 pm

So we’ve got two families that blog here in a major metro area and a minor one…all carless….

here are two recent NYT articles thinking about a life without the car.

The NYT says “The nation has lots of “walkable” places. But giving up the automobile is another thing altogether.” Do we? Last I checked most places I bike are anti-walker and prioritize the car at every turn…Including my favorite combo the crosswalk with the stop or yield sign for the bike/ped.

I’m a big fan of giving the cars arteries like interstates, but shouldn’t those no-effort fat-arse deathtraps be relegated to the subordinate role on all other throughways? I remember growing up on those not-very-american locations, the US Air Force Bases where the rule always was most vunerable has right-of-way. Works for me. Peds trump bikes trump motorbikes trump cars (course i think the A-10s and FB-111’s trumped everything, but hey).


In America



  1. Good articles — I was surprised that the number of urban areas dense enough to support public trans is a mere six. And I assume that by “public trans” they mean the sort of public trans which doesn’t actually require schedules because of the frequency of bus/train arrivals.

    Comment by quietglow — May 13, 2009 @ 9:00 am

  2. Yeah I don’t buy that at all. Not only is your schedule-less assumption probably part of it, I think that we’re talking self-supported public transportation instead of publicly subsidized trans.

    I would imagine that you could easily leaver that number down from 50/acre with heavy taxing (both emissions and road use, and restrictive parking ord.). We need to realize that we have 70 years of doing the exact opposite. We’ve HEAVILY subsidized road infrastructure without putting burden on industry and drivers but (except for toll roads) spreading the cost evenly amongst all citizens (boy do I get steamed that my tax $s go to salt the roads then patch their holes in the spring.). We’ve also systematically restricted the free movement of pedestrians and cycles to keep them safe from cars instead of placing the burden on the car. Interstate? Go crazy that’s a car thing, within cities or country roads, drastically lower speed limits and make autos always have least right of way.

    Cars need to be treated as what they are: VERY cool, VERY convenient, VERY dangerous.

    The whole landscape of 20th century America is car driven and in some ways thats amazing. Driving through the west in the summer is a singular pleasure. High school making out locale. The wonderful function and economy of industrial design that some cars embody. In other ways its horrible, 41.059 fatalities due to cars in 07 alone. Isolated blighted downtowns and pod-like suburbs. Singular little venues for rage and entitlement. Probably the worst IMHO, the lack of day to day communication between people in a community. The horrible slicing and dicing of communities a la Moses in NYC for freeways. The deep anti-wildlife trenches carved all across our country. Not to mention the worst product of car-culture, your fat corn syrup fed ass.

    Comment by groenefee — May 13, 2009 @ 9:21 am

  3. “Cars need to be treated as what they are: VERY cool, VERY convenient, VERY dangerous.”

    While I agree, I think this is not only a view shared by an exceptionally slim number of people but it’s also something almost unintelligible and/or offensive to the vast majority of Americans. The structure of the American psyche involves such a deep notion of personal freedom and/or/because of the physical makeup of our communities are such that that I can’t imagine us limiting our use of autos — the lack of oil certainly won’t do it.

    Comment by quietglow — May 13, 2009 @ 11:37 am

  4. Yup. We really screwed up by connecting the responsibilities of car ownership with freedom…I think you’re right that we’re a long way from disentangling freedom from car.

    Comment by groenefee — May 13, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

  5. I’d argue that in the communities in which it’s generally conceivable to be carless, the ethos is divergent from the cultural norm. For whatever reason (here, having a car is almost always more hindering than liberating, there because the community generally recognizes the deleterious effect one-car-per-person) there are pockets where carlessness is not culturally outlandish. Imagine being without a car in Anna though.

    Comment by quietglow — May 13, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

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