Share the Road

2456719

Comments

  • Why are we building new roads so people can sit in their little tin boxes when we could be building light rail systems, cycle ways, and other infrastructure to get people out of their tin boxes?

    Partly, there are a lot of advantages to the tin box. My little tin box is at a temperature I find comfortable, plays whatever audio I choose at a volume I find comfortable, is filthy with my own dirt rather than the dirt of a thousand strangers, and always contains a number of useful items that I don't have to remember, because they're just there. And it goes where I want to go, when I want to go. And I can carry more stuff than I can actually personally carry.

    Public mass transit loses all of that.

    Whether it offers enough benefits to make it a worthwhile exchange depends on where you live and where you want to go.

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    It takes up a massive amount of space when you're in it and makes the environment hostile and toxic. Unfortunately you get the benefit and everyone else suffers from it. We won't get people out of their cars that way. And get them out we must; our love affair with the private car is killing our cities, killing our planet and killing us.
  • I’ll give a more detailed answer when I have a moment, but I’m not talking out of my arse in regards to infrastructure. I have some practical understanding of it and there are things that can be improved. But anyone who thinks wholesale change is practicable is inhaling fumes. And not ones emitted by automobiles.
  • there are a lot of advantages to the tin box. My little tin box is at a temperature I find comfortable, plays whatever audio I choose at a volume I find comfortable, is filthy with my own dirt rather than the dirt of a thousand strangers, and always contains a number of useful items that I don't have to remember, because they're just there. And it goes where I want to go, when I want to go. And I can carry more stuff than I can actually personally carry.

    Public mass transit loses all of that.
    Public transit loses all? When I regularly took a train to work, I chose my audio (a personal system, MP3 player and headphones), didn't have to worry about dirt (Japanese trains are considerably cleaner than my car), never found myself without something I needed. And, it went where I wanted, with a short walk thrown in so I also got some exercise.

    There were other advantages too. A chance for a wee nap, or to drink some coffee. No worries if there was a small party at work, as I could have a wee drop of something to drink. A convenient store by the station so I could get any groceries I needed on the way home without needing an extra trip out. I could get out the laptop and do some work (admittedly usually at the station rather than on the train, though I work on UK trains regularly - at the very least keep up with email).

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I’ll give a more detailed answer when I have a moment, but I’m not talking out of my arse in regards to infrastructure. I have some practical understanding of it and there are things that can be improved. But anyone who thinks wholesale change is practicable is inhaling fumes. And not ones emitted by automobiles.

    Well I hope you have more to offer than the cretins who design most cycle infrastructure around the UK. It's quite clearly not designed to benefit cyclists, but to get us out of the way of the far more important "proper traffic" - an attitude which is what is destroying any hope of improving our stinking, noisy, polluted hell-holes.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    And get them out we must; our love affair with the private car is killing our cities, killing our planet and killing us.

    Sloganeering really doesn't contribute to a helpful discussion.

    You're right that a lot of cities are constructed around car use (or just contain no viable alternative). But it's not just cities - it's suburbs, and journey patterns.

    I could, for example, make a list of all the journeys I currently make by car, and ask the question "how many other people want to make the same journey at the same time", and when I get the answer zero, relax the constraint a bit looking for people who want to make a similar journey at a similar time, and come up with the answer "still zero".

    I live in a suburb, and work in a different suburb about 10 miles away. I work irregular and unusual hours. In a kinder climate, I'd probably cycle. Here, I'd be dead 9 months of the year, and for the last 3 - well, it's hard to break a habit. Nobody's going to offer me a bus that goes from anywhere near my house to anywhere near work at a time I want to use it - I'd be the only passenger, and it would be environmental stupidity. With those constraints, my car's not too bad.

    In environmental terms, a fully-occupied car is reasonably competitive with a fully-occupied bus, and is cleaner than an averagely-occupied bus. You don't really benefit all that much by moving people from full cars to buses. Getting rid of the long lines of single-occupancy cars heading home from the city at rush hour, on the other hand, is the low-hanging fruit.

    Here's a question for you - the news recently informed me that the south of England is slated to have three new towns in the near future. What economically- and environmentally-rational things can be done (to new green-field towns embedded in a car-driving country) so that people living in those towns need fewer cars?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Where I am, it’s a half hour walk to the station or a £2.10 bus journey a £5.50 rail return to the nearest town with a 10 to 20 minute walk at the other end to anywhere you’d want to go to. A simple shopping trip costs nearly £10 and involves about half an hour’s walking. Or £5.50 and 90 minutes walking. It’s fine for a moderately fit person on their own with nothing too much to carry, but quite a challenge otherwise. I don’t disagree about needing to get out of our run boxes, but in some places the issue is about more than just infrastructure.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited March 2018
    KarlLB wrote: »
    And get them out we must; our love affair with the private car is killing our cities, killing our planet and killing us.

    Sloganeering really doesn't contribute to a helpful discussion.

    Is it sloganeering if it's true?
    You're right that a lot of cities are constructed around car use (or just contain no viable alternative). But it's not just cities - it's suburbs, and journey patterns.

    I could, for example, make a list of all the journeys I currently make by car, and ask the question "how many other people want to make the same journey at the same time", and when I get the answer zero, relax the constraint a bit looking for people who want to make a similar journey at a similar time, and come up with the answer "still zero".

    I live in a suburb, and work in a different suburb about 10 miles away. I work irregular and unusual hours. In a kinder climate, I'd probably cycle. Here, I'd be dead 9 months of the year, and for the last 3 - well, it's hard to break a habit. Nobody's going to offer me a bus that goes from anywhere near my house to anywhere near work at a time I want to use it - I'd be the only passenger, and it would be environmental stupidity. With those constraints, my car's not too bad.

    In environmental terms, a fully-occupied car is reasonably competitive with a fully-occupied bus, and is cleaner than an averagely-occupied bus. You don't really benefit all that much by moving people from full cars to buses. Getting rid of the long lines of single-occupancy cars heading home from the city at rush hour, on the other hand, is the low-hanging fruit.

    Here's a question for you - the news recently informed me that the south of England is slated to have three new towns in the near future. What economically- and environmentally-rational things can be done (to new green-field towns embedded in a car-driving country) so that people living in those towns need fewer cars?

    It may not be easy to reduce the number of cars required, but we can reduce the amount they're used for short journeys and in congested areas. Cars parked in driveways for when they're actually needed are not a problem.

    However - all main routes to have cycling and walking (separately; shared use facilities are useless because either pedestrians get buzzed by fast moving cyclists or cyclists have to go so slowly that they will not use the facility) provision. Both pedestrian and cycling paths have priority over side roads, just as the main carriageway does. It's dangerous and inconvenient requiring cyclists to stop and look right behind them every hundred yards.

    Presumed liability (as in most European countries) is introduced to concentrate motorists' minds that they have a responsibility for the danger posed by their vehicle.

    Other routes, where cyclists are using the main carriageway with motor traffic, are subject to a 20mph limit.

    City/town centre itself has access roads for delivery vehicles (subject to 20mph speed limits and priority to non-motorised traffic) but is otherwise motor-free. Park and Ride with frequent fast shuttles to the edge of the motor-free zone is provided. It's not like most people in the centres have anywhere to park anyway; they might as well park a mile away and be shuttled in than queue for ages to get into an expensive car park and then have to walk another ten minutes to where they work.

    I'm not that bothered about people driving to work 10 miles, or doing their weekly shop by car. I'm bothered about the streams of traffic, mostly single occupant cars, grinding (for example) Sheffield City Centre to an unpleasant, stinking gridlock for two hours every morning and every evening.
  • I live in a suburb, and work in a different suburb about 10 miles away. I work irregular and unusual hours. In a kinder climate, I'd probably cycle. Here, I'd be dead 9 months of the year, and for the last 3 - well, it's hard to break a habit. Nobody's going to offer me a bus that goes from anywhere near my house to anywhere near work at a time I want to use it - I'd be the only passenger, and it would be environmental stupidity. With those constraints, my car's not too bad.

    Not sure your latitude and climate. As a 4 season cyclist in my 60s I have some sympathy for not cycling due to weather, though only a moderate amount unless it isn't hard frozen. It takes some mentorship and guidance. (We are getting snow as I write this.) A hard frozen winter road is far better than a slushy one for cycling. Anything above -35°C (-30°F) isn't difficult unless the windchill is significant. Then it's frostbite risk. I get asked why I cycle in difficult weather all the time. I think the best answer I can give is happiness. It is mostly men in their 50s and 60s who year round it here. The second largest demographic is women in their 40s. So says the local unsystematic survey.

    Your suburb to suburb commute is one of those unhappy city stories. Suburbs are one form in general: usually made for cars and no-one can really walk or cycle efficiently anywhere. Where large houses and lawns separate people from community. Don't know if I'm describing things for you but it's true for many. The climate friendly option is that you move house.

    I am fine with people driving but I'd like to see them pay for the privilege. The gov't mileage rate (of you use a personal car inn gov't business) is ~70 cents per mile. Would people pay that? Thinking climate carbon contribution to in addition to road cost.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Well I hope you have more to offer than the cretins who design most cycle infrastructure around the UK. It's quite clearly not designed to benefit cyclists, but to get us out of the way of the far more important "proper traffic" - an attitude which is what is destroying any hope of improving our stinking, noisy, polluted hell-holes.

    Count me as another one who walks with some difficulty and depends upon the use of a cane. Ruth is right; it's terrifying to be passed on a sidewalk or footpath by a bicyclist going full tilt.

    By an interesting coincidence, today's "Pearls Before Swine" strip touched on this theme. It seemed appropriate to share it here.


  • Is it too early to note that the driverless car that struck and killed a cyclist wheeling her bicycle was a Volvo?
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Is it sloganeering if it's true?

    Yes, of course. Why wouldn't it be?
    KarlLB wrote: »
    It may not be easy to reduce the number of cars required, but we can reduce the amount they're used for short journeys and in congested areas. Cars parked in driveways for when they're actually needed are not a problem.

    Well, they are, though. Because once you have this big shiny sunk cost sitting on your driveway, the marginal cost for you to make a trip in it is small, and in economic terms is always going to be cheaper than using public transport (if you drive yourself, your labour is free. Your bus driver wants paying.)

    The way you win is by making families need one car rather than two, or needing a shared car / occasional rental car rather than a whole car.
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Park and Ride with frequent fast shuttles to the edge of the motor-free zone is provided. It's not like most people in the centres have anywhere to park anyway; they might as well park a mile away and be shuttled in than queue for ages to get into an expensive car park and then have to walk another ten minutes to where they work.

    I know town centres are dying, but do you really want to kill them off completely? I'll often drive into our town centre and park at the public library, exchange some books, poke around some of the shops, and maybe buy something.

    I could walk in to town. I do sometimes - it's not much more than a half hour's walk - but I'm not going to do my usual library-and-shop trip on foot, because I'm not interested in walking around the shops with 40 pounds of books in a backpack. I wouldn't do the trip by bus for the same reason.

    With a car, I can get new books and leave them in the car.

    Sure - you can tell me that I should walk to the library, drop off my old books, do my other shopping, and then pick up new books on the way home, but then I have to know how long I'm going to take to look for books on the way home in order to plan my time, which isn't very knowable. And it fails if I purchase something large in one of the shops - I can't carry both the big bag of books and the large purchase.

    Not sure your latitude and climate. As a 4 season cyclist in my 60s I have some sympathy for not cycling due to weather, though only a moderate amount unless it isn't hard frozen.

    Actually, the weather that would mostly kill me is the heat. I don't do well with heat at all, and would make myself very ill if I tried to cycle to work in the summer. That and the high winds / thunderstorms.

    If I could make it through the summers, I'd probably give the winters a go, but the summers are just too hot for me. Back in London, I used to cycle year round (there would be one or two days per year when it would be so wet in the morning that I'd take the tube), but the climate there is much more favorable.
    Suburbs are one form in general: usually made for cars and no-one can really walk or cycle efficiently anywhere. Where large houses and lawns separate people from community. Don't know if I'm describing things for you but it's true for many. The climate friendly option is that you move house.

    Actually, my particular suburb is quite walkable - that's one of the things that attracted us to it. We can walk to church, or into the town centre. The communities closer to my place of work aren't so nice. (Don't think any of them have a house of the size we need that we could afford, either. Also, "move next to your work" is not a general solution for a couple who both work - how close do people usually work to their spouses?)
    I am fine with people driving but I'd like to see them pay for the privilege. The gov't mileage rate (of you use a personal car inn gov't business) is ~70 cents per mile. Would people pay that? Thinking climate carbon contribution to in addition to road cost.

    That is the price that the government thinks you pay per mile to drive your car - fuel, maintenance, depreciation, and so on. As I have said before, I am happy to pay a carbon tax (which is a fuel tax), a road damage charge, and so on, as long as it is applied equitably, which means that lorries, buses, taxis, and so on pay it too. Your bus will pay a lot more than my car for the roads, and the lorry will pay a lot more than the bus. Your bike is free :wink:
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    There was a bloke today on a bike on a busy road. No crash helmet and one of those bikes with big tyres and a saddle too low. He wasn’t a kid, he had grey hair.

    He was weaving in and out of cars, unbelievably crazily. He should never be on the road imo
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    You say that, but I can pretty much guarantee he's having a great time.
  • a lot of cities are constructed around car use (or just contain no viable alternative). But it's not just cities - it's suburbs, and journey patterns.
    It's especially suburbs. We can't deny that we live in a world where much of our suburban landscape has been designed around the assumption that everyone will have their own little tin box to travel around in. It didn't have to be that way, but is. Retro-fitting our urban areas to provide non-car options is often not easy. The first step IMO is to think seriously about planning for new development, which brings us to ...
    Here's a question for you - the news recently informed me that the south of England is slated to have three new towns in the near future. What economically- and environmentally-rational things can be done (to new green-field towns embedded in a car-driving country) so that people living in those towns need fewer cars?
    I live in a new town, largely laid out in the 1960s. When it was laid out the planners got laughed at for assuming one car per three households, on the basis that car ownership would never be that high. The pre-80s parts of town have segregated cycle and pedestrian routes paralleling the main roads, I could cycle to almost anywhere in town exclusively on roads with a 20mph limit or on a dedicated cycle path (not shared with pedestrians), often a shorter distance than the equivalent car journey. In that pre-80s town, no where is more that a couple of minutes walk from a bus stop providing easy access to the main shopping area and onwards to Glasgow, Hamilton and other locations (often without changing bus), with local shops (also pub, often originally small library, GP, dentist etc) no more than 10 mins walk, same for primary schools and high schools not much further. Post 80s developments have abandoned the car-less options - edge of town shopping with limited bus access, new housing estates with limited cycle and bus routes, and without the facilities of local shops, schools, GPs surgeries etc.

    There is an opportunity for new town development (and, also larger housing development within existing towns) to do much better than has been the case for the last 30-40 years. A layout with arterial routes that include buses, maybe light rail, so that stops can be close to all houses with routes to major local destinations and a local hub for connections to less common destinations, include small shopping areas and schools etc near to where people are. The problem is that that costs money for the developers, it means a smaller number of houses as they need to set aside space for other facilities. And, local councils in granting planning permission are in thrall to the housing developers. With the massive squeeze on local authority funding, the arguments of the developers that more houses = more council tax, and "if we don't get permission to build the most profitable housing here we'll go elsewhere, taking the council tax revenue with us".
  • jbohnjbohn Shipmate
    edited March 2018
    The gov't mileage rate (of you use a personal car inn gov't business) is ~70 cents per mile. Would people pay that?

    They do - that's why it's a mileage *reimbursement* for fuel + wear on vehicle.
  • I live in a new town, largely laid out in the 1960s. When it was laid out the planners got laughed at for assuming one car per three households, on the basis that car ownership would never be that high. The pre-80s parts of town have segregated cycle and pedestrian routes paralleling the main roads, I could cycle to almost anywhere in town exclusively on roads with a 20mph limit or on a dedicated cycle path (not shared with pedestrians), often a shorter distance than the equivalent car journey.

    So what is your experience with avoiding car ownership in it? Does your family own fewer cars than comparable families in the new, car-oriented parts? Do you find yourself cycling or taking a bus in preference to using a car?

    Have you previously lived in a car-oriented place - do you use a car less now than you did then?

    If I think about the journeys that I typically make, then apart from my trips to work, most of the journeys involve transporting either a large quantity of stuff or fragile/delicate stuff - none of which I would be able to do easily on a bike or a bus. Presumably if I didn't have access to a car, I would have to restructure my way of living to accommodate that. I suppose if I had no car, I'd have to build some kind of enclosed waterproof bike trailer, and make more frequent shopping trips to fewer shops at a time. And I wouldn't be able to stop off on the way home to buy something that needed the protection or carrying capacity of the waterproof trailer, as I wouldn't fancy commuting with all that weight. And trying to go shopping with small children would be a complete nightmare with no car. And that's before I consider the effect of the significantly increased travel time involved with using mass transit or a bike. I just don't see how any feasible change in infrastructure would allow me to accomplish the things that I currently do, but without the car.

    So I'm curious how much your bike/pedestrian-friendly town has allowed you to reduce your need for a car.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    The reason you'd have so many problems with day-to-day urban living is because of the car.

    A human-friendly city would be denser, with facilities within reach by foot or bike, with larger purchases bought in-store and delivered (including the weekly shop, because that's how I did it, with the kids on tow - literally - but the weekly shop is itself a product of the car). Public transport in smaller, denser cities has a higher uptake, is more efficient and has better crosslinks. Transport routes are designed for all.

    It's going to take a while to reconfigure cities for a post-car future. It's going to be awkward during the transition. But it'll be worth it in the end.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Yes; my first thought to LC this morning was "you're asking how to reduce your dependence on your car whilst allowing you to still do everything with your car you do now", which is a square circle or a rock so heavy God can't lift it. It will, by definition, involve lifestyle changes. For example, employers these days tend to assume you have a car and are willing to use it for work. That societal assumption would have to change.
  • The UK equivalent would be 45p per mile, which is what the HMRC allows as a maximum before charging tax on it (by the quite reasonable basis that if you're paid more per mile than the cost then that's an income that should be taxed). I don't know where that 45p comes from, because if I was paid that for business travel it would be an income ... I'm not sure where I'd get that from. Petrol is less than 15p per mile. Servicing every year plus tyres etc is less than 5p per mile. There would be an increase in insurance for a) more mileage and b) business use but even if insurance scaled with mileage it would also be a few pence per mile. Depreciation in value is partly mileage and partly age (which of course has no bearing on this), but again if my car has lost all value in the last 4 years since I bought it that would be 15p per mile. Add that up and, at most, costs would be 40p per mile, most probably closer to 30p per mile or less.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    A human-friendly city would be denser, with facilities within reach by foot or bike, with larger purchases bought in-store and delivered (including the weekly shop, because that's how I did it, with the kids on tow - literally - but the weekly shop is itself a product of the car).

    Sure - but the "weekly shop" is not just some magic consequence of car ownership - it's a reflection of the fact that it is simply more time-efficient and convenient to shop once a week rather than every day. Certainly the private car is an enabling technology for that.

    We've tried getting groceries delivered on various occasions - it's fine for cans & boxes, but my experience has not been happy with fresh fruit and veg.
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Yes; my first thought to LC this morning was "you're asking how to reduce your dependence on your car whilst allowing you to still do everything with your car you do now", which is a square circle or a rock so heavy God can't lift it.

    Not quite. I'm asking how to eliminate a car whilst accomplishing all the things I currently accomplish.

    So doing things in a different, but similarly efficient way with different infrastructure would be fine. Spending several extra hours over the course of the week travelling between places I want to go? That starts to be a problem, because I have to find those spare hours somewhere. I don't want the price of having fewer cars to be "we do fewer things".
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    A human-friendly city would be denser

    If you mean you want me to trade my house for an apartment, that's not very friendly to this human. Nobody's apartment building has good enough sound insulation to make me want to live under other people ever again. BTDT. If you just mean reduce the space allocated to roads - well, sure, but you still need to be able to get the van carrying large furniture to my house, so I'm not sure you can really achieve that much more density, can you? If you're trading private gardens for communal parks, well, I have a list of issues again. What kind of density are you calling "human-friendly" here?

    I'm suspecting that the big thing that you sacrifice in your glorious carless future is choice. You don't choose where you worship - you go to the church you can walk to. You don't choose where to shop - you go to the shop in your community. You don't choose a school, or a dance class, or a scout troop - you go to your local one. And so on.

    I'm not interested in sacrificing choice. I'm interested in changes that will preserve my ability to decide that that dance class over there is a better fit for this child than the more local one, or that that grocery store has better produce than this one.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    "I'm not interesting in sacrificing my choice" is what you mean. Everybody else can quite clearly go fuck themselves, especially those who don't have a car, live near a major road, cycle or walk to work, use public transport, are poor, and further afield, those who live within 3m of sea level.
  • I walk to work, and for the sake of a 5 minute detour can swing via a supermarket (which is also an entrance to the high-street equivalent for a new town). It is therefore more convenient for me to buy groceries 2 or 3 times a week than get the car out once a week for a big shop. But, that's a choice I made - to live within walking distance of work. Coupled to sensible 1960s town planning that says "let's have shops in places most people can get to easily by walking or on a bus". If schools were adequately funded so the local school is always as good as a more distant one, why does there need to be choice?
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    "I'm not interesting in sacrificing my choice" is what you mean. Everybody else can quite clearly go fuck themselves, especially those who don't have a car, live near a major road, cycle or walk to work, use public transport, are poor, and further afield, those who live within 3m of sea level.

    No, that's not what I mean, at all.

    Your categories of people who you think I have no concern for are hopelessly confused, which I find surprising, as I generally expect more clarity of thought from you.

    People who are poor are about the only set of people in your list of categories who have little choice. In general, my solution to "some people are poor" tend to be "give them money and empower them to make choices".

    Your other sets of people - cyclists and walkers, public transport users, non-car-owners - have, if they are not also poor, made the choice to travel in those ways rather than by car. Presumably that is a reasonable choice to make given their own particular circumstances, or they would not have made it. And of course I should be concerned, in my hypothetical urban planning exercise, with those people. But I should not be concerned with those people to the exclusion of people who currently feel the need to have a car.

    For people who feel that a combination of walking, public transport, and cycling is adequate to meet their needs and desires, any change in the direction we are discussing will leave them satisfied - if they are already happy with those modes of transport, then making them better can only be an improvement for these people.

    Which is why my questions are about how to remove some of the cars from the car-driving people whilst leaving them relatively satisfied with the exchange, and how to do it in an economically rational way.

    (In terms of fuel efficiency, sea level rises and so on, the new routemaster buses in London get about 7 mpg, and have a capacity of 87 people when jammed full (62 seats). Comparing a hybrid bus with a hybrid car, a Toyota Prius gets around 70 mpg in real life (nobody gets the headline "official" numbers) and seats five. In terms of fuel use per seat, that gives the bus a roughly 20% advantage in fuel consumption. Which isn't all that much of a difference. It's when you compare a fairly full bus to a car travelling around full of empty space with a single person that you see the big difference. It doesn't matter for these purposes whether the car and bus are full of people or full of people's shopping or other stuff that they need to move around - sure, you could take a carload of shopping in some kind of cart on a bus, but the shopping would take up a couple of seats.

    And of course, if we're comparing a family in a family car with the same family sat in solitary splendour in a bus, then the bus is absurd. There's always going to be a place in any transportation plan for car-scale vehicles to serve unpopular journeys.

    London buses travel at an average of between 5 and 25 mph (depends on route & stop frequency - average is less than 10mph). So at 7mpg, that's about £1.80 worth of diesel an hour. The bus driver makes a bit more than £10 an hour, so with overheads it's got to cost the bus company more than £20 per hour to employ him. I can't easily find maintenance costs for buses, but can find multiple mentions of unsupported claims that driver wages are the dominant cost of running a bus service. Which suggests that autonomous vehicles should do rather good things for the economics of public transport.

    So given that in environmental terms the big differences are between full vehicles and largely empty vehicles, and that there are only modest differences between fully-laden large vehicles and fully-laden small vehicles, this suggests to me that once you get paid drivers out of the equation, the way to go in many places will be a large number of modest-sized autonomous vehicles rather than a smaller number of bus-sized things.


  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited March 2018
    I walk to work, and for the sake of a 5 minute detour can swing via a supermarket (which is also an entrance to the high-street equivalent for a new town). It is therefore more convenient for me to buy groceries 2 or 3 times a week than get the car out once a week for a big shop.

    I'm impressed that you can carry enough groceries for your family by stopping at a supermarket on the way home two or three times a week. I used to be able to do this when it was just Mrs C and I (I cycled, rather than walked, but the principle is the same), but don't think I'd stand a chance with the kids.

    (We drink more than 40 pounds of milk in a week between us, for example.)
    If schools were adequately funded so the local school is always as good as a more distant one, why does there need to be choice?

    Is steak as good as chicken? Let's assume that all the schools are equally funded (which we can agree is desirable). Do they all have the same ethos? Do they all offer the same classes? Do they have the same extracurricular activities? The same academic focus? Do they all do everything in the same way?

    People vary; why should I assume a one-school-fits-all model works best?
  • It's called Comprehensive Education. A very good thing it is too.
  • Public school funding varies a lot from richer to poorer area, but within the school district here, schools are equally-funded. (Our school district has three high schools, about 8 middle schools, and about twice that number of elementary schools.) Public schools in these parts are all very similar (they all have similar floor plans, there's a lot of central planning of lessons - I'll often see kids from different public schools with the same worksheets on the same days) and, as matches your preference, people attend their local school.

    Well, except for the one school that has a Spanish-immersion program, which kids travel to from anywhere in the district. And the one that offers half-day rather than full-day kindergarten.

    And the extra-curriculars are all different. If you're in the catchment area for middle school A, and you're a sciencey kid, you're in luck - they have a kick-ass robotics club that routinely wins state championships. Live a mile away and attend school B? No robotics for you, but you do have a drama club that puts on high-quality productions at one of the high schools.

    These are both good schools. They get similar results on all the state metrics. My house is in the catchment area of one of them; both are about the same distance away from me. If I was a child, I would have a strong preference. Other people would have a preference in the other direction.

  • This is from a former chief city planner of Vancouver (Brent Toderian). It says that cars should cost 87 cents (USA) per km and that bicycles should get 25 cents for total of impact on society.

    I've seen such things before. They are often based on Europe's favourite city which is also an adjective: Copenhagenize.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I live at the moment in a tourist town. Holy moley there's some driving. But the best is the visitors who thing a roundabout (yes we have them in this country) is a place to stop and take photos.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    The reason you'd have so many problems with day-to-day urban living is because of the car.

    A human-friendly city would be denser, with facilities within reach by foot or bike, with larger purchases bought in-store and delivered (including the weekly shop, because that's how I did it, with the kids on tow - literally - but the weekly shop is itself a product of the car). Public transport in smaller, denser cities has a higher uptake, is more efficient and has better crosslinks. Transport routes are designed for all.

    It's going to take a while to reconfigure cities for a post-car future. It's going to be awkward during the transition. But it'll be worth it in the end.

    My son lives in a human -friendly city (Heidelberg). He doesn’t own a car, he cycles everywhere - including home to Manchester! On the two or three occasions a year that he needs a car he uses a car-share off the street.

    Heidelberg is extremely bike friendly - even I am happy to cycle there.

  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    I don't have a car although I do have a full driving licence. I chose to bring my daughter up in this area as she could be independent without relying on the tyranny of the car. She could walk to school and used public transport to reach the local colleges. We moved into a rural area with buses that run weekly when I was 15 and that made us reliant on drivers and car owners. When I lived in that area I drove.

    I can walk to my local shops and pick up food on my way home from work - and, yes, I realise that I am not buying for a large family. I do travel, using trains booked in advance, coaches, the tube or buses, and I cycle.

    There are an increasing number of jobs insisting on use of a car, which I reckon I could manage with bike and public transport, because I have experience of similar work, and travelling around in these roles, but the car is seen as essential.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    "I'm not interesting in sacrificing my choice" is what you mean. Everybody else can quite clearly go fuck themselves, especially those who don't have a car, live near a major road, cycle or walk to work, use public transport, are poor, and further afield, those who live within 3m of sea level.

    No, that's not what I mean, at all.

    Then goes on to post a lengthy justification of the status quo. Again.

    I've actually been to London, you know. I've seen how the roads work. Or don't as the case may be. Banning private cars from the congestion area would certainly be a start - perhaps the buses could then get to their destinations a little bit quicker...
  • Unless we want our cities to grind to a halt in a cloud of toxic smog, we need to start designing infrastructure that discourages car use and encourages active transport as a matter of urgency. Some places are, some aren't. Where I live, there is an internal battle going on within the city council between a Council leader who "gets" active transport and a group of councillors who are very much of the (Jeremy) Clarkson tendency.

    Love how people are using a thread that was originally about bad driving to beat up on cyclists. We've come to expect it though.

    On the subject of red lights...on my regular (cycle) commute there is a junction at which I have to turn right. The right-turn lane is controlled by a filter light. Bitter experience has taught me that if I wait for this light to turn green I am likely to get rear-ended by some moron using the right-turn lane as an overtaking lane, so for my own safety I proceed through the red light as soon as the road is clear.

    Has anyone else noticed that on the very rare occasions when a pedestrian is seriously injured in an accident involving a bicycle, they are reported as being hit by "a cyclist", whereas the thousands of pedestrians who are killed or maimed by motorists every year, they are said to have been hit by "a vehicle"? It is as if cars, vans and trucks are forces of nature beyond all human control.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    It is, of course, inevitable and ironic on a cosmic level, that the first pedestrian to be killed by an autonomous car was pushing a bike at the time...
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Am I weird in that as a driver I slightly prefer it when cyclists run the red, because I find pulling off at the same time as a cyclist slightly unnerving? At least if the cyclist has a head start then it's easier to predict how they will interact with the rest of the traffic flow.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    The roads, and the rules of the road, are almost entirely designed around the car. When you're a cyclist, you get to make your decisions based on what's going to keep you alive longest. When I cycle-commuted, did I take up lanes, set off before the green light, pavement hop, pass through stationary traffic? Absolutely. Would I do it now? Yes.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    Am I weird in that as a driver I slightly prefer it when cyclists run the red, because I find pulling off at the same time as a cyclist slightly unnerving? At least if the cyclist has a head start then it's easier to predict how they will interact with the rest of the traffic flow.
    When a cyclist is in front of you they are visible, beside you and they're in your blind spot. I prefer to be able to see other road users, and get a bit nervous when I know someone is in my blind spot - whether they're a cyclist or a car driver.

  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    "I'm not interesting in sacrificing my choice" is what you mean. Everybody else can quite clearly go fuck themselves, especially those who don't have a car, live near a major road, cycle or walk to work, use public transport, are poor, and further afield, those who live within 3m of sea level.

    Not everybody can have a choice, therefore nobody should. Nice philosophy.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    Your philosophy of 'not everybody can have a choice, so fuck 'em' is actually worse. Mine does at least have the benefits of Utilitarianism, and limiting choices by legislation (no, you can't use a tracked tank as personal transport, and neither can you do 100mph in a 20mph zone) is something we're all very used to.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    "I'm not interesting in sacrificing my choice" is what you mean. Everybody else can quite clearly go fuck themselves, especially those who don't have a car, live near a major road, cycle or walk to work, use public transport, are poor, and further afield, those who live within 3m of sea level.

    Not everybody can have a choice, therefore nobody should. Nice philosophy.

    The point Doc Tor is making here is that some people having the choice is what prevents other people from having that choice - eg people choosing to drive everywhere is likely in the medium term to seriously restrict the choices of people living close to sea level, like the choice of carrying on living where they are.
  • Improving infrastructure in an existing city is a complicated and costly thing. What benefits one group disadvantages another. It takes a comprehensive, multi-year approach that will survive different iterations of government and a public willing to bear the massive expense. And that is just to make improvements. Wholesale change is massively more so.
    What most people here are banging on about is preference, not reality.
    As I said it is not a quick, easy or fair to everyone proposition.
    Most of you are bright enough to work out the many of issues yourselves. That you are not suggests that you are not willing to think about it. You'd rather just whinge about not having your way. This is Hell, so fair play there.

  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    "I'm not interesting in sacrificing my choice" is what you mean. Everybody else can quite clearly go fuck themselves, especially those who don't have a car, live near a major road, cycle or walk to work, use public transport, are poor, and further afield, those who live within 3m of sea level.

    Not everybody can have a choice, therefore nobody should. Nice philosophy.

    That's exaggerating, and you know it. I don't drive because I can't (for medical reasons) although having seen my Sainted Aunt Teresa drive it's just as well because she was the worst driver in West London, which is going some; I think there are bad driving genes in the family.

    The problem is that of resources. If the transport infrastructure budget is biased towards private motor vehicles (which typically spend 90% of the day stationary in car parks or outside homes) then those funds cannot be spent on common user transport. Leftie comedian Mark Steel suggested that public transport should be funded by those who don't use it. He was laughed at but it's a bloody good idea.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    Your philosophy of 'not everybody can have a choice, so fuck 'em' is actually worse.

    My own philosophy is to aim for the greatest possible choice for the largest possible number of people. In the context of this discussion that would definitely include greatly improved public transport, segregated cycleways and the like, but also an acceptance that some people will still prefer (or need) to use their cars. Too many cities right now offer no choice because they're entirely based around cars, but to replace that by a system that offers no choice because cars are effectively banned is just as bad.

    A decent number of people could be (and, indeed, are) taken off the roads simply by offering them viable public transport and cycling options.
    KarlLB wrote: »
    The point Doc Tor is making here is that some people having the choice is what prevents other people from having that choice - eg people choosing to drive everywhere is likely in the medium term to seriously restrict the choices of people living close to sea level, like the choice of carrying on living where they are.

    Private cars aren't actually that big a contributor to climate change - the real culprits there are agriculture, deforestation and power generation. That's not to say cars don't have an effect, but it's far too simplistic to suggest that people driving them is what's causing sea levels to rise, or that getting rid of them would somehow remove the problem. Especially now that hybrid and electric cars are starting to grow in popularity.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Furry nough, but they do, for example, here and now restrict my choices. For example, I'd like to be able to cycle into town with the children but the traffic and car-oriented infrastructure (the presence of left hand filter lanes on a 10% slope when you want to go straight on requires nerves of steel) makes it too dangerous.

    The central point is that some choices limit other people's choices, which means it's never as simple as it looks.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    For example, I'd like to be able to cycle into town with the children but the traffic and car-oriented infrastructure (the presence of left hand filter lanes on a 10% slope when you want to go straight on requires nerves of steel) makes it too dangerous.

    And as I said, my preferred solution to that would be investment in segregated cycleways so that both you and the car drivers can utilise your preferred means of transport. Let's have more and better buses, trains and trams while we're at it. Some places might even want to introduce ferry services along rivers and canals. Make it so that everyone can use the form of transport they prefer and you'll almost certainly reduce the number of cars on the road anyway. Banning cars just replaces one lack of choice with another.
  • Fuck choice. No, really. We are selfish bastards. And the right solution will be against the choice of some.
    The solutions will vary by locality. In large cities, the solutions will vary within them.
    And they cannot be bound purely by choice. Your choice will fuck someone else.
  • Has anyone here suggested banning cars? As opposed to re-balancing planning and investment in infrastructure to prioritise other means of transport. It may be that that will require some locations where car use is severely restricted (eg: if you put tram lines or dedicated bus and cycle lanes into space currently occupied by cars then the space available for cars will be more restricted - though in a lot of cities what you'll be doing is putting back what had been there before being removed to make way for cars, eg: tram lines or wider footpaths).
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Fuck choice. No, really. We are selfish bastards. And the right solution will be against the choice of some.

    Who gets to decide what's "right"? If it's me, then I'll be happy to go along with your "fuck choice" stance, but I doubt you will...
    The solutions will vary by locality. In large cities, the solutions will vary within them.
    And they cannot be bound purely by choice. Your choice will fuck someone else.

    And so will yours - but only if that choice inherently removes the other person's ability to choose. My preference is to minimise the number of people getting fucked by providing viable ways for as many people as possible to get their preference. So it's not "bikes or cars", it's "bikes and cars, with segregated infrastructure to maximise safety for both".
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    Has anyone here suggested banning cars?
    I did, from the London Congestion Charge zone. Which, for reference is a rough circle, 2 miles in radius, centred about (again, roughly) the Temple tube station on the Embankment. Within that area, I think car-free options are pretty generous, and most city-centres are not 4 miles wide.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    So it's not "bikes or cars", it's "bikes and cars, with segregated infrastructure to maximise safety for both".

    Actually, at some point, given our streets, it will be bikes or cars, or pedestrians or cars, or buses or cars. If you have a bus lane, you take one lane away from cars. If you have a segregated bike lane, you take away another lane from cars. Even on the most generous of arterial roads, you've now got a pavement, a bike lane, a bus lane, and maybe a car lane. If you're a town planner, you have to make the call.
Sign In or Register to comment.