Likes Likes:  101
Dislikes Dislikes:  5
ELITE ELITE:  0
Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 63

Thread: Great opinion piece in NYT – The Pedestrian Strikes Back

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Arlington
    Posts
    581
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Great opinion piece in NYT – The Pedestrian Strikes Back

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/15/o...ns-cities.html

    This article is a couple of days old so my apologies if it’s already been posted. It reflects upon efforts by cities around the world to take back the streets for pedestrians (and bicycle riders). Some passages that resonate for me:
    (1) the sense of entitlement of drivers
    “Yes, car owners are furious. That’s because they have mistaken their century-long domination over pedestrians for a right rather than a privilege.”
    (2) city planners’ reliance on “Level of Service” (LOS) design models focused on keeping motor-vehicle traffic moving. This issue comes up regularly in our meetings with traffic planners in Arlington.
    “Hence improvements for other modes (walking, cycling, transit) that might increase vehicle delay are characterized as LOS impediments, [Elizabeth Macdonald] and her co-authors write in The Journal of Urban Design. The idea of pedestrians as ‘impediments’ is of course perverse…”
    (3) the costs of driving are borne by all of us…the enormous output of small-particle pollutants that penetrate deep into our lungs, the space issue … why can car owners take up large parcels of urban land for parking-- often for free? This is especially absurd in places like Brooklyn where rents are so high. And all this space devoted to driving and parking leaves little for trees, aside from a miniature shrub here and there.
    “Urban walking has thus deteriorated from a civilized pleasure to an overheated, unshaded, traffic-harried race to a destination. It’s like what the art historian Vincent Scully once said about the demolition of the old Penn Station and its replacement by the commuter hell squeezed beneath Madison Square Garden: ‘One entered the city like a god; now one scuttles in like a rat.’”

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Arlington, VA (W&OD MP4.5)
    Posts
    294
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Great article. Sadly, the friction among street & road users seems never-ending. Right now it's a hot topic on my neighborhood's NextDoor board.

    BTW, is anyone doing a "Walk Your City" (as mentioned in the article) campaign in Arlington?

  3. Likes wheels&wings liked this post
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Riverdale Park, MD
    Posts
    113
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thank you for sharing a fantastic Op-Ed, with so many great quotes and resources.

    I'm also curious if any local communities have participated in Walk Your City. I couldn't find a list on the website, and their social media pages look inactive. That said, the concept seems easy to replicate.

  5. Likes wheels&wings liked this post
  6. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    126
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Appreciate the posting. I have my own take on the issues presented. Only presenting it was another way to look at the issues. Take it with a grain of salt if you like; that's cool.

    The author presents ideas that I call tribalism--tribalism between pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation and vehicle owner/operators. The notion is that the other tribe(s) are responsible for the hardships that befall our tribe. I'm not buying it. I belong to all three tribes and have to say the notion that I must ally myself with just one tribe is ridiculous. We must also look beyond our own selfish needs and consider that not everyone cannot walk or ride a bike (or electric scooter) as the country's population ages, albeit I did tie my 5-ft Christmas tree down nicely on my electric skateboard for a five mile ride to home. Awwww yeah. Hard as nails, son. :0)

    Investment in infrastructure for all modes of transportation as been grossly inadequate for over 45 years and has not accounted for population shifts to and from certain metropolitan areas. Our infrastructure is rusting from the inside out. I know of several Third World countries with better infrastructure than DC. And as far as the internal combustion engine is concerned, not to worry. Its days are numbered. We are about to see electric vehicles from many new manufacturers very soon since the legacy auto makers refuse to adapt to the new environmental requirements in the world's largest car market (China).

    Just like the W&OD should be three or four times as wide so to should I-95 corridor from Boston to Richmond and I-66 (or perhaps have a Boring Company underground portion) to match the population growth in the DC metro area over the last few decades, for example. There's no reason why there is not a bridge over Hunter Mill Rd or Cedar Ln on the W trail except a lack of willingness to spend cash 15 years ago. They cant even manage a flashing light to alert motorists, which shows a disregard for the safety of cyclist and motorist, with near collisions between cars threshold braking for cyclists on a trail hidden by embankments. The strategy of not building and expanding the infrastructure in the silly hope that it would result in other modes of transport being used while not investing in those other modes as well has been a complete failure that has negatively impacted the health and safety of millions of people. When it comes time to evacuate the area for natural or man-made causes, the tragedy of decades of inaction will be apparent.

    The best advice is that everyone needs to think about how the entire transportation system should work (as a variable-sum game rather than the current zero-sum approach that several esteemed cycling advocates may have) and also recognizing how new technology may change how that system works. Tesla and the Boring Company are just two popular examples of how new technology could radically change the calculus of transportation for almost all modes of transportation--ped, bikes, trains, cars, and so on. It's not enough to advocate for protected bike lanes that in some cases (like Wilson Blvd) actually do more harm that good by restricting the room to maneuver when a car door opens. I've been a cyclist for 50 years; I love it far more than the average person, but when I need an ambulance, I want it to be a fast electric truck (maybe autonomous and not prone to human error against a cyclist) on a system of well-maintained roads that flow, certainly not the current predicament of no-flow, lots of pollution, boiling tempers with zero quality of life, monster potholes, rusted out bridges, passing out drivers licenses for life with no future testing like it was Halloween candy, unreliable death-trap rail service every now & then, rich-people "hot" lanes at $40 for four miles run by for-profit companies, and so on. Freedom of movement is not a protected right but it certainly enables a lot of rights to associate, for example.

    Frack tribalism and a continued emphasis on 20th century approaches to transportation (Metrorail as it stands was obsolete 25 years ago--it almost seems like someone deliberately wants it to fail as well) that is mostly cash starved and falling apart. Car drivers are not the problem; actually they are also frustrated with the system of roads, which sometimes causes them to act out and endanger others, including cyclists. People don't speed for no reason; they are trying to get home to families. Well, okay; some people do, but that's a rant I'll save for another day. :0)

    State and local government failed for decades and needs to be replaced.

    Wooooo! That brings my old man rant to an end. I wrote this thing to perhaps provoke thought in a new direction that the usual rubric that all car owners suck. Perhaps things are not so black and white. Perhaps there are many shades of gray that may have real and dramatic effect for change. Thank you and God bless America.
    Last edited by VikingMariner; 12-18-2018 at 02:58 PM.

  7. Likes Christob50, Hancockbs liked this post
  8. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Riverdale Park, MD
    Posts
    113
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    The author presents ideas that I call tribalism--tribalism between pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation and vehicle owner/operators. The notion is that the other tribe(s) are responsible for the hardships that befall our tribe. I'm not buying it. I belong to all three tribes and have to say the notion that I must ally myself with just one tribe is ridiculous.
    Interesting. While the author advocated for greater consideration of pedestrians and cyclists in urban design and planning, I didn't take that as particularly anti-car.

  9. Likes Steve O, huskerdont, dasgeh liked this post
  10. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,143
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    Just like the W&OD should be three or four times as wide so to should I-95 corridor from Boston to Richmond and I-66 (or perhaps have a Boring Company underground portion) to match the population growth in the DC metro area over the last few decades, for example.
    This is a very traditional attitude, but one which has proved to be entirely counterproductive and infeasible in practice; you simply cannot fix traffic by making the roads bigger--all you do is make life worse for people living near the giant roads for no net benefit. No place in the world has figure out a way to enable people in cars to go wherever they want, whenever they want, without getting stuck behind other people in cars. Places that have tried to do so have made things much, much worse for people not in cars. All we have now is a bit of reversion to the mean, because the amount of resources devoted to cars has gotten completely out of whack.

    It's very common to trot out people who can't walk (god help them if they can't walk and they're poor, right?) and other strawmen to fight the notion that cars will entirely disappear. But, that's not really the point--maybe we'll just bring down the amount of resources devoted to cars to something more reasonable. 75%? 50%? Something.

  11. Likes consularrider, dkel, Steve O liked this post
  12. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    126
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Re: "No place in the world has figure out a way to enable people in cars to go wherever they want, whenever they want, without getting stuck behind other people in cars." That is not a true statement if we consider our history. In the mid-20th century our road and interstate system did improve traffic flow. Later we invested less in adapting that system to changes in population distribution.

    Re: "Places that have tried to do so have made things much, much worse for people not in cars." A very normative statement, but I can certainly agree. Half measures and delayed decisions on infrastructure improvement, combined with weak environmental laws and enforcement are probably larger factors. There are multiple intervening variables that probably did made things much, much worse for people not in cars and people in cars. To defeat this tribalism it should be important to consider the effects of certain decisions on everyone.

    Re: "All we have now is a bit of reversion to the mean, because the amount of resources devoted to cars has gotten completely out of whack." Heck might as well go all the way. The amount of resources devoted to our way of life vis-a-vis mass consumption and resource extraction in the extreme is measurably destroying the planet. It has been said that 75 percent of the generated green house pollutants is done by 100 companies.

    It has also been said that there is a class element to this bike vs car tribalism, that is, today's income distribution among young adults forces those good people to not be able to afford a home mortgage, a car loan, and they other mass consumption trappings that baby boomers "enjoy." That in turn creates quite a bit of resentment toward the concept of cars even when the technology associated with cars in five years will be a net safety boon with autonomous vehicles, tunnels, and perhaps fewer vehicles as the concept of ownership changes to vehicle sharing.

    I'm convinced that this tribalism does nothing for bicycle safety advocacy except work against safety. Quite frankly an article entitled "The Pedestrian Strikes Back" smacks of this tribal conflict approach straight out of the gate. The attitude that I see on this website too by a few good people also smacks of this notion that we are at war with cars and that we need to stick it to drivers. Have to confess that attitude is immature. The bike is not going to replace cars and trucks given the transportation needs of a post-modern society. Heck, my bikes were delivered by cars and trucks. And in this age of every right (speech, association, privacy, et al.) must be regulated or taken away in a piecemeal way, taking someone's mobility which is an enabler of these rights to suit the personal desires of a narrow segment of interests is at best shortsighted.

    We need to advocate for a transportation system that minimizes negative environmental and quality of life concerns for a wider group of people that just us cyclists. That would be a mature approach that is easy to sell. The first step may be to familiarize ourselves with the emerging technologies and approaches to transportation that just going for the default 20th century notion that bicycle safety is enhanced by a new bike lane protected by some vinyl reflective barriers that have magical powers to stop a drunk driver or a driver engaged in a jolly good game of Candy Crush. Honestly some of the cyclist issues being put forward right now are completely retarded--like taking away a parking space in Vienna for a bike rack. It's as if people just want attention and just want to antagonize people who know nothing about cycling. The smarter approach would have been to stick to major issues of bike infrastructure like bridges on the W trail over streets like Cedar Lane, showing drivers how it also improves there safety. "Striking back" at drivers is just a shortsighted emotional approach.

    Really tried of these articles trying to bait conflict between motorists and cyclists. Seems like the news media are desperate to get web clicks. Please don't fall for it.

    Anyway--I'm just stirring the pot a little (not trolling...not yet). Not singling anyone out. Please take no offense. All of you seem like good people. This is just my opinion, which when combined with $4 will get you a cup of Starbucks (nasty coffee btw). My rant is best read if you play God Bless America in the background. Hahaha.
    Last edited by VikingMariner; 12-19-2018 at 11:15 AM.

  13. Likes n18, Hancockbs liked this post
    Dislikes dasgeh disliked this post
  14. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,143
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    Re: "No place in the world has figure out a way to enable people in cars to go wherever they want, whenever they want, without getting stuck behind other people in cars." That is not a true statement if we consider our history. In the mid-20th century our road and interstate system did improve traffic flow. Later we invested less in adapting that system to changes in population distribution.
    It was true when the percentage of people who owned cars was lower and more people used mass transit. It was never true that all of the people could drive cars at the same time and not experience problems. (But, since fewer of the "wrong people" could afford cars it was a pretty good time for the wealthier folks and the people who remember it only as kids who went out for Sunday drives and don't have any idea how things worked day-to-day.)

    Re: "Places that have tried to do so have made things much, much worse for people not in cars." A very normative statement, but I can certainly agree. Half measures and delayed decisions on infrastructure improvement, combined with weak environmental laws and enforcement are probably larger factors. There are multiple intervening variables that probably did made things much, much worse for people not in cars and people in cars. To defeat this tribalism it should be important to consider the effects of certain decisions on everyone.
    More important than fearing "tribalism" is being realistic about what can be achieved through promoting single occupancy vehicles and understanding that we're well past the point that we need to provide other options. But go and keep wringing your hands that "tribalism" is the problem, rather than common sense evaluation of the options.

    Anyway--I'm just stirring the pot a little (not trolling...not yet).
    You're not stirring anything, just repeating tired old ideas that have long since been shown to be wrong. They're not novel to anyone, because we hear them every time we have to have a public meeting to argue about straightforward solutions that work every time they're implemented but still cause a knee-jerk reaction that there's a "war on cars" even though the cars get most of the resources and still will for the forseeable future. Nothing to see here.

  15. Likes LeprosyStudyGroup, dkel, Steve O, dasgeh, Dewey liked this post
  16. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Valhalla
    Posts
    126
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Now you're just making up facts (that are false) about our history and car ownership. Here are some facts: https://www.statista.com/statistics/...es-since-1951/.

    Electric autonomous cars operating in tunnels and away from cyclists is an old and tired idea? Personalized mass transit using that new infrastructure is a old idea? Actually the old idea is to stop investing in the infrastructure that brings all of our consumables and increasing everyone's level of pain until metro dwellers are like rats in a cage, ready to feed on each other in a fit of rage--road rage to be precise. But I did like the way you turned my argument on me.

    Reminded me of



    It was cute. What an awesome movie. Ah social media--you gotta love it.

    On tunnels: https://electrek.co/2018/12/18/elon-...acking-wheels/

    Okay--I'll stop. Never mind. Cognitive dissonance is a bitch.

    Last edited by VikingMariner; 12-19-2018 at 11:04 AM. Reason: typos abound, which is my hobby

  17. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    136
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Fake Facts

    They lost me with a parked car taking up 350 square feet. Something that simple to validate and yet being incorrect leads little credence to the rest of their arguments. I fit all three tribes and this article is trying to make the pedestrian side of the triangle a hypotenuse that exceeds the other two sides. I wish people (journalist, researchers, etc.) would stick to stating validated facts vice so much opinion, spin, and fake facts to prove their point.

  18. Likes VikingMariner liked this post

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •