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

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    Yes, that worked perfectly for Atlanta with its 12 lane freeways, where I understand there is no traffic congestion at all.


    Clearly was not done right and was not enough to meet expected future growth much like the new Wilson Bridge is a farce.

    Re: "Yes, car owners are furious. That’s because they have mistaken their century-long domination over pedestrians for a right rather than a privilege. The truth is that cities are not doing nearly enough to restore streets for pedestrian use, and it’s the pedestrians who should be furious."

    Motorists and cyclists should be "furious" at each other? Come on, man. Most of us are in both groups. Shocking, right? This is a false controversy. What there should be controversy about is why have our tax dollars not been used effectively to upgrade and expand transportation infrastructure for over 30 years (longer than some of you have been alive which is probably why you don't know) with our massive population growth that continues with Amazon? How many freebees and corporate welfare projects come before a transportation system that works?

    That article was straight up, unabashed trolling of motorists and cyclists by the New York Times.
    Last edited by VikingMariner; 12-19-2018 at 12:20 PM.

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  3. 12-19-2018, 12:23 PM


  4. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I'll stop quoting here because it makes even less sense the further you go. So you linked to something that wants me to pay $50 to even begin to guess at your point. No thanks. I'm not sure what you think is false, either. Here's a legit source: https://cta.ornl.gov/data/tedbfiles/.../Table8_02.xls

    Note that in 1950 there were .29 cars per capita, in 2015 there were .82 cars per capita. In 1950 there were .74 cars per employed person, in 2015 there were 1.78 cars per employed person. That is a huge difference. When my family lived in what's now a car-choked inner suburb back in the 50's their fairly typical middle class family of 4 (later 5 then 6) had 1 car which spent most of its time in the driveway while the breadwinner took the bus into the city. Population density at the time was higher than it is today, but vehicle density was much lower. Widening the arterials has made it much harder to walk (or bike) and has hammered property values along the biggest roads, but hasn't "fixed" the traffic. Roads that used to have kids playing on them now have speed bumps due to the people trying to avoid the arterials. The only way to "fix" the traffic in your outdated paradigm is to tear down houses and put in more freeways. Or you can subscribe to wishful thinking like putting cars in tunnels, which is a fiscal fantasy.

    Or, in the new paradigm, you shift people away from single occupancy vehicles and let them have an option to walk or bike the way they could 65 years ago.
    I like this rundown you gave (and I like the source/website it resides on). Sound approach in making a counterargument but I do have some concerns about a spreadsheet with per capita numbers that do not seem to correlate to the US population, the number of vehicles sold and no discussion of vehicles unregistered or no longer in service. Just applying a little critical thinking here rather than letting confirmation bias run over me like a drunk driver.
    Last edited by VikingMariner; 12-19-2018 at 12:57 PM.

  5. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    Clearly was not done right and was not enough to meet expected future growth much like the new Wilson Bridge is a farce.
    The problem is, there is no way for it to be "done right." When you have huge traffic jams, people either avoid working in the city or are willing to pay more to live closer to the city so that they will spend less time in traffic. Or they take public transit, walk, or bike, to avoid those traffic jams. When you build bigger roads and temporarily alleviate the traffic jams, people working in the city decide to save money by living further from the city, and people living further from the city are more willing to take jobs in the city. They stop taking public transit because they now live beyond where public transit runs, or because it's now less convenient than driving. They stop walking or biking because it's just too far. Thus, people are both taking more trips and driving further, so they end up causing more traffic jams.

    That's the colloquial way of phrasing it. If you want an official study, try this one: https://www.nber.org/papers/w15376
    Last edited by cvcalhoun; 12-19-2018 at 01:13 PM.

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  7. #24
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    But how do you know that since we never built the bigger roads? We have essentially the same system capacity from decades ago in the DC metro area. As exhibit A I submit to you the Beltway, I-395 and I-66. Even Metrorail is jacked up in that we extended the lines without increasing capacity sufficiently (which requires more than longer trains) as you approach and reach the center of the rail system.

    Last edited by VikingMariner; 12-19-2018 at 01:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    But how do you know that since we never built the bigger roads?
    We know because we have the experience of other cities that did build the bigger roads. I doubt we are so special that the results would be different here.

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  10. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    But how do you know that since we never built the bigger roads? We have essentially the same system capacity from decades ago in the DC metro area. As exhibit A I submit to you the Beltway, I-395 and I-66.
    The Beltway has been widened a number of times since it was opened, taking it from its original 4-6 lanes to 10-12 in places today - including the recently added express lanes. They're about to open more lanes on I395 as well, extending the I95 express lanes north to DC. I66 has been successively widened outside the Beltway and, as I'm sure you know, they've been squezing in more capacity inside the Beltway as well.

    VikingMariner, I agree with your point that pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists should get past seeing each other as warring factions - though (to circle back to the OP) I don't agree with your assertion that the NYT article was fanning such flames.
    Last edited by accordioneur; 12-19-2018 at 01:33 PM.

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  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    And now we can thank some in the news media for exploiting a few of us into believing the transportation system must be a zero-sum game between cars and bikes, which is absurd.
    No, it's absolutely correct: there is only so much right of way in the built environment, and since we've devoted almost all of that space to cars over the past 50 years, the only way to increase the amount of space for other modes is to reallocate some of it away from cars. That's not a reason for hysterics or silly name calling, it's simply acknowledging that you can't have two objects occupying the same space at the same time. Again, that doesn't mean getting rid of all cars, it just means that they'll get a smaller (but more proportionate) share of the resources going forward. That's only a problem if you demand that cars only ever get more resources than anything else.

    The other option, destroying communities by tearing down homes to make more room for cars, was the source of a lot of problems when it was popular, and many cities are only now starting to recover from the damage done decades ago.

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  14. #28
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    Pretty sure I didn't call you a name (and data is not absolute). I actually complemented you. Hmm. Not trying to hurt your feeling, son. I am sorry. You have a different point of view but you have my respect. (Btw, I don't really expect to change your mind. Never did.) I am deliberately provoking a discussion, which is why we are here (to discuss things)?

    Anyway--"tearing down homes?" Yes--cities do that when the population expands. That is why we have tall building in Arlington. It will have to happen. No brainer. They also use to build more road, rail lines, and the like, but developers seem to have some sort of sway over state and local officials. Developers can come in, build property to accommodate thousands more, while not paying taxes to improve our infrastructure. Try swimming with our bikes through a water main break. Oooo, I have to do some pool time today.

    Last edited by VikingMariner; 12-19-2018 at 01:58 PM.

  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    But how do you know that since we never built the bigger roads?
    Because nowhere in the world has it ever been possible. VDOT estimated a few years ago that 66 would need 12 lanes each way to have uncongested travel. Just let that sink in for a minute. Contemplate the almost 350 foot wide expanse of pavement. Consider that this wouldn't actually work, because roads don't scale that well (as you add lanes, the additional capacity per lane decreases due to capacity wasted by lane changes, etc). Shudder to think of the backups at the interchanges. Weep at the mess you'd get when people had collisions in the middle of that monstrosity. "If they'd just build bigger roads" is the plaintive cry of the motorist in traffic but it's a siren call. It's time to stop wasting time hand-wringing about things that provably don't work and time to start trying something new.

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  17. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    Anyway--"tearing down homes?" Yes--cities do that when the population expands. That is why we have tall building in Arlington. It will have to happen. No brainer.
    In most established cities the basic grid doesn't change over the course of (literally) centuries. Individual buildings are replaced, but that doesn't increase the available right of way for transportation. In the middle of the last century people tried a new model and actually did bulldoze block after block to put in big roads. What they found out is that doesn't work because unless you make all the roads wider, there's nowhere for the cars on the big road to go. And since it's become harder to bulldoze blocks full of people you don't think are important enough to keep their homes, it's literally not even work talking about this because it's financially and politically a non-starter. Whether you think that's a good thing or a bad thing is irrelevant, it's a reality that needs to be incorporated into planning.

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