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

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    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.
    I think obviously not all car owners are furious (most are barely aware of these discussions and policies). What it is clearly referring to, IMO, is that subset who are up in arms about the new policies, and then reframing their rationale. And I think they mean pedestrians should be furious at conditions pedestrians face, not at drivers as a class (note its about pedestrians not cyclists - of course most people are not more than occasional bike riders)

    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's really a different issue. Building more lanes on the beltway doesn't really have much impact on how we allocate space on Seminary Road in Alexandria, or whether DC implements no right turns on red.

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  3. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    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.

    Let me quibble and say it IS more complicated. For example traffic calming by road diet is sometimes favored by drivers who neither walk nor bike - because they live right on an arterial and have a difficult time pulling out of their driveway and turning onto it due to high speeds. Similarly I have seen people who live off the main road divided between those whose local street intersects the arterial without a traffic signal (often pro traffic calming) versus those whose local street interersects with a traffic signal (more often anti traffic calming) because everyone is trying minimize their own travel times and maximize their own comfort. The politics of all these changes can get very granular and very complex. Multimodalism advocates need to be aware of these things in their coalition building.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Let me quibble and say it IS more complicated. For example traffic calming by road diet is sometimes favored by drivers who neither walk nor bike - because they live right on an arterial and have a difficult time pulling out of their driveway and turning onto it due to high speeds. Similarly I have seen people who live off the main road divided between those whose local street intersects the arterial without a traffic signal (often pro traffic calming) versus those whose local street interersects with a traffic signal (more often anti traffic calming) because everyone is trying minimize their own travel times and maximize their own comfort. The politics of all these changes can get very granular and very complex. Multimodalism advocates need to be aware of these things in their coalition building.
    Most of these things have lots of benefits for lots of people! But a driver with the mindset that no space may ever be taken from a road (and that roads should actually be constantly widened) sees any response other than a straightforward "yes, we're going to have to take space away from cars" as a lie to further a hidden agenda. You're absolutely correct that the answer is "yes, but"--but the answer is still yes and it's a mistake to be afraid to say that. Outcomes aren't zero sum, and can be improved for everyone--including drivers, if overall congestion is reduced--but the physical allocation of the existing right of way is zero sum.

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    Good discussion. Carry on.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Most of these things have lots of benefits for lots of people! But a driver with the mindset that no space may ever be taken from a road (and that roads should actually be constantly widened) sees any response other than a straightforward "yes, we're going to have to take space away from cars" as a lie to further a hidden agenda. You're absolutely correct that the answer is "yes, but"--but the answer is still yes and it's a mistake to be afraid to say that. Outcomes aren't zero sum, and can be improved for everyone--including drivers, if overall congestion is reduced--but the physical allocation of the existing right of way is zero sum.

    Mostly. And in the road diet cases I was thinking of in my prior post, definitely. But still there are exceptions. For example when we create new street grids (as FFX is doing in Tysons, as Alexandria will be doing in Potomac Yard) or create new street grid links (as DC is doing at Capitol Crossing and a few other places). Now in those case the "windshield mindset" people you identify tend to still be opposed, because the new general travel lane capacity comes alongside new development, but I still would point out that it IS new capacity available to motor vehicles (though typically the connections are of more value to peds and people on bikes)

    An even more radical idea would be to link up cul de sacs with short connections - not just trail connections, but actual street connections open to motor vehicles. This would add capacity, would take pressure off "traffic sewer" arterials, and generally enable more urbanist solutions in many suburban areas. But it would be costly (even if condemnation were used to acquire the land - fair market value still significant) and would be bitterly opposed by people who paid premiums to live on cul de sacs. So I don't seriously expect it to happen many places. Though it could and should happen in places where a developer is seeking a PUD or waiver - for example I believe there is a location south of Columbia Pike (the Wellington or Dominion Towers?) where a building is going to be adding units, and Arlington has asked to open up a through street as part of the PUD.

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    And, in his inimitable way, Bike Snob NYC weighs in:

    To Create a Truly Great City, We Have to Ban the Car

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    Yes--dream the dream. Sounds like it will happen, right? America--freedom by banning sh@t the majority of people use. Very feasible and sensible.

    Last edited by VikingMariner; 12-20-2018 at 11:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    Yes--dream the dream. Sounds like it will happen, right? America--freedom by banning sh@t the majority of people use. Very feasible and sensible.

    I am interested in the alternative reality where the majority of people drive into Manhattan. Even more interesting would be an alternative reality where people read articles rather than commenting based on titles.

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    My dream is to have a network of bike trails throughout the entire region that keep me away from cars (and the less viscous forms of pollution) since "protected" bike lanes is a failed concept from day one. My dream also includes pedestrian sidewalks next to the trails to separate them from faster traffic associated with bikes. The trails would have safe exits away from major road arteries and highways. Ain't got time to play Don Quixote with cars, son. Bikes are a fundamentally different form of transportation than walking or driving in a big metal box. I also want bridges/tunnels over/under every major artery. Inside the city, elevated or underground tracks that have no cars are part of my dream. Declare war on a majority of transportation users is more of a nightmare or pissing into the wind than a dream. I dream of paths that accommodate four riders across in at least one direction and are well-lit at night, with coffee shops along the way. I want that dream to come true, not the dream you speak of, sir. I have no desire to muck the lives of other people in pursuit of my dream. The market place will soon kill the combustion engine anyway. I have no interest in those critical-mass power plays against strangers. I believe my dream is more feasible and expedient than declaring war on the majority's way of life. The mature approach is to get motorists to be our allies for funding these dreams. My dream makes it possible to recruit the majority to our way of thinking. Everybody lay down your weapons and pick up some flowers to give to the opposition. Think big. Bigger than a tiny bike rack taking up one stupid parking space in downtown Vienna that turned some people against cyclist advocacy.



    Seriously, what is the objective here? Acting out because you hate cars, or getting better cycling infrastructure that encourages more people to ride or respect cyclists on the road?
    Last edited by VikingMariner; 12-20-2018 at 12:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    Anyway--I'm just stirring the pot a little (not trolling...not yet). Not singling anyone out. Please take no offense.
    Using offensive language in your posts isn't helping your cause. Please stop.

    Also, your reading of the article seems to be colored by your bias. For example, you wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    "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.
    You see there how you inserted the "at each other" into the argument? That's not in the article.

    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    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.
    I would just add that we *could* increase the amount of space we dedicate to transportation, but doing so would be expensive. We'd have to tear down homes, destroy parks, impact rivers, tunnel underground (which, ps, is not at all a new idea, even with Elon's name behind it), or build above, all of which has HUGE costs. It's not exactly zero sum -- we could raise taxes and spend tons of money -- but it's a lot like zero sum. And when location is important (i.e. curb space right in front of a school), then yes, it is exactly zero sum.

    Quote Originally Posted by VikingMariner View Post
    My dream is to have a network of bike trails throughout the entire region that keep me away from cars (and the less viscous forms of pollution) since "protected" bike lanes is a failed concept from day one. My dream also includes pedestrian sidewalks next to the trails to separate them from faster traffic associated with bikes. The trails would have safe exits away from major road arteries and highways. Ain't got time to play Don Quixote with cars, son. Bikes are a fundamentally different form of transportation than walking or driving in a big metal box. I also want bridges/tunnels over/under every major artery. Inside the city, elevated or underground tracks that have no cars are part of my dream. Declare war on a majority of transportation users is more of a nightmare or pissing into the wind. I dream of paths that accommodate four riders across in at least one direction and are well-lighted at night, with coffee shops along the way. I want that dream to come true, not the dream you speak of, sir. I have no desire to muck the lives of other people in pursuit of my dream. The market place will soon kill the combustion engine anyway. I have no interest in those critical-mass power plays against strangers. I believe my dream is more feasible and expedient than declaring war on the majority's way of life. My dream makes it possible to recruit the majority to our way of thinking. Everybody lay down your weapons and pick up some flowers to give to the opposition.

    Have you been to Rosemary Beach, Florida (yes, Florida)? The trails aren't super wide, and they don't have over/underpasses, but there are basically two "street" grids - one for cars and one for people walking and biking. Houses generally sit between a car-street and a bike/ped-path. It's a very pleasant way to live, and telling that a ritzy planned community made those choices. As a result, almost all rentals come with cruiser bikes, and all retail had ample bike parking. With one big run to the grocery store (not in the town or nicely bike accessible) at the beginning of the week, you could go a week without driving.

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