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    Penn Avenue downtown Pittsburgh



    Broadway in Seattle! Streetcar AND cycletrack AND new plazas in a highly complex corridor that knits several distinct neighborhoods.


    Tanya Snyder

    I’m not sure the “customer” analogy works. If I don’t like a restaurant’s food, I can stop going to that restaurant. But if I don’t like a highway project planned for the other side of the state, it’s not like I’m going to stop driving to boycott it. Like it or not, these decisions are made through the political process, not the free market.



    Taxing me for driving on a local road to pay for a commuter rail project in Utah is no worse than using the money to widen a highway on the same corridor. Breaking funding up by ‘mode’ is illogical and no better than what exists today. There is no good user based system now, and there never was. Tolls were infeasible when the interstate system was born. They aren’t anymore. In addition they can greatly increase capacity of each lane mile of highway by varying tolls over the course of the day to smooth out the demand curve.



    My children grew up in the third generation of a one-car family. Like my parents, I settled in a walkable neighborhood near rail and bus transit. I told my husband before we bought our house that teenagers are much more independent and happier when they do not have to be driven everywhere. Even better, we did not have to worry that a drunk or distracted 17 year old was driving one of our children somewhere. My kids are such transit fans that anything less than a NY or DC level of service seems archaic to them.


    C Monroe

    Remind me not to go to the Hill comment section….Wow! Found where the angry members of the tea party hang out.



    In addition, it’s important to note that people deciding to live in even moderately walkable places is a huge part of what’s furthering the decline of two-car households. There are lots of at least moderately or very walkable places that are not crazy expensive. The article cites the example of the couple living 1.5 miles from central Lawrence, Kansas.

    And re: those places that are more expensive, more gentrified neighborhoods, some couples may be finding when they’re not spending all that extra money on maintaining dual two-car driving-everywhere lifestyles they can actually afford more expensive housing costs the less they drive.


    Kenny Easwaran

    That’s really strange. I had to click through to find that figure on p. 12 of their report. It doesn’t seem to work well with the numbers indicated in the chart here, which indicate a decreasing total number of cars (surely with an increasing total number of people). Also, it’s really hard for me to understand a scenario in which there are more household-owned cars than people. Maybe they’re counting corporate fleets as well as personal cars? It’s also possible that that chart just uses a very naive prediction (it seems to be linear after the present) while the one focused on in this post is more sophisticated.


    Kenny Easwaran

    Zipcar, Uber, and bikeshare are available in far more places than just “gentrified urban neighborhoods” already. In particular, you can find them around a lot of universities. I just zoomed in on Zipcar’s offerings in Texas, and while I can’t find any around Texas A&M in Bryan/College Station, they do exist around UT-San Marcos, and Baylor University in Waco, in addition to the obvious parts of Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, etc. And all of these services are still expanding. Surely the plan right now is to get college kids hooked, and then over the next few years use them as a target audience to figure out which neighborhoods to expand to.


    Anne Mallin

    You’re a rock star, my brother.


    Anne Mallin

    A friend is the alarm maint. person for ChinaWall-mart stores.
    He said they were almost empty Friday……….nobody wants Chinese made crap anymore he said, especially now the businessmen will be manufacturing in Africa for CHEAPER labor, (min. wage went up in Asia) but goods may be infected with Ebola virus. (omg)

    Make sure you buy only from owners who are local and/or American citizen companies to support labor here!
    Smithfield Hams is now owned by China, chickens..etc. fed plastics and garbage.
    Support your local farmers and local fabrics….get a seamstress if needed.
    Toxic UN-Godly Asians selling toxic shi_ to make their ALMIGHTY dollar.

    We are holy in the eyes of Jesus. Depend on Him ,you holy brothers and sisters. God said– – read Psalm 37:25 – - He will never allow his children to be begging for food , nor forsaken.
    God bless all reading this and the word of the Lord stands forever….within you He will dwell….in Jesus’ precious name alone.


    Wilmer Cook

    The highway trust fund has expenses for various purposes. Meanwhile it is largely funded with a fixed per gallon fuel tax in the face of irresponsible monetary policy.

    The system should be reformed by going towards a user based system, not away from it. Each mode’s customers paying for it. This serves to hold people accountable. Only customers can hold people accountable. The best way is through spending. Someone who is vaguely taxed for a variety of services cannot control where his money goes. The political class then decides. By going further away from a user based system, the politicial system becomes less accountable to people. They may divide the plunder as they see fit and take from those with the least organized political power, or the most numerous who will not see a reason to fight back against what is individually only a small increase in tribute.

    Some may think greater political control may benefit them. It may, until it does not.



    Polk Street contraflow bike lane or Haight Street contraflow bus lane in San Francisco.


    Clicks and Clients

    Hi! Just wanted to drop you a line that we cited some info and linked to you all on our blog post about the Parkway:



    I might say something like “Thanks for stating the obvious, Eno” but the truth is that very few recognize that the King has no clothes. Thus, someone has to say it — over and over, again; thanks, Eno, for putting pen to paper on the topic.

    Yes, the Highway Trust Fund has *already* become obsolete. It is insolvent and sucking lifeblood from other funds to extend its miserable life, all the while weakening its parasitic hosts (cities, states, and regions).

    Yes, we have arbitrary formulas at the state and federal levels that result in severe mis-alignment of resources with the goals they are intended to advance.

    Yes, so-called user pays is nothing but smoke and mirrors — a scam of massive proportion that makes Madoff look like a petty thief.

    Yes, our existing funding mechanisms and constraints mimic insanity by requiring the same actions be repeated over and over despite expectations of different outcomes. If you keep doin’ what you’ve been doin’, you’ll keep gettin’ what you’ve been gettin’, which is OK when you’re getting good things, but insane when you’re you’re getting bad ones.

    “Prioritizing projects? Goal alignment? Focusing on accountability for outcomes? Using gas tax to fund non-drivers? The audacity of those ant-car, anti-highway, 20-something, fixie-riding hipsters that have no idea how important our road network is.

    Let’s just keep the cash flowing to the road industry while we argue some more about it. What’s that? It’s more than hipsters calling for change? Well, I don’t hear them – my campaign account audibly dings every time someone makes a contribution, so I would know if anyone was calling for change in the way things work ’round here.

    Follow the money? Why, that would be like watching a dog chase its tail.”


    Phantom Commuter

    What about the other 99% who don’t live in gentrified urban neighborhoods ?



    Downtown Pittsburgh’s protected bike lane.


    Alex Brideau III

    I’ll be interested to see to what extent that trend continues into the future. In my case, as my daughter started elementary school we stayed in the city center, sold one of our cars, and we’re not alone.


    Tim McCann

    The Green Line corridor runs largely along Wisconsin Avenue and Bluemound Road before turning toward Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, while the Red Line corridor runs largely along Canal Street, National Avenue and Greenfield Avenue. The map doesn’t really show it, but the proposed routes would be a few blocks north and a few blocks south of I-94.



    It’s not the planners so much as the politicians and engineers.



    But people even circle the parking lot for a spot really close to the entrance to the gym where they’re going to work out for 2 hours. It’s not just that they aren’t physically able to walk in their daily routine, it’s that we’ve built an environment where it’s not normalized.



    “What really matters to drivers is how many parking spaces are within one minute walking distance from the store’s doors, and that number of parking is strictly limited by geometry”

    Well obviously you can “beat” geometry by adding a 3rd axis there and building structured parking, although yes, even with 3 dimensions you hit that 1-minute walk wall. Next step is to pack cars closer together with mechanized lifts. This is popular in Japan and not unheard-of in Manhattan. Tourists like to take photos of one of from the High Line.



    Of course it’s hard to speak for every member of a generation but the interesting thing is that in general even the oldest millennials (roughly those born around 1980 making them 35 next year) with kids still seem to be staying in more walkable environments at higher rates than did the 35 year olds of the 80s (Boomers) when the car-centric very unwalkable exurbs exploded.

    Sure, not every millennial who currently lives here:

    Will continue to live there once they start a family (though some will). But that doesn’t mean the only other choice is this:

    Many will end up picking one of the many many in-between choices, such as a single-family home in a walkable small town or a rowhouse in an inner suburb or even a new townhouse in a “retrofitting suburbia” development, as was done with Denver suburb Lakewood’s mall:

    Lakewood is still a suburb, but this part is a much more walkable one. Most people there probably still have a car, but if you live in an environment like that you may find over time you don’t need that extra car so often or at all.

    That’s what’s driving this trend.

    Boomers are doing it, too. As they approach retirement not as many Boomers appear to be idealizing this lifestyle as did their parents:

    More are going to be choosing places where they can do this at least part of the time:

    If grandma and grandpa can bike or walk to get around for daily things they may decide they can just share one car and use it rarely, just as many of their millennial children and grandchildren are doing.

    Of course, some never left their walkable environments in the first place:



    WisDOT shouldn’t spend another dime on those highway expansion proposals until it has also included something like this.



    going back 100 some years, every generation has moved out of cities after they got a little older and started to have families. if not outside the city limits, then outside the city core since 100 years ago the political boundaries of a lot of cities had lots of farm and rural land



    According to this document, KPMG predicts that there will be more than 1,000 vehicles owned per 1,000 people in the year 2030 in the US. That is an increase of about 100 cars per 1,000 people from today. This estimate goes against every other piece of data I’ve seen about millennial and baby boomer transportation habits and the increase in bicycle commuting.



    Why wouldn’t State Fair Park and Miller Field be huge Park and Ride facilities, since they both already have bus connections? They have thousands of spots that sit empty for a majority of they year and direct highway access. Not to mention tax payers paid for Miller Field so the least they should get is access to parking spaces that are unused most of the time.



    Trader Joe’s is an interesting case study in general…their smaller store sizes allow them smaller parking lots, too. In addition, TJ’s clientele tends to buy smaller amounts of food more often–meaning many of its customers can get away with carrying home what they bought that day in a bag or backpack. Pairs well with walking or biking.

    When I lived in Silver Lake (central neighborhood of Los Angeles) I avoided that TJ’s parking lot like the plague and usually just walked the 15 minutes. I noticed a lot of other neighborhood residents did the same, too. Lots of people bike there, too:
    “Take a look at the two photos below, which I snapped yesterday, a cold and grey Tuesday, between 10:00 and 10:30 in the morning. There were hardly any cars on the roads…but there were bicycles parked at the private racks in the parking lot of the Trader Joes on Hyperion”

    Part of the appeal, too, is that as you can see the store comes right up to the sidewalk, encouraging pedestrianism. The more standard supermarket across the street (Gelson’s) is a bigger box back-of-lot affair and has a more typical pattern in that more people seem to drive to it. It also has a much bigger parking lot which of course further encourages driving.

    This shows how even on the same block a couple differences in setup design can greatly influence how many people walk.



    Living above a Walmart would also make the standard less-than-4-hour retail shift more palatable. I know many people who commute up to an hour to their 4 hour retail shift.


    Cameron Puetz

    What are the approximate north/south locations of the two lines? The diagrammatic map doesn’t really show where the proposed lines are relative to other parts of the city.



    My Trader Joes has a tiny parking lot. Even on the Monday before Thanksgiving, people would going nuts trying to finding parking in the small lot.


    Dan Sullivan

    A lot of the stores with empty lots are basically unsuccessful stores. Target is not really a great source of low prices, and K-Mart is nearly on life support. WalMart is the king of Black Friday retailers, and only at their Super-Stores.

    The bigger question for me is whether we would even have all this Black-Friday silliness if there were less parking – and whether we would even have these big-box monstrosities. Stores would offer sales more often (or not at all), designed only to fill what would be smaller lots, and we would do our shopping in a more rational, even-handed way. (Trader Joe’s does not have sales, and Black Friday is their slowest day of the year.)

    Meanwhile, if we taxed the value of land in a way that is analogous to Donald Shoup’s proposal to charge market rates for public parking, small shops would be far more competitive than big-box stores, and Black Friday would be just another day.



    Real rapid transit? Wow!


    Michael Eric Dale

    And again the reason there were no significant developments at that time was the sewer moratorium that was resolved at about the same time as 459 opened. Why would a beltline have been required for neighborhoods to develop along 280? I worked at an architectural firm that was designing a mall for the Collonade property in 1974. Would there have been a developer seeking to build a mall where there were no people? Certainly not. There were already people in neighborhoods that adjoined 459 in Irondale, Mountain Brook, Altadena, and Hoover.

    By contrast, what development is being considered in the area where I 422 will adjoin I 65? None, you say? Where are the people today in relation to an expanded I 65 that has been in place for 15 years? There is great access to the north county and soon there will be direct access to the northwest. Why have developers not followed? Because people, in general, are not and have not been interested in the area.



    Three years ago we went to a single-car household. My wife took a new job two blocks from our home, we bought a used scooter, and have a transit pass. We also have bikes, but primarily for recreation and short trips to the store.



    A conservative friend of mine who lives in the Detroit metro was complaining about the state of Michigan’s roads. I told him about how many states, Michigan included, tend to spend far more money on road expansion while neglecting road maintenance and that the way federal transportation funding works is a big part of that. I then noted this ridiculous plan to widen I-94 and how it’s a waste of funds and that it would involve eminent domain.

    My conservative friend’s response: “Yeah, but a lot of people use I-94.” I would really like to know what an otherwise anti-big government, anti-spending, anti-eminent domain conservative thinks spend $2.7 billion on an unnecessary highway expansion is OK because, “a lot of people” use it. The cognitive dissonance is astounding.



    We’ve been a two-car household since we got married almost five years ago. We are in the process of selling one of ours now that I can use transit/bike to get to work. It’ll be a great feeling when it sells!



    Otherwise known as the family car share


    Angie Schmitt

    Yeah I have flirted with selling my car for years, but my family was horrified about it. The car was paid off and not costing me a lot so I hung onto it for a long time, but I just unloaded it and now we just have one car. So far it’s been NBD. Part of the reason it works is because I telecommute, we both bike a ton and Cleveland recently got Uber.



    we had two cars – one relatively new family car (for spouse’s job and to get out of the city on the weekends), and a beater that I only used to take the kid to preschool in the mornings (I left it there and rode my bike the rest of the way). The beater was stolen a month ago… so we’ve been riding the bus to preschool and it’s actually not that bad – it’s a short walk to the stop (for a bus with 5-7 minute headways), we do have to transfer, but we have a choice of three different buses that takes us right there – there are usually other kids on the first bus because it passes by two elementary schools on the way to a major transit hub – plus, the school is near a bikeshare station, so I just hop on one of those and ride to work (I can take the subway if the weather is really bad).

    Have been thinking about getting another car, but it would just sit on the street most of the time – I’m thinking a better investment would be a zipcar membership – since there are a few of those around the corner too… I’m in no rush – especially as winter is looming. digging out one car that is in our one off-street spot is going to be a lot easier.



    We have about 3 generations of people who (mostly, with the exception of some urban dwellers) have never known a world where a car wasn’t absolutely necessary. It seems so weird until I head out into the ‘burbs and am reminded.



    We’ve lived in car-centric suburbia most of our adult lives. It all changes in just over 12 months. We will move to an area that is more connected and walk and ride bikes as much as possible. We plan to go to one car first and then, once we’ve adjusted, to zero cars. We’re already looking at adding a cargo bike to our growing fleet. We’re going to put a bike rack in the garage and use the extra space to work on bikes for all the other folks who will be joining us once they figure out what the’re missing. :)



    I got into walking/using transit, now-peering-into-biking the same way. First it was cost/I don’t enjoy driving that led me to live in a place where I can take transit a lot, which led to getting rid of the car and only taking transit, which led to living in places where I can take transit and now am easing into biking. And now I’d only consider living somewhere where I have those options.

    I don’t think for most people it’s a sudden, 100% switch. But the great thing about bike share and car share is that they give the opportunity for someone to be a “fair-weather” biker or transit taker until they get more and more hooked on those options (and less and less fair-weather about it). Many who are used to driving just don’t even have a sense of what they can do under their own power (hence when I lived near Navy Pier, I switched to saying it was “a 15 or 20 minute walk away” versus “a mile” because when I said a mile, people seemed to think it wasn’t reachable on foot). As you do more and more human-powered transit, you realize there’s more you can do.

    And my family is the same My husband and I just finished our training and I can’t tell you how many times they asked what car we were going to buy when we were done, expecting a splurge on some luxury vehicle. They can’t get the idea that the answer is “none.”



    Good post. I’d add that there is also a mentality that supposes that people are biking for pleasure, not to actually get somewhere, since biking in North America is much more seen as a recreational sport rather than a full-fledged mode of transport used to get somewhere. I’ve often seen drivers argue against bike lanes or other bike amenities saying that the road should prioritize “workers” and not cyclists… as if no one ever got to work on a bike.



    Instead, you have workers who pay more for their transportation than their housing, and if they can’t afford it, they’ll lose their jobs. But hey, at least they get free parking!


    Joe R.

    The sad part here is we’ve become such a nation of coach potatoes that walking for more than a minute is considered a burden. We’ve focused solely on diet as the cause of obesity when the real cause, automotive dependency, is staring us right in the face.

    Your last point is valid also. Especially in large cities, accommodating cars vastly increases the delays to cyclists and pedestrians because you need traffic signals which otherwise wouldn’t be needed. If we counted the cumulative delay to all users, we might conclude we’re betting off not going out of our way to meet the needs of drivers.

    Sadly, the rationale for only counting driver’s time stems from people’s attitudes. I’ve even had this discussion with people. For example, I was once talking to a family member who was pissed off when cyclists take the lane and force them to go slower. I explained that cyclists take the lane when the road is too narrow for motor vehicles to safely pass them. They asked why couldn’t the cyclist just pull over into the parking lane and wait until the cars behind them passed? My answer was why do you think a cyclist should be forced to do that-namely incur unnecessary delay just so drivers can save seconds, if that (or most likely just end up at the next red light faster)? Is their time less valuable than a driver’s time? Their answer was yes. They felt if the cyclist valued their time, they would choose a faster mode, like driving. That seems to be a prevalent attitude here in the US. A lot of people here think if someone walks or bikes, then they’re in no big hurry, so it’s perfectly OK to delay them so drivers can get where they’re going faster.


    Marven Norman

    Shared use paths” usually leave much to be desired and should be avoided. If significant pedestrian traffic is expected, it’s best to provide a facility for them that is separate from bikes.


    Joe R.

    Other than the dock half their pay part, that’s not a horrible idea so long as living in worker housing isn’t mandatory. Why not put some apartments above a Walmart (decent apartments, not 200 square foot closets), and then allow any worker who wants to live in them to do so for free? The cost to Walmart would probably be very little when you account for the fact that it’s a legitimate business expense, and you’ll have a more reliable work force if some workers live on site. Moreover, the workers wouldn’t need cars, at least for commuting or shopping. Walmart pays their workers so little most probably have nothing left over after paying for housing, food, and transportation. Free housing would be a nice perk which would let them get ahead.

    I know company housing got a bad rap, but that was primarily because it was both mandatory and charged for at an exorbitant rate.



    Boy, some people still don’t get it. If every cent of any tax (gas, cigs, liquor etc) went where it was supposed to go, we wouldn’t be in the place we are now. Until we stop politicians (dems and repubs) from raiding coffers and spending money however they want, we will continue to lose money from our paychecks until we have nothing left. Social security should not be broke, politicians took that money and spent it. Mark my words, if we continue down the path we are on now, our paycheck is going to go to the government, and they will determine how much we need to spend, save and invest. Then they will issue us a credit on a debit card. You can say I’m crazy if you want, but you watch and see if I’m wrong.



    We started out as a one-car household because I have a car-free commute in Chicago. I started on public transit, then switched to biking, and now have a few personal bikes, bikeshare membership, and zipcar membership. My partner has also started biking more and occasionally walking to work too. What started out as convenience and saving $$ for our household is now a conscious decision to maintain a low-car lifestyle and will impact future places we live or future career moves.

    Hilariously, my small-town, Midwestern family is ever-convinced that I’ll need a car and offer to sell me an older family one every few years. They seem to be more at home sitting in gridlock on an expressway than pedaling through unobstructed bike lanes! Truthfully, I think there IS a generational shift happening as well, and I’m excited to see many of my fellow millennials eschewing the “need” to have a car.