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    Joe R.

    Speed seems to be an evil around Streetsblog in general but that ignores the fact the goods and services cost less if they can be delivered in less time. It also ignores the fact that time is worth something to nearly everyone, so time saved traveling translates into real money.

    Somehow we’ve managed grade separation for cars without the extremes you mention. Note that I said “major roads”, not everywhere. In practice this might mean a 1 mile square grid of viaducts in major urban areas. In NYC that would be perhaps 750 miles of viaducts at most. You can drastically reduce that number by leveraging existing grade separated infrastructure and taking advantage of places where you can run at grade level without intersecting cross streets (i.e. along parks railways, cemetaries, bodies of water). Major roads tend to be places where drivers want to go fast enough that shared space won’t work. They also tend to be places with lots of traffic signals. Traffic signals and stop signs don’t work for bikes. I’ll grant your point that separation does indeed make stopping and queuing a lot more complex but my point is bikes are not cars. There’s a very limited number of times any cyclist can physically start and stop. We’ve allowed bikes on roads since the 1920s with the stipulation they obey the same set of rules as motor traffic. This worked fine back when car speeds were relatively slow, and traffic lights or stop signs were seldom used. Now thanks to community boards and legislators advocating traffic lights or stop signs as “traffic calming devices”, instead of their intended use, legal use of streets by cyclists often requires more stopping than is comfortable, or even possible. The resulting slow average speeds tend to reduce the utility of biking over what it could be. For example, on some streets in NYC you’re lucky to average 6 mph on a bike. Repeatedly stopping and encountering other typical urban obstacles makes cycling more stressful. The more stressful, slow, or energy intensive you make cycling, the fewer people will use it for transportation.

    Being that you’re someone who likes to bike much faster than the Streetsblog “8 mph on a heavy upright bike” I would think you might appreciate my reasoning.



    Laziness and ignorance are very expensive, always have been. But that doesn’t make car ownership for those who are neither expensive. Same goes for a home or condo.

    Anyways… OBD2 requires a scanner. They are cheap now. Cheaper than the ‘engine analyzer’ needed for older cars going back to the beginning of time cost back in the day. These devices (engine analyzers) measure RPM, dwell, volts, amps, etc. F or the really cheap autoparts stores will pull the codes for you for free. When a code isn’t thrown it’s just like old times.

    Modern cars are in many ways easier to work on because the codes give clues. Various makes do different things with regards to documentation, but for Ford the basic OBD2 logic behind each code is published for free on the motorcraft web site. Now with some good software and a laptop all the computer stuff really helps for figuring out more complex stuff. Modern cars are quite amenable to DIY. They’re just different.

    Teenagers and college age kids don’t have any problem flashing their cars with new ‘tunes’. Although the way they whine when they break their cars and rightfully it isn’t covered under warranty is annoying. Spoiled brats who don’t deserve cars made this century let alone new enough to be under warranty if they are going to act like that, but I digress. The fact is they can and do dive deeply into the cars’ computer controls.

    People have the perception they can’t do it, so they can’t. The reality is today’s cars are just different, not impossible, and really easier.



    One way to claim extra space on roads, more so out west, would be to reduce lane widths from 12 feet to 10 feet in towns and cities.


    Cold Shoaler

    outsourcing customer service to a foreign country isn’t a failure because it’s “unskilled”; it’s a failure because it requires cultural literacy and a lot of other social skils that don’t easily flow over a 2000 mile phone line. The customer service people I work with are highly skilled and amazing professionals. It’s insulting to write that they are “unskilled”.



    Oh so now it’s about speed! I thought speed was evil here. Bicycles still need to stop at intersections with separation as it is currently practiced (lanes). Stopping and queuing at intersections is made more complex with separation for bicycles. What do you think a place lime Mumbai would look like with extensive and complex lane arrangements with all the associated stopping and queuing?

    Grade separation for bicycles will either darken streets or require a lot more land area going to roads. The infrastructure costs would require cutting off the wall street just to maintain let alone build. To build you might need to cut out the military and social security too.



    1 & 2 sound like a damn good start.

    3 is not enforced by government, it is threatened by government (as I described in a previous reply)

    You’re using money? Who’s money? Oh the money the government took by threat. How are you achieving your utopia? Through government and having it punish people who don’t go along.



    Government does no such thing. Under the present system none of us really own land. Stop paying the property taxes, the rent, and see who really owns it. Furthermore since the New London decision, any crony who wants our land can just have government take it for them. The government you count on is the same one that has broken just about every if not every treaty it entered into with Native Americans. Some of which were as I understand it, societies not ruled over by a state.

    Democracy… what a silly notion. Rule by mob. This isn’t a democracy. You might have noticed the government routinely ignores the majority. We live under rule by winner of popularity contests that are beholden to certain unmentionable interests.



    I’m here so you can resort to name calling and display the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of your views.



    Congress routinely sells off rights to mine public lands for pennies on the dollar. I’m talking what was a really good deal in the 19th century in numerical dollars is what they pay today. That’s your government. Also government has been regulating the small farmer out of business. They’ve been creating regulations which only the industrial and giant agra-businesses can deal with. But that’s as old as the 1970s, “Get big or get out”. Various food co-ops, organic farmers, raw milk dairies, etc and so forth have been getting raided more and more in the last few years. You might want to pay closer attention to what your government is doing.



    People who owned south Michigan ave mansions were not employees at the stock yards. Anyways, the problem isn’t your universal villain, the automobile. But the first automobile race in the USA in the 19th century did have south Michigan ave as part of the course.



    I own four cars. The oldest one I’ve had for 20 years, the second oldest for 18. I do know what it costs. Unlike you who has to rely on external sources to tell him how much. It’s 10 grand a year for people who buy $40,000 cars every 3 years or live in a $4000/yr mandatory insurance hell like say Boston. But for everyone else, no. But what’s behind the expense? Government. Your tool to deliberately make it cost more.

    If you’re so concerned about poisoning, why don’t you go after pharmaceutical industry? The medical cartel? The industrialized food complex? There are far far higher, by like a factor of a hundred or more there than your made up numbers about cars. Go after a real problem instead of one you imagine based on a view of the world frozen decades ago. You sound like the unemployment office people that still think people have to pound the pavement looking for a job like it was 1937.



    Yes there are always bullies. You give them badges and guns and authority to get away with everything including murder. The authority cult is such a funny thing. You think bullies can protect you from bullies.


    Streetsblog Network

    That’s the one they removed.


    Kevin Love

    You are just so adorable! Now you know more about car ownership costs than AAA.

    Thank you for providing some amusement on a Sunday evening.

    After all, it is a grim world, with car drivers viciously poisoning and killing approximately 1,421 people in New York City every year. We need a little amusement sometimes before we go back to grim reality.



    Gas taxes and other auto fees in Chicago/Cook County make up a substantial part of the city’s and County’s operating budget. To make up the lost revenue property taxes would have to go higher.

    Go ahead and abandon freeways. But understand the cost of replacing the highways and trucking system with new rail will be very expensive. How much more rail will you need to replace the all the trucks on the road? Land acqisition in urban areas for handling depots and distribution centers. Where are these new lines going to be built, who’s property will be taken, and who will pay for all the new infrastructure? In the mean time, the expectation the surburbs will be abandoned as people pour back in the cities. Competition for land driving costs up for everyone, including property taxes. Well now that we don’t have autos, maybe all you folks living in single family homes have too much land with too little house. Next thing we will be told you have too much and it needs to be leveled to build multi family housing. My expectation that everybody is going to have to pay way more and expect to live with way less to get the state of the art train system you expect to have.



    Temporarily there may have been some beneft by Mao and Lenin. However, in the end they brought little to the benefit of vast change except to kill off the intellectual class. Both countries are still lack freedom today accepted by most western societies.


    Kenny Easwaran

    Is it right that the freeway was removed and replaced by that yellow line in the bottom of the image? And they need another high-speed road through the project site too, even though it’s less than half a mile away?


    Joe R.

    Totally agree on that. Despite the FUD spread about range and recharging times, electric cars are suited for at least 99% of the trips people make by car. If more people bought them, the price would be on par or less than gas cars. The operating costs ARE far less. Battery capacities have improved to the point that the range issue is nearly moot (ranges of 200 to 300 miles are possible). What remains of the range issue can be solved via either ultra fast <5 minute recharging or higher capacity batteries which are close to commercially viable.

    That said, for urban use I feel personal vehicles should be both electric and not much larger than a bicycle. E-bikes and e-velomobiles are great urban vehicles. e-cargo bikes would be perfect for running errands which are now done by car.



    I happen to know the specific history of the south side of Chicago: step one was the collapse of the economics of the stockyards (the main source of employment and wealth which had built the area), and step two was deliberate attacks on the area from an extremely racist city government. Really; I don’t say that lightly, the specific actions the city administration of the 20s-50s took for the purposes of creating ghettos were well documented.



    Cambridge and Somerville are also in need of expanded rail service yesterday — though the Green Line Extension is finally happening, after an *over-20-year* delay. The state unfortunately has prioritized outer suburbs.



    “The same people who are proposing improved rail service?” Who would those people be?

    You can cite whatever you wish to cite. I led the fight for 15 years. I know what I’m talking about.



    I’m pretty sure that the people who supported running the I-40 through the passenger rail yard (making it harder to provide rail service) are not the same people who are proposing improved passenger rail service. Citations required if you disagree.



    Money for road construction contractors.



    Rural folks have been voluntarily abandoning the rural areas for well over 200 years. You don’t have to make them do it, they do it voluntarily already.

    Wilderness areas were established mainly to prevent strip-mining, clear-cutting and similar abuses — to stop thefts from the public commons.



    Quite right. Cars are tools.

    Private cars are an excellent tool for driving around empty rural areas.

    Trucks are a great tool for local deliveries to places which don’t get enough volume to justify their own railroad siding.

    Trucks are also a great tool for taking workmen to job sites, and for collecting garbage, and moving furniture.

    Taxis are a great tool for trips in the city which go on uncommon and unpopular routes (where you can’t justify mass transit) or where you need to carry lots of luggage.

    Private cars are an appallingly bad tool for travelling around big cities on a routine basis, and very bad for commuting, too.



    Kevin, all cars should be electric. (Mine is.) Stipulate that, and then what do you think the proper role of cars is?

    I think we still have to end the epidemic of killer drivers committing manslaughter on the streets and getting away with it, of course…



    That’s ahistorical nonsense, Kevin. The British Parliament in 1776 was not remotely democratically elected.

    Britain didn’t really get democracy until 1832 and the Great Reform Act. Britain also didn’t abolish slavery until the 1840s (this is not a coincidence — you are quite right that a democratically elected parliament would abolish slavery).

    The US was definitely the most democratic country in the world from 1789 (Bill of Rights) to roughly 1832 when Britain passed the Great Reform Act. Then we started falling behind — though we gained some ground again when we granted women the vote, well ahead of Britain.



    The Bolshevik Revolution was a VAST improvement over the Tsarist era. VAST. Even Stalin was better than the Tsars.

    Pretty much everyone who lived under both (with the exception of some 0.1%er noblemen) agreed. The Tsars were much, much worse than most people can imagine these days.

    Talk to people who lived through the Great Revolution of the 1920s, and they’ll tell you Mao was a huge improvement on the Dowager Empress Cixi and the foreign occupation zones, too — and an even bigger improvement over the Japanese occupation. (Sun Yat-sen would have been better, certainly, but he couldn’t manage to get the country stabilized before dying.)

    Yes, revolution, a good idea when things are really bad. Both Mao and Lenin were vast improvements on what went before. Did you know that women got the right to vote under Lenin before they got the right to vote in England? Also, contraception was legalized in Russia around 1918, and in the US not fully legalized until the 1970s…

    Hitler didn’t lead a revolution, he led a counter-revolution, it’s quite different.



    Yes, I know you’re a fool, every “property rights” nut is. I’ve heard all your crap before. Why are you still here?



    The biggest problem in post-colonial Africa is that there was a very stupid agreement made for none of the colonial borders to change. Since the colonial borders were stupid, this meant that each country was a stupid mix of different groups in different regions who spoke different languages, and there were always, ALWAYS conflicts between the regions, as one group felt that the other group was oppressing them (usually accurately).

    Where the borders have been redrawn on language and ethnic lines, the countries have mostly settled down nicely.

    I know this idea is not so popular among liberals, but Woodrow Wilson was right to draw national borders based on language and self-identified ethnicity. It gave us decades of peace in Europe for the first time in centuries.



    Look, you fool, there are always bullies, and you need to set up a government to stop the bullies. People like you who don’t understand this are fools.

    A lot of motorists are bullies — speeding, spewing fumes, running people over and getting away with it. This is *exactly* what governments are set up to stop.

    Polite motorists who drive their electric cars at low speeds on city streets and yield to pedestrians are not a problem…. but what’s the last time you met one?



    You’re a fool; enjoy your underground shelter. Meanwhile, we’ll be in our efficient rail-oriented paradise.

    The cost of city streets — which we still need — is *already spread over everyone*, because city streets are paid for by property taxes. *Motorists pay zero extra*, that’s right, nothing, nada, nil, towards city street upkeep.

    The gas taxes and car registration fees and so on are mostly going to expressways and giant intercity roads — things which we do NOT need.



    What do you do when someone decides to take your land and enforce different rules?

    You support government force to support your personal opinions. Yep, you do. You say “buy a few hundred acres of land” — who enforces that so-called “land ownership”? The government! The Native Americans may disagree strongly with your claim of “land ownership”, in fact!

    If you weren’t a big hypocrite, you’d understand that.

    Now, those of us who believe in *democracy* — i.e. not you, since you obviously oppose democracy — understand that if the people of the City of New York decide to vote to ban cars from the City of New York, that is right and proper and democratic as it should be.



    It’s blatantly obvious that serious social problems justify the use of government force to solve them. If you disagree, you have to:
    (1) call for the disbanding of the US military
    (2) call for the disbanding of all police forces nationwide
    (3) call for the abolition of the right to own land (which is enforced by government force)
    In short, you have to be an anarchist to disagree. Are you an anarchist? Do you support the immediate dissolution of the US military and all police forces nationwide? Do you support the abolition of land ownership?

    However, when we propose making cities so you can get around them without a car, please note that *we are not using force*. We are using money.

    If you disapprove of that, you have to be even more of an anarchist. You have to be a socialist anarchist who supports the abolition of money and property. Do you support the abolition of money and property?



    This is why France legislated a 30-hour work week (and dropping), and we should too.



    You have to maintain some road infrastructure. But you only need to maintain the cheap part. Cities were already maintaining paved (*brick*) streets before cars.

    The expensive part: expressways! Those things soak up billions of dollars a year, and frankly we do NOT need to maintain them. Those which can cover their costs with toll revenue can stay, the rest should be abandoned.



    This was the norm for communities rich enough to have regular street sweeping. Yes, the poor always get the short end of the stick.



    I agree, driving sucks.

    The contrast is that back in the 80s very few people thought that driving sucked. Now lots of people think that driving sucks.



    C Monroe: that’s a great example. That’s the big contrast, really, the big change in taste. Young people now prefer East Grand Rapids to Rockford; in the 80s young people preferred Rockford to East Grand Rapids. It’s a big, big, change.



    If you’re buying a house in a small city — for instance, in downtown Auburn NY or downtown Corning NY or next door to the train station in Tarrytown NY — then, yes, you’re doing urban living and driving less. That is more common and popular than it used to be. The sprawlburbs are turning into ghettos.



    Most of New Jersey is infamously unwalkable. It’s actually worse than, for instance, the suburbs of Los Angeles.

    Those housing prices are worth paying attention to: they indicate that there is massive, massive demand for walkable suburbs. Eventually the developers will catch on and will build more walkable suburbs, because that’s where the $$$ are.

    In short, there are a lot of families who want to live downtown, but only the well-to-do can afford it. *The suburbs are the new ghetto*. This is a major trend worth paying attention to.



    There’s a big campaign on Seattle Transit Blog to get developers to build more 3-bedroom and 4-bedroom apartments. It’s pretty obvious why…. families with 1 or 2 kids who want to stay in the city.

    As for schools, the urban-core schools are getting better in most cities, while the suburban schools are degenerating and declining as property values drop. They’re going to trade places in quality soon (already have on some places).



    I have an example of a couple *older* than me who moved to the suburbs of Minneapolis when they got married and had their kid — and then a couple of years later, moved *back downtown* and are *much happier*.

    This is pretty common for one-child couples. Who needs a rambling house in the suburbs? Who needs a yard? Your kid is *isolated* in the countryside. Much

    easier in the big city to find social activity for your *one* kid. As the school districts get better in the urban core and worse in the suburbs, that is no longer an issue either.

    I’m sure that parents who are pumping out 4 or more kids will still generally head for the countryside, but that’s really uncommon these days.



    Bzzzt — wrong. Millenials who have familes are mostly staying in the urban core, if they can afford to stay. They are staying and buying 3-bedroom and 4-bedroom apartments and condos. (The shortage of these means that many couples with kids are forced out of the urban core for economic reasons — but they still TRY to stay.)

    The same is actually true of about half of the GenXers, so the trend is quite clear already.



    I can point out some examples of cities of 5000 where there is an identifiable shift away from driving and towards walking. In such places people still keep their cars, but they don’t use them if they can avoid it; they walk to work if they can.



    It is a stone-cold fact that people in cities with populations as low as 50,000 — or even lower — are shifting away from driving. I live in one such city with a population of roughly 50,000, and there’s been a pretty sharp shift away from driving. It shows up in all the data.

    In these smaller cities, the shift is mostly to walking and bicycles, rather than to buses or trains.



    BlueFairline: sure, of course rural Americans are still driving. But rural areas are depopulating and young Americans are moving to cities — this is actually a trend which has been going continuously for a very, very long time, at least 100 years. As Murphstahoe notes, 80.7% of the US population lives in cities, and it’s *still increasing*.

    Living on farms kind of sucks. In polls, less than 20% of people want to live on farms, and even many of them can’t afford to because farms are not very profitable.
    The “suburbs” are a somewhat more complicated issue, but they’re showing the same trends away from driving as the cities are.



    When did you move away from San Diego? The transit system there has been improving pretty fast.



    Love, tax breaks, joint income, children, NONE of these things have been reason enough to convince me to get married. But this? THIS may have just done it. Can’t even tell you how much I love this engagement photo. Well done!!!


    Joe R.

    I’ve seen videos in places like Mumbai. I’m not sure if “works” is a word I would use to describe it. You can get from point A to point B, but at a staggeringly low average speed. Part of the point of separation isn’t about control, but efficiency. If you separate bikes they don’t need to stop or slow down at intersections. Highways are obviously quite beneficial for making fast trips by car. Urban rail is fast precisely because it goes above or below crowded surface streets.

    By the way, I’m fine with mixed traffic and no controls for “last mile” stuff as you obviously can’t have bike viaducts over every street, just over major ones. Like a lot of other things, it’s a matter of doing the most appropriate thing for the situation.