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  1.  

    Alicia

    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

    Huh? Why would they make a comparison between Cixi and Mao? There were at least three heads of state between Cixi and Mao. Cixi died in 1908, and her adopted son was the last emperor of China, and then after that, Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-Shek.

    Mao deposed Chiang Kai Shek, not Emperess Cixi.

  2.  

    Alicia

    PS: Asbestos use ended many years ago.

    So did lead paint, but it’s still present in older housing units. That’s why you brought up lead and why Kevin brought up asbestos.

  3.  

    Bikedude14

    Interesting LA Times article. Perhaps they could use some additional information. They could read Peter Norton’s book “Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City”. Who was it that started the war on people walking and biking? (Car companies and automobile organizations?). While they are at it maybe they can read Todd Litman’s work about sustainable transportation and TDM. Complete streets work better for all modes of transportation.

  4.  

    andrelot

    The old highway was congested, needed increased capacity and that couldn’t be provided at the current site, realisticially. They rebuilt it southwards, opening space that was once used by the old I-40.

  5.  

    andrelot

    Yes, I-40 was relocated south on what appears as a thick yellow line on the map above. Relocation was completed in 2012.

  6.  

    AAA is crap

    That’s the price for a typical new sedan, not what people pay. Also,

    1) You buy a new car every five years.
    2) Even though you know you will sell the car, you buy the extended warranty.
    3) You accept the dealer’s trade-in price (which is very low generally).
    4) Even though you know you are going to sell it to the dealer for no money, you go ahead and put on a new set of tires right before doing so.
    5) You buy insurance with really low deductibles.
    6) Because on average you have a 2.5 year old car, your annual car tax and your insurance are very high (in most states, the taxes are based on the value of the car).
    7) And you finance the car @ non-deductible 6% interest. It should be noted that most car loans are 3-5 years. So if you kept a car after it was paid off… this cost would go away.

  7.  

    Joe R.

    Yes, exactly. I honestly think starting families fell out as the most desired life path even back when I was young in the early 1980s. A lot of people I graduated with didn’t get married until their late 30s. Some had children, some didn’t. Some, like me, never married or had children.

    Living with a bunch of friends in a big apartment or house actually could be a decent lifetime arrangement if you all get along. As you said, even if one or more of the couples have kids, why not just add the kid to the mix? Really, this living arrangement is analogous to small groups of people living in a village-an arrangement which was worked well for millenia. For social and other reasons, humans should be in groups. Living alone breeds mental issues and depression.

  8.  

    Kevin Love

    Huh? Every member of the House of Commons was democratically elected. The problem addressed by the Reform Act was that the Industrial Revolution caused population movements that resulted in electoral ridings being of unequal population. Sometimes the imbalances were quite extreme, such as in the exploding populations of new industrial cities like Manchester.

    But even in the most grossly under-represented new industrial cities the people still got to vote for members of parliament, unlike Washington, DC today.

    Women in the UK were granted the vote in 1918 and in the USA in 1920. And, of course, the Jim Crow laws preventing black people from voting were only overthrown with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    As a practical matter, people like Thomas Jefferson derived not only wealth but sexual gratification from the institution of slavery. A powerful motive to stand up for US independence to thwart the abolitionist movement in parliament.

  9.  

    Joe R.

    “Relatively unskilled” doesn’t mean “unskilled”. I’ll grant that some types of customer service require skilled professionals. I’ve worked with such people representing electronic parts suppliers, for example. My point is the bean counters attempted (with laughably bad results) to turn a job requiring at least a modicum of cultural literacy/social skills into an unskilled job which is done with a “cheat sheet”. I’ve known some people in my field (electrical engineering) who had legendary failures when they tried to outsource something more skilled like engineering.

    You’ve probably already seen these, but they’re worth watching again:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY2l86m02d4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay6dAztXI98

  10.  

    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.

  11.  

    oooBooo

    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.

  12.  

    Ralph

    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.

  13.  

    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”.

  14.  

    oooBooo

    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.

  15.  

    oooBooo

    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.

  16.  

    oooBooo

    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.

  17.  

    oooBooo

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

  18.  

    oooBooo

    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.

  19.  

    oooBooo

    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.

  20.  

    oooBooo

    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.

  21.  

    oooBooo

    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.

  22.  

    Streetsblog Network

    That’s the one they removed.

  23.  

    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.

  24.  

    Wewilliewinkleman

    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.

  25.  

    Wewilliewinkleman

    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.

  26.  

    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?

  27.  

    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.

  28.  

    neroden

    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.

  29.  

    neroden

    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.

  30.  

    GTElmore

    “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.

  31.  

    neroden

    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.

  32.  

    neroden

    Money for road construction contractors.

  33.  

    neroden

    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.

  34.  

    neroden

    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.

  35.  

    neroden

    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…

  36.  

    neroden

    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.

  37.  

    neroden

    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.

  38.  

    neroden

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

  39.  

    neroden

    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.

  40.  

    neroden

    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?

  41.  

    neroden

    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.

  42.  

    neroden

    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.

  43.  

    neroden

    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?

  44.  

    neroden

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

  45.  

    neroden

    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.

  46.  

    neroden

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

  47.  

    neroden

    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.

  48.  

    neroden

    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.

  49.  

    neroden

    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.

  50.  

    neroden

    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.