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Car-Free Day


Steven_Draker
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Today was our traditional autumnal car-free day, that encourages motorists to give up their cars for a day. It's a biannual event here.

 

I love that day because it allows folks to get out and about on a sunny (luckily for us) Sunday and use their bikes, rollers, skateboards, electric scooters, pousse pousse ... Many turn the day into a big street party.

 

Do you have a car-free day in your region or city?

 

http://www.geo.fr/var/geo/storage/images/media/images/rubrique-geo-infos/images-une-actu-une-question/journee-sans-voiture/330628-1-fre-FR/journee-sans-voiture_940x705.jpg

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Yeah, not sure how that would go over in Texas, Lol. When I first moved to the state, I was living in Midland, and lived in an apartment complex where people would drive from their apartments to the communal mailboxes, which were in the middle of the complex... about a 3 minute walk from even the most remote apartment....QUOTE]

 

http://i681.photobucket.com/albums/vv177/gixxergirlK8/Stuff/1_09_02_09_12_11_15-1.jpg

 

http://cdn-www.i-am-bored.com/media/scooters-walmart-gatorade.jpg

 

Huh? Light rail?

 

http://gifshost.com/1236337872_fat_guy_shooting_his_gun.gif

Liberal, born and raised in Maryland, proud member of pink pistols!

Ignore list: WilliamM

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Stopping by McDonald's before going hunting...

 

http://performancecarmagazine.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/FPS-Russia-drive-thru.jpg

 

http://cdn.thatsnerdalicious.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/113-e1338969007680.jpg?313ab3

Liberal, born and raised in Maryland, proud member of pink pistols!

Ignore list: WilliamM

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I haven't owned a car for nearly three decades, since moving to San Francisco. A car really isn't necessary if you live and work in San Francisco, even though many people I know here still own cars. I do appreciate my friends with cars when I need a special errand done, but it isn't like that happens regularly. I just regularly get around on foot and, on occasion, on public transportation. One of the reasons I moved to San Francisco is that I find driving stressful and I wanted to live in an urban environment where I wouldn't need a car.

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I haven't owned a car for nearly three decades, since moving to San Francisco. A car really isn't necessary if you live and work in San Francisco, even though many people I know here still own cars. I do appreciate my friends with cars when I need a special errand done, but it isn't like that happens regularly. I just regularly get around on foot and, on occasion, on public transportation. One of the reasons I moved to San Francisco is that I find driving stressful and I wanted to live in an urban environment where I wouldn't need a car.

 

There's a lot to be said for living without a car when you can get away with it. I did it for a decade. Living in northern NJ (NYC area) and then in Chicago, it was actually easy to do. (And in those days I spent more nights in hotels than at home so a car would have spent most of its time parked at the airport!)

 

When I first moved to the LA suburbs I *tried* to live without a car. I rode a bike to work every day for 8 months. (My butt never looked better!) But I gave up.

 

These days I couldn't get away with it. I checked into mass transit options for my daily commute and it would take me four hours each way. Not gonna do it.

 

But I do miss those days when I didn't have a car payment, license, registration, taxes, maintenance, and insurance. They eat a lot more of your life than most people realize.

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Sadly LA used to have a fairly decent public transportation system that could have easily been expanded as LA began to spread out.

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr38/4573672258/

 

You can thank the oil companies for killing that idea and forcing SoCal into our cars, and convincing the population, that was the future of California. Manisoma is spot on about the Bay Area.

 

http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/rush-hour-los-angeles-2131881.jpg

the greatest beauty is

Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things,

the divine beauty of the universe.

Love that, not man apart from that,

or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,

or drown in despair when his days darken."

 

- Robinson Jeffers

 

B e l i e v e

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I would love to live in a city with a strong mass transit program so I wouldn't have to drive. While I love the flexibility of going where I want on the weekend, it would sure be nice to be able to do something a little more productive during the morning commute. I expect that it would also force me to leave the office on a regular schedule!

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I have lived in NYC since 1987. The last thing I did before leaving for the airport on the day of my move from Ohio was selling my car. One of the things I really like about living in NYC is not having a car. I spend less than $100 a month on transportation - probably not enough enough to pay for a month of gasoline for a car.

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Sadly LA used to have a fairly decent public transportation system that could have easily been expanded as LA began to spread out. ...

 

It still does:

 

http://media.metro.net/riding_metro/maps/images/system_map.gif

 

However, to deej's point,the metropolitan area has become spread out and people live so far from their jobs that public transportation is often not practical. Many of my downtown LA based coworkers take Metro and/or Metrolink (commuter rail). Some, but not as many, Montebello-based people also take Metro, but their trips end up being a lot longer. Still, it beats sitting on the 10 or 60 west during rush hour.

 

If San Diego reconfigures the BRT route, I could easily take it to my job. The current configuration makes it impractical: my ten minute drive would require 90 minutes on BRT and local routes. (I am not making that up). On weekends my car often does not move. I'm three blocks from a grocery and pharmacy and a short walk t all manner of restaurants and coffee shops. Two bus lines stop within a few blocks from me and the BRT to downtown is less than a mile away. If only I worked downtown...

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However, to deej's point,the metropolitan area has become spread out and people live so far from their jobs that public transportation is often not practical.

 

Exactly. I wish I did work downtown. I live a mile away from a Metrolink station. Downtown would be an easy commute.

 

But once I get downtown, I'd need to take the red line to the blue line to the green line and HOPE I get to the green line station in time to catch the company-provided shuttle. I looked into taking an express bus line but that would actually take longer.

 

I dealt with NYC's hub & spoke commuter system. No problem. Chicago is a piece of cake. I know how to commute. In LA it's tough.

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sorry to resurrect a whiny pet peeve I mentioned several weeks ago, but I'm wondering, Steven, if it's common for drivers in Belgium (or anywhere outside the US!) to just sit in their vehicles in a parking lot on entirely pleasant days with the windows rolled up and engine turned on for more than a few minutes.....this now-common habit really bugs me....waste of gas, pollution-causing, self-indulgent....I realize on very warm or cold days it may be necessary to do this to stay alive, but I see this when it's clear and 72 out.....can somebody explain this?.....

 

I will now recite the Serenity Prayer several times.....

.

Some Of My Daddy's Reviews

Pronouns: me, me, me

 

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sorry to resurrect a whiny pet peeve I mentioned several weeks ago, but I'm wondering, Steven, if it's common for drivers in Belgium (or anywhere outside the US!) to just sit in their vehicles in a parking lot on entirely pleasant days with the windows rolled up and engine turned on for more than a few minutes.....this now-common habit really bugs me....waste of gas, pollution-causing, self-indulgent....I realize on very warm or cold days it may be necessary to do this to stay alive, but I see this when it's clear and 72 out.....can somebody explain this?.....

 

I will now recite the Serenity Prayer several times.....

 

That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Why do people do that? In a cold climate it is necessary to prevent undue engine strain, but I can't see why one would do that in nice weather. How bizarre.

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sorry to resurrect a whiny pet peeve I mentioned several weeks ago, but I'm wondering, Steven, if it's common for drivers in Belgium (or anywhere outside the US!) to just sit in their vehicles in a parking lot on entirely pleasant days with the windows rolled up and engine turned on for more than a few minutes.....this now-common habit really bugs me....waste of gas, pollution-causing, self-indulgent....I realize on very warm or cold days it may be necessary to do this to stay alive, but I see this when it's clear and 72 out.....can somebody explain this?.....

 

"this now-common habit"?? Gotta say, I don't see it much. The very few times I have seen it, the driver was on the phone, which I assume meant that the person was having a conversation that s/he didn't want anyone else to hear. Where do you live? Are there a lot of other habits/practices of Americans (and only Americans) that drive you crazy?

 

If you want to live in a city where a car isn't necessary, go ahead! I lived in NYC, Boston, and Salamanca (Spain) for a couple of decades without a car. It was great! I walked a lot more. Whatever I spent on public transportation, cabs, and the occasional rental car was far less than what I would have spent on a car. In most of America (rural areas, suburbs, "sprawl" cities like Phoenix or LA), however, it's just not practical or possible. My only issue with the "car free" crowd is that they don't force us car owners to pay for their public transportation. Every locality should pay for their own transportation infrastructure, whether it's the streets of a small town, the Boston T, or the NYC Subway. If you look at the financials of big city public transportation, you'll see they get enormous subsidies from the rest of us taxpayers. If you want it and you're the ones who use it, then go ahead & pay for it. It's wrong to force the rest of us to pay for $5 million pension plans for NYC token booth attendants. Common sense dictates there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that NYC MTA employees would continue to get such lavish pensions if New Yorkers themselves were the only ones paying for it. But as long as it's somebody else's money ... Now, I'm guessing somebody's going to screech about the national highway system. Tough shit, we all benefit from that because that's how the vast majority of our goods are transported, like it or not.

 

In other words, live however you want. Just don't expect someone else to pay for your decisions.

My ignore list:  marylander1940, stevenkesslar

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When I moved back to Chicago, where I was born and bred, the commute from the Spaghetti Bowl (confluence of the Damn Ryan, the Kennedy, and the Eisenhower; I'd supply I-numbers, but they've all changed],

to my parent's house in Elmhurst was about 40 minutes. Last time I was there, it was an hour and fifty minutes - for a fifteen-mile drive.

 

The commute is 35 minutes via METRA. From the house I grew up in, in River Forest, the train was 22 minutes, and the walk to the station was closer than the parking lot to the hospital I worked at.

The unfortunate bit is that the Commuter Rail does not have a direct correspondence (as the French say) to the "L", and one has to walk over the chicago river to get to the CTA. This is fine,

except during the summer, when it's hotter than hell and windy, and winter, which is colder than lord-knows-what, and windy. Otherwise, it's quite charming.

Do not try to the patience of Dragons, for you are Crunchy and good with Ketchup.

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"...If you look at the financials of big city public transportation, you'll see they get enormous subsidies from the rest of us taxpayers. If you want it and you're the ones who use it, then go ahead & pay for it...In other words, live however you want. Just don't expect someone else to pay for your decisions.

 

Last I checked, the vast majority of Interstate highways, metropolitan expressways, streets, rural roads, and other types of roadways are paid for by bonds which are paid for by the taxpayer, except for those that are funded by tolls. At least fares provide a partial cost recovery for public transit operating costs as well as some capital expenses. Although the Interstate trust fund is funded by motor fuel taxes, it is woefully underfunded and does not cover state and US highways and county/municipal/local roads.

 

 

When I moved back to Chicago, where I was born and bred, the commute from the Spaghetti Bowl (confluence of the Damn Ryan, the Kennedy, and the Eisenhower; I'd supply I-numbers, but they've all changed],

to my parent's house in Elmhurst was about 40 minutes. Last time I was there, it was an hour and fifty minutes - for a fifteen-mile drive.

 

The commute is 35 minutes via METRA. From the house I grew up in, in River Forest, the train was 22 minutes, and the walk to the station was closer than the parking lot to the hospital I worked at.

The unfortunate bit is that the Commuter Rail does not have a direct correspondence (as the French say) to the "L", and one has to walk over the chicago river to get to the CTA. This is fine,

except during the summer, when it's hotter than hell and windy, and winter, which is colder than lord-knows-what, and windy. Otherwise, it's quite charming.

 

Actually, the CTA Clinton Green/Pink Line station and Metra's Ogilvie Transportation Center, which is the terminus to the UP West Line (the train that serves both Elmhurst and River Forest), are connected by a covered direct connection. Simply walk toward to the north end of the trainshed and look for the signs. Back in the day, it was referred to as the Northwest Passage. Here's the information from the CTA's web site:

 

http://www.transitchicago.com/travel_information/station.aspx?StopId=46

 

Also, the CTA Clinton/Congress Blue Line subway station is a short walk from Chicago Union Station. It does not require a crossing of the river. It does, however, require a walk from the subway to the 'L' once you get to the other side of the river, unless you ride to Clark and Lake and transfer from the subway to the Loop 'L' via the indoor connection at the Thompson Building. There are also myriad buses that connect Union Station to the 'L.' Here's the information about Clinton/Congress from the CTA's web site:

 

http://www.transitchicago.com/travel_information/station.aspx?StopId=45

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Last I checked, the vast majority of Interstate highways, metropolitan expressways, streets, rural roads, and other types of roadways are paid for by bonds which are paid for by the taxpayer, except for those that are funded by tolls. At least fares provide a partial cost recovery for public transit operating costs as well as some capital expenses. Although the Interstate trust fund is funded by motor fuel taxes, it is woefully underfunded and does not cover state and US highways and county/municipal/local roads.

We might be talking about two different things. Local streets are paid for mostly by the residents of the locality and state by means of various taxes (mostly property taxes, state & local sales tax, state gas tax, etc.). Here is an op-ed that details the funding of Spokane WA (written by a cyclist who wants to debunk the myth that motorists pay for the streets, therefore motorists should get what they want, specifically, no funding for bike lanes). I imagine that the financial model for Spokane is similar to that of most localities, just with percentages shifting here and there.

 

It is true that far too many roadways get incorporated into the Interstate Highway System. It's one of the major means by which corrupt politicians dole out big bucks to their friends and supporters. Here's the typical scenario: Congressman gets Route A included as part of the Federal highway system, even though it's really not. That way, all work & repair done on Route A is paid for by the Federal Government (oh, the evils of "other people's money"), as opposed to the local residents paying for the lion's share. And because somebody else is paying for it, nobody pays attention to the eensy weensy detail that the company who won the contract is charging 2-3 times as much as what a private-sector contract would run. Nor does anyone bother to dig too deep into the ties that the Congressman, that selfless public servant (uh huh), has with the owner of the porky contract.

 

Whether it's the porky contract that's costing taxpayers (other taxpayers, mind you) 3x the free-market rate or $5 million pensions for NYC token booth attendants (do you even have to be literate to perform that job?), pay for it your own damn self. If you take away the rank corruption inherent in any system which forces other people to pay for your decisions, common sense tells you that the fat pork-laden contracts and clerical jobs with multimillion-dollar retirements would disappear awfully quick.

My ignore list:  marylander1940, stevenkesslar

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Well yes, but it doesn't work. So what's the point. It might be convenient on a small scale to a select percentage of the population, but anything farther than that is a nightmare. In most cases, a car can still make a commute at least 2 to 3 times faster, safer, cleaner, and more pleasant than any form of transportation the city has come up with.

 

Still trying to figure out how cities like NYC, San Francisco, and Chicago seemed to get it so right and LA just can't seem to manage it.

the greatest beauty is

Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things,

the divine beauty of the universe.

Love that, not man apart from that,

or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,

or drown in despair when his days darken."

 

- Robinson Jeffers

 

B e l i e v e

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I have lived in NYC since 1987. The last thing I did before leaving for the airport on the day of my move from Ohio was selling my car. One of the things I really like about living in NYC is not having a car. I spend less than $100 a month on transportation - probably not enough enough to pay for a month of gasoline for a car.

 

There is this...This takes the cost of driving a car in NYC to a whole new level.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/realestate/million-dollar-parking-spot.html?_r=0

the greatest beauty is

Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things,

the divine beauty of the universe.

Love that, not man apart from that,

or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,

or drown in despair when his days darken."

 

- Robinson Jeffers

 

B e l i e v e

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I'm wondering, Steven, if it's common for drivers in Belgium (or anywhere outside the US!) to just sit in their vehicles in a parking lot on entirely pleasant days with the windows rolled up and engine turned on for more than a few minutes.....this now-common habit really bugs me....waste of gas, pollution-causing, self-indulgent

 

Azdr0710, I haven't observed this behavior a lot. Why would people do that? Air conditioning obsession?

 

The only observation I have is when a friend of mine gave me a lift to Wallgreens one day. He waited for me in the car while I was shopping for probably 5-10 minutes. He kept the engine turned on during the entire time, even though he was legally parked in the parking lot.

 

Today, new modern cars have engines that are equipped with automatic cut-off device. I drove two of these recently: the auto start/stop function automatically shuts down the engine when the car makes a brief stop (such as at traffic lights), provided you haven't turned the air conditioning on maximum power.

 

http://s.newsweek.com/sites/www.newsweek.com/files/2014/07/08/coal-roal-gif2.gif

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Of course, but unlike NYC, Chicago, or San Francicso, that built, then kept and added on to an RT system that historically worked, LA built a very efficient electric rail system, that worked and went to almost every corner of the city, but it was the oil companies that bought that system up, then threw it away, with the promise to voters that the freeways were the answer, and Angelenos bought into it. Of course it was all self serving for them. Now decades later...we have a mess of a system. Everything looks nice on a map.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/31/pacific-electric-red-car-la-mileage-photo-video_n_2577346.html

the greatest beauty is

Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things,

the divine beauty of the universe.

Love that, not man apart from that,

or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,

or drown in despair when his days darken."

 

- Robinson Jeffers

 

B e l i e v e

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