Today’s Headlines

  • Larry Littlefield

    The opposing view from AAA — to hell with high gas prices, we refuse to let “them:” make us carpool! Keep us away from those yucky people!

    http://www.aaany.com/CarandTravel/Current/What_Happens_When_an_Irresistible_Force_Meets_an_Immovable_O.asp

    “Motorists would rather deal with long lines of traffic than sacrifice the comfort and control of their own cars…Commuters who drive alone, as opposed to taking mass transit or carpooling, feel more emotionally satisfied with their commute, even if it ends up taking longer and costing more.”

    “Most drivers enjoy being alone—and being left alone. Driving is not inherently a social experience—except for the family vacation and cruising Main Street on a Saturday night. Most of us don’t want company in the car.”

    “Some commuters even enjoy commuting and report that their commute gives them valuable private time or a way to mentally prepare for the day or unwind after a workday.”

    “Still, carpooling advocates keep coming up with new ideas to encourage us to adopt driving buddies.”

  • Larry, that left my jaw bouncing on the floor. What does the AAA or its membership have to gain by discouraging carpooling? I’d have thought the organization would look favorably on an alternative that would keep drivers out of mass transit.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “What does the AAA or its membership have to gain by discouraging carpooling?”

    I think the AAA view is that people are unwilling to carpool, not that it wouldn’t be good for non-carpoolers if they did.

    Their response to the unfolding crisis, in another article in the same issue, is the exact same transportation system we have now but with cheap alternative energy.

    The problem, of course, is that alternative energy is not cheap, and you only get it if oil prices are high enough for long enough that investors do not go broke. Same with domestic drilling.

  • Spud Spudly

    Seriously. Why would AAA promote single person auto commuting which creates money- and time-wasting traffic and congestion for its members?

  • Max Rockatansky

    Great article in the NYTimes Magazine about driving etiquette during rush hour – to drive as far as possible in lanes that are ending or to queue politely? Reminds me of what I hated about driving. Also mentions Vanderbilt’s book on traffic.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03traffic-t.html

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Great article in the NYTimes Magazine about driving etiquette during rush hour – to drive as far as possible in lanes that are ending or to queue politely?”

    The best example of this in the NY area is access to the Brooklyn Bridge from the Southbound FDR. The placard holders decide to cut the line, and cut off the highway for those willing to continue south and pay to take the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, while slowing down those waiting to go over the bridge.

    There is a central rule of etiquette, or at least survival, in New York — biggest asshole always has the right of way.

  • “The placard holders decide to cut the line, and cut off the highway for those willing to continue south and pay to take the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, while slowing down those waiting to go over the bridge.”

    I don’t buy this. I mean, I know some people do that, but I see no reason to believe that the dividing line between who does and who doesn’t is based on whether or not you have a placard, unless you assume that everyone who has a placard is evil and everyone who doesn’t is good.

  • Via The Oil Drum, this story from USA Today — colleges move to eject cars from campuses:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-08-06-Outofcars_N.htm

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    “Seriously. Why would AAA promote single person auto commuting which creates money- and time-wasting traffic and congestion for its members?”

    Organizational math. Fewer riders per car = more drivers = more members.

    “NYTimes Magazine about driving etiquette during rush hour – to drive as far as possible in lanes that are ending or to queue politely?”

    This is sort of a drivers corollary of the “tragedy of the commons”. Why be the chump that waits in line.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I see no reason to believe that the dividing line between who does and who doesn’t is based on whether or not you have a placard, unless you assume that everyone who has a placard is evil and everyone who doesn’t is good.”

    I wasn’t referring to THOSE placards. The people who cut the line believe themselves to have a bridge queue placard. Kind of life the folks who have an supermarket express line with any number of items placard.

  • It’s funny that that particular queue jumping spot has come up. I was moving some breakable and oddly-sized things to my new apartment by zipcar and waiting in that very queue, watching people cut in line. I decided in advance (always a bad idea) that I wouldn’t be a weak link in the chain. But, wouldn’t you know it, a jumper came careening in at the last moment, fully prepared to crash into zipcar’s property if I did not give way. I’ll mention, because it sticks out in my memory, that there was Christian paraphernalia dangling above and affixed to the dashboard of this uncharitable vehicle. I couldn’t believe the audacity and—I’m still feeling guilty for this—I honked the car’s horn. So sorry guys. If you live near that entrance, then one evening a few months ago, I was responsible for one of the 10,000 horns you heard. I don’t plan to do any more city driving this summer (or next) but if I do I’ll remember to think first of the residents and not of the extreme awfulness of other drivers.

    Easy solution, supported by people living on both sides of bridges and all infrequent, non-queue-jumping drivers: BRIDGE TOLLS NOW. Stop rewarding the worst.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “BRIDGE TOLLS NOW. Stop rewarding the worst.”

    Right. If the incentive for toll shopping is eliminated, I promise never to queue up for the bridge again, I’ll just take the tunnel.

    However, the only time I’m ever there is when I drive out of town, and that is almost always on the weekend, which CP would not have affected. The right answer — CP on weekends to, but with lower tolls off peak, for the currently untolled AND the currently tolled crossings.