THEY SAW IT COMING: The Car Was Always The Cause of All the Problems in Our City

As we start the new year, let's take a look back at how everyone knew the automobile was a menace, yet somehow let it take over anyway.

old clips montage

The automobile has ruined our cities — choking our streets and making our communities less livable.

But Americans who care about cities saw it coming from the very first days of the Age of the Automobile. Residents wrote to their local newspapers, begging lawmakers to not capitulate to motorists or car makers as they sought to turn public streets into free parking lots. Reporters covered the rise of private ownership of cars as a scourge on our cities. Judges decried what too many people today think is normal: streets clogged by privately owned single-occupancy vehicles in the public right of way.

It may be normal today, but it was very abnormal back then. That’s worth remembering every time some member of the car-owning minority fights a street safety plan because it would require the removal of some on-street car storage.

To kick off 2019, we decided to look back on how earlier generations of Americans viewed the coming crisis. Just as the next generation will likely wonder why we didn’t stop global warming, we look back on the clips below and wonder why our forefathers and mothers didn’t stop the carnage of cars when they had a chance. Hindsight is 20-20, even in 2019:

New York Times, Aug. 15, 1926

A reader from Los Angeles, Frank Mergenthaler, advocates for what we now call carpooling, and suggests banning parking on the entire island of Manhattan. “Streets are places of passage, not of storage (euphemistically called ‘parking’),” Mergenthaler wrote.

Times letter

New York Times, July 28, 1933

This clip details a hilarious tongue-lashing a judge gave to a motorist who left his car parked on the street overnight when such an outrage was still illegal. “A man with your nerve would buy a bungalow, put it up in the street and live there rent free,” the judge said.

court scolds parker

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan. 5, 1938

This editorial praises an effort by the NYPD to ban parking on several crosstown streets in Manhattan in an effort to reduce congestion. “A good part of our traffic headaches would be eased, if not cured, if parking were ended throughout the city,” the article says.

eagle op ed

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan 9, 1938

A salesman and motorist affected by the parking ban, writes that the ban has inspired him to give up driving on weekdays, and helped him save money. “It is quite a pleasant surprise to be $5 ahead on the weeks budget, and I get along just as well on foot, giving me a much needed piece of exercise,” he writes.

motorist gives up

The Baltimore Sun, Feb 1, 1939

This article  rails against the Baltimore City Council for moving to repeal a ban on all-night street parking. “In the face of a growing realization by the public that streets were made for free movement of traffic and are not garages.”

kill it this

New York Daily News, Oct. 15, 1937

This letter to the editor references an anti-parking editorial that ran in the News (which alas, isn’t available on any online archives), but letter writer Charles Snyder has some good ideas himself. “I submit that the only real remedy is to prohibit all but necessary commercial parking on the more crowded thoroughfares,” he writes.

NYDN parking ban

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 13, 1926

This letter praises a former Washington D.C. commissioner for his attempt to ban all-night street parking. “Cars are parked on practically every block in the city and, I am told, parked there not for ‘all night’ but for days and weeks and months at a time,” he writes. “The auto traffic rules in Washington are of the worst in the country.”

curb capitals parkers

New York Times, March 6, 1933

This short clipping details a plea from the now-defunct Uptown Chamber of Commerce to the Depression–weakened Police Department to enforce an enacted night parking ban instead of allowing uptown to become a “free open-air storage place for  vehicles.”

uptown parking

The Evening Sun, Oct. 26, 1931

A letter writer claims that the best way to reduce congestion would be to reduce streetcar fares, so less people felt compelled to drive. “A 10-cent car fare almost overnight doubled automobile traffic downtown and gave birth to an avalanche of taxicabs,” he writes.

care fares

Asbury Park Press, July 7, 1927

Lastly, this letter warns that the local board of commissioners was making a grave mistake in allowing overnight parking. Reversing the ban would “increase the fire hazard, would increase the traffic hazard, and would work against the legitimate business of garages — ironic words, considering how some locals in Queens keep complaining that new bike lanes cause those very problems.

asbury parking ban

  • Joe R.

    The fact all these pleas fell on deaf ears also presages another fact relevant to today, namely that our political system is one of one dollar, one vote, not one person, one vote. Those with wealth are able to get their way regardless, even if it’s to the detriment of everyone else.

    A citiwide curbside parking ban would do more to reduce automobile use than any other measure being contemplated. It’s a pity nobody in power is seriously proposing this.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Fair enough, but a lot of that was just opposition to change. The same opposition to change that causes older generations, now in charge of our public and private institutions, to oppose reversing auto dependency. Even though that’s what a majority of those in later born generations (and a minority of those born from 1930 to 1957) want.

    As for the New York Times, it has long been one of the most conservative organizations in our city, according to the original definition. It is “liberal” only because the city was “liberal” 50 years ago. Decades before that, the Times opposed the replacement of horsecars with electric trolleys.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=l2iM4TOEiXcC&pg=PA42&lpg=PA42&dq=new+york+times+electric+trolley+deadly&source=bl&ots=dOcSRaCEJE&sig=zovHiNo3uP3S7RBZZpoNkowVHD4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwja8qTKwM3fAhUyTd8KHaRcCAUQ6AEwC3oECAMQAQ#v=onepage&q=new%20york%20times%20electric%20trolley%20deadly&f=false

  • Keith Reed

    Nicely done. This article will benefit those in our local advocacy effort who are just jumping into the fray and have no idea (yet) they are riding against 100 years of headwinds.

  • Larry Littlefield

    A citywide parking ban will go the way of many other bans to protect the community from harm — it will be legal but taxed for public pension revenues.

    It’s next up after congestion pricing. The way to pass it is by appealing to Generation Greed by having a permanently low rate for overnight parking by “incumbent parkers” (say $10 per month) and market rates — and limits if there isn’t enough to go around in a particular area — on newcomers.

  • vnm

    This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing these articles.

  • Kevin Withers

    Amazing, in that SB now supports the mindset of Luddites. Keep up the good work

  • motorock

    “the automobile has ruined our cities — choking our streets and making our communities less livable.”

    Seems written by someone who hasn’t gone to dense European or Asian cities. As much as cars have created problems, without providing better alternatives, trying to villianize them reeks of myopia and privilege.
    Those who can afford garages are usually rich. Those who can live in Manhattan are usually rich too. There are people who do need to use a car because of sucky public transport options near them because they couldn’t afford anything close to the city or a train. These are factors constantly ignored on this diatribe against cars, even on this site. Personally, I would like to get rid of most cars from the road but since people do need to move around, a shift in the kind of cars could help-like maybe discourage single occupancy vehicles and esp suvs towards smaller cars. In addition, encourage other alternatives like motorcycles and ebikes which take less space, reduce congestion significantly and are efficient and available to everyone who wants it. They are the ones who should be given free parking which can be easily provided…as seen all over Europe.
    Let’s not forget there’s a whole bunch of people who cannot or are not able to use bicycles or live in Manhattan or anywhere near it. To expect someone to spend an hour or more on a train when the same distance can take about 30 minutes on a motorcycle, for example, is unfair esp if you have the privilege of being able to live near Manhattan or be able to bike to it.

  • First of all, New York does not have sucky public transport. Secondly, neither would any other city if the automobile had been appropriately regulated from the beginning.

    Also, there’s no reason that personal autos, if they are to exist, have to be so large and dangerous. If society had restricted personal autos to vehicles that are essentially golf carts, then many of the problems that today’s cars bring would be drastically mitigated.

  • Joe R.

    Vehicles like this are the answer:

    https://inhabitat.com/worlds-most-efficient-electric-car-gets-an-outrageous-26135-mpge/

    Small, easy to park, very efficient. You can go 25 miles on one cent of electricity (at high NYC prices).

  • Joe R.

    If we invested properly in public transit, a train trip from city limits to Midtown would take 15 or 20 minutes, not an hour. Also, if we had exclusive, enforced bus lanes riding the bus would be at least as fast as driving.

    Smaller vehicles are good also, but let’s stick to electric, whether for e-bikes or motorcycles. Small ICEs make a ludicrous amount of pollution. We could discourage use of larger vehicles by requiring that 75% of the seats be occupied when entering Manhattan. An SUV isn’t a horrible choice if you have 5 or 6 people in it. It is if you only have the driver.

  • motorock

    A single trip from “city limits” would not be 15-20 minutes even if the speeds were doubled- you are forgetting the number of stations in between, let’s say, Jamaica and Midtown. That’s wishful thinking.

    Also, that’s assuming everyone has to get only on one train. That’s not the reality and the subway is not expanding to all neighborhoods. Add a train transfer and you add at least 5 minutes, usually more. And god forbid, it’s a bus transfer.

    Exclusive bus lanes dont always work- look at New Delhi’s (that has a fantastic metro system) failure in the BRTS system and the kind of chaos it created. NYC streets are even smaller and already some of the bus lanes are poorly planned on narrow streets.

    You are thinking of this as if we already have the route-flexibility of serving everyone. Till it can be done, putting limits on everything is just serving the privileged few as I mentioned earlier. That remains the sad reality.

    As for small ICEs causing “ludicrous amount of pollution”, that’s a misinformed generalization. Just look at Euro 3 emission norms and above and what the vehicles actually emit. Emission are actually much lower than cars, among other reasons, because they spend less time on the road. A lot of European cities see two wheelers as “green” esp Euro 3 and above- and hence, they are exempted from all tolls. It has to do more with attitude and stereotyping. The Europeans are smarter and see the common sense and practicality in using powered two wheelers- Americans generally tend to see motorcycles as a nuisance and easily form stereotypes and biases against them using any flimsy “evidence” to support their claims. California, at least, has some sense and actually works to protect motorcyclists and has used science and logic to champion their cause.

    Also, I looked into all kinds of electrics- electric motorcycles are not practical for everyone esp those living in apartments. Swappable batteries are gaining traction but we still have ways to go. And ebikes do not offer the range, power and flexibility of motorcycles like hauling big loads, carrying a passenger etc. And for both, the short range and high cost are major disadvantages- unless NYC gives everyone money credits for buying a ebike (i.e. if they legalize all of it) like Oslo gives $1200 to everyone to do so.

    The problem is people keep fighting alternative options because they can only see through their own lenses, ignoring the many realities of the situation. Powered two wheel vehicles are already here, available to all, as practical as cars in most respects and will take ZERO dollars investment from city- only needs legislation like making lane-splitting legal and allowing free parking in many spots.

  • motorock

    Do you happen to live within walking/biking distance to work or do you have to hop on one train and get to work in 15/20 minutes? Congratulations! Not everyone has that privilege to do so. People have been priced out of neighborhoods, there are massive transit deserts outside Manhattan and train and bus service gets worse the further you keep getting to the edge of NYC. If you didn’t already know, congratulation again- life must be wonderful for you. Unfortunately, the reality is sucky.

    And true, we need small vehicles and motorcycles, scooters, moto-scooters, ebikes etc fill that void easily. Europeans have been doing it for decades. So, should we.

  • motorock

    Lol, that’s a bit extreme. A simple ebike is probably a better option.
    But if you have a passenger or need to carry lot of groceries home or tools to work, motorcycles and scooters are better. In 4-5 years, perhaps even the electric versions will be good enough.

  • Joe R.

    The point here isn’t that the vehicle in question is practical. It probably isn’t for a lot of reasons, including the fact the driver needs to be in a prone position. Rather, it’s that aerodynamic shells, which can be put over any vehicle, make them a lot more efficient. That includes human-powered vehicles. Commercial velomobiles enable riders to go more than twice as fast using the same amount of power, or to use about 1/4 the power to go the same speed. Make an aerodynamic e-bike, and you’ve increased its range fourfold without a larger battery.

    The problem isn’t batteries, but the refusal of both the automotive and small vehicle manufacturers to adopt radically aerodynamic designs. Sure, when you have boxes like SUVs or unfaired motorcycles they can’t go as far on a charge. It’s simple physics.

  • I live ten miles from work, a bike ride of a little more than an hour. When I take the train, the combined walk/wait/ride/walk typically takes just under an hour.

    And please note that there are no “transit deserts” anywhere in New York City. Subway deserts, yes; but no transit deserts. While I have lived in subway-rich Woodhaven for more than thirty years, I grew up on the far outskirts of the City, (too) near to the Nassau border. Out there we had no subways, but plenty of buses.

    Indeed, all of Queens has plenty of buses. I have never owned a car, not when I lived out in Queens Village, not when I lived in Bayside, not when I lived right near St. John’s just off Union Turnpike. The plain fact is that all of New York City has plenty of buses.

    Of course, these buses are sometimes not so fast. What limits buses’ effectiveness are bad policy decisions on the apportionment of street space, which constitutes a perfect example of one of the ways in which the autombile has ruined our cities. If cities cracked down and immediately towed away all double-parked cars, created bus lanes on every street with a route (and enforced these lanes), and turned some major arteries (such as Myrtle Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue here in New York City) into bus/bike-only streets, the efficiency of buses would shoot through the roof.

    And increasing bus service would be a simple matter. Unlike the building of subway lines, which takes a length of time far in excess of a human lifespan, the establishment of new bus lines can be done with the stroke of a pen.

    If cities were to combine these good policies with other positive measures such as a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit for cars, bans on left turns at most intersections, and appropriately severe parking restrictions, millions of American city-dwellers who currently drive would conclude that driving is not worth it, because there exists a much better alternative that provides them with the same degree of mobility (with less stress).

    Also, getting getting people out of cars and onto transit would reduce pollution while it provides efficiency, because each bus carries as many people as 40 or 50 cars. So there is a moral imperative here.

    No matter how you slice it, the problem — both from the environmental standpoint and the quality-of-life standpoint — is that cities have allowed their streets to become infested and clogged with cars, at the expense of all the other more appropriate uses of urban space. Bad policy created this mess. Good policy can fix it.

  • Joe R.

    A single trip from “city limits” would not be 15-20 minutes even if the speeds were doubled- you are forgetting the number of stations in between, let’s say, Jamaica and Midtown. That’s wishful thinking.

    Note I didn’t say the entire trip would be 15 to 20 minutes. You might have to change trains once you’re in Manhattan to get to your final destination but it’s perfectly feasible to have the part of the trip from the outer boroughs to Manhattan take no longer than 15 or 20 minutes. We just need to get average running speeds up. For example, BART has average speeds of 35 mph with station stops roughly every 2 to 2.5 miles (about the same as NYC express subway stops). It’s the express-local concept which can enable relatively short travel times, even from near city limits, if the MTA would increase speeds to those on other systems. City limits to Manhattan is typically 10 to 12 miles, which is easily covered in 20 minutes or less if we ran at the average speeds other electric traction systems in the world do.

    The Europeans are smarter and see the common sense and practicality in using powered two wheelers- Americans generally tend to see motorcycles as a nuisance and easily form stereotypes and biases against them using any flimsy “evidence” to support their claims.

    I see nothing wrong with charging motorcycles a much lower toll if we implement congestion charges. I would probably go with $1 for gas-powered motorcycles, and free for anything electric.

    Unfortunately, we still have Hell’s Angels stereotypes whenever people think of motorcycles. Europe was fortunate to not go through that. As the older generation dies out, at least the motorcycle stereotype will no longer be a barrier.

    Also, I looked into all kinds of electrics- electric motorcycles are not practical for everyone esp those living in apartments. Swappable batteries are gaining traction but we still have ways to go.

    When gas cars first came out there weren’t a lot of gas stations but somehow people managed. Don’t you think it makes sense to install curbside chargers and EV-only parking spots in the city precisely so apartment dwellers can use electric vehicles? If there were less FUD of the kind you’re spreading about electric vehicles that has a greater chance of happening.

    And ebikes do not offer the range, power and flexibility of motorcycles like hauling big loads, carrying a passenger etc. And for both, the short range and high cost are major disadvantages- unless NYC gives everyone money credits for buying a ebike (i.e. if they legalize all of it) like Oslo gives $1200 to everyone to do so.

    And the range issue only exists because we refuse to use better aerodynamics. Sure, we’ll eventually get better batteries, but why stress an alredy overextended grid with vehicles which use more energy than necessary because they’re shaped like boxes?

    As for cost, if made in similar quantities to ICE vehicles the cost would be less. Total cost of ownership, even accounting for the higher purchase price, is already less.

    Powered two wheel vehicles are already here, available to all, as practical as cars in most respects and will take ZERO dollars investment from city- only needs legislation like making lane-splitting legal and allowing free parking in many spots.

    No argument there. I’ll go one step further and say that any Idaho stop laws passed for pedal bikes/e-bikes should also include motorcycles. A motorcycle has the same visibility as a cyclist. No reason they can’t treat red lights as stop or yield signs also. That will give a further incentive to use smaller vehicles instead of cars in a city where you have traffic signals every 250′.

  • Joe R.

    Minor disagreement on the timeline to build subways. They don’t take a human lifetime to build in most of the world. That’s a NYC only thing which can be fixed if we put our minds to it. We need another Robert Moses, only this time one who is favorable to public transit and cycling.

  • motorock

    The physics of aerodynamics really kicks in at higher speeds, at least for motorcycles. The weight, power capacity and weight of rider are more deciding factors in an urban environment with speeds limited to 30-40 mph. Pretty sure, it’s the same for 4 wheeled vehicles. And unfaired (naked) motorcycles with fewer extra parts is lighter and is more fuel efficient than a motorcycle of exact same engine with a full fairing in city conditions. If anything, my naked motorcycle does have a semi-faired sibling with the exact same engine but about 50lbs lighter- and it still gets better fuel economy over both highway and city performance.

    Also, not sure that an aerodynamic city bus would be more efficient than the normal boxes we have now, electric or otherwise- though would like to see that experiment.

    Battery tech needs to get more efficient, lighter and charge faster-very possible within the next 4-5 years IMO. The costs will have to go down enough as well to make it more acceptable for a larger population.

  • motorock

    Great points there but a lot of it is hypothetical. To increase train speeds as you say, we have to overhaul the entire subway system and in MTA terms, that is a lifetime or two. I am referring to the immediate reality.

    When gas cars first came out there weren’t a lot of gas stations but somehow people managed. Don’t you think it makes sense to install curbside chargers and EV-only parking spots in the city precisely so apartment dwellers can use electric vehicles? If there were less FUD of the kind you’re spreading about electric vehicles that has a greater chance of happening.

    Also hypothetical. I would love to see more curbside chargers but how many do we have already and how many can they serve? In my last visit to Barcelona about 2 years ago, they already had way more EV chargers all over the city but still not enough to have the entire car/moto population switch to EVs. And that’s a city of under 2 million. Swappable batteries for motorcycles & ebikes will help and are possible now. As an example, I would love the CSC City Slicker to be more full size and have more range for the same price. That’s what can be done now instead of waiting around for the city to install a few EV chargers- which they should actually start immediately to have a decent network in 5 years. Honestly, going by history, ain’t happening- having met policy makers and just seeing how business s handled, it’s not being pessimistic, just realistic. Hoping the new NY house/senate can get things moving. The mayor only seems to move when someone pays him something- think his relationship with ebike legalization.

    I see nothing wrong with charging motorcycles a much lower toll if we implement congestion charges. I would probably go with $1 for gas-powered motorcycles, and free for anything electric.

    Unfortunately, we still have Hell’s Angels stereotypes whenever people think of motorcycles. Europe was fortunate to not go through that. As the older generation dies out, at least the motorcycle stereotype will no longer be a barrier.

    If we get all those EV chargers and maybe the tax credits, then I can agree about exempting only EV motos. Until then, trying to toll congestion-busting, fuel-efficient & practical vehicles seems anti-progress and illogical. Even in Barcelona, which I mentioned having that network of EV chargers, motorcycles are allowed to be parked everywhere including sidewalks. Similarly, all European cities with congestion-pricing-like plans also exempt motorcycles & offer free parking. If we can take inspiration about tolling cars from them, maybe we should also see what else works for them including encouraging motos. It is the Hells Angels stereotype that makes Americans be so anti-moto and that’s why it will take a law to stop that stereotyping- or at least, keep it in bay.

    No argument there. I’ll go one step further and say that any Idaho stop laws passed for pedal bikes/e-bikes should also include motorcycles. A motorcycle has the same visibility as a cyclist. No reason they can’t treat red lights as stop or yield signs also. That will give a further incentive to use smaller vehicles instead of cars in a city where you have traffic signals every 250′.

    I don’t mind that idea at all but if we allow lane-splitting and maybe use of bus lanes (like London), motorcycles don’t really need to pass red lights. ebikes and bikes need to keep going to be more efficient.

  • Joe R.

    OK, but since we’re talking range almost any trip long enough to bump up against current EV ranges of 50 to 300 miles will involve a majority of highway driving. That’s where aerodynamics comes into play. Also, if we’re talking electric vehicles extra weight is less of a disadvantage than with gas-powered ones because of regen braking. A faired EV motorcycle will do better than an unfaired one, even at urban speeds. The difference may be marginal, like a few percent, but the presence of a fairing will dramatically increase range at highway speeds. The lack of any need for airflow over a radiator or pistons on an EV will also increase aerodynamic efficiency.

    Also, not sure that an aerodynamic city bus would be more efficient than the normal boxes we have now, electric or otherwise- though would like to see that experiment.

    Most of the energy a city bus uses is accelerating. You’ll get more range increase by recovering that energy than by making the bus more aerodynamic. Also, the physics are somewhat different for larger vehicles where a lot of the aero drag is along the sides of the vehicles. That’s why trains which go relatively low speeds, like 80 mph or less, aren’t significantly less efficient with blunt front ends. Buses are kind of halfway between trains and small vehicles. Also, a lot of their running resistance is tire drag, not aero drag, at least until you reach highway speeds. That said, a rounded front and back end are helpful on a bus. The Proterra electric bus has these features. A full-on aero bus probably wouldn’t be practical, but small details can make up most of the difference at the speeds buses travel at.

    Battery tech needs to get more efficient, lighter and charge faster-very possible within the next 4-5 years IMO. The costs will have to go down enough as well to make it more acceptable for a larger population.

    That’s all happening anyway. Want to know what the driver is? It’s storage for the electrical grid. As the grid goes greener via solar and wind power, we need some way to store energy so the power generated by these intermittent sources can be used when needed. That’s where batteries come in. Batteries should improve in capacity by at least a factor of two within the next decade but the bigger improvements will be in cost. It’ll be much like LEDs, which needed to improve both in efficiency and cost. Now that LED efficiency is starting to plateau (because it’s getting close to maximum theoretical numbers), the primary way to improve them is to make them cheaper. That has happened. Cost per lumen has easily dropped by a factor of ten over the last 5 years. If you haven’t checked, now you can get LED light bulbs for a buck or two. Batteries will follow the same route.

  • motorock

    Agreed on most points. In fact, I was involved with a project about the issues involved with storing clean energy and what the optimal conditions are to keep the grid “clean”- it’s very tight and has to be exact. Hopefully, local individual storage options like the Tesla Powerwalls will become better and be the norm to offset those issues- and let people sell some of their surplus as well (as some do in NYC already).

    I don’t know about bicycles and aerodynamics but the moment you add a fairing to a bicycle, it becomes unwieldy for city use, carrying up the stairs, parking etc. Kind of takes away the practicality of a vehicle with a small footprint. A motorcycle really gets advantage of a fairing at highway speeds in my entire experience of riding them. At slow speeds, the weight of the fairing cuts down any advantage that it brings. The example I gave was apples to apples (with a fairing)- exact same motorcycle with half fairing and more weight. A lot of drag racers have also faced humiliation by thinking just a fairing can get them faster. Fairings really come into their own on the salt flats but not in the slow streets of NYC in my experience. YMMV.

  • Joe R.

    It’s not really practical to add a fairing to a regular bicycle, at least anything beyond a rear wheel disc like I have on my bike, which maybe gives you a speed advantage of 1 to 2 mph. You have to design it from the ground up, which is why velomobiles look a lot different. As for practicality, it depends. Sure, they’re heavier and a little larger but not so much as to be a show stopper. It really depends on where you’ll be using it. A velomobile, like any human-powered vehicle, needs space to reach higher speeds. Even a regular bike might take a block or two to reach 20+ mph. A velomobile could take half a mile to reach 40 mph. In a place like NYC where obstructions and traffic signals often prevent uninterrupted cruising, you likely wouldn’t get much speed advantage over a regular bike. That’s why I feel if we want human power to live up to its full potential, not only will you need radically aerodynamic vehicles, but you’ll also need bike highways in cities to make them practical.

  • motorock

    You mean something like this?
    https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/06/cruising-a-superhighway-built-for-bikes/531246/

    A lotta wishful thinking there, even for NYC lol. One day maybe. That’s why, while the MTA tries to get its act together and we push for congestion pricing, the most practical alternative already available are motorcycles, scooters, ebikes, escooters etc that will take zero dollars to promote or build infrastructure for. Powered vehicles save time and we know time is invaluable.

  • motorock

    Many of my replies to comments did not get posted…looks like eithere there is a glitch in the system or Streetsblog moderators don’t like all the good logic in my comments…

  • jcwconsult

    Please note that in many US cities, the use of bicycles and transit for commuting is going down, not up. See the recent USA Today article and the CATO Institute report last November.
    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  • Sincerely

    There are fluctuations in mode share every year; in cities with small bicycle mode share (which is most every US city), those fluctuations can seem more significant than they are. Most the decline in public transportation and bicycle use seems to be drifting back toward the average rate increase after the huge increases seen during the recession. The long-term trend overall is still far more people choosing more efficient modes than automobiles.

    Regardless of mode share, the motivation for transit and active transportation investment is that the cost of driving is simply too high for cities to sustain growth. Every additional driver means more costs to the city, to area residents, and society as a whole. The same is not true for more efficient modes, particularly when people switch from single-occupancy vehicles to buses or bikes.

    Of course, your fringe group is happy to highlight anything to further your anti-accountability agenda.

  • jcwconsult

    Time will tell if the reductions are permanent or not in many cities. Some cities are realizing “be careful what you ask for, you might get it” with the growth of convenient, fast, and reasonably priced Uber & Lyft choices.
    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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