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Can America stop using Cars?

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Posts

  • TaximesTaximes Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I have a tough time understanding why so few people take public transportation when it's available, and not just for environmental or congestion reasons.

    I'd gladly give up my insipid hour-long commute in favor of a slightly longer commute full of super happy fun book-reading time.

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Taximes wrote: »
    I have a tough time understanding why so few people take public transportation when it's available.

    I'd gladly give up my boring ass hour-long trip to work favor of a slightly longer commute of super happy fun book-reading time.

    Well, for one thing, in a lot of places it's not "slightly" longer (it would add 40 minutes to my commute, tripling it from 20 minutes to an hour, I've researched it). I'd rather spend 20 minutes in my car, jammin some music, and get home and read a book in my lazyboy, then spend an hour on a bus reading a book.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Taximes wrote: »
    I have a tough time understanding why so few people take public transportation when it's available.

    I'd gladly give up my boring ass hour-long trip to work favor of a slightly longer commute of super happy fun book-reading time.

    Well, for one thing, in a lot of places it's not "slightly" longer (it would add 40 minutes to my commute, tripling it from 20 minutes to an hour, I've researched it). I'd rather spend 20 minutes in my car, jammin some music, and get home and read a book in my lazyboy, then spend an hour on a bus reading a book.

    A car is also a mobile storage unit. You can carry a TON of shit in it. And that's often very useful.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    shryke wrote: »
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Taximes wrote: »
    I have a tough time understanding why so few people take public transportation when it's available.

    I'd gladly give up my boring ass hour-long trip to work favor of a slightly longer commute of super happy fun book-reading time.

    Well, for one thing, in a lot of places it's not "slightly" longer (it would add 40 minutes to my commute, tripling it from 20 minutes to an hour, I've researched it). I'd rather spend 20 minutes in my car, jammin some music, and get home and read a book in my lazyboy, then spend an hour on a bus reading a book.

    A car is also a mobile storage unit. You can carry a TON of shit in it. And that's often very useful.

    And I do, I carry a ton of shit in my car. It acts, simultaneously, as my: laptop storage area, ipod charger, phone charger, ipod listening device, mobile office in a pinch and last but not least, transportation.

    Speaking of being my charging station on wheels. Has anyone done a study on what the carbon footprint is of: Charging your iPod plugged in the wall, charging your iPod in your moving vehicle (I would imagine this is MPG dependent), and charging your iPod plugged in to your running computer?

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    We could do away with cars inside of cities, and maybe in the immediate metropolitan surroundings of those cities, but our suburban and rural areas need longer range personal transportation options than bicycles.

    georgersig.jpg
  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    e: I say America, but I guess Canada was designed this way too, for the same reasons. Lots of space, not a lot of people (relatively) to put in it.

    800px-NorthAmericanPublicTransport.png

    As a point of reference, Toronto is over twice as large, by area, than San Francisco. Even in denser metro areas, Americans use public transport less often than Canadians.

    There's also the examples of Australia and New Zealand, countries younger than the US who nevertheless have higher rates of public transport use.

    I submit that current culture and government policies contribute much more to this problem than people are willing to believe. Public transport use in the US jumped 4% in 2008 alone, while miles driven by car dropped by 3.6%.

    I think the question we need to ask ourselves is, What is Mexico doing right?

    georgersig.jpg
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Evander wrote: »

    I think the question we need to ask ourselves is, What is Mexico doing right?

    Keeping their population so poor they can't afford cars or houses. Ba da ching.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think trying to stop us using cars is stupid. We need to build cars that aren't so polluting.

  • TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Some stop-gap measures: have more people work from home; I believe this is already happening, have more flexible schedules for people who do have to work at the office; someone mentioned one of those countries, (Norway, Finland, the Netherlands) having new programs at work for people who want to come in at the middle of the night, or fire more people or kick them out of their new suburban home. Yay 2008.

    Oh yeah, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Urbanism

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • BioHaz594BioHaz594 Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The sentiment of the car being overkill for the daily commute to and from work is the reason I bought a motorcycle. I love the idea of telecommuting, but it is impossible in my line of work as I physically have to be there to do my job.

    That, and my bike is way more fun than my car. :D

    I would like to see people use more appropriate vehicles if all they are moving is themselves and maybe a suitcase's worth of stuff they have to bring along. I know I probably could use public transportation to get to my job (25min average for me to get there), it's the time it would take for me to cover that same distance in a bus vs just going there in my vehicle that is not acceptable to me.
    The few times I have used public transportation is taking the trolley to downtown so I would not have to bother with trying to find a parking space or paying the sometimes insane rates to park in the lots.

    The the car is just not going to go away in the US until something comes along that will be quick, cheap, and easy. Even some of my financially troubled friends just go onto the classifieds and buy cheap well used cars for a few hundred to a thousand and use them until they are no longer salvageable, just to avoid having to waste the time on the bus.

    orgblk_m50le_sig1.png
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The thing is, a car is not something you just use to go too and from work, and a motorbike has substantial disadvantages.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I would love a motorcycle, but I can't afford a third vehicle, and I have a kid. I'm not really sure my wife is gonna be down with me strapping my toddler to the monkey seat on a bike and toolin' around town.

    In fact, I'm pretty sure she's not gonna be down with that.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • BioHaz594BioHaz594 Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Nope, the car is not only the work commuter as other people have said, it is a multiple purpose mobile space. I didn't need my car to be that space, and was mostly used for my commute, so I got a bike. Still have my car, now its what I use to pick up groceries and other large things I can't fit into my backpack.
    The bike does have substantial disadvantages, mostly as far as safety.
    I didn't mean that everyone else should go buy a bike, but to consider getting smaller and more efficient cars. One of my friends has a diesel VW Golf, and he get about the same fuel mileage in that as I do on my bike.

    I imagine a lot of people could do something similar, I see lots of solo people in somewhat large cars on the freeway on my way to work. And yes there are lots of disadvantages to riding a bike, but I accepted those risks when I started riding.

    Carpooling would be a fairly decent way to better utilize the available space within those cars on the road, but thats a hard sell to most.

    orgblk_m50le_sig1.png
  • CorvusCorvus Caw? VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think trying to stop us using cars is stupid. We need to build cars that aren't so polluting.

    Well, I think the "stop people using cars" thing is stupid, but "providing alternatives to using the car for your entire commute" is not.

    We can't really reconcile the physical lay out of North American suburbia with people using mass-transit from home to work, but I still believe there is a lot of value in reducing the amount and distance of trips taken. If people could say, drive 15 minutes from their front door to a mass-transit hub with good parking, and take transit (rail, light-rail, subway, rapid-bus, whatever for the rest of their trip, I think a big difference could be made.

  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Corvus wrote: »
    I think trying to stop us using cars is stupid. We need to build cars that aren't so polluting.

    Well, I think the "stop people using cars" thing is stupid, but "providing alternatives to using the car for your entire commute" is not.

    We can't really reconcile the physical lay out of North American suburbia with people using mass-transit from home to work, but I still believe there is a lot of value in reducing the amount and distance of trips taken. If people could say, drive 15 minutes from their front door to a mass-transit hub with good parking, and take transit (rail, light-rail, subway, rapid-bus, whatever for the rest of their trip, I think a big difference could be made.

    sure

    I live in the suburbs of DC, and work in the suburbs of Baltimore. I am heading away from mass transit, and don't really get close enough in for the mass transit of the next city.



    This solution only works when one end of the commute is "urban", when both ends are in more remote areas, then even if they pass through an area with transport in the middle, there's nothing doing, unless they want to have two cars, and just always leave one on the other side fo the commute.

    georgersig.jpg
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Will people ever be able to fly?

    No!


    How do I know this? Things that fly have wings. People don't have wings. I mean, we've got these 'arm' things going on, but have you tried flapping them? I have. I didn't take-off. D:


    Snark aside, yeah, changing North American transit to be something other than personal vehicle centric would be an extraordinary challenge. Aren't we supposed to, like, enjoy tackling big challenges?

    OH NOEZ! IZ HARD! Why do hard things when you can just shrug and declare them impossible, right?

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The Ender wrote: »
    Will people ever be able to fly?

    No!


    How do I know this? Things that fly have wings. People don't have wings. I mean, we've got these 'arm' things going on, but have you tried flapping them? I have. I didn't take-off. D:


    Snark aside, yeah, changing North American transit to be something other than personal vehicle centric would be an extraordinary challenge. Aren't we supposed to, like, enjoy tackling big challenges?

    OH NOEZ! IZ HARD! Why do hard things when you can just shrug and declare them impossible, right?

    We enjoy taking on big challenges we actually care to solve. Going to the moon, that was a big challenge we cared to solve. Most of us are not in some ridiculous rush to get rid of our cars, for a myriad of reasons. It's not a challenge a lot of us particularly care to solve rapidly. This will become even more acute as cars become more and more clean, and the guilt of ram shafting Mother Earth goes away.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    We enjoy taking on big challenges we actually care to solve. Going to the moon, that was a big challenge we cared to solve. Most of us are not in some ridiculous rush to get rid of our cars, for a myriad of reasons. It's not a challenge a lot of us particularly care to solve rapidly. This will become even more acute as cars become more and more clean, and the guilt of ram shafting Mother Earth goes away.

    Well, fair enough - I'm mostly just referring to the OP. I mean, it definitely wasn't 'impossible' for me to solve the issue of not owning a personal vehicle on an individual level (USE MY LEGS TO GET AROUND? UNPOSSIBLE!!!).

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • President RexPresident Rex Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Why doesn't the US have widespread mass transit?

    A lot of cities had mass transit in the 1950s that they no longer have it today. As noted, this is because of that whole "American dream" thing (plus Canadians) about owning a house, a car and having some kids and a dog. With a booming economy and a desire for home ownership, people moved out of city centers because they could afford to live in suburbs (both time-wise and money-wise). The US was also the hub of most car manufacturing (even for international markets) until the 1930s (consumer vehicle production essentially stopped in WW2 Europe, whereas the US still cranked out personal vehicles (but saw fewer streetcar systems closing down)).

    The US also has a vast abundance of space. A 4-lane road in the US could easily pass as a 6-lane road in most European areas. This is due to limitations on space, but also the resultant of smaller cars (very few people in Europe drive minivans or SUVs; station wagons tend to be as large as most people go unless they really need the features of a larger vehicle). This wealth of space also leads to higher levels of home ownership due to cheap land (and home ownership tends to favor personal commutes).

    Corlis (post #18) is also right to a certain extent, but by the turn of the century many European cities had implemented public transportation systems precisely because the industrial and residential areas were not by eachother (London's Underground opened in the mid 1860s; one of the earliest full-length documentaries Menschen am Sonntag opens with commuters in Berlin in 1929; there are also places like Dresden where the geology doesn't allow for subways, but they had horse-drawn trams in 1872). Cities tended to implement mass transit as they became industrialized and populations skyrocketed. Europe was industrialised, but most of the land in the US west of the Mississippi was sparsely populated farmland (that whole "LA" place? 5000 people in 1870).


    How do we get more mass transit?

    The only way you'll get more people on public transporation is by making private transporation more expensive. Gas in Europe is 3x-4x as expensive as it is in the US. Cars (especially big, huge cars) are cheap. People don't like to give up options - so many people own trucks/vans/SUVs or other vehicles that have power (and fuel usage) that they don't need. You'd also need to put up with a dip in tourism for a while as people try to avoid giving up their cars by limiting superfluous commutes.

    Making public transportation more appealing would help (buses particularly have a terrible image), but the crux of the problem is the affordability of private transportation.

    Join the Crew: Sink to the level of sinking those trying to sink us.
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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    And no one is just going to accept you making personal transportation more expensive just 'cause. Until gas naturally becomes that expensive (and right now oil is trending down in price, not up), the make it more expensive methodology just won't work.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Well, for one thing, in a lot of places it's not "slightly" longer (it would add 40 minutes to my commute, tripling it from 20 minutes to an hour, I've researched it). I'd rather spend 20 minutes in my car, jammin some music, and get home and read a book in my lazyboy, then spend an hour on a bus reading a book.

    See, I've seen this sentiment espoused before and it makes absolutely no sense to me. Zero. You might as well be saying, "I don't mind eating shit, in fact I'll eat a tablespoon of it before each meal."

    Why would you want to spend 20 minutes doing something that is completely unproductive and unenriching rather than an hour sitting back and relaxing and doing (within limits) whatever you want?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    An hour on public transit is an hour you can spend reading or watching a movie or working or studying or playing a video game or taking a nap.

    20 minutes you spend driving is 20 minutes of your life wasted. It's dead time. All you've done is aged 20 minutes and depreciated the value of your car.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    An hour on public transit is an hour you can spend reading or watching a movie or working or studying or playing a video game or taking a nap.

    20 minutes you spend driving is 20 minutes of your life wasted. It's dead time. All you've done is aged 20 minutes and depreciated the value of your car.

    Because spending an hour on the bus is 40 minutes of at home time I wasted. With a kid, and shit to do at my house, I am more worried about the forty minutes of at home time I wasted (especially since I already get home just in time to play with my kid before she goes to bed), then I am the twenty minutes wasted in my car.

    So whether you "get" it or not is immensely irrelevant.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    An hour on public transit is an hour you can spend reading or watching a movie or working or studying or playing a video game or taking a nap.

    20 minutes you spend driving is 20 minutes of your life wasted. It's dead time. All you've done is aged 20 minutes and depreciated the value of your car.

    Because spending an hour on the bus is 40 minutes of at home time I wasted. With a kid, and shit to do at my house, I am more worried about the forty minutes of at home time I wasted (especially since I already get home just in time to play with my kid before she goes to bed), then I am the twenty minutes wasted in my car.

    So whether you "get" it or not is immensely irrelevant.

    Jesus christ, how many hours do you work per week?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    An hour on public transit is an hour you can spend reading or watching a movie or working or studying or playing a video game or taking a nap.

    20 minutes you spend driving is 20 minutes of your life wasted. It's dead time. All you've done is aged 20 minutes and depreciated the value of your car.

    Because spending an hour on the bus is 40 minutes of at home time I wasted. With a kid, and shit to do at my house, I am more worried about the forty minutes of at home time I wasted (especially since I already get home just in time to play with my kid before she goes to bed), then I am the twenty minutes wasted in my car.

    So whether you "get" it or not is immensely irrelevant.

    Jesus christ, how many hours do you work per week?

    50-60, but I flex schedule to avoid the worst traffic, which means I go in anywhere from 9:30-10, which means I don't get home until 6:30-8:00, my kid goes to bed between 8 and 8:30.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    50-60, but I flex schedule to avoid the worst traffic, which means I go in anywhere from 9:30-10, which means I don't get home until 6:30-8:00, my kid goes to bed between 8 and 8:30.

    Okay, this makes more sense.

    I don't mind driving remotely as much when I can drive off-schedule.

    Fighting rush hour traffic is a huge reason I hate driving during a commute.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Yah, no, I flex for this very reason. Houston traffic is bad, really bad. Even at 9:30-10 when I roll in, I will have to tap my breaks several times on the highway, but it's mostly a clear shot.

    Now, on the back end, unless I stay until at least 7 or 7:30 (which is actually most nights), I hit the tail end of the nasty rush hour.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I love flex schedules. I've tried to do flex schedule several times in my career and it's always ended badly, unfortunately.

    But yeah, driving on a relatively clear freeway can be pleasurable and relaxing. Driving during a rush-hour commute just makes a bad day worse.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Klonoa of the Wind WAHOO!Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think trying to stop us using cars is stupid. We need to build cars that aren't so polluting.

    Most sensible post here so far

    The hell do you people have against cars?

    BwQ9Ecd.jpg?1
    Magya! | Sometimes I stream PS4 games here | PSN: UnbreakableVow
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think trying to stop us using cars is stupid. We need to build cars that aren't so polluting.

    Most sensible post here so far

    The hell do you people have against cars?

    Pollution & terrible drivers. :P

    But yeah, a serious initiative to transition most/all vehicles to electrical or hydrogen fueled would make me just as pleased as any initiative to implement light rail or maglev systems (though I'd still prefer maglev, just because I love the technology and want to see it grow).

    Supporting bus systems is usually counter-productive. A lot of bus routes do not wind-up ferrying more passengers than a much smaller vehicle would, and wind-up being much more fuel inefficient as a result.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think trying to stop us using cars is stupid. We need to build cars that aren't so polluting.

    Most sensible post here so far

    The hell do you people have against cars?

    Even if all the cars in the world were nonpolluting, you still have people trying to get around in big boxes of metal going at high speeds taking up space.

    You still have to devote land to parking and garages. You still have idiots who think they have a right to drive however fast they want however terribly they want however drunk they are.

    And you still have bumper-to-bumper morning commutes that make me want to go Falling Down on people.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think trying to stop us using cars is stupid. We need to build cars that aren't so polluting.

    Most sensible post here so far

    The hell do you people have against cars?

    You can slap all the green stickers on a car you want. The mining process and refining process for the raw materials is ridiculous when it comes to pollution. No matter how fancy-pants a battery you make, all that nickle, copper, aluminum and plastic/rubber will come from a mining operation that has sad sad sad levels of regulation.

    The country those raw materials are turned into parts for use in? China.


    edit:

    I require a car. In order to not be homeless I live 25 minutes away from work (SF Bay Area).

    It would cost me 2$ to get to the BART station (30 minute bus ride, because they're slow and never on time) 3.85$ to get on BART and take it to Oakland, 1$ to get a transfer from BART to a city bus to get near where I work... then I get to walk through Oakland. So, just shy of 7$ to get to work, and around an hour and a half time investment (if not more, you have to wait on the train, wait on the buses, etc if they don't line up just right you're looking at 20 minutes or so possibly at each stop).

    That's just to get to work, double it.

    My 8 1/2 hour work day just became 11 1/2 - 12 1/2 hours depending on how lucky I am. It will also cost me 14$ per day to get from home, to work, back again.

    Live closer to work!

    I already pay 1100/month for a 1 bedroom apartment where I can walk to groceries, a k-mart, target, food, everything else. Why would I pay 1400$/month to live in Oakland... next to fucking Macarthur BLVD without air conditioning in a neighborhood where I have to put bars on my windows. With no nearby stores I'd want to go to?

    I think the solution is going to be getting people used to the idea of carpooling or having businesses provide a cash incentive or deals on leased vans for employees who carpool.

    edit: I'd like to live right next to a BART station, but I lack the 2700$/month to pay for the luxury of having a trainstop 30 yards from my door.

  • yalborapyalborap Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    My biggest thing? Just that cars are bloody expensive. Even a cheapo beater is several hundred to a grand, and that's the bare minimum, which'll need serious love and attention.

    So, building a society where we need to either put a bunch of time into a crappy car, or spend several years paying off a $10,000+ thing just to get around well seems...kind of retarded.

  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    It's systemic, but it's deeper than that. It's very, very deeply rooted in the American psyche: Nice car, nice house, acre of land, two kids, one dog, picket fence.

    You're basically asking people to completely re-arrange what their idea of a comfortable existence is.

    Yup.

    And the only way to do that is to make their comfortable existence less comfortable (by, say, raising the price of gas) or by making the better way of living cheaper.

    But even then, it's gonna require massive changes.

    The words better and cheaper are important. Cheaper helps, but you have to convince people it's better.

    For instance, I live in a three bedroom house, in a suburb, 17-20 miles from the center of my city (Houston). I work 20 minutes from my house. This is very comfortable for me, but does require car usage. Gas prices are actually dipping, not rising.

    Given all that, without a drastic change in condition, tell me what about public transportation, riding a bike, moving in to an apartment in the city, or any number of "make life smaller" exercises are going to make my life better. Note, I am talking about my life. We all know the benefits to the planet, to grid lock, possible benefits to community strength, etc.

    Not trying to sound selfish, but this is the exact question 200m middle class Americans are going to ask you when you tell them they have to move, or give up their car.
    I can think of a few ways it might make your life better. Cars require maintenance and parking, public transit doesn't. Cars make it impossible to drink alcohol in a night out, unless you set up a designated driver before hand. If you can't afford a good car, people will look at your bad car and think less of you, public transit is a nice equalizer. public transit lets you read or work during your commute. You can ride together with a big group of people. And sometimes I just don't feel like driving, especially if I'm really tired.

    On the whole I think I still like cars better, but public transit does have a lot of advantages, as long as its funded properly.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think trying to stop us using cars is stupid. We need to build cars that aren't so polluting.

    Most sensible post here so far

    The hell do you people have against cars?

    Because, stating this again, the problem is not that cars pollute it's that we design our habitation really really shittly. Even for cars.

    But alot of it is perpetuated BECAUSE of cars.

    Making cars less polluting doesn't make the suburbs any less shitty. But the cheapness of gas does perpetuate that shittiness.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    An hour on public transit is an hour you can spend reading or watching a movie or working or studying or playing a video game or taking a nap.

    20 minutes you spend driving is 20 minutes of your life wasted. It's dead time. All you've done is aged 20 minutes and depreciated the value of your car.

    Or jammed in a crowded bus unable to do much of anything except maybe listen to music.

    20 minutes in the car is 20 minutes of my own music in a nice enough environment that I can control and take where ever I choose and also gets me home faster so I can do shit at home I actually want to do that I can't do on a bus.

    Also, motion sickness wants a word with you.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    yalborap wrote: »
    My biggest thing? Just that cars are bloody expensive. Even a cheapo beater is several hundred to a grand, and that's the bare minimum, which'll need serious love and attention.

    So, building a society where we need to either put a bunch of time into a crappy car, or spend several years paying off a $10,000+ thing just to get around well seems...kind of retarded.

    You don't have to go in to debt to buy a new car. My car, and my wife's car, would paid for in cash, and no, we aren't rich. Just manage our money smart over the long term.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    yalborap wrote: »
    My biggest thing? Just that cars are bloody expensive. Even a cheapo beater is several hundred to a grand, and that's the bare minimum, which'll need serious love and attention.

    So, building a society where we need to either put a bunch of time into a crappy car, or spend several years paying off a $10,000+ thing just to get around well seems...kind of retarded.

    Some company needs to build the ultimate commuter car. A radio, an air conditioner and good mileage and safety features, then not charge 18k for it. I don't need electronic ass-massaging warming seats or nine directional zone air conditioning.

    Make a car that costs around 7k with the priority being a solid simple engine and reliability.

    Also, in America your car makes your member grow. It's scientific fact that depending on your location the size of the engine and how many horses it can initiate sex with, or the height of the ladder you have to use to get in the fucker outside of a starbucks is directly proportional to your self worth and organ size.

    edit:

    On the traditional bus you spend your time hoping the guy that smells like piss wont sit next to you, saying no to panhandlers, listening to irritating kids who have nothing better to do than be little hooligans and trying to not vomit or get a headache because of the prop engine they have sitting 10 feet away that tears a fabric in space and time every time the thing accelerates.

    Not relaxing.

    Also, a lot of people can't read or play games without getting serious motion sickness at trying to focus on a close object while they ride in something that feels like it was purposely designed to simulate being an ocean in a storm.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I don't demand perfection, so I'll live with the manufacturing issues & terrible drivers if there were a serious attempt to make a transition to hydrogen or electrical powered vehicles. Mostly, though, such initiatives prove to be little more than smoke screens.
    I require a car. In order to not be homeless I live 25 minutes away from work (SF Bay Area).

    It would cost me 2$ to get to the BART station (30 minute bus ride, because they're slow and never on time) 3.85$ to get on BART and take it to Oakland, 1$ to get a transfer from BART to a city bus to get near where I work... then I get to walk through Oakland. So, just shy of 7$ to get to work, and around an hour and a half time investment (if not more, you have to wait on the train, wait on the buses, etc if they don't line up just right you're looking at 20 minutes or so possibly at each stop).

    That's just to get to work, double it.

    My 8 1/2 hour work day just became 11 1/2 - 12 1/2 hours depending on how lucky I am. It will also cost me 14$ per day to get from home, to work, back again.

    Live closer to work!

    I already pay 1100/month for a 1 bedroom apartment where I can walk to groceries, a k-mart, target, food, everything else. Why would I pay 1400$/month to live in Oakland... next to fucking Macarthur BLVD without air conditioning in a neighborhood where I have to put bars on my windows. With no nearby stores I'd want to go to?

    I think the solution is going to be getting people used to the idea of carpooling or having businesses provide a cash incentive or deals on leased vans for employees who carpool.

    edit: I'd like to live right next to a BART station, but I lack the 2700$/month to pay for the luxury of having a trainstop 30 yards from my door.

    See, this is why we need these:
    Spoiler:

    ...Like, everywhere. Ultra efficient, cheap (as far as the vehicles themselves are concerned), low maintenance and you can string out the track for miles & miles (unlike light rail, which has to run on a much smaller scale due to power issues).

    The only problem with maglev trains is that, unfortunately, the tracks are expensive to build. :(

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
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