Friday, August 28, 2009

Phila streetcars - 900M passengers/year

In Philadelphia, PA - USA: Over 900 Million passengers per year ride the streetcar system. This is great news. So great that we waited only 88 years to post it on this blog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Car-free streets are good for business

Streetsblog analyzes L.A. envy of NYC car-free Times Square Days. Also -- the beans are spilled that business is better in car-free areas.

Foot traffic is up over 50% on both weekends and weekdays in Times Square, and the business-friendly Times Square Alliance forcefully backs the plan.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wildwood free trolley a hit with the tourists

Wildwood N.J.: This summer saw the debut of the "Dolly" a free trolley that runs on summer weekend evenings. It goes up Atlantic Avenue and down Pacific, north to 24th and south to Cresse. The trolley has steadily gained ridership over its initial season, according to the drivers.

Vacation is so much better without the stress of driving and the parking headaches. Try it out!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Causing traffic problems? Lock 'em up.

...All the developers over the years who built the houses which sprawl for scores of kilometres, making it almost inevitable that hundreds of thousands ... will use private vehicles to go to work, shop and go about their daily lives.
...Everyone who argues that wider and more roads are the solution to traffic problems, because all the evidence instead demonstrates more cars and therefore more congestion is the inevitable result. All those who choose to live too far from work to use public transit or walk or ride a bike.
...All those who object to well-planned densification of single family neighbourhoods.
...all those who promote an economic system that requires us to choose between ever more growth or the misery of depression/recession. In this car-addicted society that inevitably means more automobiles and therefore more traffic jams....

Gary Engler on Commondreams

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Debate on car culture, economics

Photo: Jose Fidelino Vera Hernandez / AP via StreetsBlog

Peter Smith on "hating cars"

...thankfully, a good percentage of us really do hate cars with the core of our beings, and some of us are unapologetic about it. many of us who hate cars still need to use them once in a while, but we don't apologize for the damage they do to our society day in and day out. what would be the basis for that?
i can only guess that the reason some people feel compelled to apologize for cars is that they really don't believe that cars and car culture are as destructive as they actually are. or maybe they're just afraid of a little criticism. how intentionally ignorant must one be, or how servile must one be, to grovel at the feet of car culture? seems a bit demented and sad.
we need a modern-day abolition movement to make illegitimate cars and car culture once and for all. ... comment by Peter Smith on GreaterGreaterWashington

Peter Smith on "greening cars" (same source)

What about the future "greening" of automobiles?
i suspect a Ford F150, a Toyota Prius, and a Chevy Volt could terrorize me and other cyclists and pedestrians equally well. that's only the very beginnings of why so many people have a great yet still growing distaste for autos.
hopefully local toxic emissions will drop, though i'm not so hopeful that 'greening' autos will have anything to do with it, if it happens. the Jevons effect might see to that. i'm more hopeful that we continue to knock down highways, calm streets, etc. --
these things will have real effects.
then we can start talking about all the ridiculous battery tech we've already started subsidizing. yikes. when we start looking at full energy lifecycles, fergeddaboutit -- 'greening' cars might be the worst idea we ever had. i'd rather we just let them fade away.
cars separate us from nature, which has myriad harmful direct and indirect effects --
like the killing/maiming of wildlife and human life, noise pollution from loud exhaust systems and rubber tires on pavement, a loss of appreciation for the natural environment - which helps us to continue to kill off myriad species, and with them all their secrets and successes and etc. Cars prevent people from walking and biking places they would otherwise walk and bike to. The effect of cars on the social fabric of the US, and ultimately our politics and policies, i think can scarcely be imagined. Think of all the right-wing hate radio that is propped up by our car-dependent society. The various economic costs of cars and car culture have been mentioned on this blog before -- fire, rescue, security, police, crime (carjacking, robbery, kidnapping, etc.), repair, insurance, fraud, etc. And surely the degradation of the value of human life by way of the yearly human slaughter on our roadways can't be good for society, can it?
Really, it's not a stretch to suggest that cars are 'the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world'.
The world without cars will be a much, much better place.

comments by Peter Smith on GreaterGreaterWashington

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Auto system falling down, falling down...

Crack in pillar supporting Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, PA. Taxpayers can't keep up with the trillion-dollar carbon-auto subsidy. We are stuck with an unsafe, unsustainable system. Meanwhile the tariff is maintained on transit users to discourage any alternative.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New York Mayor proposes free buses

Mayor Bloomberg lifted a page straight from the Kheel Plan playbook yesterday in calling on the MTA to make crosstown buses free [PDF]. Bus riders and transit advocates should be beaming.

m14.jpgPhoto of M14 bus: Kriston Lewis/Flickr.
Free buses will save bus riders time and money and will benefit everyone by luring some taxi and car users to transit and easing traffic gridlock. Ted Kheel recognized this as far back as the 1960s. Over the past year, he and I have quantified the benefits from free buses, and they're striking:
MTA Bus engineers recently clocked "dwell time" -- those maddening seconds and minutes taken up by passenger boarding -- on the Bx12 Limited route from 207th Street to Co-op City. A typical run takes 56 minutes and 17 seconds, with passenger stops consuming 16 minutes and 16 seconds -- nearly 30 percent. The engineers found that doing away with fare collection could slash dwell time on the Bx12 to 2 minutes 36 seconds: an 84 percent reduction and a 24 percent saving in total trip time. Read more Komanoff on Streetsblog