Sunday, 1 September 2019

Let's build houses for people, not cars.

quote [ Parking requirements increase the density of cars but reduce the density of people. It also puts pressure on businesses by taking up useful real estate and replacing it with car storage. ]

More food for urban thinking.
[SFW] [travel] [+2 Interesting]
[by Paracetamol@5:34pmGMT]


5th Earth said @ 11:42pm GMT on 1st Sep [Score:2]
The problem I've always had is that, as bad as traffic and parking gets, for 99% of my transportation it is *still* faster, cheaper, and more convenient for me to just drive (I live in southern San Jose, CA). I have to drive just to get to the nearest light rail station, which is only useful for me to get to a few select downtown entertainment venues that I rarely attend. Local bus stops are plentiful but actual busses come around so rarely it's essentially useless. BART still doesn't go to San Jose, so that's a drive or a bus just to get to the station.

It's literally impossible for me to arrive at my job on time using public transport. The bus service doesn't start early enough in the day. Even if it did work, it would take me a minimum of 1.5 hours to get there compared to my normal 20-30 minute commute. And for the pleasure of tripling my commute time, I have to pay $7.50, each way.
Bruceski said @ 12:48am GMT on 2nd Sep
Yeah. Here in Portland as long as you're in the network it's pretty easy to get around by bus (I have two lines by me running every 15-30 mins depending on time of day, and light rail within doable walking distance or I hop a bus there since it's all the same network) but I still use my car for grocery trips so I don't need to worry about space, and we're an outlier. My brother's in Indiannapolis right now. They HAVE a bus system, but the city is not built for it and he's hamstrung walking anywhere thanks to the layout of highways.
thepublicone said[1] @ 7:14pm GMT on 1st Sep [Score:1 Informative]
I LOVE this idea; it just won't work.

My city- Halifax, NS- is trying to do the same idea with its downtown: build bike lanes everywhere, which replace on-street public parking spots traffic lanes, and turn parking lots into apartments, attempting to force people to walk, bike or use public transit. Vacancy is at 1.3%, so new apartments are always good.

All of this is a great idea; none of it is working. The city was built in the 18th Century, so the roads are narrow to begin with; adding bike lanes just makes it ridiculous. The new apartments are NOT low-income, or even middle-income; they're "top 5% of the market" buildings. And yes, tourists are walking, renting bikes and Segways, using transit, etc. But the people that live here, they are just getting angrier at the increasing levels of traffic as people that live in the suburbs say "Fuck it" and bring their cars downtown anyway. Living downtown, and walking most places, it is amazing. Driving home from work? Not so much.

Urban planners LOVE this type of idea, but they seem to forget the greatest truth about the West: people LOVE their cars, love the freedom, and will gladly sit in traffic and then bitch and moan about it rather than change. The world is literally cooking around them, yet people are still buying ICE cars with impunity, and trying to take that ability from them is like trying to take guns from Americans- that shit just won't fly, no matter how good it is for their health and safety. I have always believed that Halifax should just go all-in, go to "hop on, hop off" electric trolleys, and ban cars completely from downtown unless you live there- Gate pass cards and everything.

That's a city of roughly 400,000 people with a tourist-driven downtown core; Trying to convert that to something the size of LA would be INSANE. It strikes me that ideas like this only work if you are purpose-building a city zone/neighbourhood/area, because, otherwise, it requires too much change for people to accept.
Bruceski said @ 9:15pm GMT on 1st Sep [Score:1 Insightful]
Every new apartment complex that goes up here in Portland underbuilds parking because "only one family's living in an apartment these days and only has one car right" is an excuse to get more rental units in there. Same thing out in Bend; when the new college went up they chose the crowded wealthy side of town instead of the more spacious east side with room for parking because "college students will just walk or bike". In both cases the result is the same: people still have their cars (particularly Bend, because while anything in the immediate neighborhood is fine and the town is bikeable it's in the middle of nowhere and you're probably going to need a car or really enjoy biking for 30-60 miles) and they park up the surrounding streets.

It's definitely a relatable idea, but I think the only way you could pull it off in America is to have a zero-car area. If it's "low-traffic" people will count themselves as part of the exception and blame everyone else. We're just two spread out with abysmal mass-transit options in a lot of the country. Make a square mile plaza with plenty of surrounding parking but no personal vehicles inside the zone, then expand that as you go.
thepublicone said @ 10:24pm GMT on 1st Sep [Score:1 Insightful]
Imagine telling people that lower Manhattan is "car-free". These are the same people who freaked the fuck out when they tried to tax giant soft drinks.

Canada has significantly better transit infrastructure than the US- better funded, better laid out, better maintained- and I cannot see this working in ANY city in Canada; even Vancouver, one of the most progressive environmental cities in the world, would have serious trouble implementing this (they have, to some degree, at the University of British Columbia, which is mostly car-free; its beautiful, but you have to like walking). Trying to do this in Toronto or Montreal is laughable and delusional, and both cities just spent BILLIONS extending their mass transit system (Montreal's highway system is in a perpetual state of construction, which I do not believe will ever end).

I COULD see it in places like Kona, Hawaii, or even Hilo, or Kelowna or Kamloops in British Columbia; places where the general population is all-in on environmental protections, and the city is small enough that it can still be adjusted to fit the requirements. But places like that are the unicorns; they really don't exist except under perfect circumstances, and even then its rare (for anyone who's ever been to Honolulu, think about trying to get around that place daily without a car.).

I can only think of ONE large city where going car free and relying on mass transit would, without a doubt, 100% work: VEGAS. Turn the strip into one giant plaza; put down astroturf on the road, put up a bunch of boutiques and bars, throw a tinted glass roof over the top of that bitch, and use "hop on/hop off" electric buses to ship the masses up and down the strip and through the old downtown. THAT would be PERFECT.

The good news? Maybe once global warming really starts to hit, and we have to relocate all of these coastal cities a few miles inland, they can custom-build the new layouts to be "pedestrian-first".
Bruceski said @ 12:59am GMT on 2nd Sep [Score:1 Good]
Out here in the summer we have Sunday Parkways, where they shut down some streets to car traffic in a big loop, and it turns into a walking/biking path with 4 or 5 different parks along the route where companies set up booths and such. I volunteered for it once, great people and amazing atmosphere. Just the feeling in the people was very friendly and casual in a way I don't often feel since moving to the city. Not a knock on Portland in particular, I grew up in a small town that nobody went to without reason so the general feeling of the place was that same no-traffic casual aside from morning and evening when everyone was commuting.

The one exception was the people who wanted to cross. My intersection was closed to cars, the main intersections had policemen directing traffic, but the number of people who would not take "go two blocks that way and you can cross" for an answer was horrendous. We were right by a church too; when that let out we got a bunch of the nastiest people I have ever met, old ladies who'd taken that road every Sunday for 50 years and no hippie's gonna stop them now. "I wasn't told about this!" well there were notices on every door in the area for the last two months, so if your church didn't pass it along it's on them not us.
Paracetamol said @ 4:16am GMT on 2nd Sep
Here's a very nice article of a computer fair journalist going by bike in Vegas.

TL;DR: It's faster but you're about to be checked out by the police.
Paracetamol said[1] @ 7:39pm GMT on 1st Sep
The “people love their cars” notion has to change, right? That's probably easier in Europe.
snowfox said @ 9:11am GMT on 3rd Sep
My car makes me sexually aroused. I even named him.
Paracetamol said @ 10:46am GMT on 3rd Sep
Well, I never owned one.
snowfox said @ 8:53am GMT on 4th Sep
It wouldn't be an option where I live. I can't even get a taxi or an uber out here.
Paracetamol said @ 7:52pm GMT on 4th Sep
True. And tightening rural public infrastructure is often a chicken-and-egg problem.
mechanical contrivance said @ 1:46pm GMT on 4th Sep
So I heard you're a mechanophile.

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