The War on Cars Enters Its 135th Year

Comments

1

A very pedestrian-centric and bicyclist-centric view of of the "War or Cars" in 2020. I'm surprised you left out scooters and rickshaws.

Of course, the things that truly empower pedestrians and cyclists are density and mass transit. And the reality is that 2020 has been a devastating year on those fronts. (Acknowledged I saw a passing mention of density at least.)

We can only hope that in 2021, with a competent federal government in place, the vaccine rollout gains steam and that office work gets renormalized and people return to public spaces. And Amtrak Joe getting a non-auto-centric infrastructure bill through Congress wouldn't hurt either. Not holding my breath on that one. I'm sure that electing a new Seattle mayor who has some affinity for Sound Transit and for getting shit done would be too much to ask for.

2

“Wait … this is only for cars??? That’s dumb.”

No, what you said is dumb.
I have a better idea. Why have all that concrete in front of our homes at all. Rip it all out, sidewalks too, plant evergreen trees and just leave a wide strip in the center for walking and no bikes!

3

Maybe it's just me.

I think an increase in public transit would go a long way, maybe even a longer way, to improving the city instead of just closing off streets and forcing people to quarantine themselves at home.

Since the quarantine started, more and more bus routes in the city have been discontinued permanently. And this is on top of The Great Recession, when around 40 percent of all the bus routes in the city were permanently discontinued already.

Bike riding is fine. It's good recreation. It's good exercise. But, it's not that great in bad weather. And it's certainly not great for grocery shopping.

Pedestrian-ing is fine, too. In fact, the city and county are kind of forcing it upon us. When you used to have a bus stop just a block or two away, and now you have to walk a mile or two to the nearest bus line, you don't have a lot of choice.

The state has already semi-officially adopted the slogan "Expect Delays".
Now it seems the city and Metro have adopted the slogan "Bus Stop Permanently Closed".

4

Just put a toll on all bridge exits and road exits leading into Seattle of 0.1% per trip of your annual income, including capital gains and dividends.

Problem solved.

5

Car’s are “of the Devil”.

6

@4: Thats $1000 per exit for anyone with a 100K income. Is that what you propose?

7

I've trail biked all over the Sound for exercise & enjoy it immensely, but to suggest bicycles are the answer for human transport is naive wishful thinking at best. First of all, many simply aren't able to (too old, too young, too fat) or are going to work in their suit/tie/skirt/etc., and can't arrive sweaty & soiled. Or have significant schlepping to do (groceries, you name it). This is without even considering the impact of weather. Clearly, the answer is effective, efficient, cheap quick & easy to use mass transit.

8

@6 and a lot less if you're poor.

But ... every trip by one of our billionaires will ... FULLY FUND TRANSIT AND BRIDGE REPAIR AND BIKE LANES AND .... comprende?

9

@7, I agree with you, except. "Clearly, the answer is effective, efficient, cheap quick & easy to use mass transit." Well, that's really not the answer much less ever happening. It would be impossible to expect Mass Transit to meet all our needs of a busy life. Pick up the kids (maybe two or more locations) any number of appointments, stops or pickups. These don't happen every day of the week but they do often enough and unexpectedly too. Just thinking of West Seattle alone, where I live, you would be tapping your feet waiting at multiple bus stops that might get you somewhat near where have to go on their time schedule then there is the weather as you say. Transit is great for commuting to work if that's all you do but life will never be limited to bus routes. Imagine a family of 4 or 5 in Lake City that wants to go to Alki Beach for the day. Take a bus to downtown, with all the gear, waiting for the next bus to the West Seattle. Then you got tired, sunburn wet and sandy kids to take on the bus, wait for a bus downtown for one to Lake City. Don't think so.

Ever wake-up early one morning and tell your better half 'Hey, let's grab some clothes and get an early ferry to Port Townsand and spend the night? Or wake-up the kids and say let's go to Steven's Pass and play in the snow today? Personal transportation has enriched our lives and our economy multiple ways and believe it or not people love it. Transit is great but limited in what it can offer. It will never be an end all for everything.

10

@8, No, Sawant has already devised spending that money on other pet proposals.

12

I think that #11 has pretty much won this post.

13

@12: Seems the mods - working on a holiday, shockingly - disagreed. What was it?

14

Articles like this NEVER take what I call Striving American Culture into account. We are driven to live our best lives - cramming as much activity into a 24 hour day as we can. Ditching the car requires finding time in an already busy life to get from point A to point B to point C to point D - on a much slower schedule. Ain't gonna happen. Cut back on your goals and aspirations, adopt a simpler, laid-back life - maybe. If you Google information on how much sleep we are getting as a nation, most sources say we don't get enough. So we already rob ourselves of sleep to get shit done.

And for the love of god, stop using the term "walkable" neighborhood. What you really mean is "strollable" as in "easy, won't break a sweat, won't take more than 10 minutes, senior citizen/toddler-level, easy to fit in my schedule way to use my feet to procure all my needs." Ha - I'd have more respect for this stance if one is willing to walk a couple of miles. But then the "it takes too long" bitching starts...and we are back to "well choose your priorities - want to pack in a ton of activity in a short time you will have to either drive or use Uber."

16

@4: The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce thanks you.

An as far as those Stay Healthy Streets: Not a bad idea actually. Since the streets are still available for local access, residents along them will not be too put out even when they jump in to their cars. Just be sure to get your requests in to the city fast. The people one block on either side of you have already applied. And at some point the city will have to earmark those roads still open as arterial routes into and out of your neighborhood. Shame that your neighbors beat you to the SDOT office.

17

When I started reading this article I wasn’t sure whether the writer is serious or is it actually a parody.
In any case, this otherwise liberal who relies on their car for work AND is also a bike rider thinks it’s totally unreasonable to expect people to forgo cars in favor of walking and biking considering climate, topography, and aging knees.
Public transportation may regain traction once the pandemic is over yet will never meet everyone’s needs. And mind you, some senseless implementations of our “road diet” program have slowed everyone, including buses.

I welcome tents that help keep business afloat in these troubled times, but if my otherwise quite liberal hood is any indication, most of the “stay healthy” roads which are not used as a business extension of some sort are useless, and even if sporadically used for the purpose intended they do not justify the closures.

18

Once the vaccine roll-out takes hold, let’s make Metro routes more extensive with robust scheduling and frequency. This, in conjunction with the massive light rail expansion and an emphasis on Sounder usage and making downtown areas pedestrian friendly will be a magnum leap in the effort to reduce fossil fuel usage. Metro bus service is crucial because the routes are more specific, whereas the trains can only move commuters from point A to point B. Also, pedestrian sky bridges are a great way to save lives, protecting vulnerable pedestrians from inattentive drivers amped up on caffeine. Bicycling is a viable, albeit limited option due to weather limitations and inherent dangers. Who can forget the young woman who was taken out by an oncoming truck while making a legal turn downtown not too long ago and another rider died after getting her wheel caught in a rail track on Capitol Hill. Many bicyclists are injured by opening car doors, so let’s migrate away from automobile usage and emphasize mass transit and remote working. One reason the downtown areas are uninhabitable, except for homeless folks, are all the tinny cars zipping back and forth, posing a threat to humanity. This sea change and massive infrastructure shift away from the horseless carriage may compel Seattlites to support a Sawant candidacy for Mayor, with her public-sector affinity and political savvy.

19

The Viaduct has been gone for 2 years, but the Stranger still using B-roll images to use it as a zombie boogey man. Dudes, just tell your interns to dream up new scare photos - and don't be lazy!

20

"...allowing restaurants to reclaim some of the space outside their businesses for, you know, actually doing business..."

Few things more annoying than progressives who don't know what they're talking about. That space is public right-of-way.

21

@7
👍

22

I needed to go to the bank one day, but I also had to change my alternator before I could drive (alternator charges your battery while you drive, battery powers your spark plugs and etc). My nearest BECU branch is 4.5 miles away and takes 13 mins by car. To take transit it would have been 1 hr and 10 mins and involve two different busses and 40 minutes of walking.
I was able to put on the alternator in less time and just drive.
Not all of us would pay $1400/mo to live in a cramped studio downtown where there's a bank on the first floor of every mixed-use building and a 2 groceries within walking distance.
Down here on the South end, a community with many diverse backgrounds, we kind of need a car to get anything at all done unless you want to be on the bus/walking half the fucking day.