Is it possible to live in America without a car?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Todd Tracy, Nov 28, 2005.



  1. Ted Bennett

    Ted Bennett Guest

    Yes, it is.

    Ted "affirmative" Bennett

    --
    Ted Bennett
     
  2. I lived, worked and played in the northwestern portion of El Lay (Los
    Angeles) for twenty years without even owning a car.

    I rode everywhere, not just to work, but shopping (with my Bike Burro
    trailer), and even to weekend ride starts witrh the local club (riding a
    bike to the start of a bike ride, what a concept! ยง;-3)>).

    The few times I did need a car, i tagged along with my Landlady when she
    had errands to do, I sometimes carpolled to more remote events (like the
    Great Western Bike Rally). Oh, and once a year I rented a car to drive
    up to Fresno for the Climb to Kaiser. That was the only time I drove a
    motor vehicle.

    - -

    Chris Zacho ~ "Your Friendly Neighborhood Wheelman"

    "May you have the winds at your back,
    And a really low gear for the hills!"

    Chris'Z Corner
    http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  3. Ken M

    Ken M Guest

    Todd Tracy wrote:
    > http://www.slate.com/id/2131049/


    It is a myth that you can't live in America without owning a MV. I
    often think that it was probably started by some MV company in an
    effort to boost sales. Perhaps this happened around the time of the oil
    embargo of the 70's. Anyway, I have not owned an MV in over 5 years and
    I get alone fine without one.

    Ken
     
  4. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    It's certainly possible to live in the city without a car. I was 25 before I
    even got a driver's license.

    It's hard to live in the suburbs with kids without a car. I know it's
    possible, but it's *hard.* It was too hard for me, when we moved to the
    suburbs, bought a house, started a family.

    The only thing harder was gaining weight, getting out of shape, developing
    diabetes, and having a heart attack.

    I still have the car, but mostly it sits there. The nest is empty again, and
    I'm thinking about moving back into the city.

    RichC
     
  5. rwwff

    rwwff Guest

    On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 18:04:26 -0500, Rich Clark wrote:
    > It's hard to live in the suburbs with kids without a car. I know it's
    > possible, but it's *hard.* It was too hard for me, when we moved to the
    > suburbs, bought a house, started a family.


    I think the kid does it to you, whether you are in the suburbs or in the
    city. There are just to many situations that commonly arise where you
    need to move the kid 10 miles in 20 minutes.

    Without kid though... I think its doable in both places, but individual
    requirements can prevent it from being realistic.

    > The only thing harder was gaining weight, getting out of shape, developing
    > diabetes, and having a heart attack.


    Doesn't take long does it. I was out of it for a little more than a year,
    and managed to increase my heart rate 20 ticks, caused the doc to quiz me
    on blood pressure, put twenty nuisance pounds around the middle, and made
    20 mile bike trips harder than 80 mile trips used to be.
     
  6. yeahyeahyeah. i do it. but i have a car in the garage unused-stored.
    but no, itsa hassle - no car is limiting by definition
    or by world view-if one's interests do not extend beyond the 50 mile
    limit then,,,
    for exampull-most times the bike is ok
    butbubut-for multiple task days>appointments at 10am...zeroooo!
    i need to get to manatee park at 25 miles? to study manatee. car? no
    problem: can't be done on a bike.
    i'd like to get to homestead nascar for the ambience. only by car.
    the list is endless.
    ft myers has outstanding bike paths, endless summer, and an outstanding
    bus system-at a $10+ per head subsidy
    and the hidden bottom line? real commutung takes hours of maintenance.
    an unsolved problem. where's that gallon oil jug? to chain enclose.
     
  7. Todd Tracy wrote:
    > http://www.slate.com/id/2131049/


    I'd agree with the author of the article. Its possible to live in the
    USA without a car, not practical or intelligent to do so though. On
    Thanksgiving I visited family that lives 110 miles from me. It was 20
    degrees and windy on Thanksgiving day. And I went to work for a couple
    hours before driving the 110 miles. Without a car, I would not have
    been able to visit family on Thanksgiving. Seems very impractical and
    dumb to try to live without a car.
     
  8. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    [snipped rec.bicycles.tech since this isn't a technical discussion
    about bicycles]

    "Ken M" <[email protected]> writes:

    > Todd Tracy wrote:
    >> http://www.slate.com/id/2131049/

    >
    > It is a myth that you can't live in America without owning a MV. I
    > often think that it was probably started by some MV company in an
    > effort to boost sales. Perhaps this happened around the time of the
    > oil embargo of the 70's. Anyway, I have not owned an MV in over 5
    > years and I get alone fine without one.


    Good for you.

    The myth of the necessity of car ownership was started in about 1922
    by the president of General Motors, Alfred P. Sloan. He formed an
    illegal consortium with Firestone, Standard Oil, Phillips Petroleum
    and Mack Trucks to buy up and disable public transit trolley lines
    across the country. The created a front company, National City Lines,
    which bought up and then put out of business trolley lines- replacing
    them with buses when they kept the transit companies in business at
    all. One in ten American families owned an auto in 1922. The plan
    was successful in acieving its goal of getting more Americans to buy
    cars (and gasoline, oil and tires). In 1932, GM formed the National
    Highway Users Conference to lobby for roads, highways and policies
    friendly to the automobile.

    In short, the American car culture is the result of social engineering
    by GM and others.

    In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed the GM president as Secretary
    of Defense and the president of DuPont as Secretary of Transportation.
    Between the two of them and Congress, the largest public expenditure
    for civilian projects was the paving of America. At that time the
    Highway Trust Fund was created to make sure that gasoline taxes were
    funneled into roadbuilding. In 1972, GM convinced Congress to block
    funding for rapid transit to a great extent. It wasn't until ISTEA
    that federal money for urban transit became widely available, and many
    cities are now developing light rail lines to replace the services
    that were destroyed by GM et al in the 1920's-1950's.

    Locally, "save the car" is the conservative rallying cry for transit
    planning. Despite the new light rail transit line having its 10
    millionth passenger last week, in under two years in a metro area of 3
    million people, the conservatives continue to claim that transit is a
    "failure." The Taxpayer's League has spent a lot of money painting
    transit as "social engineering," conveniently ingoring the history of
    transportation social engineering that has brought us to the state we
    are in now. It's all very laughable.

    One good benefit of ISTEA/TEA-21 is that we now have many miles of
    bike paths that are actually intended to be useful commuting routes,
    linking suburbs to downtowns and eventually linking the downtowns.
    During the reasonable months of the year, they are crowded with people
    obviously commuting to work by bike.
     
  9. [email protected] wrote:
    > Todd Tracy wrote:
    > > http://www.slate.com/id/2131049/

    >
    > I'd agree with the author of the article. Its possible to live in the
    > USA without a car, not practical or intelligent to do so though. On
    > Thanksgiving I visited family that lives 110 miles from me. It was 20
    > degrees and windy on Thanksgiving day. And I went to work for a couple
    > hours before driving the 110 miles. Without a car, I would not have
    > been able to visit family on Thanksgiving. Seems very impractical and
    > dumb to try to live without a car.


    I don't know about living in the US without a car; I've never lived
    there. I have managed to live in Canada without a car for 20 years.
    Rural living is a bit of a hassle but in a town or city there is not
    all that much need for an automobile as long as one chooses to live
    where amenities are reasonably handy and/or public tranist is also
    available.

    I must say I was not very impressed with the author's "attempt" to live
    without a car.
    Riding in jeans was that terrible. Strange, I did my first century in
    jeans. Still, why would an 'avid' cyclist do a 4 mile ride in civvies
    anyway?


    I regularly carry 22 lb (10 kg) bags of flour in one of my pannier. He
    might have wanted to consider something like panniers. And strangely
    enough, have never felt like an outcast because I was in lycra. I have
    had the owner of my favourite pub react in surprise when I showed up in
    a suit.
    John Kane, Kingston ON Canada
     
  10. who said anything about TRYING to live without a car?.

    i'm 30 and STILL don't NEED to drive. it's been fun.

    i see all the suckers paying $2.00 a galllon for gas, stuck in traffic,
    paying isurance....making all sorts of excuses why they can't ride
    more......

    but hearing the gloomy naysayers proclaim it's not possible, makes the
    oh-so-sweet ride...that much sweeter.

    i'll see you on the road russell.
     
  11. Joe Riel

    Joe Riel Guest

    [email protected] writes:

    > Todd Tracy wrote:
    >> http://www.slate.com/id/2131049/

    >
    > I'd agree with the author of the article. Its possible to live in the
    > USA without a car, not practical or intelligent to do so though. On
    > Thanksgiving I visited family that lives 110 miles from me. It was 20
    > degrees and windy on Thanksgiving day. And I went to work for a couple
    > hours before driving the 110 miles. Without a car, I would not have
    > been able to visit family on Thanksgiving. Seems very impractical and
    > dumb to try to live without a car.


    If your family lived 1000 miles away would you then purchase an
    airplane? More practical would be to purchase airline tickets. Since
    they only live 100 miles away, you can forego the tickets and just
    rent a car. I've done that; also ridden to the train station, taken
    the train, and then ridden to my parents and/or brother's house. Also
    done the entire ride on the bike. None of these options require
    purchasing a car. There are reasons for owning a car, but seeing family
    once or twice a year isn't a particularly good one.

    Joe
     
  12. Tim McNamara writes:

    > In short, the American car culture is the result of social
    > engineering by GM and others.


    > In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed the GM president as
    > Secretary of Defense and the president of DuPont as Secretary of
    > Transportation. Between the two of them and Congress, the largest
    > public expenditure for civilian projects was the paving of America.
    > At that time the Highway Trust Fund was created to make sure that
    > gasoline taxes were funneled into road building. In 1972, GM
    > convinced Congress to block funding for rapid transit to a great
    > extent. It wasn't until ISTEA that federal money for urban transit
    > became widely available, and many cities are now developing light
    > rail lines to replace the services that were destroyed by GM et al
    > in the 1920's-1950's.


    In the SF Bay Area two stories come to mind. The destruction of the
    Key-System and the Northwestern Pacific north bay commute lines. Both
    of these ran third rail and overhead electric train on which you could
    reach downtown SF in about half the time it takes today, except you
    didn't have to park the car. GM and Standard Oil were principals in
    National City Lines, and outfit that bought these railways and many
    more in other cities to replace tracks with GM buses. La also had
    National City Lines.

    http://www.thethirdrail.net/9905/
    http://www.bilderberg.org/nclchoms.htm
    http://www.answers.com/topic/general-motors-streetcar-conspiracy
    http://hometown.aol.com/chirailfan/holdbuo.html

    The last item is a list that if that isn't conspiracy, I don't know
    what conspiracy is. No holding company has had such a pervasive
    effect on US commerce other than regulated utilities, which this was
    not.

    > Locally, "save the car" is the conservative rallying cry for transit
    > planning. Despite the new light rail transit line having its 10
    > millionth passenger last week, in under two years in a metro area of
    > 3 million people, the conservatives continue to claim that transit
    > is a "failure." The Taxpayer's League has spent a lot of money
    > painting transit as "social engineering," conveniently ignoring the
    > history of transportation social engineering that has brought us to
    > the state we are in now. It's all very laughable.


    > One good benefit of ISTEA/TEA-21 is that we now have many miles of
    > bike paths that are actually intended to be useful commuting routes,
    > linking suburbs to downtowns and eventually linking the downtowns.
    > During the reasonable months of the year, they are crowded with people
    > obviously commuting to work by bike.


    If the Swiss could only get National City Lines to work on this area,
    they could get rid of this double track three-phase power cogwheel
    train.

    http://www.topin.ch/scripts/big_img.php?bild=ZER.JPG

    I remember when GM advertised that they had buses that could replace
    cable cars in SF. They soon found they weren't making any friends and
    backed off. One person ALONE saved the cable cars with her great
    wealth and that was Friedel Klussman, whose husband a note physician
    in SF helped finance her movement that enlisted thousands. What a
    bunch of nearsighted oafs in city government they were at that time.

    http://www.sfmuseum.net/hist9/cablecar.html

    Just the same we lost the O'Farrell, Jones and outer California cable
    lines under that administration. But the most important one the
    Sacramento and Clay street hills, the place where Andrew Hallidie
    started the SF Cable cars was already gone. Along with that we lost
    the huge California Street winding house an repair facility, a
    veritable museum in itself even in its heyday.

    # Opened: 09-Feb-1891. O'Farrell Street from Market to Jones, Jones
    # from O'Farrell to Pine. Pine from Jones to Hyde, Hyde from Pine to
    # Beach.

    This was the Hyde Street Hill line that had all the pull curves and
    grand vistas of the bay, Alcatraz and the east bay before we got
    buried in smog.

    I recall as a seven year old when I was in SF with my parents, I told
    them the Cable car was dead when I looked in the slot and saw a dirt
    encrusted and dormant cable that would never run again. They assured
    me it was only temporary as parents tend to do, but I knew, this was
    dead dead dead. A sad day!

    http://www.cablecarmuseum.org/archive/Histcars/Histcars.html

    Jobst Brandt
     
  13. The Wogster

    The Wogster Guest

    Todd Tracy wrote:
    > http://www.slate.com/id/2131049/
    >

    Yes, under certain conditions.

    1) You live in a city, where there is a transit system, that goes where
    you need to go.
    2) You are able to use a bicycle or walk to fetch most supplies.
    3) You don't need to drive for work.

    W
     
  14. Tim McNamara writes:

    > In short, the American car culture is the result of social
    > engineering by GM and others.


    > In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed the GM president as
    > Secretary of Defense and the president of DuPont as Secretary of
    > Transportation. Between the two of them and Congress, the largest
    > public expenditure for civilian projects was the paving of America.
    > At that time the Highway Trust Fund was created to make sure that
    > gasoline taxes were funneled into road building. In 1972, GM
    > convinced Congress to block funding for rapid transit to a great
    > extent. It wasn't until ISTEA that federal money for urban transit
    > became widely available, and many cities are now developing light
    > rail lines to replace the services that were destroyed by GM et al
    > in the 1920's-1950's.


    In the SF Bay Area two stories come to mind. The destruction of the
    Key-System and the Northwestern Pacific north bay commute lines. Both
    of which ran third rail and overhead electric trains on which you
    could reach downtown SF in about half the time it takes today, except
    you didn't have to park the car. GM and Standard Oil were principals
    in National City Lines, and outfit that bought these railways and many
    more in other cities to replace tracks with GM buses. LA was also
    taken over by National City Lines.

    Here is a samplng of the many cities whose trasit systems were taken over by
    National City Lines. Yellow Coach IS GM.

    http://hometown.aol.com/chirailfan/holdbuo.html


    This list seems to prove conclusively that this was a conspiracy, if
    it isn't I don't know what a conspiracy is. No holding company has had
    such a pervasive effect on US commerce other than regulated utilities,
    which this was not.

    http://www.thethirdrail.net/9905/
    http://www.bilderberg.org/nclchoms.htm
    http://www.answers.com/topic/general-motors-streetcar-conspiracy

    > Locally, "save the car" is the conservative rallying cry for transit
    > planning. Despite the new light rail transit line having its 10
    > millionth passenger last week, in under two years in a metro area of
    > 3 million people, the conservatives continue to claim that transit
    > is a "failure." The Taxpayer's League has spent a lot of money
    > painting transit as "social engineering," conveniently ignoring the
    > history of transportation social engineering that has brought us to
    > the state we are in now. It's all very laughable.


    > One good benefit of ISTEA/TEA-21 is that we now have many miles of
    > bike paths that are actually intended to be useful commuting routes,
    > linking suburbs to downtowns and eventually linking the downtowns.
    > During the reasonable months of the year, they are crowded with people
    > obviously commuting to work by bike.


    If the Swiss could only get National City Lines to work on this area,
    they could get rid of this antique double track, three-phase power,
    cogwheel train.

    http://www.topin.ch/scripts/big_img.php?bild=ZER.JPG

    I remember when GM advertised that they had buses that could replace
    cable cars in SF. They soon found they weren't making any friends and
    backed off. One person ALONE saved the cable cars with her great
    wealth, and that was Friedel Klussmann, whose husband a noted SF
    physician helped finance her movement that enlisted thousands. What a
    bunch of nearsighted oafs in city government they were at that time.

    http://www.sfmuseum.net/hist9/cablecar.html

    Just the same we lost the O'Farrell, Jones and outer California cable
    lines under that administration. But the most important one, the
    Sacramento and Clay street hills, the place where Andrew Hallidie
    started the SF Cable cars was already gone. Along with that we lost
    the huge California Street winding house an repair facility, a
    veritable museum in itself, even in its heyday.

    # Opened: 09-Feb-1891. O'Farrell Street from Market to Jones, Jones
    # from O'Farrell to Pine. Pine from Jones to Hyde, Hyde from Pine to
    # Beach.

    This was the Hyde Street Hill line that had all the pull curves and
    grand vistas of the bay, Alcatraz and the east bay before we got
    buried in smog.

    I recall as a seven year old when I was in SF with my parents, I told
    them the Cable car was dead after looking into the slot where a dirt
    encrusted and dormant cable lay that would never run again. They
    assured me it was only temporary as parents tend to do, but I knew,
    this was dead dead dead. A sad day!

    http://www.cablecarmuseum.org/archive/Histcars/Histcars.html

    Jobst Brandt
     
  15. Ben Pfaff

    Ben Pfaff Guest

    [email protected] writes:

    > In the SF Bay Area two stories come to mind. The destruction of the
    > Key-System and the Northwestern Pacific north bay commute lines. Both
    > of these ran third rail and overhead electric train on which you could
    > reach downtown SF in about half the time it takes today, except you
    > didn't have to park the car.


    How did these services compare to Caltrain?
    --
    Ben Pfaff
    email: [email protected]
    web: http://benpfaff.org
     
  16. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    "Joe Riel" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > [email protected] writes:
    >
    > If your family lived 1000 miles away would you then purchase an
    > airplane? More practical would be to purchase airline tickets. Since
    > they only live 100 miles away, you can forego the tickets and just
    > rent a car. I've done that; also ridden to the train station, taken
    > the train, and then ridden to my parents and/or brother's house. Also
    > done the entire ride on the bike. None of these options require
    > purchasing a car. There are reasons for owning a car, but seeing family
    > once or twice a year isn't a particularly good one.
    >

    You are quite correct. Renting a car for the occasional trip is surprisingly
    affordable, compared to, say, $500 a month in car payments and $100 a month
    in insurance.

    This is particularly the case for going with fewer cars, not car-free. I
    figured I would need to rent a car about once a month when we went from two
    vehicles to one, but it turned out to be more like once or twice a year.
     
  17. Ben Pfaff writes:

    >> In the SF Bay Area two stories come to mind. The destruction of the
    >> Key-System and the Northwestern Pacific north bay commute lines. Both
    >> of these ran third rail and overhead electric train on which you could
    >> reach downtown SF in about half the time it takes today, except you
    >> didn't have to park the car.


    > How did these services compare to CalTrain?


    They were EMU's with better acceleration and ran on good schedules.
    CalTrain has just now instituted skip-stop trains, like the ones SP
    had in the 1930-50's but back then we had 10 and 12 car trains that
    were full. Now the maximum is 5 cars because the platforms aren't
    paved anymore beyond that. Besides, these cars hold fewer people than
    a single decked Harriman coach.

    It too k CalTrain about ten years to realize that the single small
    door and Dardanelles inside with idiot stairs takes forever to load
    passengers so trains spend more time in stations than they ever did in
    the days of yore.

    Here's a vies inside of those old cars:

    http://www.grandcanyontourcompany.com/trainslf.htm

    As I recall, they seated 96 passengers.

    As you may be aware, self propelled EMU cars accelerate faster and can
    be operated in groups of one to however many will fit on a platform
    and then some. They don't make the roar of a CalTrain diesel and
    those make more noise by far than an old steamer.

    *EMU Electric-Multiple-Units

    All modern and ancient transit systems use EMU's be that Chicago, SF
    Key System, New York, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Northwestern Pacific, BART...

    Jobst Brandt
     
  18. Tim McNamara wrote in part:

    > In short, the American car culture is the result of social engineering
    > by GM and others.


    Well, not ONLY the result of social engineering by GM
    and others.(And not just 'others,' when you're talking
    about social engineering in service of car culture, but
    Henry Ford others.) Buying cars and driving everywhere
    in cars were not unpopular aspirations. Neither was killing
    the streetcars. In reality there were many factors,
    not least of which was consumer choice, along
    with the multi trillion dollar social engineering project
    (which continues). By the time of the great highway
    projects car culture had already conquered America,
    because America wanted to be conquered by it.
    The voters of my state, monumentally strapped
    for cash, have just approved an effective hike in
    taxes to pay for (among other things) incredibly
    expensive new highway projects even as the
    last projects are still under construction and
    bottlenecking commuters. Nobody seems to bat
    an eyelash about it. It seems to be the dream of
    continuous growth, still plugging along. The perpetual
    motion machine. Back in the early days, the
    most 'liberal' intellectual thinkers, the 'modernist
    planners', the haughtiest Euro Bauhaus derived
    architects etc. regarded the automobile as some
    sort of celestial space capsule that would deliver
    each one of us straight to heaven. We never
    stood a chance.

    Will be interesting to see what happens next.
    The oil is running out, you know, and China wants
    the last bit of it. All this and Crusades 2.

    Entropy Fever. Catch it!

    Robert
     
  19. [email protected] wrote:
    > Todd Tracy wrote:
    > > http://www.slate.com/id/2131049/

    >
    > I'd agree with the author of the article. Its possible to live in the
    > USA without a car, not practical or intelligent to do so though. On
    > Thanksgiving I visited family that lives 110 miles from me. It was 20
    > degrees and windy on Thanksgiving day. And I went to work for a couple
    > hours before driving the 110 miles. Without a car, I would not have
    > been able to visit family on Thanksgiving. Seems very impractical and
    > dumb to try to live without a car.


    (For the record, I live in a city, though not downtown, and also not in
    the US)

    110 miles and I probably take a long distance bus, maybe a train, both
    of those are pretty good around here.

    Ten miles in twenty minutes simply isn't possible in my local traffic
    conditions but if I did need to go ten miles real quick it would
    probably be by motorcycle taxi.

    If it is a multi-person trip or luggage is involved, then by all means,
    car taxi.

    When I am in the US (where my family lives) I can always find someone
    willing to let me carpool. Even to events hundreds of miles away, if
    it is big enough that I want to go there are probably other locals who
    are going and I can ride in their cars. If not, then there is always
    Greyhound (even if it sucks) or, above a certain distance, flying.

    -M
     
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