Pro-car article.

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by Rs, May 1, 2003.

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  1. Rs

    Rs Guest

    Need a laugh?

    http://www.brookesnews.com/032404cars.html

    War against the car Gerard Jackson BrookesNews.Com Thursday 24 April 2003

    What is it about cars that cause our social engineers, would-planners and environmentalists such
    anguish? After all, the car has been a great liberator for the masses, giving them the kind of
    freedom that was once the exclusive preserve of the wealthier classes. Mass production put America
    on wheels and then Europe, providing mass individualised transport as an alternative to collectivist
    transport systems.

    Furthermore, it is forgotten what a great boon the car has been to the urban environment. Before the
    car there was the horse. Great cities like London, New York and Paris suffered appalling pollution
    from horse transport. Streets were polluted by masses of dung and urine which fouled the air and
    contaminated the waters. (A horse produces about 20 kilos of dung per day so imagine the pollution
    problem, all too real before the car, that tens of thousands of horses could cause in a city.)
    Moreover, disposing of dead horses was no easy matter and a considerable health problem. In the
    1890s New York city had to dispose of about 15,000 dead horses a year, when they could be found.

    But now the car has become the arch-villain, a technological plague posing a grave threat to the
    environment. Frank Fisher and Sharron Pfueller, lecturers in the Graduate School of Environmental
    Science, Monash University, Victoria., exemplify the greens' loathing for the motor car, absurdly
    describing it as "the single most destructive device ever introduced into the urban context."

    These academics have made a number of accusations. It is true, as they say, that people are killed
    and maimed in car accidents. But what do they think it was like when horses were the main source of
    urban transport? Of course, what they are really saying is that transport accidents would be far
    fewer if people were forced to abandon their cars in favour collectivist transport systems, state
    owned, of course. I doubt if there is anyway of knowing this giving the massive extent to which
    public transport would have to expand to become a serious substitute for the car.

    This view invariably ignores the fact that public transport is incapable of providing the kind of
    mobility and convenience that the car has so brilliantly supplied. But I suggest that "mobility and
    convenience" for the mass of people is not high on the agenda of middle class greenies. Not that
    they are unaware of the car's considerable advantages. I suspect that it is these very advantages
    that greens particularly loathe and this comes out in their attacks on what they disparaging call
    urban sprawl.

    What the likes of Fisher and Pfueller do not seemed prepared to realise is that the alternative to
    urban sprawl is greater urban density. And yet I have heard so-called planners fervently argue
    against relaxing any laws that would raise urban density, and then rail against the evils of urban
    sprawl., blaming it on the "domination" of the car. Naturally, urban sprawl, "caused by privatised
    automobility", caused "isolation" and "innumerable" health problems. It is easy to expose the green
    hypocrisy in this argument. The only people who reluctantly move to the suburbs are those who have
    been priced out of the urban market. Thanks to anti-social planning laws that have created a
    wasteful use of land rents and house prices have risen above free market levels.

    What would have happened to these people if they had been denied the right to create suburbs? They
    would have been trapped in a vicious cycle of rising rents while trendy inner city greenies enjoyed,
    and do, the luxury of rising capital values.

    A great many also move to the suburbs because they like the space and the relative quiet, which is
    why I moved. And it is "privatised automobility" that made my move possible, thank God. I, and my
    neighbours, enjoy the comparative quiet, the wide neat avenues and the quiet walks, especially in
    the evening.

    According to this pair people like me are to be condemned because our low-density suburban style
    (greens also oppose high-density urban living) raises energy consumption. So what? There is an
    abundance of energy. What is scarce is the means, i.e., capital to transform it into useful work.

    Tony Harris is another one who does not like cars very much (Motorists don't pay their way on the
    road, The Australian Financial Review, March, 2000). Given the huge amounts motorists pay in various
    taxes and charges one could be forgiven for being puzzled by Harris's assertion. As expected, he
    brings in externalities. Pollution, road deaths, congestion, etc. Ignored is the fact that cars are
    getting cleaner by the year. No mention of the fact that today's cars produce 76 per cent less
    nitrogen oxide and 96 per cent carbon monoxide than those of 20 years ago — and they’re still
    getting cleaner.

    We find a similar trend with accidents. In America car deaths were
    18.9 per 100,000 in 1989, down from 30.8 per 100,000 in 1937. This decline occurred despite the
    enormous number of car miles travelled. Though I have no figures at hand for Australia, I should
    be surprised if we have not experienced a similar trend. Fatalities down massively. Pollution
    down massively. In fact, we have already seen how the car actually helped reduce pollution in big
    cities and eliminate a dangerous health hazard. But no trade offs for greens.

    Now it is not true that car accidents are externalities. If that were so victims of car accidents
    would never be compensated. It should be self-evident that insurance is the means by which car
    accidents are internalised, i.e., paid for by car owners. It is also true that you cannot really
    internalise any fatality. But how many people, for example, are electrocuted each year? Does this
    mean the electricity generating industry should be penalised? Are these deaths even internalised by
    the industry? Of course not. But people consider the benefits of electricity outweigh any risk of a
    fatal accident. And they think the same way about cars. In short, the danger from cars is an
    acceptable risk, a risk that is getting smaller.

    What about congestion? This is a peculiar one considering that it is motorists that usually bear its
    costs. That they choose to do so indicates that the costs are outweighed by the benefits of driving.
    It is also peculiar from another angle. One reason we have congestion is because parts of the road
    system are inadequate to the task. Seeing that the roads are owned by the state, I think it is a bit
    rich to blame their shortcomings on motorists.

    Any suggestion of expanding the road system is stridently attacked by greens. John Kirk, Executive
    Director of the high-sounding Australasian Railway Association, argued that road building induces
    more road use. The answer is, you've guessed it, restrict motor car usage. But the supply-demand
    argument is erroneous. Cars and roads are complementary goods, i.e., they go together. Does anyone
    really think, for instance, that if the Indian government criss-crossed the country with freeways
    hundreds of millions of peasants would rush to buy Volvos?

    I do not know a single person who bought a car in response to any road building program. It’s
    the growth in cars that raises the demand for more and better roads, just as it raises the
    demand for oil.

    Australian motorists fully pay for their roads. Anyway, it is ludicrous to talk as if motorists and
    the community are separate entities. The same motorists who pay for roads also pay other taxes — and
    almost everyone in the community benefits in some way from the existence of cars.

    I’m inclined to think that if cars were extremely expensive and thus confined to the very well-off
    instead of being enjoyed by the masses, there would be nothing resembling an anti-car movement. The
    rich would have their private transport (cars), near empty roads to enjoy them along with the kind
    of mobility that the masses had always been denied until the advent of the mass-produced car: the
    people's liberator.

    Gerard Jackson is Brookes' Economics Editor
     
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  2. Paul J

    Paul J New Member

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    War against the car Gerard Jackson BrookesNews.Com Thursday 24 April 2003
    This is really simplistic and childish garbage from this "writer". Every statement he makes can be shot down instantly with ease.
    For example:

    "the car has been a great liberator for the masses, giving them the kind of freedom that was once the exclusive preserve of the wealthier classes." - The masses have been duped into the huge ongoing expenses associated with owning a motor vehicle so as to subsidise the activity of the wealthy. And it just keeps going with at least one overtly extravagant motor car advertisement in every television ad break.

    Anyway I could go on and on just like the "article". Just reading the "article" alone you can see where this idiot is coming from (an obvious hatred of greenies and a need to get it all out). He probably had his heart broken by a hippy. I've looked at the site where this came from and low and behold it's full of the same sort of garbage. They like to bag anyone who dares to change a few things for the better. They label anyone with a different opinion as a "greeny, leftist, bleeding heart".
     
  3. Ritch

    Ritch Guest

    [email protected] (RS) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Need a laugh?
    >
    http://www.brookesnews.com/032404cars.html

    > Gerard Jackson is Brookes' Economics Editor

    I'm an economist myself, yet I ride a bike to work every day. It is an economic decision in that I
    prefer to ride rather than buy, register, insure, fill up, service and park my car in the city
    (Sydney). Public transport is too slow from my place (Gladesville). My wife drives to work in the
    other direction (Blacktown). She faces less congestion, has a very slow alternative in public
    transport and we feel like we need one car anyway.

    In reaction to the article, the external cost of congestion is not internalised by motorists - sure,
    motorists pay for increased congestion by waiting in traffic jams, but the "payment" is not received
    by anyone. This would be evident to anyone familiar with the demise of the commons. The City of
    London did a smart thing by imposing a congestion charge (a toll to enter the city), that captures
    at least part of the cost of congestion and recycles it into Council revenue. The early evidence is
    that the charge is an outstanding success. ie, there is less congestion, so people using cars are
    buying a faster trip. Anyone who drives a car down Victoria Road at peak hour would be sympathetic
    to such a charge. e.g. It takes up to 50min to travel 12km from Gladesville to the CBD and that is
    no exaggeration... I've run it in that time (slight exaggeration).

    Ritch

    In any case, this Gerard Jackson has posted an article to a website that is preaching to the
    converted, if you look at some of its other offerings...
     
  4. Wainwright

    Wainwright Guest

    Ritch wrote--
    >
    >I'm an economist myself, yet I ride a bike to work every day. It is an economic decision in that I
    >prefer to ride rather than buy, register, insure, fill up, service and park my car in the city
    >(Sydney). Public transport is too slow from my place (Gladesville). My wife drives to work in the
    >other direction (Blacktown). She faces less congestion, has a very slow alternative in public
    >transport and we feel like we need one car anyway.

    I agree totally. I have been riding to work in Newcastle NSW for a few good reasons one of them
    being economics. We have one car which my wife uses when necessary and four bikes. The cost savings
    of my riding to work and using the bike for short trips (litre of milk at the local shop etc)
    instead of another car or even public transport ($30 a week) pays for our flights to the UK every
    couple of years for a holiday with family and friends. Then there's all the other good reasons....
    but will save that for another day!

    W.
     
  5. Pc

    Pc Guest

    On Sat, 03 May 2003 00:29:22 GMT, [email protected] (PC) wrote:

    >And speaking of Drummoyne to Blacktown, doesn't the 492/499 run from Drummoyne to Burwood, where
    >you can get a quarter hourly train service to Blacktown, both of which are on TravelPass?

    Whoops, I just re-read the post and saw it was Gladesville.. Wouldn't the L20 to Parramatta be of
    some use in that case?

    PC
     
  6. Pc

    Pc Guest

    On 2 May 2003 02:11:52 -0700, [email protected] (Ritch) wrote:

    >In reaction to the article, the external cost of congestion is not internalised by motorists -
    >sure, motorists pay for increased congestion by waiting in traffic jams, but the "payment" is not
    >received by anyone.

    It also causes inefficient movement of actual goods and services by road, putting up the cost of
    your loaf of bread to compensate for the extra hours spent hiring delivery drivers..

    >This would be evident to anyone familiar with the demise of the commons. The City of London did a
    >smart thing by imposing a congestion charge (a toll to enter the city), that captures at least part
    >of the cost of congestion and recycles it into Council revenue.

    I wouldn't mind something similar here, provided it applied to all suburban activity centres, not
    just the CBD, and funded public transport to the entire city, not just the CBD.. Congestion Charging
    could well be a mixed blessing in that it encourages economic development to car dependant fringe
    locations..

    If we're lucky, it may only encourage the parsimonious to change their habits other than driving,
    who probably aren't much use to a city's economy anyway..

    Chances are that delivery related businesses within the CC zone in London are laughing all the way
    to the bank, since they can now move in and around town so much easier for a small one off payment
    per vehicle per day..

    If anywhere in Sydney needs better PT access right now, it's the area covered by private bus
    services.. The long hand of socialism may be a relic of another era in the eyes of economists, but
    it does provide the best public transport outcome in Sydney.. No private operator would dare running
    services through until midnight on high enough frequencies to make people rely on the system as a
    crutch to their own lifestyle (and not just a crutch for getting to work and directly home from
    work), or signing up with TravelPass to provide unlimited weekly zonal fares..

    While those advantages could be transferred through to the private sector through some form of PPP,
    it would require political will, and all that sustainable transport gets from the NSW Government is
    more of the same and lots of platitudes..

    And speaking of Drummoyne to Blacktown, doesn't the 492/499 run from Drummoyne to Burwood, where you
    can get a quarter hourly train service to Blacktown, both of which are on TravelPass?

    PC
     
  7. Ritch

    Ritch Guest

    [email protected] (PC) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > On Sat, 03 May 2003 00:29:22 GMT, [email protected] (PC) wrote:
    >
    > >And speaking of Drummoyne to Blacktown, doesn't the 492/499 run from Drummoyne to Burwood, where
    > >you can get a quarter hourly train service to Blacktown, both of which are on TravelPass?
    >
    > Whoops, I just re-read the post and saw it was Gladesville.. Wouldn't the L20 to Parramatta be of
    > some use in that case?
    >
    >
    > PC

    According to the trip planner on 131500.com.au, the fastest option would take 1:19 in the morning
    peak hour using a combination of L20 (bus) and train and another bus (assuming everything runs on
    time). The drive takes about 35min. I think I could ride it in less than
    1:19, but I'm not the one who works out there...

    I'd rather ride to work... but each to their own.

    Ritch
     
  8. Pc

    Pc Guest

    On 3 May 2003 19:27:27 -0700, [email protected] (Ritch) wrote:

    >According to the trip planner on 131500.com.au

    There's your problem, you seem to trust that damned site.. Nobody has yet made a trip planner that's
    any good.. Perhaps this one hit it out of luck though, but you should see the mess it gave me to get
    from Bangor to Silverwater (my commute when work sends me to Sydney), which is 25km straight up
    Metroad 6 but with no decent bus service anywhere along that corridor.. Thank goodness work pays for
    taxis while I'm out of town..

    >The drive takes about 35min. I think I could ride it in less than
    >1:19, but I'm not the one who works out there...

    Does she appreciate the fitness benefits of riding? That extra 90 minutes per day while riding
    translating into 2h40m of exercise could do wonders..

    >I'd rather ride to work... but each to their own.

    If the bicycle commute was something new and something you could patent, you would get billions from
    venture capitalists for combining exercise with necessity and usually coming out ahead of the time
    spent at a single gym visit (est. 90min workout plus shower) a day..

    PC
     
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