June 11, 2008

I saw the answer to America's oil and transportation problems in Amsterdam

Amsterdam traffic jam:




Los Angeles traffic jam:


Think about it...

Nothing wrong with getting your fat a** on a bike



100 comments:

Anonymous said...

L.A. is to big for a bike. Scooters on the other hand. Time to invest in Piaggio?

tokyo-boy said...

*waits for comments on how bicycles are socialist*

Debbie said...

True... but in Holland, dude, motorists actually see you. When I lived in the States, I can't tell you how many times I was almost hit. Not as a cyclist but as a walking pedestrian in a crosswalk. And the drivers weren't jerks. I had the feeling that they really didn't see me because they are so unused to anything other than cars. I hope Americans start to use bikes more, but I don't want to be among the first.

And by the way, when I came to Holland, I brought my car. 2 years later, the car is sold. I used it less than 10 times. The bike works for everything and it's amazing how well I can pack the fu-ker with all my groceries.

keith said...

Our cities need to be re-engineered for bikes and segways

Some radical thinking is now called for

And the exurbs are dead

Anonymous said...

The exurbs wouldn't have to be dead if they had been designed correctly.

It's not the distances to the city that are at fault, it's the fact that people are willing to live so far away that they have to drive there to get to work.

With the right design i.e. local suburban rail, tram and bus service. You could easily live outside a city and still commute to work. Hell ride your bike to the nearest suburban rail station or take a local bus there and hop on, 30 minutes or so and you're in the subway network of a major city or at your office or business.

These ideas and solutions have been around for ages. It's just that America never implemented them on a large enough scale (you can list all the reasons in a second post) that it has these problems.

It didn't have to be hard. It just got that way over time on the GM, Ford, Chrysler American system.

Andrew from Russia said...

> *waits for comments on how bicycles are socialist*

Bicycles are socialist. They are proletarian. They are rustic. That's why you can retrofit an old Soviet model with Chinese parts and still have fun. Compare that to the obsolescence-built-in (with car-loan-not-yet-repaid) SUV experience.

Unfortunately, outside the few eco-conscious countries, the infrastructure is missing - we'd need oxygen masks before we can even talk about needing bicycle lanes.

bickerer said...

Many Americans are so fat they'd get the bicycle seat wedged up there so far they couldn't get off.

Next thing you know you got a 300lb slob with a bike sticking out or their ass heading to the hospital in an ambulance.

We better take this one slowly.

tokyo-boy said...

I wonder where all the bicycle/train etc haters actually live?

Anonymous said...

Come on! Everyone knows why you can't do the bike thing like they do in Europe. Won't someone tell the truth?
The Answer is that while you are at work, your bike will be stolen. Because America has a problem unlike other countries, namely, no cultural identification or unity. A mass of disorganized beliefs and cultures thrown into a melting pot but the temperature is not high enough to melt them.
There is also no national unity to produce mass transit. Americans view mass transit as the transportation of the poor and look down on people who have to use it on a daily basis. There is also the perception of "danger" on buses and rails in areas where they serve poorer customers. No suburbanite wants to be on a bus filled with loud boisterous and nosy people from city ghettos on their way to their homes in suburbia. They are scared and literally shake in their seats hoping not to look one of them in the eye because it may mean an argument "What you lookin at?" or the person is a psycho "Time for you to die" type.
They also feel that they PAID GOOD MONEY to be separated from "those animals" and this is why America will NEVER develop any comprehensive program to serve the general public. It will either be an exclusive line that only visits wealthy areas or it WILL NOT BE BUILT.

Mark said...

I will wait until I see Al Gore bike from his 10,000 sq ft mansion to work...

Anonymous said...

Lets see, get the snow off my car, get to work in 20 minutes for a 12 mile commute.

OR

Get the snow off, jump in my car, drive to the nearest bus terminal, grab my breifcase, my computer, and the misc stuff I will need that day, hold onto it all while waiting for the (always late) bus. Then take 50 minutes to get 1/2 of the way to work because they stop every 1/2 mile. Then transfer, then transfer again. Then walk the last 1/4 mile carrying all my stuff IN THE SNOW. Repeat to go home. 3 wasted hours out of my day and I already work a 10-12 hour day. Yeah, thats the american dream of mass transit. NO THANKS! I dont care if gas gets to $20 a gallon, I will just buy a motorcycle or a smart car. Toyota has some neat micro cars coming soon also.

What you foreigners dont get is that we lead the way because we adapt while maintaining personal freedoms like personal transportation, not sardine packaging taxpayer wasted public transportation. To this day there is not a mass transit system that does not have to be subsidized. That is socialism! Let me remind you guys that we are not a soialist country. I really think you have forgotten that. REALITY CHECK! Again, just to make sure it is clear, WE ARE NOT SOCIALISTS! AND THANK GOD FOR THAT!

Times are changing and that is fine. We will move towards smaller micro cars (except for the bible belt dolts who think having 8 + kids is acceptable). They will still need a larger vehicle. PUT THE BIBLE DOWN, and embrace birth control! Thats another post though.

We give massive tax breaks to the oil companies. We need to give GM and Ford the same amount of tax breaks and encourage them to bring micro cars to the market ASAP!

Then we need to drill the hell out of anwar, the gulf, the coasts, anywhere we can get oil, my backyard or yours if necassary. If we can afford Iraq, we can afford to give every driving American a tax break towards a new micro car.

This removes those hated SUV's from the road, and frees up tons of space on those same roads. But alas, the socialists will still find something to complain about. They are not about solutions, they are just about whining and foot stomping and wasting more money on the ridiculous mass transit dream. It will never happen. It is not part of our culture, and you will never change american culture. It is far too late to regress backwards by throwing more money away on mass transit.

brian t said...

Great as Amsterdam is, Copenhagen is even better. The whole city centre is pedestrianised, and bikes get a head start at traffic signals. London is not good on bike, and Dublin is even worse: the few "Irish bike lanes" here do things like climb the kerb on to the sidewalk, where bikers run in to pedestrians - or they just end in the middle of traffic.

I agree that urban planning and sprawl are a big factors - compare LA or Denver to NYC or Montreal - but there's another thing: are all those trips really necessary? When gas hits $10 per gallon - which is still below the cost in Europe today - we'll see, won't we?

We have all this technology for remote working - video conferencing, VPN, virtual workspaces - yet people still get in their cars to drive 40+ miles each way, to go and sit in front of a computer. Then there is the "delivery culture"... if you have shares in Domino's Pizza, good luck: more expensive fuel means more expensive delivery, which will go on to the cost of the pizza, just when customers will have less money to spend on such luxuries as pizza delivery...

AZDavidPhx said...

Yea, sure - can you picture these worthless slobs you see in rush-hour traffic actually putting themselves on a bike. That will be the day.

Anonymous said...

Great!

I can't wait for my 28 mile (one way) peddle to work, a good part of it uphill, in August!


.

Ohio Loan Officer said...

QUESTION:
Why do we need a 5,000 lb car to transport a 180 lb person?

Chico and The Man said...

Burbs weren't built for bicycle commuting. And what am I going to do when I get to work covered in sweat from riding there in a tie and pants when it's 97f out?

I'm usually with you, but in this case it just wasn't built for that.

Anonymous said...

Two years ago I bought my Scion Xa. I saw this oil crisis coming. I get 39.6 mpg average on regular gas and it's not one of those over-priced hybrids.
Yesterday, with my wife and kids in the little car, we were chugging up a hill. Due to the load, the little car slowed down from the 65 mph I was going to the speed limit which is 55 through there. A guy in a Ford Expedition started honking and flashing his lights.

I can't wait for gas to go to $5.00 a gallon --- "F" him!

vanilla ice said...

Bicycling!? Sacrilege! Aren't they kid's toys?

We need to power our way through these tough times by thinking of new ways to run our autosaurs around the slumburbs. Coal cars anyone? We have plenty of coal in America!

BuyerWillEPB said...

Yeah, I was walking around Amsterdam last weekend and thought all the bicycles was a great idea too. Plus they have all the canal boats swishing around the canals like they were streets too.

Now, I'm up here in Leeuwarden for work. Same thing. Lots of bicycles, tiny alley size streets, tiny fuel efficient cars, and again, lots of canals through town. Holland got a clue about energy policy for sure.

P.S. Windmills supply almost 20% of the electricity in this country. Yes, windmills - Really good idea.

speedingpullet said...

People who live outside London - way out in the boonies, have been doing the car/train/tube commute for decades.

Say you live out in Hertforshire. Drive the car to your local British Rail station where you park your car in the free car park. Take the local line into London (Liverpool St IIRC for Herts), and then complete the rest of your journey to work either walking, on a bus, or on the Underground (Tube).

Yes, you could drive your car all the way to work, but there are financial and environmental penalties - there's a Congestion Tax you have to pay to go into central London (about $15 a day), plus its almost impossible to find parking spaces, and municipal parking lots are far and few between - not to mention outrageously expensive ($40 a day).

Sounds like too much hassle? Maybe. But think of the benefits. By leaving the car at the car park, you get 30 mins on the train to read, talk, go online, catch 40 winks, etc. Plus once you get into London proper, you have to actually WALK to and from the mass transit. You don't see many obese commuters, because even walking half a mile a day will help keep the lard off.

Problem being that places like Los Angeles simply don't have the light rail infrastructure to do this. Money spent on building light rail/trams that can take people to and from the exurbs would be money well spent - if places like L.A really want to reduce congestion. Plus, it would take a different mindset from the communters...

And, 1st anon - I'm with you on the scooter. I'm seriously thinking of buying a Vespa for those journeys where its too long or arduous to bike.

gutless and lazy is a stud muffin said...

Don't get me going about fat Americans. It's so true. It's disgusting. Not only do I drive a Prius, I ride my Cervelo 'Soloist' bike just over 100 miles a week. And I'm proud to say my body fat is just under 10%. And for the guys who think bikes are for wimps, women give me compliments all the time on my 'nice ass' too.

Anonymous said...

Did you eat some of those Hashish cakes Keith? I bet you you had a few.

And a few blunts too.

Anonymous said...

Well I can see why most Americans refuse to ride bicycles, they go to WallyWorld and buy one of those non shifting, non breaking 40lb pieces of $h!t.
Do yourself a favor and go to a bicycle shop and get a Specialized, or a Trek, or a Giant, etc.

k.w. - Southern Ca. said...

Too many rude drivers on the roads now - especially the SUV drivers - definitely not safe for bike riding.

Back in the 70's, California was a safe place for riding bikes, drivers were much more respectful.

We've become reactive to our road conjestion problems here, instead of being proactive years ago.

Anonymous said...

Eh, scooters are like banging fat chicks. Fun until your friends see you!

k.w. - Southern Ca. said...

This sums up the problem here in the US perfectly, and is the main reason why this country will continue to break-down - we have no national unity, which is exactly what our corrupt political leaders work to keep in place.


Anonymous said...
Come on! Everyone knows why you can't do the bike thing like they do in Europe. Won't someone tell the truth?
The Answer is that while you are at work, your bike will be stolen. Because America has a problem unlike other countries, namely, no cultural identification or unity. A mass of disorganized beliefs and cultures thrown into a melting pot but the temperature is not high enough to melt them.
There is also no national unity to produce mass transit. Americans view mass transit as the transportation of the poor and look down on people who have to use it on a daily basis. There is also the perception of "danger" on buses and rails in areas where they serve poorer customers. No suburbanite wants to be on a bus filled with loud boisterous and nosy people from city ghettos on their way to their homes in suburbia. They are scared and literally shake in their seats hoping not to look one of them in the eye because it may mean an argument "What you lookin at?" or the person is a psycho "Time for you to die" type.
They also feel that they PAID GOOD MONEY to be separated from "those animals" and this is why America will NEVER develop any comprehensive program to serve the general public. It will either be an exclusive line that only visits wealthy areas or it WILL NOT BE BUILT.

Anonymous said...

Amsterdam is a flat city with a not too bad climate.

Good luck getting people to bike in winter in Chicago or in summer in Memphis. Or anytime between April and November in Florida.

Or Portland or Seattle. Or San Fran. Good luck with the hills there Qweefie.

Anonymous said...

http://www.suntimes.com/news/transportation/998873
,CST-NWS-bike11.article

Anonymous said...

The Chinese spent decades riding their bikes. Then the second they were allowed to own cars, they bought cars.

Yet in America Democrats are doing everything they can to take our cars away.

This country will be full blown communist within 20 years.

formosan80 said...

I live in a capital city in the SE part of the US and there is okay public transport, but it is only used by the poorest classes and most middle class people would be scared to take public trans. I personally used to ride my bike and use the bus, but a 7 minute car ride was inviting compared to the 1 hour bus ride with one transfer. So, I moved closer to work. Now it is a 7 minute bike ride. Oh, and I have a scooter for longer trips (55-80mpg, varies greatly depending on how hard I drive).

Anonymous said...

use the garden edger motor to power a wheel to turn the bicycle front wheel...viola... cheap miles transported......... gotten today for about 40 bucks but hurry aS INFLATION IS SCREAMING.......

Anonymous said...

SHOULD GET 60 MPG EASY.............ON SIDEWALK?

Anonymous said...

Why use a bike when you can drive around in the almighty behemoth:

The F-250!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Ultimate Monster Truck with chrome wheels, and elevated shock absorbers setting the truck 10 feet off the ground!!!!!!!

Bow down to the mighty F-250 and the wimp loser shelling out 100 bucks a pop for this 12 miles to the gallon dinosaur!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

LIFT MOTOR WHEEL OFF BIKE WHEEL EVERY TIME YOU ESPY A COPPER???????????? 80 MILES PER GALLON?

Anonymous said...

SOUNDS A LITTLE LIKE THE AMERICAN WAY....???????????????????

Anonymous said...

ER...u.S

Anonymous said...

do the trains still have bar cars?

Anonymous said...

gotta get ahead of the curve this time....if its gonna use fuel its gotta be hundreds of niles per gallon of prive home made fuels...no more govt by corp bribe.....or rules.......

Anonymous said...

I do the "bike thing". I ride a couple of miles to my local transit center, and take an express bus to Seattle. Granted, my route is relatively safe, I use a special bike lane and look like a frigging Xmas tree with all the blinkie lights and reflectors. I don't mind.
Best feeling is to pass all those cars stuck on the "two lane highway" and smile (at their stupidity).
Bike on...

Frank@Scottsdale-Sucks.com said...

You should all ride on socialist mass transit like a good little bunch of sheeple.

Obama will overtax the "wealthy" (anyone making over $40k) to pay for it, so the good little sheeple who never make anything of themselves get to ride all day for free. They can go on being lazy and unproductive because Obama and the money he seizes from the "wealthy" will take care of them.

Frank@Scottsdale-Sucks.com said...

Then again, going to LA once or twice a month lately, I haven't hit any traffic at all. This gas price thing is working! Keep it up!!!

corvinus said...

Given that the Netherlands is only about the size of Connecticut, with thrice the population, I wouldn't be surprised that they used bikes.

The USA, however, is far too freaking huge, and hot, for bike commuting.

Anonymous said...

Or Portland or Seattle. Or San Fran. Good luck with the hills there Qweefie.

What a bunch of lame excuses. I commute by bike every day in San Fran. Your body adapts...you get stronger, faster, leaner. My quads are huge now :).

Anonymous said...

I like pedestrian areas.

Not crazy about having the number of bikes that Amsterdam has, though. When I was there, I was constantly looking out for bikers about to run me over. It got really annoying after a while.

One thing people don't point out much is that most of these bike riders in these cities do so out of necessity or practicality, not out of desire.

If cars and gasoline were as cheap as the US, and there was plenty of free parking, and modern roads, trust me - you'd have the same thing in Europe. They're only "greener" because they have to be. The population density in Europe is far, far, higher than in the USA. What works in Europe would not necessarily work in the US.

Anonymous said...

I used my bike as primary transport in NYC for eight years (yes, in winter, too), in CA for eight years (that was easy), and now in AZ this year...same bike all along...a '91 specialized crossroads cruz with a comfy steel frame. not fancy, just serviceable and reliable. I would never live so far from work that I could not bike there (or bike plus public transport), even if gas were cheap. Biking does have its stresses and yes, the fringes of Tucson are more appealing than the center in many (perhaps most) ways, but driving here is even more of a headache than biking in 100 degrees. Plus, I don't have to see the same hideous strip-mall corridors 2x/day driving to work. Commuting by car is sooooooooooo done. $10/gallon...bring it on. More road for bikes!

Anonymous said...

I like my fat *ss - thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Why not put up a picture of NYC with millions of people walking and taking the subway?

Anonymous said...

Do you bike, keefe? I bet you rent a car or take a taxi most of the time. Practice what you preach

Paul E. Math said...

When I was in college I rode my bike 20 minutes to school and another 20 minutes back. This was in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where temperatures reach 40 degrees below freezing.

It's just not that hard. Most of my friends did it too and we weren't all granola-chomping hippies (well, kinda). Still, we were pussies every one of us but did this anyway.

I agree with Keith on this one: our cities need to be re-engineered for bikes and, maybe, segways.

Increased population density is part of the answer. Look at NYC - nobody drives in NYC because public transportation or biking or walking is more practical.

The problem with NYC is that it is too expensive: plentiful construction of high-rise apartments will take care of this.

Anonymous said...

Next thing you know you got a 300lb slob with a bike sticking out or their ass heading to the hospital in an ambulance.

Didn't we see that in one of the Apalachicola Emergency Room episodes?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, ride a bicycle in the rain or snow for 15 miles, in a suit and tie and leather shoes, while there's no shower in my office building....or jump in my state of art Acura MDX with heated leather seats, automatic climate control, air filtration system, navigation system with zagat review and real-time traffic, GPS link and solar sensing, voice recognition, steering wheel controls, bluetooth hands-free link, iPod connector, destination database, surround premium stereo system,

With my Acura I can drop the kids off at school and be at work in 10 min, smelling like roses. Then, after work, I can go for a late night dinner even during a storm. On weekends, I can put my windsurf board on top of the car or pull my Jet ski or Seadoo boat to the nearest ramp.

Tough call...but yep, you got me, I wanna live like an European socialist bum. You geniuses you.

Budvar said...

vanilla ice said...

Bicycling!? Sacrilege! Aren't they kid's toys?

You do know what Vanilla Ice does for a living these days? Yeah thats right, he runs a bicycle repair shop in downtown Miami.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 11:30...

Piaggio's 3 wheeled motor scooter rocks!!!

Anonymous said...

Now, I'm up here in Leeuwarden for work. Same thing. Lots of bicycles, tiny alley size streets, tiny fuel efficient cars, and again, lots of canals through town. Holland got a clue about energy policy for sure.

Too bad The Netherlands and many other European countries will be soon under 30 ft of water once the poles melt. Oh, and don't try to immigrate to North or South America because we're not good enough for you European intellectuals. Stay away from our continents. We already took half of you idiots during your constant World Wars...enough is enough. Go live in Africa or India.

Anonymous said...

When are you people going to understand that most Europe fits inside Texas? Have you all lost your sense of scale?

Anonymous said...

Bikes nice, except for
1) Fall, Spring, and WINTER
2) No bike lanes, it's bad enough
that soccer mom talking on a cell phone in a Ford Expedition almost rear ends you in a car, now try it on the highway (is it even legal?)
3) Business attire.
4) Theft / Vandalism
5) 50 pounds of equipment
6) Moving closer costs 2x as much with more crime, more taxes, crappy housing, and city stench.

Telecommuting would help, but corporations don't give a crap about your commute, forcing you to move from an inexpensive local office to an expensive downtown office micro cubicle cell so the upper management can have bragging rights on some 'prestigious' realestate all the while touting work / life balance.

Anonymous said...

I will wait until I see Al Gore bike from his 10,000 sq ft mansion to work...
----------------------------

al gore should not bike, that would be a waste of his time and talents. His time is better spent telling the masses (and making money off of them) how to live their lives in a way that minimizes their impact on the environment so that He, Al Gore, can spew more than His fair share of carbon. Effectively, for pound of carbon He emits lessens the world's carbon emissions by 10 fold.

So, if Al would work harder, he could emit more carbon and drive the world's carbon emissions to nearly zero.

Anonymous said...

QUESTION:
Why do we need a 5,000 lb car to transport a 180 lb person?
---------------------------------------

Ha! trick question!

1) the person does not weigh 180lbs and 2) it carries more than 1 person!

Anonymous said...

Too many rude drivers on the roads now - especially the SUV drivers - definitely not safe for bike riding.
---------------------------------

hmmm, most rude drivers i encounter tend to be young and driving stupid looking, lowered, rice burners.

does it really matter if it is an explorer or acura going 45 that hits you while you are biking?

consultant said...

anonymous said...
Come on! Everyone knows why you can't do the bike thing like they do in Europe.

So I guess this means America is doomed. Right? There's no way as a nation we can find a way to craft a sensible transportation policy. Right?

Maybe we should just finish the g**d*mned Civil War. Let the people who want a tiny, tiny government take over part of the country, and the people who want a strong private sector AND a government that serves the COMMON interests of its citizens, take over the other part.

Split the damn country up and let the two go their separate ways.

As angry as I am (and not at you), there is way too much truth in what you wrote.

Answer this (someone). Why is it that many argue their taxes shouldn't have to go for mass transit they don't ride, but they don't mind taking MY taxes to pay only for roads. Why can't MY taxes (and yours) go for roads AND mass transit? And just like I don't drive on all roads where I live, if you don't want to ride mass transit-DON'T.

tokyo-boy said...

"What you foreigners dont get is that we lead the way because we adapt while maintaining personal freedoms like personal transportation, not sardine packaging taxpayer wasted public transportation. To this day there is not a mass transit system that does not have to be subsidized. That is socialism!"

I was waiting for someone to post this. Am I missing something here? How is public transportation socialism, but roads NOT? Are roads privately owned where you live?

tokyo-boy said...

Oh and I forgot to mention this. Cars=freedom sounds like brainwashing from a car commercial.

Anonymous said...

"The Chinese spent decades riding their bikes. Then the second they were allowed to own cars, they bought cars.

Yet in America Democrats are doing everything they can to take our cars away."
BooHoo, can I have some whine with that cheese?
Those evil liberals! How dare they! Get your fat ass back in your Hummer or Escalade and shut up! I am in excellent shape from riding my bike to work every day (in Miami). Things will get really interesting once we get gas rationing. As for the Chinese, that bonanza won't last. First they'll pack on the pounds, then the tank will run empty. Enjoy your heart attack!

Anonymous said...

I take it you don't live in L.A.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope all of the people thinking up reasons not to bike aren't the same ones complaining about high gas prices! If you are, then either SUCK IT UP or remedy your ADDICTION.

I'm addicted to BIKING instead.
After 15 years of mostly car commuting (alone, too, but short distance) I haven't owned a car since 2003.
I bike to work nearly every day, and have done so for 3.5 of the last 4 years, year round.
(Admittedly, living in a mid-atlantic city, I don't have to deal with ICY conditions very often, which can keep me off the bike--so if you live in Toronto or Syracuse, you have PART-YEAR excuse. But 90/90 days don't deter me, so sorry, no excuse there. Smog? MAYBE.)
I have a 4 minute commute, immune to traffic jams, and "complain" about it because I wish it were LONGER, for better exercise. In 04/05, it was 12 minutes--perfect. These days I take a longer way home in the evening to make up for it.
I arrive at work more awake, in a better mood (endorphines), and having spent no money to get there.
I integrate daily exercise into my workday, and don't pay for a gym membership. At my age I'm sure I'm thinner than I would be if I still drove or subway'd every day. I'm sure my heart is younger too.
I shower at work, and put on fresh dress clothes--not dress clothes that are already sweaty from commuting! (I admit the extra shower per day and drink more water is a slight time and fossil fuel expenditure.) (Also I feel office buildings with available showers are still too much of a rarity.)
I own a $1500 Cannondale, lock it in the garage at work, and have never had a bike I purchased stolen. (The junk bike I didn't bother to lock during college doesn't count.)
I figure by now I've saved enough on gas, oil, filters, tires, spark plugs, insurance, taxes, tolls, parking spaces, depreciation and loan interest to be able to buy 20 more bikes if this one got stolen. (Or pay cash for a $30,000 car if I someday actually needed one.)
These years I've ridden at least 1200 miles a year in all kinds of traffic, narrow roads, fast roads, cities, towns, open road, at sunset with the sun in everyone's eyes, after dark, etc, and before that probably up to 500 miles a year since 1986 in two different cities, and have never been "hit" by a car. You just have to ride straight and confidently, and claim your lane when its right to do so. (Taxi u-turns and quick curb-stops, plus oncoming left turners and right turners after passing me can sometimes loom up though in the city.) (I will admit that I'm benefitting from a widespread deployment of bike lanes in my city--LOL they are taking a lane away from cars to create them, SO THERE!)

I use my bike for every errand I can. (I sometimes will think up errands as an excuse to ride.) For errands where I can't bike, I first reconsider whether the errand is necessary in the first place.

Main reason U.S. will never be a bike nation: Americans are lazy, and spoiled. And fat (see: spoiled.) And "fragile", i.e. (gasp!) a raindrop or a ray of sun might melt them, so they need climate control at all times. Well guess what, from now on IT'S GOING TO COST YOU. SUCK IT UP.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Valley and I've been riding a 40 mile round trip twice a week!

vanilla ice said...

"To this day there is not a mass transit system that does not have to be subsidized."

To this day there is not a road system that also does not have to be subsidized. Do you really think the pittance you pay in gas taxes covers the costs to build, maintain, and service the most extensive road system in the world?

Also if everyone decided to build their god awful suburban homes on 1/4 acre lots instead of the now typical 1/2 acre lots we could reduce the size of our slumburb neighborhoods by at least half. It would take half the time to drive through their new neighborhood slums, and heck, may even make walking somewhere a reasonable thought.

Our land use policies are just as botched as our transportation and energy policies.

HB Slacker said...

Re:Brian T's comment;We have all this technology for remote working - video conferencing, VPN, virtual workspaces - yet people still get in their cars to drive 40+ miles each way, to go and sit in front of a computer.

I've been freelancing as a graphic designer for several years make good money and enjoy freedom. I work effectively from my home office on a company's server or mine. Use instant messenger to interact with clients and employees and other team members. I carry my cell phone. If Im doing web work its online if its print work I post a jpg or a pdf or email, so client/employer can always see progress.I dont need some chump looking over my shoulder and tracking when I come in. My day is mine I toke the 420 medicinal kali bud all day too helps me create! I do my work around my play and errands.I do have a prius I bought april 07 brand new it now has approx 11,000 miles on it now.owever it sits parked alot.I dont sweat the gas prices I dont even realize the prices since I use maybe a tank a month unless I roadtrip. My suv a 2001 has 96K on it and I only use it to tow my boat a economical merc 3.0 4 cyl (gonna tow it to havasu for the 4th! I chose to live at the beach in huntington in orange county. I ride my cannondale road bike along the beach for exercise and errands too I can go 30 mph easily, also I ride my skateboard alot I'm 40 years young and I still shred. I have no body fat and real tan too. I think back to when I used to drive to some corporate office like verizon and I would come in and sit at a computer in a cubicle. The only interaction would be email and a occasional meeting where we would get nothing accomplished just drink starbucks and eat bagels and talk about our weekend. Such a waste. IT'S TIME FOR TECHNOLOGY JOBS TO EMBRACE TELECOMMUTING NOW!

keith said...

To the poster "do you bike"

Of course I bike

And I walk. A lot. And I take trains everywhere. And I've been in a car about 15 days out of the last 1000.

As a matter of fact have to go walk to the train station right now...

You can live without cars, easy in Europe but even possible in America if you plan your life around it. Live in walkable communities. Get a nice bike. Live in a city with good mass transit. Live near your work or work at home.

"it's too hard" is not an excuse.

And once you get rid of the car and car lifestyle, you'll never look back

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no interest in mass transit. There are a lot of problems with it:

1) Security. It just flat out isn't safe at all. I don't feel like being pick-pocketed, stabbed, raped, held up and etc.

2) Diseases. All manner and severity, from the flu to STDs. You are going to be packed together in a filthy, stinking tin can. No thanks.

3) Privacy. You will have none. No personal discussion, and no comfort, and you will miss it when it is gone.

4) Drivers. You would not believe what I have seen. I only trust in a select few individuals driving skills.

5) Space. I could put a lot under this one. I happen to buy more than a single bag of groceries, carry lots of items with me, and I don't see myself hauling a 50 pound bag of dog food around.

6) Vehicular integrity. Buses and bicycles are very, very vulnerable. There is little personal protection for yourself in a crash.

I could go on forever really. But rest assured, whatever happens, america will not be mass transit. I don't even think it's physically attainable, we will most likely head towards nuclear or hydrogen power.

-Lamaria

Anonymous said...

"Also if everyone decided to build their god awful suburban homes on 1/4 acre lots instead of the now typical 1/2 acre lots we could reduce the size of our slumburb neighborhoods by at least half."

This is a horrible thing to say. if they can afford it, if they want it, than they should have it. A huge house just so happens to be apart of the American dream.

Sorry if their desires offend you

-Lamaria

Anonymous said...

"We give massive tax breaks to the oil companies. We need to give GM and Ford the same amount of tax breaks and encourage them to bring micro cars to the market ASAP!"
This is your idea of free market capitalism..
How can you bash socialists on one hand and propose something like this on the other hand.You think like a socialist and you don't even know it.
By the way,the socialist government in Italy does exactly that with Fiat , Lancia, and Alfa Romeo every two or three years.Oddly enough,its a good idea because it stimulates the economy . Increased sales means increased tax revenue for the state.It keeps people working
( factory workers, sales people,insurance people etc.) which means increased tax revenue for the state.
There can be as much as a 2% rise in the GDP in the fiscal years that the rebates are employed. Thank you for your comments.

Anonymous said...

My solution:
Reduce military spending by 100 billion.
With the savings, give research grants to MIT, CAL TEC, Princeton or whom ever and have them come up with a viable and affordable hydrogen powered engine within 2 years and not in 2020 like G.W. Bush proposes.Next, take another 100 billion from the military and subsidize the american auto industry so that they can retool and produce this next generation of vehicles in mass. Next, take another 100 billion from the military ( by this time there will no longer be a need for troops in the persian gulf region as we have effectivly eliminated the need to buy foreign oil by producing hydrogen powered cars, home heating, electric generation and so on)and subsidize gas stations to install some sort of hydrogen refuling pumps untill the technology is available for people to produce hydrogen at home.
Next, take another 100 billion from military spending and subsidize the consumers who wish to purchase these cars.
You see, all of this can happen without raising a single penny in taxes.

Anonymous said...

"Also if everyone decided to build their god awful suburban homes on 1/4 acre lots instead of the now typical 1/2 acre lots we could reduce the size of our slumburb neighborhoods by at least half."
What about a truley massive campaign to revitalize city centers where infarstructure already exhists.Bring business back to the city's.In some of the old eastern city's there are litterally billions of square feet of warehouse and office space lying vacant.

Eric said...

anonymous who said:
"WE ARE NOT SOCIALISTS! AND THANK GOD FOR THAT!" who thinks we should give selective tax cuts to auto companies to build micro cars.

Selective tax cuts are as socialist as subsidizing public transportation.
Just thought I'd point that out.

Anonymous said...

To Consultant: The way our cities are set up, the "undesirables" ride public transportation. Most public transportation passes through terrible neighborhoods that no suburbanite wants to look at or feel that they have paid good money for not to see anymore.
The people from these areas DO act like animals on the bus. They curse loudly, play loud music, break out into fistfights and in some cases even fornicate on the bus and nothing is done about it. The old are scared. The suburbanites usually take more civilized transport in more expensive rails, but the system cannot handle the load. As Gas continues to rise, most of these middle class patrons are being squeezed financially. I am now seeing a lot of vehicles for sale. The "Park and Ride" areas are full now (built years ago-They knew!)
You can see it on their faces. As their lifestyles are threatened with extinction due to debt the required changes are too much for them and they FEAR having to return to the city for economic necessity.
The Suburbs are done, they don't see it yet in full but certainly they are done. Almost all activity is car related and dependent in these areas and when it gets too expensive to ride ($5) it will start a domino effect.
That is why housing in the cities are all being turned into condos and rentals. Within a few years a lot of suburban housing will be abandoned or sold in a hugh downward trend. Families will need to live seven to a house to maintain expenses and all will have much less than before. The people will be forced to return to the city for their livelihood and it will be EXPENSIVE because the speculators have already zapped up the property and they will put the squeeze on people when they return to the same places that they left years ago. It's like "Welcome Back Kotter"

Silex said...

Keith, your prescription for "getting rid of the car lifestyle" was good for a chuckle, and especially amusing because you just said that U.S. cities should be "re-engineered" to reduce dependence on automobile travel. Why bother re-engineering everything when you can simply buy a nice bicycle and work at home in your pedestrian community?

Eric said...

I lived in LA and took public transportation. It's not hard provided you move to location that has easy access to a bus route and that minimizes transfers. Its a choice not to leave near work. Its not something that was imposed on people. If it means that you can't afford a 4000 sqft house, so be it.

Poor urban planning is not the result of retarded planners, its the result of supply and demand. As gas prices continue to climb, people will have to decide if they can afford to live so far from work. Its capitalism at its finest.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you socialists are just too much. I will let you go tell my wife who has MS that she needs to ride a fucking bike because you fucking greens are so fucking self righteous that she needs to fucking get over it and suck it up. You fuckers dont see any need where it really exists. You just keep spewing your fucking self righteous rhetoric. She needs a van, it is the only way she can bring her wheelchiar with her. But oh yeah, fuck her, ride the fucking subway crippled bitch! Right? FUCK YOU and your simple closed mindedness! Assholes! Fuck you and your bikes! Better pray you stay healthy jerks! Life can turn on you at any time, and then you will se what it is like to have a legitimate need demonized by fucks like you. Rant over.

brianbb said...

Try biking in Atlanta from the suburbs in. How's that going to work. How about when it's 95 and humid?

European cities with mild climates were designed around walking. Ours weren't, for the most part.

Public trans. works great with a center city where everyone works. Try it in Atlanta, or LA where people work all over. It just doesn't work. It's called "sprawl" for a reason. I guess we could just "re-do" cities. Shouldn't take long.

And to the idiot who said "people in CT commute to NYC every day and they're rich"....no sh*t, idiot. That's almost the definition of a densely populated area with a central working location. And how long did it take to build NYC subways and rail lines? 50 years? Should be easy then, right?

brianbb said...

The solution is gradually, people will live closer to work in more crowded center cities. More people will tele-commute. More people will car-pool. There will be things called "plug in hybrids" in a few years which allow people to by-pass using gas all together for most trips. (Yes I know they'll need electricity for them). Airplane tickets will be more expensive so people will vacation closer to home.

People will drive slower (my mileage went from 33 to 37 just driving 70 instead of 80). People will opt for higher mpg vehicles. Just doing that would lower gas usage by 20-30% in 10 years, I'd guess.

Walking and biking isn't going to work unless you live in downtown NYC, Boston, Chicago and work there too.

the_truth_hurts said...

You folks are not asking the right questions:

The right questions need to be comprehensive.

90% of the human race could skip work/school and the world would be just as nice (if not nicer). Of course, we would have to learn to be efficient. We could start by simplifying the tax code.

One reader commented about telecommuting. Yeah, we have the technology but instead we used it to send the jobs to China and force Americans to live in one of several glamour cities for the right to be part of dwindling domestic oppurtunities.

And how about moving employers back to where they used to be. Local small towns where people used to walk to work and stay with the same company for their lifetime. Now, they are all in some sprawling, overpriced megalopolis like the New York city region. The federal government creates some of the most high tech stuff on the planet in small one-company towns where people can afford to live close to work....

And how about alternative energy for driving? Did we not see peak oil coming...

And lastly, who decided to go with 100% Chinese made goods? Our leaders, duh....We choose the Chinese crap cause it's cheaper - but not for long - but our leaders decided that every dollar we spend would go to foreign oil (shipping costs from China) rather than higher America wages (which would help our economy).

I won't ride my bike from work to my affordable, safe home 50 miles away. I will take my mortgage savings and use as much as gas as possible, doubly screwing every greedy boomer homeowner in the process.

And what about this bogus overspecialization of the modern era. This also causes people to drive farther to work because their accouting experience is specific to (fill in the blank). What crap!

Why should I suffer because our leaders and the sheeple can't see and implement real solutions. F*ck America. Dumb country is doomed anyhow.

I don't have time to write this out as some kind of thesis. Just try and wrap your college educated (non critical thinking) brains around the real comprehensive problem. And work with a realistic view of what people can do to help - say buying local goods/services. But don't expect people to go back to biking in an America that is not fit for it.

BTW - I love biking and walking. I used to do it constantly when I lived in the city. BUT I NEVER COULD GET TO WORK LIKE THAT...

Anonymous said...

Biking in Chicago is unhealthy;

http://tiny.cc/xXDAE

Anonymous said...

"The Answer is that while you are at work, your bike will be stolen. Because America has a problem unlike other countries, namely, no cultural identification or unity."

Yeah, there's no theft anywhere else. Riiight....

Anonymous said...

"And the exurbs are dead"

Kind of like how realtors are forever discredited? Uh-huh.

Anonymous said...

To those of you complaining about motorists almost hitting you, I wonder why?

Is it because bicycles are legally considered vehicles in some localities, but bike riders continue to blow stop signs, go the wrong way in traffic, go up on the sidewalk, and do whatever they want because they can? That is until they have some trouble making a left turn and decide they'll now play by the rules and get in the driving lane at the intersection?

The arrogance is similar to motorcycle riders. "Start seeing motorcycles" - I see them, going on the shoulder, riding in the middle of two lanes, speeding, etc. etc.

And you can bet your ass that I clip people who go jogging right in a lane of traffic. Some people don't get that playing chicken with a one-ton moving object is not smart.

BMW driving sex machine said...

Public transportation isn't socialism. The government forcing you to use public transportation rather than giving you the freedom of choice, is.

Oh by the way,comparing Amsterdam to LA is ridiculous to begin with when it comes to bicycle use.

Amsterdam population = 1.3 million and the entire land mass of the Netherlands is the size of Maryland and flat as a pancake.

LA population = 4 million

LA County land mass = 4,060.87 sq miles filled with hills, canyons, and mountains.

Anonymous said...

"To this day there is not a mass transit system that does not have to be subsidized."

Who built the ENTIRE US HIGHWAY SYSTEM? Martians? No, it was that gosh-durned "socialist" government.

Cars are subsidized much more heavily than any transit system ever built.

It's funny how conservatives think a government is "socialist" when it builds parks and mass transit, but "capitalist" when it builds highways and bombs.

Anonymous said...

There is one SMALL problem with biking in L.A.

It's the size of the state of Connecticut.

Holland: 16,033 sq mi
San Bernadino County, CA: 20,105 sq mi

Driving from LA to Vegas, you will spend 3 hours driving in that one county - which is 25% larger than the ENTIRE NATION of Netherlands.

Either we just stop going places, in which case the recession is even WORSE, or we spend tens of trillions building bullet trains criss-crossing the USA (something Europe hasn't done), or we pay at the pump and saunter on.

The USA is the size of Europe from Moscow to Lisbon. This is a massive undertaking, unprecedented - to build a modern, continent wide & spreading high speed rail/public transit system.

Anonymous said...

brian t said...@ June 11, 2008 2:06 PM:

We have all this technology for remote working - video conferencing, VPN, virtual workspaces - yet people still get in their cars to drive 40+ miles each way, to go and sit in front of a computer."

Anyone who telecommutes kills their career. You cannot VPN in and expect to be in the loop on everything that goes on in the office. Eventually, a crucial piece of info will pass you by, you will be out of the office politics loop, and then you lose your job.

Of COURSE everyone at the office is 'so supportive' of your choice. They get to eat your lunch and cut you out when you are not there.

Anonymous said...

It seems that you kids go to expensive colleges but don't learn anything. When I attended college, our professors taught us how to hedge our lifestyles, how to beat the system. I and many other savvy investors saw the current energy crisis and high inflation many years ago. Accordingly, we invested in energy, commodities, foreign currencies and utilities. Simple, if gas prices go up, our investments in the energy sector cover that expense. If food prices skyrocket, our investments in commodities subsidize what we spend to eat. If the dollar goes down, well, you can figure the rest.

The problem is that you kids aren't very street smart, don't know how to beat the system. That's why you're a member of the Obama cult. He's telling that the nanny state will comfort you, like mommy did. Politicians like to prey on people like you.

Anonymous said...

The US is running out of natural resources, such as energy and water, because of overpopulation. And the Democrats want to pump more illegals in so they can get more votes. Obama is already promising amnesty to millions of illegals who will breed like flies and then bring the rest of their extensive families from abroad, once they get their greencards. It never ends.

Keep in mind that the majority of these immigrants and illegals earn cash under the table and send 80% of that money back to their countries, instead of investing in our economy or paying for the expensive social services and infrastructure they use.

In fact, every time your employer deducts that medicare amount from your paychecks, you're subsidizing those millions of immigrants who always work for cash, don't pay for medicare, but will be using it in droves.

That's why states are broke, without any money to take care of their infrastructure. It's just common sense but the Democratic party doesn't want you to know that. Don't believe it? Just look at the dismal conditions of California and Florida.

Furthermore, low educated immigrants end up costing much more because they don't obey rules (i.e., driving without insurance), they don't care about their health, they disregard family planning, they ignore the environment, they have that hustle culture that will never disappear.

One of the most critical issues during this campaign should be overpopulation by illegals/immigrants. But you don't fix that by handing out 20 million citizenships. That's the reason your state is broke and you'll end up, too. Higher taxes and fees are in the horizon to pay for more illegals. It'll never end.

tokyo-boy said...

No one has yet answered my (and others') question about how roads are NOT socialist. Is it because cars=manly so even if the roads are build by the gov't, they are manly too, and since manly=capitalist it's fine? Please reply, thanks.

vanilla ice said...

These comments are so interesting because they delve into the thought process of mostly Americans, I suppose, and probably smarter then average Americans I would guess. If this is the way people are thinking , any further increase in gas prices will be met mostly by "I'm not changing my habits no matter what."

This will mean even higher gas prices, a more quickly warming planet, and more quickly depleting crude oil. Americans are the most innovative bunch in the world. However, we often don't innovate until there is a true emergency that requires we save our focus all our energy to save our asses.

vanilla ice said...

"6) Vehicular integrity. Buses and bicycles are very, very vulnerable. There is little personal protection for yourself in a crash."

Geeze, does anyone care to explore facts instead of using perception to build an argument and to continue their own bad habits?! If we're so worried about our health we should stop eating so much food and stop driving so much.

It's almost impossible to get killed in mass transit. Hardly anyone dies in buses wrecks. Who's going to win when a bus hits a car or even an SUV?

Also, it's disappointing to see so much hostility towards bicycling. No wonder so many bicyclists are also so hostile. When a car hits a bike guess who wins then?

Anonymous said...

These comments are so interesting because they delve into the thought process of mostly Americans, I suppose, and probably smarter then average Americans I would guess. If this is the way people are thinking , any further increase in gas prices will be met mostly by "I'm not changing my habits no matter what."

No you communist buffon, all that we're saying is that we don't need to live like your Marxist friends, riding bicycles under the snow storm while we chant to Mao. We can keep our cars by creating an alternative form of energy instead, like the Brazilians did. The problem is that you Birkenstock losers want to impose your communist ways on everybody, hence your Cult of Obama. Some of us still like to be free to choose in America. Another thing, you need to get a grasp on scale to realize that most of developed Europe fits inside Texas. Now go back to your granola bar and watching SuicideGirls.

Ms. Annette said...

Do some of you "green" folks ever have an original thought?

There is all kinds of technology out there to get us off oil dependence. Yet, you fall for the lies of the establishment.

Run Your Car on Water

Anonymous said...

"Geeze, does anyone care to explore facts instead of using perception to build an argument and to continue their own bad habits?! If we're so worried about our health we should stop eating so much food and stop driving so much."

So much hate for the people of the States.

Back to my point-

Buses and bicycles flat out aren't safe for the reasons I described above, and many more that I don't feel like going into right now. Those points weren't "perception", they were fact.

Buses and bicycles offer little protection for people in a crash. They both crumple like an aluminum can when they get hit or crash, and result in numerous fatalities regarding buses specifically.

It happens all the time, often as the result of bad drivers.

I'm not going to worry about the mass transit issue for the moment though. There ARE alternative fuel options out there, in addition to clutch oil fields and shale in the States.

-Lamaria

tokyo-boy said...

"No you communist buffon, all that we're saying is that we don't need to live like your Marxist friends, riding bicycles under the snow storm while we chant to Mao."

No one here is saying that personal vehicles should be eliminated and everyone should be forced to ride bikes and trains at gunpoint. Do you see any comments like that from anyone?

Anonymous said...

LOL @ people who complain about driving25,50, miles one way to work to bad, no one was shedding any tears when people were leaving the innter cities in droves and left them with a shrinking tax base.

The reason public transportation sucks in most major cities is because of race.

When the suburbs/exurbs were designed it was for cars only because they didn't want any minorities following them out there. Good public transportation was a big no-no to them.

So I say let gas go to 5,6, heck, even 10 dollars a gallon. You reap what you sow.