[FoRK] LA Traffic - solution?

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at jarbox.org
Sat Sep 1 09:13:52 PDT 2012

On Aug 31, 2012, at 2:49 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 12:48:16PM -0700, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> In NYC, even though you have super density, the subway is so slow that  
>> except for more than a few miles, I'd generally rather walk. I would  
>> certainly rather ride a bike if I had a way to store it.
> The ship seems to have sailed for US public transport. There is
> no longer the time nor money for that kind of thing, given that
> there's little usability until up a pretty high critical threshold
> in density and diversity.

There are inexpensive ways to reduce the amount of driving without public transit boondoggles. The "driving or public transit" phrasing of the problem is a false dichotomy, though true in most cities.

The easiest away is to have very mixed usage/zoning. No need to take a cab, bus, bike, or subway if just about everything you'll ever want is within a mile or so of where you live. Even most classically urban cities like Manhattan mess this part up a bit -- they have different districts and neighborhoods that you need to go to for certain things. There is no point on the island of Manhattan that has as much stuff within a several block radius as I have from my apartment right now because while Manhattan has similar density it lacks the well-mixed diversity of businesses. Consequently, people use public transit options less often here than you typically see in other high-density urban cities -- walking is faster and easier.

I never quite noticed the distinction until I lived where I live now but it actually makes a huge difference in terms of reducing road traffic and minimizing the crowd of people milling about waiting for buses. And apparently, it is eminently achievable. 

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