Car Free Cities

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by .Andy, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    The Mergui Archipelago
    #1
    I moved to a new city a few years ago and began to slowly increasing my cycling commutes. It got to the point where my car and motorbike were used about once per month each so I ended up selling them off. Despite not using them I was so used to having them that it felt like a mistake at the time - but it has surprised me that I've been fine. It has changed my views on cities immensely as far as the detrimental effect that private cars have on them. The needless traffic noise, emissions, energy expenditure, space required, cost of fuel and parking etc just doesn't seem to make sense - when I never gave it any thought previously.

    To combat such problems a number of cities are moving towards being car free or reducing cars in the inner city. Some very successfully. I never realised that european cities like Amsterdam have a fairly short history of being cycling/pedestrian-centric where now over 60% of inner city trips are made by bike;
    The above opinion article goes on to make some further associations between less cars and increasing wealth (which i'm not sure follows - the increased wealth could easily come first):
    Those cities cited are of course the densely populated and prime to improve public transport/short commutes by foot/bicycle.
    I was wondering what locals of other cities have experienced as far as the above interventions/town planning to reduce car use in both terms of good and bad outcomes. What has worked and what has died in your local vicinity? Has it made your city a better place overall?
     
  2. Zxxv macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Did the same, sold my car after not using it as much as I used to, walking more and more, using public transport and/or taxis when needed. Most journeys in cars are definitely not needed. Walk to buy groceries carrying home in a back back. Healthier, happier, life is so much slower or more normal naturally paced :)

    Noticed when I do walk I avoid roads and anytime I get close to one the noise and utter intrusiveness of it makes me turn away and find a more peaceful route.
     
  3. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #3
    Just a bit of further information about the history of cycling in the Netherlands.



    For anybody who would like to know more about the facts and figures of cycle friendly Netherlands.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_the_Netherlands

    When most of your inner cities/town streets look like this cycling makes sense.

    [​IMG]

    Of course we have 16,000,000 people and 18,000,000 bicycles.

    Cycling is a way of life here, inner city/town short trips in the Netherlands are done by cycle.
     
  4. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #4
    Nope. You'll have to pry my car from my cold, dead hands.
     
  5. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #5
    Ive gone from spending 3 hours a day in the car commuting to cycling to work recently (change of job).... although there are people I know work with who drive to work, despite the fact they live about 2 miles away.

    Anyway, I feel so much more relaxed and just better in myself generally without my 3 hour daily drive (around the M25 - London Orbital, at peak time)....... Im keeping my car for the moment as its still handy for me to have a car on weekends..... but I have considered selling it, and using my VW camper van as my main vehicle.
     
  6. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #6
    Thats an american thing though..... cars & consumption..... who needs a 4 litre engine for crying out loud.

    I understand that you have vast distances to cover when you do need to leave town though, albeit at 65 MPH :D
     
  7. .Andy thread starter macrumors 68030

    .Andy

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    The Mergui Archipelago
    #7
    120 years ahead of most other cities. That is pretty amazing. And interesting how quick the turn around was off the back of public opinion to the car death toll.

    Pretty much exactly the same. 3 hours in the car previously now to about a half an hour ride. The difference in how de-stressed I am when i get home is unbelievable. 10 years ago if you told me I'd be getting rid of my vehicles I'd have told you to bugger off :). Probably fitter now than I was back then. And far better off financially :)
     
  8. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #8
    Well between my tax and my servicing I'm probably only about £1500 a year on my car..... but the £250 a month I'm not spending on petrol is very noticeable.
     
  9. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #9
    I agree. 2 liters and a turbocharger is all I need :p
     
  10. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #10
    I love driving and if my city went car free, I would leave. I have no desire to ride a bicycle anywhere.
     
  11. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #11
    I might ride a cycle in the city limits, but outside I'm a 427 FE Big Block, with 4 on the floor.:p

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Praxis91 macrumors regular

    Praxis91

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    #12
    I love my suburbs (with acreage of course) and luxury SUV. Cities.. no thanks! Ever!
     
  13. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    totally cool
    #13
    If I could walk or bike to work I would, I like the idea, but its not practical for me with seasonal weather and distance. Besides the fact that the commute to work serves as some personal "zen" time.
     
  14. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #14
    Luckily you'll be able to walk too.

    I think a cycling and motorcycle component should be included in our driving test here, because at the moment, drivers act so dangerously round both of these other road users.

    I don't know if its the same elsewhere.
     
  15. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #15
    My town is really too spread out to walk and I don't want to burn the calories. Besides, nobody wants to walk or bicycle in an NJ winter.
     
  16. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #16
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_the_Netherlands

    Hope this helps
     
  17. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #17
    My Jeep gets 15 MPG on a good day, the grocery store is 1.5KM away and work is 5KM I'm not driving the Jeep for trips like that.
     
  18. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    Location:
    República Cascadia
    #18
    Yet it's Europeans who manufacture the most ostentatious, unnecessary and obscene examples of conspicuous four-wheeled consumption: Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, etc.
     
  19. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #19
  20. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #20
    Manufacture..... yes. Drive, no, they're not really common..... a, they're too big for most european roads, b, they're too expensive, c, they're too expensive to run.

    I've got a 1.8 petrol, and thats considered a reasonably big engine for the UK..... yes you get a few people with 3 litres etc, but they're usually compensating for something, and not very common.

    Most cars in the US seem to be 2-6 litres from what can tell.
     
  21. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland
    #21
    I decided not drive many years back because my eyesight, concentration and coordination just don't suffice to drive safely on the country roads in the UK. I mostly walk now, and I shudder to think how obese and cranky I would be if I commuted by car to work every day. Even car-pooling here in Scotland requires you to inform your insurance company that you are using a car for 'commercial purposes'. What a hassle. I walk about 2 miles to work and back, but fortunately my route takes me through a nature trail. Otherwise I take public transport, which in Scotland is an exercise in developing patience as the private bus companies make massive profits off of poorly managed services.

    The only disadvantage is that it is difficult to escape to the Highlands without a certain amount of planning and expense. You'd think Scotland would recognise by now that bus services to the villages and glens that rely on tourism is useful to the local economy, but alas ...
     
  22. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Location:
    Midlife, Midwest
    #22
    The geography of where Americans live and work simply makes living without a car extremely difficult, if not impossible for, most of us. We are too spread out. My best friends live between fifteen and twenty miles from me. My work is ten miles from my house. The "good" grocery store (where I buy my organic arugula and shitake mushrooms) is six miles. I could cycle there - but I'd be risking my life if I did. And I'm a good, enthusiastic road cyclist with a couple of centuries (hundred miles in one day) under my belt.

    The widely dispersed city architecture definitely has a cost - in terms of the expense of owning and running a car, the cost of the roads we have to maintain. It has costs in fossil fuel usage, our US balance of trade, and the environment. And it also has a time cost in that most Americans spend a lot of their lives commuting, alone, in a car. (Its also why talk radio is so popular with a certain segment of the population.)

    But it also has a huge upside most Europeans seem to forget about: Housing in most of the US is incredibly cheap. In most cities you can buy a livable home for about $120,000 (roughly €110,000) What can you buy in Rotterdam or Birmingham for that kind of money?
     
  23. haxrnick macrumors 6502a

    haxrnick

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle
    #23
    With Seattle being very bike friendly and me working downtown I would love to do this but living 35 minutes away with 0 traffic (good luck with that on i5 north around boeing field) and the rain I think I'll stick with driving. Sometimes it's just nice sitting in traffic clearing my head before coming in or going home.
     
  24. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #24
    Ohhh can I make big sweeping generalizations about all of Europe based on my anecdotes too?

    All those Europeans either drive Porsches, E Class Mercedes, 5er's, or mid-sized Audis because that's all I see. On nice weekends the drag out the R8's and baby Ferraris to enjoy the sun.
     
  25. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #25
    I recently moved into an apartment 10 minutes walk from my office - best decision I've made in a while. It doesn't matter what the state of the weather or traffic is, my commute is very low-stress.

    I live in a part of the US Midwest that has very harsh winters and is not pedestrian friendly, so my girlfriend's old Subaru does get plenty of use in the winter. but in the summer I usually walk or bike where I want to go. When I need to drive I have my Fiesta 1.6L, which is a great car for traveling.

    I think I love cars to much to discard them entirely - but I love living within walking distance to work and jot's great not having to depend on a car, with all the attendant expenses and irritations.
     

Share This Page