84. They Paved r/place and Put Up a Parking Lot

By April 12, 2022 Uncategorized

From the joy of the “Just a Minute” campaign in San Francisco to the members of a colorfully named subreddit creating a digital parking lot, there’s a lot of news in The War on Cars. We hear from listeners around the country and across the Atlantic. Is it possible to be more chill about people riding the wrong way in a bike lane? Should public transit be free? Why is it so hard to find a good bicycle with all the accessories you need for regular transportation? Plus, quick dispatches from the hosts’ trips to car-dependent parts of the United States.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

Learn about what makes a good, walkable city from author and urban planner Jeff Speck at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education, June 13 & 14.

This episode is sponsored by Cleverhood. Receive 20% off anything in the Cleverhood store with coupon code HAPPYCOMMUTE now through the end of April.

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An anti-car subreddit took over a digital canvas and put up a digital parking lot. (Washington Post)

San Francisco’s “Just a Minute” campaign places cyclist safety over driver convenience. (Stephen Braitsch on Twitter)

If you live near Somerville, MA and need a great bike for regular transportation, check out Bicycle Belle.

The fundamental problems with free transit. (Alex Schieferdecker)

Results from Boston’s experiment with free bus fares are mixed. (Boston Globe and WGBH)

Pick up some official War on Cars merch.

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This episode was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio and edited by Ali Lemer. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear. Our logo was designed by Dani Finkel of Crucial D. Easter egg via Treyton Zary.




  • Marcel says:

    Today’s podcast reminded me of a presentation I did for Nerd Nite a while ago. The topic was ‘how electric vehicles will impact future urban planning’. The presentation showed that the cost of owning a private vehicle, storing it 95% of the time, electric vehicles being stupid expensive and the rise of autonomous drive can spell the end of vehicle ownership in favour of a subscription service. If a user can just call a ride, then step out where they want to be, there’s no need to park, so what will we do with 30% of the surface area of all cities dedicated to storing vehicles when not in use? My underlying message was “Instead of a City with Parking Lots Everywhere, Imagine Lots of Parks Everywhere”…. which I intend on putting on a T-shirt.

    One of my points is: why do we allow people to store private property (ie parked cars) in the transportation corridor, and force cyclists, who have the same right to use the corridor for transportation, to fight it out with cars and trucks? My example was our main street which is 6 to 8 lanes wide, 2 lanes dedicated to storage of private property and zero lanes for active transportation.

    On the point about disparity in speed of electric bikes to wee kids using the same narrow lanes, the law is here to help. E-bikes are classified 1, 2 and 3. When *I’m* declared king, Class 1 E-bikes can use multi-use lanes like human powered bikes, but Class 2 and 3 must be licensed, riders must wear a DOT helmet and use the roadway with cars.

  • Daniel Keough says:

    Another great episode.

    I would love to hear about cities considering/adopting user-submitted dangerous parking, via a city (or 3rd party app, such as Parkmobile type that anyplace could use). The City could limit it to very specific parking violations, not overrun meters—you see someone blocking a bike lane, a crosswalk or sidewalk, or even a user submitted video of idling vehicles (even if just applied to COMMERCIAL, non-refrigerator truck vehicles) idling for more than, say 3 min like NYC has.
    Just the discussion of such a policy will create a stir and more awareness of the issue, passing it will CERTAINLY increase compliance, because that driver who’s ‘just going to be a minute’ will know that every citizen seeing their car on the sidewalk can report it. ALSO: citizens could earn money, perhaps a 25% commission on all submitted AND a user rating, to keep users reporting reasonably.
    The parking enforcement can’t be everywhere all the time, but people, USERS of those sidewalks can, and they care far more than a city employee working 9-5.
    Less convenient, more expensive. Less convenient, more expensive. With many policies, land use changes, zoning laws. We need policies like this to keep our sidewalk and bike infra clear of selfish drivers, and it’s a great revenue source for the city that could cost $0.
    I agree with your caller that there should be more focus on making bikes utility bikes, rack installed, fenders, chain guard to keep dresses, khakis away from grease. Among other things.
    You know how you can go buy a car with optional rear lights, and optional headlights? No? You don’t see that? So why do you see it with bicycles at all? This should be a requirement of all bicycles sold, kids bikes especially, even if used only on a sidewalk. All except racing or high end bikes should have this requirement. Bicycles are transportation.
    So Trek and Giant and Schwinn–especially the low end bikes build them INTO the bike, to avoid theft, and if the bike manufacturer is making them, a dynamo system could also charge them, cheaper to do en masse than aftermarket.
    Require bike lights on most bicycles sold!

  • Marcel says:

    Regarding bicycle security and Dutch bikes coming standard with frame locks…

    Cars and motorcycles didn’t come with steering locks until mandated by DOT. They didn’t have any anti-theft devices until mandated or demanded by consumers. Bicycles didn’t originally come with reflectors, but because of regulations, they all have them at point of sale.

    So why do bikes come with no locking mechanisms? Let’s face it: U locks or any other effective locking system are bulky and awkward since there’s no place to store them on a bike unless the user adds it after purchase.

    Bicycle manufactures could (but won’t) be forced to add anti-theft devices as standard equipment. Raleigh had steering locks on their commuter bikes in the 60’s, and https://n-lock.com/ sell a simple but effective system. Another effective system is a lock, similar to car steering lock, which incapacitates the bottom bracket thereby making the bike unrideable.

    Nothing will happen until manufacturers are forced to up their game, dealers demand it of their suppliers, or dealers are prevented from selling anything that does not conform to minimum requirements.