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71. Lab Meat and Electric Cars with Alicia Kennedy

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Alicia Kennedy is a food writer whose weekly newsletter covers the way food culture intersects with politics, media, labor rights and climate change. On the surface it might not seem like it has much to do with the war on cars. But it does. Because what Alicia is doing in her work is really similar to what we do: she tries to make the invisible visible. She shines a light on how huge political and commercial forces are constantly manipulating our emotions about food for their own profit, with reckless disregard for the natural world and human health. It’s pretty much the same thing we see every day in transportation and urban planning. Sarah talked with Alicia about what electric cars have in common with lab meat, and how to deal with people thinking you’re a joyless Puritan just because you don’t want our society to go up in flames.

***This episode is sponsored in part by our friends at Cleverhood. For 20% off stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking, enter coupon code BANCARS at checkout now through November 1.***

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70. Return of the Vermonter

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On July 19, 2021, Amtrak restarted passenger rail service on its Vermonter line after a 16-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You wouldn’t necessarily think that this would be all that big of a deal. The Vermonter runs just one train per day in each direction between Washington, D.C., and St. Albans, a small town near the Canadian border. This train is kind of slow, frequently late, and only serves 100,000 passengers a year — a drop in the bucket compared to nearby Interstate highways. And yet, in the village of Bellows Falls, the return of the Vermonter was cause for major celebration and an outpouring of civic pride. Why does intercity train service mean to a small town like Bellows Falls? And what is it about the train that people love so much?

***This episode is sponsored in part by our friends at Cleverhood. For 20% off stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking enter coupon code BANCARS at checkout now through November 1.*** 

Support The War on Cars on Patreon and get cool stickers, access to exclusive bonus content and more.

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69. The E-Bike Radicalization of Jessica Valenti

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Jessica Valenti, the noted feminist writer, was curious about e-bikes. So, as one does, she posted a question about them to Twitter. Thus began her path to radicalization. After buying an e-bike of her own, she quickly found how life-changing it was — a not uncommon feeling among the converted. A lifelong New Yorkers, Jessica found that riding an e-bike changed her perspective on the city and offered her new insight on being a woman in public space. In this spirited and far-reaching conversation, Jessica talks about e-bikes as vehicles of feminist empowerment, means of escaping harassment and good plain fun. Plus, we dig into history and discuss the similarities between the “resting bitch face” of today and the “bicycle face” of the late 1800s.

***This episode was sponsored in part by our friends at Cleverhood. For 20% off of stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and cycling, enter coupon code BANCARS at checkout now through November 1st.***

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SUMMER SPECIAL: Meet Mr. Barricade

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This episode was originally released as a Patreon exclusive. Become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars for bonus episodes, early releases and more.

Combine a deep love of cities and urban planning with a penchant for wearing stylish suits, smooth dance moves set to Swedish rap music and a curious fascination with drainage and what do you get? Mr. Barricade, an unlikely TikTok star. Vignesh Swaminathan, who runs his own engineering and design firm in California, has built a huge following on the video-sharing platform based on his unique ability to explain everything from how protected intersections work in busy downtowns to the ongoing impacts of redlining and segregation. Doug talks to Vignesh about his viral videos, tricks for successfully fighting racism online and the power of TikTok to help people see and experience their streets and communities in new ways.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

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SUMMER SPECIAL: Being Gary Fisher, the Interview

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To celebrate the last days of summer, we’re re-releasing our Patreon special interview with the man who introduced the world to mountain biking: Gary Fisher. Sarah talks with Gary about his sometimes psychedelic autobiography, Being Gary Fisher and the Bicycle Revolution. We also got his opinions on the failed promise of the automobile, the bike boom of the late ’70s, and what the world can learn from COVID about building better streets.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

You can find Gary’s book through Trek.

For 20% off apparel in The War on Cars store now through August 31st, use code SUMMERSALE at checkout.

 

TEASER: Going Viral With Tom Flood

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Tom Flood used to work in the ad industry in Toronto on campaigns for clients in the auto industry. Today, he’s a bit a of a rebel and uses the power of social media and smart video editing to poke at car companies and the kind of commercials that often glorify reckless driving. If you’ve ever seen commercials for cars like the Dodge Charger then you’ll appreciate what Tom does. He takes those amped-up ads and edits in images of his cute kids riding their bikes, making the point that fast cars don’t exist in the fantasy world of Madison Avenue but on real avenues and streets shared with people. Recently, Tom’s Twitter account was suspended without explanation. What happened? Was it a mistake? A conspiracy by Big Auto? In this bonus episode just for Patreon supporters, Tom Flood joins The War on Cars to break it all down.

This is a quick preview of an episode available to Patreon supporters. For access to this and all bonus content, become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars. We’ll even send you stickers.

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68. A Word From Our Listeners

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We held our very first War on Cars Meetup in Brooklyn a few weekends ago. We actually started planning this event almost two years ago but, you know… a global pandemic kind of got in the way. After so many months of relative social isolation it was great to gather in person, see old friends, meet new friends, and talk with so many of our passionate, dedicated listeners. Part of what was special about the Meetup was its location. Not very long ago, if you had tried to host a social gathering in the middle of Vanderbilt Avenue, you’d have gotten squashed by a speeding car. In 2006, New York City’s Dept. of Transportation experimented with its very first “road diet” on Vanderbilt Ave. Today, it’s one of New York City’s most successful car-free open streets. It’s a place to experience how nice it can be when streets are designed and managed as community spaces rather than traffic sewers.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***This episode is sponsored in part by our friends at Cleverhood. For 20% off of stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking enter coupon code WARONCARS at checkout.***

Support The War on Cars on Patreon and get cool stickers, access to exclusive bonus content and more.

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TEASER: Way Too Many Tech Bros

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It sure was a busy week for our transportation tech bro overlords. Elon Musk announced a deal to build another one of his car tunnels beneath the waterlogged streets of Fort Lauderdale, Florida while also admitting that, “haha” the self-driving cars he’s been promising for years aren’t going to happen any time soon. Malcolm Gladwell launched the new season of his “Revisionist History” podcast with an episode that comes across like a demented advertorial for robot cars. And a tech bro named Jason Crawford spent the better part of a day arguing on Twitter that “cars are one of the most amazing and wonderful inventions in all of history.” In this special episode for our Patreon supporters, Andrew Hawkins, senior reporter at The Verge, joins Doug and Aaron for a deep dive into the tech bros and their vision for the future of transportation. Plus: Lance Armstrong! As if it couldn’t get any more bro-ish.

Sign up starting at just $2 per month and you can listen to this episode and lots of other bonus content. Plus we’ll send you stickers.

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67. God Help Us, It’s Really Infrastructure Week

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Breaking News! Following weeks of negotiations, and as a mind-boggling heat wave settled on the Pacific Northwest, President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of ten Senators stepped out of a closed-door meeting at the White House to announce they’d made a deal. There will be infrastructure! $579 billion worth of it, in fact. The biggest federal investment in infrastructure in more than a hundred years and, according to President Biden, the 21st century equivalent to our historic investments in the Interstate Highway System and the transcontinental railroad. But if you’re a tad skeptical about what this deal might mean for The War on Cars, you have good reason. Federal transportation investments have not been kind to Americans who wish to live untethered from an automobile. And in U.S. political discourse, “infrastructure” has typically been shorthand for “car stuff.” But could this moment be different? Here to help us understand the big infrastructure package and the arcane world of federal transportation policy is Beth Osborne, executive director of Transportation for America. Warning: This episode includes a brief audio clip of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***This episode was sponsored in part by our friends at Cleverhood. For 20% off of stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking enter coupon code WARONCARS at checkout.***

Support The War on Cars on Patreon and get cool stickers, access to exclusive bonus content and more.

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66. The One Where They Go Back to the Studio

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We’re vaxxed and we’re back. In this very special reunion episode, Sarah, Doug and Aaron return to the studio for the first time in fifteen months. Fifteen months! The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wild, earth-shattering, world-historic event with far-reaching implications for The War on Cars and pretty much everything else. We revisit some of our predictions from the beginning of the lockdown, take stock of what has changed and what has not, and chatter nervously about the lack of ventilation in the studio. Plus: We review Ford’s new, multi-ton. all-electric, pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning. Spoiler: It’s bad. 

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***This episode was sponsored in part by our friends at Cleverhood. For 20% off of stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking enter coupon code WARONCARS at checkout.*** 

Support The War on Cars on Patreon and get cool stickers, access to exclusive bonus content and more.

Read More