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79. The End of Uber with Cory Doctorow

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Image via Cory Doctorow's Pluralistic.net

Remember when Uber, the taxi-hailing app on your mobile phone, was going to revolutionize transportation, transform cities, and lead us to our glorious robot-car future? That wasn’t so long ago. So, what happened? Where did it all go? Cory Doctorow has some ideas. A prolific non-fiction author, sci-fi novelist, and technology activist Doctorow has been a keen observer and critic of Uber for years now. “Uber,” Doctorow writes, “is a bezzle. Every bezzle ends. And Uber’s time is up.” Plus: Reality has a well known anti-car bias.   

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***This episode is sponsored by Cleverhood.***

Support The War on Cars on Patreon for access to ad-free bonus content.

SHOW NOTES:

End of the Line for Uber by Cory Doctorow

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TEASER: Let’s Crush These Dirt Bikes with Alex Pareene

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***This is a preview of a short bonus episode just for Patreon supporters. Become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars for ad-free access to this and all our exclusive content. Plus, we’ll send you stickers!***

The New Republic’s Alex Pareene joined us for Episode 78, “311 is a Joke,” and we had a lot of fun. We chatted about the battle for scarce street space in the big city and the role that municipal government plays (and doesn’t play) in sorting it all out (or not). As often happens when we get going in the studio, our conversation with Alex ran long and some good stuff didn’t make it into the final cut. In this bonus episode, we learn about Alex’s step-dad Chuck from North Dakota and hear from New York City’s now-former Mayor Bill de Blasio as he attempts to destroy a bunch of dirt bikes on Staten Island.

TheWarOnCars.org

 

78. 311 is a Joke with Alex Pareene

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Alex Pareene, a contributing editor to The New Republic and the author of The AP (Alex Pareene) Newsletter, joins the podcast to talk about his recent run of stories on cars, parking and the competition for scarce space on city streets. We discuss 311 — the non-emergency phone number for accessing municipal services — and what it tells us about how government works (or doesn’t work). What message are police sending when they fail to enforce illegal parking? As far as driving is concerned, does anything go? And how does Elon Musk’s insistence on beta-testing Full Self-Driving on public streets relate to it all?

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***This episode is sponsored by our friends at Cleverhood.***

Support The War on Cars on Patreon for access to ad-free bonus content.

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BONUS: Cars as a Virus with Hermann Knoflacher

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***This is a preview of a bonus episode. Become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars for ad-free access to this and all our exclusive content.***

Perhaps you’ve seen pictures of a person walking around in a large, wearable wooden frame meant to illustrate the space taken up by one person in a private automobile. That’s the gehzeug — or walkmobile — and it was invented by the Austrian civil engineer and professor Herman Knoflacher.

Professor Knoflacher, 81, is the head of the Institute of Transportation at the Vienna University of Technology. Long before the current global pandemic, he compared cars to a virus. It’s a provocative analogy, but Knoflacher makes a compelling case. And rather than searching for vaccines and other ways to fight this particular threat, humanity has actively helped the spread of cars, much to the detriment of the built environment, children’s health and safety and even our future on this planet.

TheWarOnCars.org

 

77. Curbing Traffic with Melissa and Chris Bruntlett

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In 2019, Melissa and Chris Bruntlett and their two children moved from Vancouver to the small city of Delft in the Netherlands. The experience of transitioning to and living in a place that puts people first over automobiles forms the basis for Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in Our Lives. The book, the Bruntlett’s second on the lessons offered by Dutch cities, explains the many benefits of car-free and car-lite spaces, from lower anxiety and stress, better social trust, improved health and increased independence for people of all ages and abilities. Plus, as you’ll hear, cities with fewer cars are quiet!

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

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76. Smells Like Teen Climate Anxiety

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New York public high school students rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall in October for better bike infrastructure.

Young people want to live. It seems kind of basic, right? Anyone over the age of 35 or so probably grew up thinking that the desire to live was something to take for granted, at least on a societal scale. But many members of Gen Z worry that the places they live today will soon be uninhabitable. That they won’t be able to realize their dreams or raise their children the way previous generations did. That their very survival is at stake. And they don’t see meaningful action from the adults in charge. In this episode, we hear from some teens in Brooklyn who are demanding radical improvements in bike infrastructure to make emission-free transportation safe and accessible to all. We also talk with Dr. Elizabeth Marks, a clinical psychologist who has co-authored a new study about climate anxiety in ten thousand young people all over the world. Sixty percent said that they are either “very worried” or “extremely worried” about climate change. There’s a crisis in intergenerational trust. How can we begin to repair the damage?

***This episode is sponsored by Rad Power Bikes and Cleverhood.***

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75. Live in New York with Choire Sicha

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On Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021, The War on Cars recorded a live show at Caveat on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Our special guest for the evening was Choire Sicha, an editor at large at New York Magazine, who joined us to talk about YIMBYism, “bike fascism” and life in the suburbs. Plus, why does Eric Adams, the newly elected mayor of New York City, need to fix his bike’s front fork?

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74. Not Just Bikes with Jason Slaughter

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Jason Slaughter is the creator of Not Just Bikes, the wildly popular YouTube channel that covers urban design and daily living in the Netherlands. Jason’s videos are informative and entertaining, and whether they’re about the shaky finances on which the suburbs are built or something as simple as grocery shopping, each one helps viewers understand larger concepts about building cities for people, not cars. Doug sat down with Jason in Amsterdam to talk about the origins of Not Just Bikes and why places that force everyone to drive whether they want to or not just plain suck.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***The episode is sponsored by Rad Power Bikes.***

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73. Third Anniversary Mailbag

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Introducing the 2022 Chevy Inundator

To celebrate the podcast’s third anniversary (how did that happen?) we open up the listener mailbag and field your questions and comments. Is it time to take more subversive action in the fight for safe streets? With all the evidence on our side, why does it sometimes feel like cities keep having the same arguments over parking spaces? Why don’t strollers get more respect as transportation? Is it ok to drive an SUV while wearing a War on Cars T-shirt? Plus: The marketing push for the 2022 Chevy Inundator begins today. 

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

This episode is sponsored by Rad Power Bikes and Cleverhood.

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

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TEASER: Hashtag Ban Cars With Michael Hobbes

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***This is a preview of a short bonus episode just for Patreon supporters. Become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars for ad-free access to this and all our exclusive content. Plus, we’ll send you stickers!***

Michael Hobbes, a journalist and podcast host known for his work on Maintenance Phase and You’re Wrong About, joined The War on Cars for episode 72 to discuss what bikelash has in common with moral panics. In this short bonus episode, hear a part of our conversation that was left on the cutting room floor. We cover everything from how newspaper headlines absolve drivers who hit vulnerable road users and offer some advice to people who are freaking out about the #BanCars slogan.

TheWarOnCars.org