EXTRA: Inside Automotive Journalism with Bob Sorokanich

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***This is a bonus episode that was previously only available to Patreon supporters of The War on Cars. If you want to hear more bonus episodes like this, please enlist today! We’ll taking a very short summer break and will be back with a new episode next week.***

Have you ever wondered what the reporters who cover the auto industry think about oversized SUVs and pickups and whether the fever for these gas-guzzling, space-hogging, planet-heating and people-killing monstrosities will ever break? Bob Sorokanich has some opinions.

Bob Sorokanich was the Editor-In-Chief of Jalopnik the news site about cars, the auto industry and transportation in general. He was also the longstanding Deputy Editor of Road & Track, one of the most historic and important auto magazines in the U.S., if not the world.

In this expansive conversation, Bob talks about the changing face of automotive journalism and what it’s like being a city resident, cyclist and public transit rider who also loves cars. We heard about what he drives, his thoughts on what it will take to win the war on cars, and why even the most died-in-the-wool car enthusiasts hate the kind of driving they typically experience today.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

LINKS:

According to Bob: Public Transit Is a Car Enthusiast’s Best Friend

Doug’s piece for Jalopnik: What I Mean When I Say ‘Ban Cars’

Pick up official podcast merch at The War on Cars store.

Check out our list of recommended books at Bookshop.org.

TheWarOnCars.org

TEASER: Live from New York!

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This special episode of The War on Cars was recorded live before a sold-out audience at Caveat on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and was styled after a community board meeting… except instead of people yelling at each other about parking spaces, bike lanes and neighborhood character, a fantastic time was had by all.

***This is a preview of a Patreon-exclusive bonus episode. For complete access to this and all of our bonus content, become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars.***

108. Traffication with Paul Donald

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In his groundbreaking book, Traffication: How Cars Destroy Nature and What We Can Do About It, scientist and researcher Paul Donald synthesizes dozens of studies to help us understand what cars and roads do to living things. Paul makes the case that cars ruin more than cities—they also ruin the countryside by fragmenting habitat and creating a neverending barrage of threats and stressors for animals of all kinds. The danger posed by the car to nature, he suggests, is existential.

We talked with Paul Donald about his book, why he coined the term “traffication” and what he thinks we can do about it.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers.***

This episode is produced with support from Radpower Bikes and Cleverhood. Listen to the episode for the latest Cleverhood discount code.

LINKS:

Pick up a copy of Traffication: How Cars Destroy Nature and What We Can Do About It  as well as books by other guests of The War on Cars at our official Bookshop.org page.

Buy official War on Cars merch at our store. Have you seen the new “Make Love Not Cars” t-shirts?

Find us on Mastodon, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Threads, and whatever godforsaken new social media platform pops up next. 

Follow and review us on Apple Podcasts. It is a huge help to us as it helps other people find The War on Cars!

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SPECIAL: Freeway Exit

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This is a special presentation of the first episode of Freeway Exit, a six-part series produced by award-winning reporter Andrew Bowen of KPBS Public Media in San Diego, California. Freeway Exit reveals the mostly forgotten history of how Southern California’s urban freeway network was built. It tells the story of the citizens and public servants who fought these projects and how decades after that network was finished, some communities are still working to heal the wounds that freeways left behind. While Freeway Exit focuses specifically on the urban highways of Southern California, the story that Andrew tells is universal: Freeways aren’t free. We pay for them in all kinds of ways — with our tax dollars, our time, our environment and our health. In the 20th century we planned, designed, and built highways through the middle of our cities. In the 21st century we can and must plan, design, and build something else better in their place.

Find all six episodes of Freeway Exit right here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Meet reporter Andrew Bowen of KPBS. You can also find him on Mastodon and Twitter.

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Enlist in The War on Cars as a Patreon supporter! You’ll get ad-free episodes, access to exclusive bonus content, and we’ll send you free stickers.

Buy some official War on Cars merch at our store. Have you seen the new “Make Love Not Cars” t-shirts?

Subscribe to our newsletter, The Traffic Report, on Substack.

Find us on MastodonInstagramTwitterFacebookThreads, and whatever godforsaken new social media platform pops up next.

Follow and review us on Apple Podcasts.

TheWarOnCars.org

107. Is It Worth It To Confront Drivers?

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Illustration by Andy Singer.

Have you ever been walking across the street when a driver turned into your path and almost hit you? Or riding your bike when a hostile horn-honker laid into you for delaying them to the next red light by a few seconds? If you spend any amount of time on a city’s streets outside of the protective shell of a two-ton automobile, you’ve probably had frustrating, frightening, and infuriating experiences like these. How did you respond? Did you lash out verbally, or give them the finger? Mutter under your breath and walk away? Did you dare lay hands on their precious vehicle? Or did you do the sensible thing and buy a ten-pack of War on Cars stickers to slap up around your neighborhood? In this episode, Doug, Sarah and Aaron share their own experiences of close calls they’ve had with cars, plus strategies for coping. And we hear tips and stories from listeners as well.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

This episode is produced with support from Rad Power Bikes.

*** Support The War on Cars on Patreon and you’ll be tipped off to listener participation episodes like this one, you’ll receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, special bonus content, stickers, and more! ***

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Pick up official podcast tees and other merch in our official store.

This episode was edited by Ali Lemer. It was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear.

TheWarOnCars.org

106. Nick Offerman

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You may know the actor Nick Offerman as the gruff city parks director Ron Swanson on the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation or from his turn as the survivalist Bill on the HBO series The Last of Us, but he also has a lot to say about how people get around, share public space, and relate to nature. In his book Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside, Nick takes a wry and philosophical approach to our stewardship of Planet Earth, the value of working with one’s hands, and the many problems with the massive agricultural systems on which we all depend. Nick Offerman joins The War on Cars to talk about his experience biking for transportation in New York City and Los Angeles, his views on masculinity and conspicuous consumption, and why the best way to explore an unfamiliar city is at the speed of a good walk.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

This episode is produced with support from Cleverhood. Listen to the episode for the latest 15% discount code.

***Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, special bonus content and stickers!***

LINKS:

Read Nick Offerman’s Call of the Candy-Ass in Outside Online.

Pick up a copy of Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside as well as books by other guests of The War on Cars at our official Bookshop.org page.

Read Pastoral Song by James Rebanks. (Published in the UK as English Pastoral.)

Watch the film Sacred Cow, narrated by Nick Offerman. And read the book!

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Pick up official podcast tees and other merch in our official store.

This episode was edited by Ali Lemer. It was recorded by Felix Levine. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear.

TheWarOnCars.org

TEASER: Hollywood and Bikes, Take 2

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In episode 103, we looked at depictions of cyclists in movies such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin and TV shows such as Arrested Development and asked, “Why Does Hollywood Hate Bikes?” Our co-host Sarah Goodyear unfortunately missed that discussion, so in this exclusive bonus just for patrons of The War on Cars she brings some recent pop culture specimens to examine: the NBC sitcom American Auto and the BBC soap The Split. We also respond to listener comments about some of the movies and television shows we missed last time out — including Stranger ThingsThe Goonies, and Breaking Away — and follow up on some new bike-related developments on the feel-good show Ted Lasso.

In this teaser, Sarah offers some thoughts on NBC’s American Auto starring Ana Gasteyer.

105. Paved Paradise with Henry Grabar

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All car trips begin and end with a place to park, making a parking space “nothing less than the link between driving and life itself.” In his new book, Paved Paradise, Henry Grabar, a staff writer at Slate, argues that the need to accommodate the short- and long-term storage of countless big metal boxes on wheels is a determinative force in the design of cities, the shape of buildings, the cost of housing and even the health of our planet. Deeply reported, highly entertaining and filled with colorful stories and characters from the worlds of affordable housing development, government and even organized crime, Paved Paradise is a refreshing look at a subject that explains the world.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

This episode is produced with support from Harvard University Graduate School of Design Executive Education and Radpower Bikes.

***Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, special bonus content and stickers.***

LINKS:

Buy Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World by Henry Grabar and other books by podcast guests at The War on Cars Bookshop.org page.

Follow Henry Grabar on Twitter.

Read more from Henry at Slate.

Pick up official podcast tees, sticker packs and other merch in our official store.

Attend Micromobility Europe in Amsterdam in June or Micromobility America in San Francisco in October and save 20% on tickets by using the links.

This episode was edited by Doug Gordon. It was recorded at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio by Josh Wilcox. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear.

TheWarOnCars.org

TEASER: Discovering Oil with Amy Westervelt

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Weird things happen when you’re an investigative reporter trying to cover an international oil giant like ExxonMobil. Your plane tickets are mysteriously canceled, your hotel room gets broken into, and the local reporter that you’ve hired is offered a lucrative job to work on something else. In this special bonus episode for Patreon subscribers, investigative journalist and podcaster Amy Westervelt tells us what it was like to report and produce the new season of her podcast, Drilled. It’s called “Light Sweet Crude.” In it, she takes us to the tiny South American nation Guyana where, in 2015, ExxonMobil discovered one of the world’s largest off-shore oil reserves. Seemingly overnight, Guyana began transforming from an international environmental leader and model of sustainable development to one of the world’s fastest growing petrostates.

Why start a brand new oil industry in the middle of a climate crisis in a country that is particularly vulnerable to climate impacts? Do wealthy, western, oil-guzzling nations have any right to tell a nation like Guyana to keep their fossil fuels in the ground? And once a project like this gets going, is there anything that can be done to stop it?

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

104. Arrested Mobility with Charles Brown

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In Huntsville, Alabama, it’s illegal to play ball on any street, alley, or sidewalk. In Lewiston, Maine, pedestrians must keep to the right half of the crosswalk while crossing the street. And in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, bicyclists are strictly prohibited from any kind of “fancy riding.” If these laws sound vague, arbitrary, and difficult to enforce, well, that might just be the point. In a groundbreaking new report, urban planner Charles Brown painstakingly identifies the vast array of transportation-related laws that are used almost exclusively to limit the mobility and freedom of Black Americans while providing no real benefit to public safety. Brown gives this repressive policy regime a name. He calls it: Arrested Mobility.

You can find a full transcript of this episode here.

This episode is produced with support from Harvard University Graduate School of Design Executive Education and Cleverhood.

*** Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, special bonus content and stickers! ***

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