War on Cars

Hell, suburban people have significant influence even on the city for which they are suburbs. I think I’ve mentioned here before, but Kansas City had an awesome plan to expand our very successful streetcar system outside of the city center, extending out to the surrounding suburbs. It would’ve been great. It got shot down, though, because rich whites in the suburbs were concerned about the “criminal element” being given easy access to their towns.

The right answer is to tax the income of anyone who works in the city, but lives in the suburbs. Yonkers does this. If you work there, you pay a 1% income tax into Yonkers regardless of if you live there.

If suburbs actually had to pay for their share of the benefits they reap from the city, a lot of the incentive structure of American living changes radically and quickly.

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You “magic” them away the same way cars were “magic’d” into existence. A reverse Roger Rabbit. They intentionally bought street cars, dismantled them, built highways, deployed buses, made bus schedules suck, etc.

Just do the opposite. Make driving suck ass. Let traffic get horrible. Make mass transit and bikes awesome. The rest will just happen naturally.

You underestimate the challenges involved here to a profound degree.

Cities were easy to ruin because all of the governance was in one body. The infrastructure you needed to mess with was centralized and within one jurisdiction.

This is not a two-way street. It is not equal effort to go to or from a subsidized suburban existence. It will take decades of federal action.

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You would have to “Make driving suck” to a degree that some 50% of Americans would need to decide that rather than driving, they would choose to change their entire life, possibly invest in training for a new job that will allow them to work and afford to live someplace with public transportation, and uproot and move their family there. And simultaneously have them decide that the convenience of being able to get into a car at their home’s front door and drive directly to the front door of any location they would need to go to, while having the storage space to transport goods, humans, and pets to and from any of those places quickly and comfortably is no longer worth having. AND convince the myriad of people who do things like hunt, camp, hike, fish, etc that require bringing large amounts of gear to remote places inaccessible without a car that they should just give up those hobbies entirely.

For myself in my situation, in order to give up my car, having it would actively need to cost me upwards of an additional $1500 and 40-50 hours of time each month in order to make it worth adjusting my lifestyle that much. And I would still consider keeping it so that I could take 4 days worth of gear to Vermont to go camping. “Making it more difficult to drive” is such a non-starter because it would be so unpopular that local politicians could run on “keeping the driving culture alive” as their whole platform and breeze right into office.

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Yeah, the part where you’d also have to do all that/convince someone to do all that while remaining long enough in a position with enough power to actually enact those changes, and keep them around long enough to make them permanent, is definitely a bit of a sticky wicket.

When the car came into existence, it was largely reviled. They intentionally made all the other forms of transportation suck and made car not suck to a far greater degree than what you are suggesting. This was already done successfully in favor of the car. There’s a proven model. I’m simply suggesting we do the exact same thing, only this time against the car instead of for it.

So how do we do that in a way that doesn’t disproportionately affect poor people to the point where it would severely limit their ability to earn a living or live their daily life, especially those with large families or those with limited mobility?

In the case of the rise of cars, once it was more difficult to use public transportation, people only needed to buy a product to solve the problem. Nothing about their life needed to change. Now there is so much reliance on ‘go directly from my front door directly to the front door of the place I need to be’ in so much of the country that you can’t eliminate car accessibility as the first step without crippling the country.

The first step has to be about making it easy to not have a car. More access to public transport from more locations, work-from-home options in more industries, maybe a monetary incentive to not have a car (this could be a very easy way to a reduction in cars per household, partners would be more likely to share a car if one of them was getting a subsidy to give theirs up).

In our current climate, it’s gotta start in the city. It makes perfect sense to ban cars in city limits where there is reasonable public transport in place. But there is no reason to even bring suburbs or country into the conversation until the cities figure it out, show that it can work and that people want it.

If there’s amazing, and accessible public transportation everywhere, and no longer a need to buy and maintain a car, I don’t see how that wouldn’t be a huge positive for poor people.

It’s not about bringing them into the conversation. They weren’t part of the conversation when cars were created because they didn’t exist. The installation of the car brought them into existence as a side effect. In the same way, the elimination of the car will wipe them from existence as a side effect. No conversation necessary. It will just happen.

That’s what I mean - the elimination of the car needs to be the side effect of making the world easy to traverse without them. The elimination of the car can’t be the initial and primary goal. Poor people in the country and suburbs aren’t able to uproot and leave the place they’ve lived their whole life while likely having to spend time and money they don’t have training in a new field so that they can move to a city that’s suddenly seeing a glut of demand from new people looking for jobs and apartments all at once. Expecting a huge portion of the country to do that just because someone decided ‘no more cars’ comes from a position of privilege.

Economics and capitalism need to be solved before cars can be solved.

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Suburbs own the land that needs to be bulldozed to make real trains.

Short of federal intervention, that won’t happen. They’ll fight to the end.

The towns north of Poughkeepsie successfully prevented Metro North from expanding north on existing track because they don’t want better transit. They specifically oppose easier access to the city from their towns. It will “ruin the local character” of their shit-arse suburb.

Back to old Racist Robert. He just fuckin bulldozed people’s homes, get bent. Of course, he was doing it in poor not-white neighborhoods. I don’t really feel too bad if we bulldoze some mansions rich white people live in without asking their permission.

He also did it within a single municipality where there was a single power structure to control (mostly).

The suburbs are all independent, and have a LOT of local power.

FWIW, I 100% want to bulldoze those suburbs to make trains.

Exactly, which is why I think the solution is to focus exclusively on the cities to start - make living, working, and spending time there more desirable, functional, and affordable without cars, and I think you’ll start to see the changes radiate out from there. I live 30 miles from Boston, but I rarely go because it’s a pain in the ass to get there. With the current commute situation, the city might as well be on the moon for how accessible it is. If it was fast and easy for me to get to the city I would absolutely spend more time there, especially if they opened up a lot of the roadways for more attractions and walkable space. If I could get to any point in the city within 45 mins, I would probably look into working there as well. But if you took away my main mode of transportation before installing those things as a replacement first, I would just be screwed.

You’re right that it probably will require federal intervention - use the Eisenhower interstate system plan as a guide for high speed rail travel. The bottom line is that you’ll need to put better options in front of people before you start taking things away, otherwise you’ll end up with huge swaths of people forced into extreme poverty and death. If you’re going to bulldoze suburbs for trains, the people living there need a place to go first. Ideally a place they choose to go willingly rather than be forced out because many will end up on the street.

If by single municipality you mean all of Long Island, NYC, Rockland and Westchester Counties, sure.

A lot of his evil works were done within the confines of NYC. That was probably the easiest part.

The rest was done with buy-in from the other municipalities whose local governments wanted the same (evil) things.

Now try to do this with like 11 different local governments upstate that are all in the way of your train and hate both you and trains.

Putting this in THIS thread for all the people who are don’t like anti-car policies that harm the suburbs.

Cars and suburbs are white supremacy.

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Oh, I want to harm the suburbs. Fuck the suburbs.

Just don’t underestimate what it will take to undo them.

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Imagine driving around all day every day in a giant uhaul because “you might need to move to a new house some day”.