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Re: Re: [CarFree] Suburbs Ponder Weighty Matter

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  • Larisa Migachyov
    ... But the life expectancy in the car-addicted United States is pretty high, still. How is this lifestyle killing me? ... Hmm. Why? ... May I offer a
    Message 1 of 47 , Mar 1, 2001
      >*if* my (that is, the hypothetical "typical inhabitant of a suburb") was
      >killing me I would change that lifestyle.
      >Granted this is somewhere between extremely difficult and impossible. The
      >(car) addiction analogy seems pretty apt here.

      But the life expectancy in the car-addicted United States is pretty high, still. How is this lifestyle killing me?

      >> I am fortunate enough to live 1 mile from a train station in a suburb with
      >bike lanes; I admit that when I looked for real estate, this was a big
      >factor in my decision. But what happens to the inhabitants of your
      >"typical" suburb?
      >>
      >
      >That's a good question. The answer, given the current conditions is
      >clear -- let's see if anyone disagrees:
      >The typical inhabitant (let's say adults, just for sake of argument) of a
      >typical suburb will drive their personal car anywhere they want to go above
      >about 200 feet.

      Hmm. Why?

      >How we got to this situation is highly debatable -- many articles, including
      >the one that started this discussion, state something about how "suburbs
      >without sidewalk" caused (or at least contributed to) this situation. But
      >sidewalks in and of themselves seem to be only a necessary but not
      >sufficient condition to widespread walking. For proof I offer my typical
      >tract home neighborhood in a typical western-US-sprawling-suburb. There are
      >sidewalks everywhere, yet virtually no utility walking anywhere. And
      >consider these destinations: elementary and middle school less than 1 mile,
      >high school 1.5miles, church 1 mile, supermarket/bank/cleaners/vet/dentist
      >less than 1 mile -- all WITHOUT needing to cross an arterial street.
      >
      >What I make of all this is that if you provide the "walkable/bikeable
      >neighborhoods" to the hypothetical typical suburbanite s/he with continue to
      >drive anything above 200'.

      May I offer a comment? Suburbanites are people. People just like you and me, albeit slightly less self-righteous.

      Living near enough to San Francisco so as to permit frequent visits, I observe many people walking or taking public transit everywhere - it's easier than driving. (I take public transit there myself) In fact, quite a few households in SF own no car at all. Relocate the carless San Franciscan to your typical Midwest suburb, and he will get a car. Why? Gee, could it be that biking in the snow is somewhat uncomfortable, and that waiting an hour for the bus in -20 degree weather is even more so?

      >How we get out of this situation is probably even more highly debatable :-)
      >
      >The main structure underpinning the car culture IMHO is laziness, cheap gas,
      >and free parking.
      >None of which is going away anytime soon :-(

      The main structure underpinning the car culture is lack of alternatives. If my only alternative to having a car is spending 3 hours getting to work in the morning by bus and bike, I will get a car. However, if it is actually faster and easier to get to work by bus/train/whatever, people will use it. People are lazy, and that isn't going away.

      Larisa



      ------------------------------------------------------------
      News, Opinion, Culture for Geeks -- http://www.geeklife.com
    • Ed Beighe
      oh goodness -- don t get me started about health insurance :-( the *individual* health insurance market in the US is a mess, except for healthy people -- where
      Message 47 of 47 , Mar 6, 2001
        oh goodness -- don't get me started about health insurance :-(
        the *individual* health insurance market in the US is a mess, except for
        healthy people -- where its merely very expensive.
        It's also a patchwork of state law, often with confounding results -- check
        out this article for an eye-opening brief backgrounder:
        http://www.kiplinger.com/magazine/archives/2001/February/managing/healthinsu
        rance.html

        Not sure if I could weave this into a carfree discussion...
        The federal government sort of washed their hands of their role in this
        awhile ago. They coerce, um, encourage larger employers to offer group
        coverage. There was some relatively recent legislation (HIPAA) that allows
        employees some level of guaranteed portability when leaving one group for
        another. This seems to pacify the masses.
        Much like the masses seem to be pacified by their cars and plenty of
        highways :-)


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Bill Volk
        To: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 3:03 PM
        Subject: RE: [CarFree] good health care? good cars?


        Question: What do the following numbers represent?

        1400 12

        Answer: I spend $1400 every month for my family's health plan ... because
        I'm self employed and because 2 members of my family had recent minor
        surgeries.

        OH CANADA! (I live in the USA, but it's tempting).

        Bill
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