Skip to main content

As you gaze at the sea of brake lights ahead of you, I thought you might like to enjoy a different perspective on what started traffic problems, why they are what they are and why they will continue, (at least until we run out of energy!)

First, a little history is in order. Most folks know the private auto became attainable for the masses due to Henry Ford’s pioneering efforts one hundred years ago with the miracle of mass production. Innocently hailed as a breakthrough, we now see it was anything but. Until old Henry with his efficiency experts came along, motorcars were built by hand, almost per order and no two were identical. The price of a car reflected this, making them totally unaffordable except for people of great wealth, who regarded them as status symbols and playtoys.

Ford changed that and became the father of modern traffic nightmares and the cause of more death and injuries than all our wars combined. To at least a few of us, these drawbacks far outweigh whatever benefits might have been involved.

By motorizing the general public, we needed real roads. Then we needed more taxes to pay for those roads. Those roads allowed us to live further from employment. The more people that lived further from employment caused suburban sprawl and a demand for housing entirely assuming we had a way to get there and back from the workplace. Then came stores and malls, surrounded by vast macadam lagoons for all those cars, creating runoffs that polluted our waterways from oil and gas drippings from cars. Tailpipe emissions became so bad that Los Angeles disappeared behind a brownish curtain for years during the seventies. The list can go on and on, but you get the drift.

OK. So we messed up on that call, didn’t we? What else got messed up? The golden age of interurban rail occurred roughly 100 years ago. Remember old pictures of cities with little trolleys running down the middle of boulevards, or electrified trams that didn’t pollute? They made life in town very favorable and obviated the need for individual horseless carriages. The lines were efficient, low cost people movers that proved extremely reliable and relatively unaffected by adverse weather conditions.

Of course General Motors took a dim view of such proletarian devices when there was a profit to be made offering an alternative. During the late 1920s increasingly in the thirties, GM bought up many of the little city short lines, tore up the tracks and replaced them with noisy, smelly diesel busses. This was another symbol of corporate “progress.”  Only now are some forward looking city leaders investigating the costs and benefits of returning to what was sensible a century ago, (and swooning at the astounding costs of light rail, overhead rail and subway)

It’s no accident that denizens of cities such as New York and San Francisco, (who refused to give up light rail or built efficient subway systems) have the least use for cars.

That’s all well and good, but you’ve only moved ten feet down the interstate since this narrative began. You’re truly a victim of corporate progress. We know full well and good that mistakes were made, even before you were born and that you are “privileged” to pay the price one hundred years later.

What are some of the things that could have been done to avoid the traffic snarls, the daily waste of hours of commuting time? It’s not as if we can go back and tell Henry Ford to not make Tin Lizzies by the millions. We can’t retroactively void the interstate highway system with its breath taking expense. And what about all these remote outposts, derisively referred to as “bedroom communities” that thrive because we can drive to them…eventually?

We’ll get to those questions shortly, but first a rethink of what should have been done to begin with. A lot of it is radical, but America underwent a radical change to get where we aren’t now, didn’t we?

Rudolf Benz’ first cars ran on peanut oil, a naturally replenishable source and virtually non polluting. Mr. Stanley’s Steamer ran on the obvious and Mr. Leyland’s silent electrics were a big hit with the moneyed crowd. In fact, at the dawning of the automotive era, gasoline wasn’t even in the running. But Mr. Rockefeller had a problem in his refineries, as in what to do with an unstable and volatile waste product from refinement called gasoline. As you can imagine, he had a little pull, and with the advent of motors designed for this “waste product,” his problems went on to being solved, (along with an entirely new profit center!) and those silent electric cars became anachronisms in their own time. Isn’t it ironic that we’re only now getting back to 1890s technology?

Had Rockefeller and his minions not had a problem disposing of gasoline, we wouldn’t be swooning every time some Saudi prince burps or a revolution occurs in some God forsaken sheikdom at the edge of the world. How much of our youth and natural treasure has lost to needless involvement in unfortunate foreign military adventure?

We’re finally building electric cars, but of course just as in the Gilded Age, not everyone can afford them.  The difference is, we would have had a hundred year jump on electric vehicle technology.

Roads beget lanes. A common solution to overcrowded roads and interstates is to add more lanes. A less popular solution would have been not to have added any lanes at all. It would have forced county governments and developers to pay a lot more attention to those required, (and often doctored) impact statements. If, for instance you knew that the road to your town could handle only a traffic density peak of “X” and no more, then once reached, under the law, no more development would have been allowed. Granted, there were always those wanting to sell land to make a tidy profit for a subdivision or shopping mall and that’s exactly what happened. The estimates be damned! Just beseech the highway department to come out and lengthen, widen, build more off ramps and everything will be just fine. So horrific amounts of taxpayer money went to exacerbating a never ending problem of more houses in the middle of nowhere and more and wider roads to get to them.  This is indeed the picture of a vicious cycle. It’s given that the more lanes you have the more cars will come and return you to your base problem. Luckily, (luckily?) with the advent of the housing crash, this problem is starting to solve itself. No one’s really building squat anymore.

What could have reduced commercial sprawl very effectively?  The answer is simple. We should have said no to “merchant’s” stoplights. What do I mean by that? Well, a shopping mall thrives if you not only can get to it but also get into it. This means that general traffic must be stopped on a regular basis for ingress and egress into these useless bastions of big boxisms.  This involves the placement of stoplights, tons and tons of them. Usually, these are emplaced on public roads to enable access to private land where the mall or strip is located, which right off the bat is wrong, wrong, wrong. When two public roads intersect and conditions warrant more regulation, I’m sure we can all understand the need for a device to equitably regulate traffic. However to arbitrarily interrupt moving traffic for the benefit of private enterprise at the sufferance of the traveling public is unnecessary and energy wasteful. Had laws prohibited such corporate coddling as stoplight placement on unnamed avenues not recognized by the Postal Service, shopping opportunities would mainly have remained within cities and urban areas , reducing traffic and sprawl while keeping towns of all sizes vital.

A nice byproduct to the above is the fact that “big box” stores would be rare indeed given the fact that large accessible tracts within the confines of most urban areas don’t exist. Wal Mart would still be little more than dry goods stores in the Ozarks!

The one car, one person culture as it is now has been made almost mandatory by the conditions listed above. We all don’t live in the same house, or same street or bedroom community. We all don’t work at the same place, in the same building or even on the same block. Because of very poor planning, or reactionary planning at best, we find ourselves every day moving 10 feet at a time, looking at all the other single drivers as we inch along.

By now you should have been home. But you’re not, are you?

OK, so what needs doing? Let’s start out by admitting that what needs doing versus what will actually be done falls victim to the usual questions of where the profit is and who gets them? This is America after all, where we go bankrupt routinely from nearly anything that would only be a speed bump in a developed country.

First, we need a redirection of vital resources. Let’s begin by stopping the avalanche of conventionally powered new cars being constructed each and every day. Let’s stop making them here and stop their importation from abroad. It is estimated we have at least a 10 to 15 year supply of these obsolete gasoline vehicles readily available for use while we ramp up building non polluting alternatives. Instead, our magnificent factories can be retooled to pump out electric and solar powered cars, light rail and modern trolleys along with the attendant equipment to once again connect near and distant municipalities. So thus, workmen need not be displaced and if done right we gain the added benefit of a resurgent boom in American manufacturing while beginning to heal our environment.

Instead of widening more roads, those same light rails can be run along or between the opposing lanes, with stops at park and rides equipped with recharging stations as needed for your shiny new, (and cheaper!)  electric car. It would become obvious that more and wider roads would no longer be needed, freeing up more funds to repair existing roads, bridges and so on. Thus there would be a boom of construction that benefits all, instead of the few. With new trolleys in urban areas to connect worker to workplace, the strain of urban traffic would be measurably reduced, making urban living more attractive and affordable. This proposal has the double benefit of not consigning suburbia to slow death, while making  urban areas far more accessible and livable.

Currently, energy taxes on the sale of gasoline and diesel pay the majority of funds for repairs and construction of our roadways. With those revenues facing decline in the envisioned electric age, governments will be forced to seek new sources to fund needed improvements. These can be found in tolls and fees levied on new public transportation to offset those losses along with federal revenue sharing for on time in budget construction.

It would certainly be nice to have an influx of visionary leaders. They appear from time to time, but get hastily bought out or drummed out of office as soon as they espouse a non mainstream view. For them to embrace and/or write effective legislation to mandate such a radical list of proposals would be political suicide. It is unfortunate that we have the best governance money can buy, even more to come as the tsunami  known as Citizen’s United continues to gather force and trajectory.

Have you gotten home yet? Me either, but at least I’m crawling now. I hit 12 MPH a second ago. Only nine miles to go…

To encapsulate, the problems and stratagems listed above are recognizable symbols of much deeper erosions in our quality of life. I chose to write on traffic issues this time as just one of many disturbing issues of corporate preference over the rights of the many. It is obvious in so many ways as we go about our daily lives. Each day, what we do have, what we still hold sacred- is increasingly under attack from the corporate directed lapdogs that we routinely elect against our own self interests. Perhaps Democrats have slightly longer leashes than the Brownshirts, but with only a two party system, (both of which depend on corporate largesse) progress isn’t going to be obtained at the electronically compromised ballot box. There is a solution to any problem. Conviction and fortitude are the scarce commodities.

There’s my exit. I can see it…

Originally posted to EdinGA on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kos Georgia and Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

    •  Excellent diary. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justus, Only Needs a Beat, splashy

      "We"  certainly "missed" a lot of calls.

      Or perhaps not...  not "missed" anyway...

      This diary illustrates why some government regulations are needed.  Car companies, Tire companies and oil companies conspired to pressure cities to get rid of street cars and rail systems.  The US has not recovered, transportation-wise, since.

      Detroit was a model of limited access highways and the example used by car companies, yet we now see many negative consequences of slicing cities up with highways and separating groups of residents.

      The scary part is that today's GOP thinks all that did not go far enough.  Their constant philosophy of "doubling down" on bad ideas leads to only one place...  ruin.

      "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

      by Candide08 on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:20:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rudolf Benz? (21+ / 0-)

    You mean Rudolf Diesel?  

    Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine.  Karl Benz built cars.  

    Diesel started out trying to make an engine that ran on the Carnot cycle.   Named after a French physicist who proposed it, the Carnot cycle would work by having ammonia gas being compressed and decompressed in a thermal cycle, which wold drive a piston.   THe idea behind it is that the same ammonia gas would expand and contract over and over again.   Thus, you'd start the engine with a certain amount of ammonia gas, and it would continue to sustain as long as the engine ran.  A tank of ammonia would have lasted months, maybe years....

    The Carnot cycle works in theory.  A physicist in a lab can prove to you that it does.  The problem is nobody has actually been able to produce a real engine that works -- theory aside.  

    So diesel gave up on the Carnot cycle after a while.  

    He invented an engine that ran on coal dust, but it was impractical.  

    That's when he turned his eyes to vegetable oils.  

    He's not affiliated with Karl Benz, Mercedes-Benz, Daimler or any car manufacturer.  He was doing his work in the late 1800s.  The first diesel-powered mass produced car was built in France in the 1930s by Citroen (the Rosalie), years after his death.  It took that much time for his designs to be scaled down to fit into a large car.     He was an inventor, and some considered him a total crackpot.  It is hypothesized he committed suicide by jumping from an ocean liner.  

     

    •  Hey thanks! (8+ / 0-)

      You're right about Diesel and I stand corrected. I feel even sillier since I'm a big fan of these motors, especially the TDI and CRD versions.

      I didn't know about some of the other stuff you wrote about, so I've got some studying to do!               .

      If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

      by EdinGA on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:50:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Diesel should be sainted.... (13+ / 0-)

        Very, very, very interesting guy to read about.  Almost a tragic hero.  He was visionary, he was eerily prophetic.  

        Of course he was right that compression-ignition engines are 25-75% more efficient than similar displacement spark ignition engines and that they would run on a plethora of fuels (not just petroleum-based oils or alcohol). But he also believed that in the 1880s, society was at a fork in the road:  that we had the choice between the easy and ultimately unsustainable choice of a petroleum-based economy, or the more difficult and expensive but more sustainable future of renewable energy.  As you note, his first oil-fired engine was designed to run on peanut oil!  He also believed if we made the wrong choice and would poison our air and water, and one day the whole thing would come crashing down.  

        Today, we can look at him as a tragic figure.  He was clearly ahead of his time, but his contemporaries regarded him as somewhat of a crank.  He was kind of like the "Doc" character in the "Back to Future" movies.  People thought he was crazy.  He didn't graduate college, and called himself an inventor.  He once accidentally blew up his own lab nearly killing himself in the process.  Some people were openly hostile to him and his ideas.  But he understood thermodynamics very well.    

        He left on an ocean liner bound for London.  He never arrived, and his body was never found.  His biographers believe he committed suicide since he was fairly depressed.  Of course, there are conspiracy theories out there that he was murdered and dumped overboard, but they're all conjecture.

        And don't worry about the mixup -- Karl Benz and Rudolf Diesel are easy to confuse.  Diesel and Benz were contemporaries, and, with Benz's company now being one of the preeminent diesel builders of the modern era, I can see how the mix up can occur.      

  •  A Driver's License is a Privilege, Not (9+ / 0-)

    a right.

    Due to our lax/casual system, we have a large number of incompetent, dangerous drivers on the road. Elderly people and recent immigrants are the worst offenders.

    I once witnessed an Asian person in a motor verhicles services office obviously being coached on how to pass the written test. This is bullcrap, am I allowed to go to China, get a driver's license two days after arriving, and start driving around a major city? NO.

    Drivers age 70 and above need to be required to renew their driver's license every six months. this should include a drivers test, sight test and hearing test.

    A Dane I worked with years ago commented that Americans are the worst drivers he's seen anywhere in the world.

    Second: the far left lane is not the special lane for "special people" to exclusively use. it's the passing lane, unless designated as a carpool lane.

    Cruising at 60mph is not passing.

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 10:14:22 AM PDT

    •  The Finnish driver's test would blow your mind... (13+ / 0-)

      Not only the written portion, but the practical skills version.  Skid recovery is on the driving portion of the test.  They take you in a car to a wet skidpad, and have you purposely put the car into a skid and recover it.  Emergency lane changes are on the test.  You speed along at 60 mph and have to do an emergency swerve to avoid an object.  

      The BBC car show "Top Gear" did a segment on the Finnish driver's test because it's so intense and difficult.  They hypothesize that the reason Finland produces so many great rally and Formula 1 race drivers is because their driving test is basically the equivalent of an advanced driving course you'd take to learn how to be a high performance driver.

      There are a few things that irk me.   One is the lane usage.  Having driven in Europe for a long time, it makes me absolutely livid to see people in the far left lane going below the speed limit and getting passed on the right.  If you're not actively passing someone, you should be as far to the right as possible.  Never pass on the right.  In some places in Europe, the fines for doing that can be in the thousands of dollars, or they can even revoke your license.  Passing on the right is dangerous because the driver who is being passed has a much larger blind spot on the right than on the left.  

      Another thing that drives me insane is people who run around with fog lights on all the time.  Fog lights are aimed at the lines on the road so that they reflect back up to you, allowing you to see the lines and stay in your lane,  But in daylight and night time with no fog, the light refracts off and can be very blinding to other drivers.  They're called "fog lights," not "driving around and looking cool lights."   They should only be on when it is, wait for it:  foggy!   Some of the Audis, Mercedes and BMWs sold in the US have rear-facing fog lights.   These are mandatory in Europe.  You turn them on when it's foggy so people coming up behind you can see you are there and won't rear end you.   Yet here, people run around with their rear facing fogs on all the time.  If you've ever been stuck behind someone at a red light who has their rear facing fogs on when it's not foggy, you know what I'm talking about:  they're blindingly bright.  

      In Europe, driving around with fog lights on (front or rear facing) when it's not foggy will also get you a steep fine.      

      •  I no doubt would fail the test in Finland... (5+ / 0-)

        ...and I've been driving since Nixon was elected. The best thing I've learned in my driving career is to not get mad and be extraordinarily polite to other motorists. Sometimes, (and just sometimes), it seems to rub off until they get their next text anyway!!

        Thanks for your comment!

        If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

        by EdinGA on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:57:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I got pulled over once for left-lane driving (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hohenzollern, Only Needs a Beat

        It was in Massachusetts, on an empty stretch of semi-urban highway (not a freeway),  at two in the morning on a Saturday night.  I pulled into the left lane instead of the right, as the only car on the road, and stayed there, until I saw the flashing lights.

        I didn't get a citation... the cop was really just seeing if I had been drinking (this was a college town); I hadn't been, so he let me go.  He even had a bit of a smile, like he was proud that he had managed to come up with such an obscure reason to pull someone over to drunk-test them.  

        Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

        by nominalize on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:00:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know a similar one (3+ / 0-)

          A friend of mine was ticketed (somewhere out West) for driving in the left lane in violation of a "slower traffic keep right" sign.  When he pointed out to the cop that he was the only car on the road, the cop responded "That makes you the slowest traffic."

          Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

          by EthrDemon on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:37:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think in most states, it's technically illegal (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Only Needs a Beat

            ...to loiter in the left lanes and pass on the right.  It's only selectively enforced.  And I know for a fact it's illegal to drive with fog lights on in some states, but again, it's usually only used to pull people over if there's suspicion of a bigger crime afoot.  Or if the officer is having a slow day.  

            •  Right.. It's Selectively Enforced (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Only Needs a Beat

              again, we have hundreds of laws on the books, but if they are not enforced-- and by enforced I mean by hefty fines-- the laws are more or less worthless

              so I'm skeptical regarding the new laws related to texting while driving and talking on the cell phone while driving. pointless unless enforced.

              enforcement after a fatal accident is also useless

              "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

              by Superpole on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:27:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Fog Lights in Europe (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Only Needs a Beat

        Many years ago I was driving from Verona to Frankfurt in very poor weather, (the Brenner Pass is, ahem, interesting).

        I had my fog lights on and forgot it when I entered Austria.

        I was quickly pulled over. The policeman kept saying, "de JAllow lights!", "de JAllow lights!" I finally made the connection to the fog lights.

        He was nice: no ticket, and even gave me directions.

        Disclaimer: Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorists may vary according to region, definition, and purpose. Belief systems pandered separately.

        by BlackBandFedora on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:29:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I'll be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Only Needs a Beat

        damned! So that's what those things are--rear fog lights! I thought that the backup lights were on and that they were going to back into me any minute.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:56:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't buy it (0+ / 0-)

      I think the right to the pursuit of happiness pretty much covers driving—that is, taking advantage of the inventions of the day, at least until abuse is established. I know that's the Declaration, and not the Constitution, but I talking inalienable rights here, not laws.

      and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

      by le sequoit on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:39:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A lot of opinions being passed off as facts, here. (4+ / 0-)
      Elderly people and recent immigrants are the worst offenders.
      This is not even remotely close to being true. Study after study has shown that teen drivers--by a great margin--are the most dangerous on the road. While there is a certain amount of anecdotal truth to the cliche of elderly and recent immigrants driving poorly, it pales by comparison to the facts about teenage drivers.
      I once witnessed an Asian person in a motor verhicles services office obviously being coached on how to pass the written test.
      So? What does their nationality have to do with anything? You should welcome the fact that there was someone there helping them to understand the test they were taking.
      This is bullcrap, am I allowed to go to China, get a driver's license two days after arriving, and start driving around a major city? NO.
      Do you actually know how long this person had been living in the country or what their level of familiarity with our motor vehicle laws are? Or were you just blindly assuming that because their English skills were poor and they needed assistance understanding the written test that they must be a recent immigrant?

      You are letting your biases speak for you. It is not flattering.

      Second: the far left lane is not the special lane for "special people" to exclusively use. it's the passing lane, unless designated as a carpool lane.
      While this is certainly the law on some stretches of road and in some areas, it is far from being universally true. On most interstate highways this is not the case.

      Unless the law states otherwise, it is basic road courtesy in the United States for slower traffic to keep to the right. That does not automatically translate into the left lane being only for passing.

      Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense.

      by Catsy on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:54:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK, (0+ / 0-)

        Elderly people, immigrants AND teens are the worst offenders.

        So? What does their nationality have to do with anything? You should welcome the fact that there was someone there helping them to understand the test they were taking.
        LOL! so passing a wrtitten test, that alone makes one a skilled driver, capable of safely driving in dense urban areas like Chicago and LA? am I to believe recent immigrants really understand the graphics in ALL signage or that they can read our signage?

        No, I don't buy it.

        If I pass a written test to fly a passenger airliner, does that qualify me to be a pilot? are you going to fly on my plane?

        gimme a break

        "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

        by Superpole on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:33:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very poor deflection. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Only Needs a Beat

          I notice you skated right past the part where I called out your racial profiling and chose instead to beat up a straw man. And skate past pretty much everything else, too.

          Sorry I wasted my time on you.

          Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense.

          by Catsy on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:49:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually in China lessons are compulsory (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat

      First you have to take lessons in a certified school and pass both written and driving tests, get a cert, and then take government exams.

      And then, of course, learn to drive.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:34:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In China, the drivers are FAR worse (0+ / 0-)

      First, it is not uncommon to simply BUY a license.

      Drivers feel they not only OWN the road, but the sidewalk too. You can be walking down a sidewalk and have a car come up behind you angrily beeping the horn because you are in the driver's way.

      Double parking is the norm. Parking in front of fire hydrants, emergency exits, or even in heavily trafficked one lane exits (blocking all traffic both ways)  is the norm.

      Being entirely unable to parallel park is the norm.

      Government workers buying land yachts they don't need, (since they are often provided free, gated and guarded housing within walking distance of their offices) is the norm.

      I've lived in the US, Europe and Asia and can definitely say US drivers are not at all the worst.

      Disclaimer: Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorists may vary according to region, definition, and purpose. Belief systems pandered separately.

      by BlackBandFedora on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:23:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't get me started.... (0+ / 0-)

      I can't speak for all states, but I suspect most if not all require only a rudimentary understanding of how to operate a motor vehicle, not how to drive it.  Too many people I encounter drive as if they are the only vehicle on the road, and communication, cooperation, or consideration of other vehilcles is non-existent beyond a general prohibition against running into them.

      The eyesight requirements are a joke.  My father-in-law still had his license when he was legally blind.  Really.  And good eyesight isn't enough.  IMNSHO opinion, a critical requirement should be recognition and reaction time.  That alone could put Buick out of business.

      I could go on, but....

      You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

      by rb608 on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:06:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Related thoughts. (9+ / 0-)

    People want to live near where they work. They choose suburban homes and commuting as a second-best option. Why? Good schools, low crime. Proof: intown neighborhoods with good schools and low crime are astronomically expensive. Believe the market.

    So if we could create more close-to-work communities with good schools and low crime, we wouldn't have to plead with people to give up commuting. They'd jump at the chance. The question we need to be asking is: How do we create more close-to-work communities with good schools and low crime?

    One option would be to tax commuters in some way--say, an increased motor fuel tax, or a road use tax--and put the revenue towards schools and reasonably priced housing. While I definitely think we need a greenhouse tax (or cap-and-trade) that would significantly raise fuel costs, and that it would result in somewhat less commuting, I don't think that's either specifically targeted enough or politically popular enough to really do the job.

    Instead I propose a payroll tax on employers for every employee that lives more than a short distance--say, a mile--from the workplace. This would get employers thinking about schools, crime, and housing costs. And employers are where the money is; they can spend large chunks of money in coordinated fashion, as opposed to the diffuse expenditures of individuals.

    Getting people to live close to their co-workers would also promote deeper, fuller personal relationships.

    I have a lengthy proposal spelling out details. I haven't updated it in about 9 years, so it's somewhat stale. But the basics are still there: http://home.mindspring.com/...

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 10:17:05 AM PDT

    •  Great idea, except.... (8+ / 0-)

      ...for one thing.  

      What is the reason people originally started to move out of the urban core and into the suburbs years ago?  

      Hint:  They don't want to live near black people.  They don't want their kids going to school with black people.  They don't want their neighbors to be black people.  Even if the neighbors are great people who work hard, play by the rules and raise their kids right, people get nervous with them living there.  

      One of Clarence Darrow's most famous criminal defenses was of a man named Dr. Ossian Sweet and three members of his family.   Dr. Sweet was a physician who saved up enough money to purchase a home in an affluent neighborhood of Detroit.  His was the first black family who moved to that neighborhood, and the welcome he got from his new neighbors?  Not so warm.   A mob of people invaded his home in the middle of the night, threatening him and his family with physical harm if they did not leave right then and there and never come back.  Dr. Sweet defended his life and that of his family, and shot one of the intruders.  

      He was charged with murder.  Clarence Darrow defended Dr. Sweet in the murder charge.  Mr. Darrow's seven hour long closing argument is considered one of the seminal speeches of the civil rights movement.  Dr. Sweet was acquitted on grounds of justifiable self-defense.  

      I hate to be the one to bring it up, but I really do think that racism in this country is not yet irradiated to the point where most whites are comfortable in a mixed ethnicity neighborhood.  Until the point in time that it is, I worry that all the inducements in the world won't change the way we do things.  

      White people, by and large, still don't want black people in their neighborhoods.    

      •  Damn you, Autocorrect! eradicated... LOL (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey, JeffW, Only Needs a Beat

        I don't know how I got "irradiated" in there.  LOL  

        that's funny.  

      •  I always wondered about the race thing (5+ / 0-)

        Certainly, the 40's and 50's had its share of racists; even many northern cities were segregated by gentleman's agreement.  

        But I feel like we today rely on it like a crutch when explaining urban flight-- oh we'll just blame the racism, and forget that there were tons of reasons people wanted to move to the 'burbs.

        There was the negative environment:  Before air conditioning, urban houses apartments were stifling. Most of the housing was old, and much of it was derelict.  The poor lived in foul tenements (remember, housing projects were a step UP!).  Industry befouled cities to degrees that would shock us today (rivers on fire, acid rain, smog, etc).  The noise was indescribable--- single-pane windows that you had to open anyways in summer let in all of the noise.  Ever hear a classic car rumble by?  Imagine that times a thousand, every hour.  Plus all the trucks, tramways, and trains.  Cities were not pleasant places to live, but few had alternatives before the automobile.  Nowadays, cities are cleaner and quieter, and people want to move back.  

        Then there were the positives.  Home ownership became a cornerstone of American culture after the war, and it cost too much to buy one in the cities even then.  Not to mention that cars, roads, and were a sign of progress, and who's against that?  Remember, we're talking about a society that thought that TV dinners and plasticware were the wave of the future.  A society that invented assembly-line fast food as we know it and found it to be the next thing in culinary art.  A society that gleefully tore down old neighborhoods to throw in a highway and cut the city in two.  A society that found Brutalism beautiful.  Is it too much to suppose that they found suburbs with detached yards and highways with endless car travel to be the right way to advance?

        And all that BEFORE adding racism.    

        Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

        by nominalize on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:12:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another reason for urban flight: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HeyMikey

          Legacy costs in cities.

          Suburbs don't have aging infrastructure that needs repair.  They don't have pensioners (yet.)

          Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

          by EthrDemon on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:40:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Quite to the contrary (0+ / 0-)

            Cities tend to be more economically efficient and suburbs white elephants.

            Which partly accounts for the current trend for young people to migrate from suburbs to urban areas.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:41:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wasn't talking about efficiency (0+ / 0-)

              I was more thinking of multi-billion dollar sewer maintenance in a city with a shrinking tax base.

              Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

              by EthrDemon on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 03:42:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  That all may be true... (5+ / 0-)

          ...but I still see race as a major factor.  

          My wife and I are white professionals with advanced degrees.  We live in a race and income mixed neighborhood in the inner city.  It's a gentrified area.  20 years ago, my house was a crack house.  The police cracked down on the dealers, drove them out, and the previous owner bought the place for pennies at a tax sale, gutted it, renovated it, lived in it for a few years before selling it.  

          It's really a successful neighborhood, and it has been studied by sociologists and urban designers around the country as a model of how urban neighborhood reinvigoration can be accomplished.  

          I can't tell you how many times people I know have said things that belie racist attitudes when they find out I live here.  "I've been there [it's close to a major tourist attraction so lots of people visit] and it's nice, but how do you deal with the, the, you know, 'urban element?'"  This is, of course someone's attempts to nibble around the edges of their views that they simply don't want to live near black people, even if those black people are decent, hardworking folks.  They don't want their kids exposed to that culture.  It's bad enough that their kids are already the largest consumers of gangster rap...  

          The other thing is that of all of us who live here, we all tend to be of the same class.  We found out about this place from professors my wife works with who live here.  The streets are lined with Priuses, Smart Cars, and many people bike or walk as much as possible.  And, there's an Obama sign in every yard.  

          We're not a good cross-section of white society, I don't think.  We're all either old-school hippies or uber-liberal Gen Xers.    Yeah, there are plenty of reasons to explain the growth of suburbs, but there's also one underlying issue that won't be addressed by improving housing stock, tax incentives, magnet schools and public transit expansions.   Aversive racism is very real.  

          •  Why I'm not worried about racism. (3+ / 0-)

            Yes, there's still a lot of racism.

            (1) But the fact remains that intown neighborhoods with good schools and low crime are extremely expensive, and most of them are mixed-race. That tells me there's a lot of unmet demand for such neighborhoods. There may be a lot of racists who wouldn't move there; but there are enough people who would move to such places to make a big difference.

            (2) The suburbs are becoming racially mixed anyway. You have to look harder and harder to find a nearly-all-white area.

            I admit my view may be colored (no pun intended) by living in metro Atlanta since 1985--first intown, then in the suburbs. We were worried when we moved to Cobb County (home of Newt Gingrich and Bob Barr!) that our kids would end up in a lily-white environment. Not even close.

             

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:28:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Funny thing. My wife grew up in the south... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HeyMikey

              ...and came up North for college and graduate school, and stayed here for her career.  She says the neighborhoods in southern cities are far more integrated and mixed than the ones up here.  We have one gated neighborhood association here that has been sued by the state for fairly explicit racism.  There is one black family living there, and it's a famous black man that I bet you've heard of.  No others have been welcomed there.

              Before we moved into the city center, we lived in a small suburb of about 35,000 people.  (it used to be a separate town way off on its own, but is now a suburb)  We had two high schools in the town.  One was on one side of the river, the other on the other side of the river.   The river was also the boundary between the "good" and "bad" neighborhoods.   The high school on the "good" side of town issued laptops to every student, had every extracurricular under the sun, and even had one of those inflatable domes over the track so they could practice year-round.   Most kids went to college, and most were white.  

              The other school had good basketball team, but not enough textbooks for every student.  Their kitchen got closed down due to health code violations that they could not afford to fix, so all the food for that school was prepared at the other school and trucked over.  

              Maybe our difference in opinion on this issue simply is the difference in where we live.  

              •  Holy crap. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RerumCognoscereCausas

                We have better and worse schools here, too, and it's largely correlated with race and ethnicity. But I think that's a reflection of larger cultural factors, not because the better schools simply get bigger budgets.

                "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:56:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  One thing I've heard more than once is: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  HeyMikey

                  "Why bother?"   As in, why bother educating "those people" anyway?  It's not like they'll ever use that education and amount to anything.  So we may as well spend a lopsided amount of money on the other school, where more of the kids will go on to use their educations to accomplish something.  

                  Of course, if it's true that the people on the other side of the river won't accomplish anything in life, it's because racism has to no small degree pre-determined that.  

                  It's a strikingly prevalent mindset among white people who swear up and down that they're not racist, who are overall politically pretty middle-of-the-road, and who live in a fairly progressive state/urban area.  

                  •  My grandmother...and us. (3+ / 0-)

                    My grandmother was born in 1891 in rural Mississippi. I never heard her use any word for black folks except "nigger" or sometimes, "nigra."

                    She and my grandfather were on the local school board for awhile. I remember her telling me that the black folks (that's not what she said, of course) let their school building get all run down. I don't suppose it crossed her mind that the funding differences she helped to administer had anything to do with it, much less the remoteness of the possibility that a black person in 1930s-40s Mississippi might be permitted to pursue any career in which education mattered.

                    I also remember her recalling very fondly how much, as a child, she loved the "nigger man" Marion, who worked for her father, and Marion's son Sam. Sam was her best friend, and she used to tell me how much they loved playing on the farm together. And what a good, kind man Marion was.

                    The cognitive dissonance, from our perspective, is glaring. It makes me wonder what my grandkids will think is crazy about us. I'm guessing: (1) healthcare; (2) homelessness.

                    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                    by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:10:54 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  There are some good-looking Brutalist buildings. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure I'd want to live in a Brutalist single-family home.  Problem is, for a long time I couldn't have a truly new "contemporary" home at all if I wanted one.  Nobody seems to regard artistic traditions that go off course (architecture, music, dress, literature, painting, sculpture, whatever) as problems to be solved; they're just cancers to be eradicated.  Pity, that.

          The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

          by Panurge on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:12:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  One other thing: (3+ / 0-)

        There are more people now.  Lots more.

        I live in Atlanta, whose metro area's population has gone up threefold in my lifetime.  The City of Atlanta has never had much more than half a million people, which it had around 1971 and (it's believed, despite an strange 2010 Census result) now, having lost a fifth of its population in the '70s and '80s.  Suppose everyone returns (which they seem to have done). and throw in an extra quarter-million people.  The City of Atlanta would start to look rather unlike itself.  People like the ATL they have; overbuilding would ruin that.  So you're still dealing with millions in the suburbs.  What happens for them?  (In ATL, developers are essentially building new fake old towns, which I can't stand.  New, densely built towns, yes, but I don't like the theme-park aspect.  For all that, why not expand the towns that are already there?)

        All this might tie into another possible explanation for suburban flight:  Kids growing up want their own place.  If a big batch of city kids leaves home all at once, where will they live if all the houses in the city are still occupied by their parents?  What if there's no room for new houses in the city?  And we've already established that suburban land is cheaper.

        As for the racial aspect, ISTM we've always had that; how many racially-mixed intown neighborhoods were there before the suburbs were opened up?  (I honestly don't know, but seeing as race relations are plainly better now than a century ago, I can't imagine there were that many.)

        The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

        by Panurge on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:09:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Building up, not out. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peterfallow, Only Needs a Beat

          If you look at Toronto, it's got about 1,000,000 more people than the Atlanta Metro Area population wise, and occupies about 1/3rd the area.   The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) has over three times the population density per square mile of the Atlanta MSA.  There are a lot of high rise apartments, as well as re-purposing of empty industrial facilities.  There are more duplex homes, and even "single-family" dwellings commonly have basement apartments (which are great for renting out to young people as a way of helping cover the mortgage), and yards tend to be smaller.  

          I hate to say it, but we will be making changes in the way we live in the future, and what we want may have very little to do with it.  I drive a 13 year old VW Golf TDI (diesel) that gets over 50 MPG on the highway.   People tell me they'd love to have that kind of mileage, but they prefer bigger cars.  When I tell them the day is coming when their preference for bigger cars won't outweigh the economic realities and that my 50+ MPG will actually be the minimum acceptable mileage for cars, it truly confuses them.  They can't believe the time is coming when economic realities will trump our desires for big gas guzzlers.  

          The same thing is coming to the housing market one day.  The day will come when more people will have to learn to live in a 1500 sqft apartment in a high rise.  Considering most single family homes in the 1950s were <1500 sqft when average families were larger, it shouldn't be that impossible.  The desire to live in a 4000 sqft house on 3/4 of an acre 50 miles from all the riffraff downtown won't be an option.   I hate to say it, but the reality is that more people are going to have to learn to live like I do:  in a 1200 sqft duplex (renting out the other half to a college student) and a small yard, walking distance from where I work, with a single 50MPG car that only gets used on weekends.   I choose to live like that today.  The day will come when it's no longer a choice.  

             

          •  We tend to think this for two reasons. (0+ / 0-)

            1.  We see our big cities getting bigger and bigger and figure that something fundamental will have to change.  But if we had more cities instead of bigger ones, so that no one would have to make that 50-mile commute, that might not be quite so true.  What would Georgia look like if its population distribution were the same as it was 40 years ago?

            2.  We tend not to imagine any other energy source being able to replace gasoline (or other fuel for internal-combustion engines).  I'm not so sure--I mean, "we have the technology".  For some reason, we're not using it.

            The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

            by Panurge on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:19:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I arrived in Atlanta in 1971 (0+ / 0-)

          I loved what Atlanta was then, just a big tree shaded town with lots of neat things to do. I grew up in Brookhaven, (north Atlanta) just as forced busing took hold in the area schools. I remember that Marta buses wasn't allowed into Chamblee/ Doraville primarily to keep the "colored element" out and how we kids were embarrassed over the obvious racism. It's true that a lot of the closer in neighborhoods underwent a decline during the seventies and by the early eighties white flight had become epidemic.

          That's really when Atlanta became too big for it's britches at least traffic wise. I firmly believe that race was unfortunately the prime motivating factor, followed by the beckoning of cheap housing and low taxes if you were willing to drive just an "extra few minutes".

          I myself got used to certain prices for taxes and housing out here in Rethuglica and am amazed now at the costs of living in Atlanta proper anymore, especially in light of the dismal shape of the surface streets, water mains and sewerage- well, it's a long list.

          But still, I'd like to return. My kids are grown and long gone. Atlanta is still unrivaled for beauty, (especially in the spring!!!!) so I watch and I wait-who knows?

          If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

          by EdinGA on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:23:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Gwendoly Brooks's excellent poem, (0+ / 0-)

        "The Ballad of Rudolph Reed" covers a similar story:

        http://www.poemhunter.com/...

        And my baby's my common sense, so don't feed me planned obsolescence.

        by vadasz on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:27:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, but that's a crap idea. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, wmspringer

      About taxing employers based on where the employees live. Yes, let's by all means give the corporations another giant club to beat us with--sorry, I'd love to hire you, but this entirely unqualified person lives only a mile away and you live ten miles away so fuck you.

      Not everybody can just pick up and move, y'know. Some of us own houses and can't move on a whim--and in a mile radius of where I live you aren't going to find a whole lot of jobs because there aren't many businesses, nor places to put them. Because I live in a settled residential area with houses as old as 120 years--the majority of the houses predate the height of the car culture. How are you planning on shoehorning major employers into areas like this?

      Instead, let's give some nice incentives to employers who manage to transition a meaningful percentage of their workforces into telecommuting. THAT would make a difference and it would be lovely to be able to spend my time in a place that I choose, with people I chose to live near in the first place.  Why should I be forced to live near and be "friends" with co-workers?  I already work with these people eight hours a day--I do NOT want to spend the rest of my time interacting with them, nor they with me. Work is work, home is home, and it's healthy to have that division, as any poor fool who ever friended their supervisor on Facebook can attest.

      "Nothing's wrong, son, look at the news!" -- Firesign Theater

      by SmartAleq on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 04:20:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The low spark of high heeled boys..... oops, wrong (9+ / 0-)

    traffic. ;-)

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. G.B. Shaw

    by baghavadgita on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:03:39 AM PDT

  •  Very good, perceptive piece. (10+ / 0-)

    As an urban planner working in Southern Calif., the state's SB 375 (which seeks to lower GHG emissions to 2020 and 2035 targets via land use and transportation measures) has really brought these choices into focus.

    Putting aside the GHG deniers (hard as it is), the grab for limited dollars has heightened the conflict between investments in public transporation and more and wider roads.  

    Growing further and further out is simply not sustainable; not from an air quality point of view, nor GHG emissions, nor water, nor any other quality of life measures.

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:29:54 AM PDT

    •  The problem with more/bigger roads (0+ / 0-)

      is that the traffic expands to fill it.

      An example is the London Orbital - M25, which is about 120 miles in circumference. Once it opened, it dramatically altered the time it took to get from A to B in outer London, which translated into a major expansion of the acceptable commute for millions of people,  same time - bigger distance. Something that once took an hour - say Leatherhead to Heathrow, could be driven in twenty minutes.

      Within a couple of years, it was gridlocked morning and evening, and needed to be widened. Now in rush hour, Leatherhead to Heathrow can take an hour. Knowledgeable taxi drivers have reverted to using the old routes because they know how long it will take.

  •  You can keep your electric car (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orbital Mind Control Lasers

    Electric cars will never be mass-market popular.  Not unless they can solve the two major issues: re-charging and range.

    In your perfect world, even if I lived close to work and could walk/bike/transit every day, what if I wanted to take a vacation to the coast, or the mountains, or another state entirely?  A electric car may get me there, but probably not back without a 14 hour recharge.  Or it may not even get me there at all.

    Hydrogen is a much better alternative.  BMW's 7 series test platform that can use both gasoline and hydrogen, and can change fuels at the press of a button, is the future.  It's a hybrid that can ween you off gasoline and still provide the range and re-fill-ability of gasoline.

    And when you are thirsty, you can just pull over and suck on the tailpipe.

    GOD! Save me from your followers.

    by adversus on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:30:43 AM PDT

    •  A couple of things. (11+ / 0-)

      1. Most miles driven by most people could be handled by electric cars. Maybe the model is to rent a gas car for the occasional extended trip. ZipCar has a good operation for this.

      2. A company called BetterPlace is working on a battery-swap model for electrics. You'd pull into a station and they'd take out your old battery and pop in a fully charged one in about the same time it now takes to pump a tank of gas.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:39:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  While hydrogen may be the future, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hohenzollern, JeffW, Calamity Jean

      it suffers greatly from a storage issue -- hydrogen is not as energy dense as gasoline, so you need a lot more to go the same distance.  Additionally, too many sheeple see images of the Hindenberg when hydrogen gas is mentioned.  Weight is also an issue with hydrogen, since the storage areas either need to be heavily reinforced (for liquid storage), or sequestered in layers of metal/hydrite (?) lattices (for gas storage).

      -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

      by wordene on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:10:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hydrogen as a fuel is a bust. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wordene

        Why? Because commercial quantities of hydrogen are obtained by cracking hydrocarbons - oil and natural gas, so it has no positive impact on greenhouse gases. The carbon dioxide is released at the plant, not in the tailpipe.

        As for hydrolysis, it has a maximum efficiency of around 80%, i.e for 8 kwh of H2 fuel value, you need to use 10 kwh of electricity. And where are you going to get the electricity, ( bearing in mind this would be incremental demand) probably by burning fossil fuels.

        •  and limited distribution system (0+ / 0-)

          even with its drawbacks, at least the electrical grid is virtually everywhere and charging stations wouldn't be difficult to establish.  We'd need to establish from the ground up a hydrogen distribution system and/or build a large number of expensive (and inefficient as you mentioned) hydrolysis stations.  Hydrogen is further from becoming mainstream than electrification is.

      •  Don't worry (0+ / 0-)

        Hydrogen is not the future.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:48:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Chevy Volt. (5+ / 0-)

      The issues have been fixed. Now if enough people buy them, we'll see the concept move across into other platforms the way hybrid concepts have already done.

      "Nothing's wrong, son, look at the news!" -- Firesign Theater

      by SmartAleq on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 04:05:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The infrastructure for supporting electric cars is (0+ / 0-)

      still in its infancy, so I wouldn't count them out by any means.  Sure, taking an electric car to a rural or wilderness area wouldn't be feasible, but right now something like 80-85% of the US population lives and works near a major urban area.

    •  If you think building-out EV infrastructure (0+ / 0-)

      Is a problem, you need to seriously work through the problems of hydrogen infrastructure from production to consumer.

      Do you suppose there is a reason why an increasing number of companies are producing EVs and only 2 companies (Honda and BMW) with 2 very expensive niche models?

      And if hydrogen is such a great, practical idea, why does Honda produce far more EVs and BMW preparing to produce them?

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:47:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Laws/tax breaks encouraging more motorcycles (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdinGA, Hohenzollern, adrianrf

    and scooters would help traffic a LOT.

    Charge a fee for every non-commercial vehicle over 6000 pounds to enter the city.

    Invest in public transport.

    Let the suburbs die a slow death, serves them right.

    To be a Republican, you have to believe that our economic problems are caused by the poor having too much money and the rich not having enough.

    by Tommy Jones the Band on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:37:21 AM PDT

    •  Tommy, I ride a motorcycle myself... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Calamity Jean

      ...and there has been quite an uptick in Atlanta for scooters and biking as everyday transport. My daughter's been riding a scooter for years and loves it, so there is truth in what you say.

      Unlike you, I'm trying to find a way to keep the suburbs involved, mainly because folks out there could grow a lot of crops, come crunch time.

      If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

      by EdinGA on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:03:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a bit safer to ride in the city (0+ / 0-)

        than out in the burbs.

        I live in Midtown, and yes, there are a LOT of bikes here.

        I can't stand the suburbs tho, they grow right wingers out there.

        To be a Republican, you have to believe that our economic problems are caused by the poor having too much money and the rich not having enough.

        by Tommy Jones the Band on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 11:27:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Induced demand (7+ / 0-)

    Your comment about adding lanes brings up the issue of induced demand - ad more lanes and what you get is not less traffic but more, because more people see the road as less congested and feel fre to drive further - before long you end up right back in the same traffic jam you were in before.

    Another issue to note is free parking.  Everyone here should read Donald Shoup's "The High Cost of Free Parking" - it's definitely related to induced demand in the sense that people feel fre to leave there car longer since they're not paying for the space, forcing others to circle around endlessly looking for an open spot.  Charge market rate for spaces based on time of day/week and location and suddenly that problem vanishes (the target should be 80% occupancy for any given time of day).  Turns out that doesn't hurt local businesses either because more people actually occupy the same number of spaces over a given time meaning more potential customers.

    There are tons of great blogs on these topics, but here are a few to get you started:

    http://marketurbanism.com/
    http://greatergreaterwashington.org/
    http://www.streetsblog.org/
    http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/
    http://discoveringurbanism.blogspot.com/
    http://newurbandesigner.com/

    Tons more where those came from, of course.  Feel free to PM me for more.  This has become a hot topic of late especially as folks like Gabe Klein (DC, now Chicago) and Janette Sadik-Khan have risen to national prominence with their urban-centric bike/ped friendly policies.

    •  Thanks for the links, Sean. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sean Robertson

      I'll study what you sent. Knowledge IS power!

      If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

      by EdinGA on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:06:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  NP. BTW (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EdinGA, Only Needs a Beat

        Richard Florida (author of "Rise of the Creative Class") has also mentioned some of this stuff and his Creative Class Group is also worth checking out: http://www.creativeclass.com.

        I am a huge believer in this stuff - the cities most inline with his ideal metrics (high tech workforce, younger, more artists, friendlier to LGBT rights, etc.) also happen to fall squarely in line with the places I want to live (NYC, where I am now, DC, where I was for 5.5 years, and SF).  You'll note a lot of common threads between those places and it isn't conservatism or suburbanism. ;-)

        The more we make our cities into the kinds of places that inspire creativity, the more they will become incubators for economic growth.  Diversity is a leading indicator of that (exposure to fresh ideas), but so is ease of mobility, namely ability to get around via alternate modes of transportation, and so is density (high walk scores are a great indicator of young vibrant communities).

        I think I've damned near hit the jackpot, and thanks in no small part to Jane Jacobs (who helped stop Robert Moses) and many others, it nails every one of these categories, except perhaps cost of living.  Even then, though, NYC's neighborhoods are so diverse that I can live a 25 minute train ride from my office for half the price of Manhattan and be surrounded by artists and musicians and all kinds of cool places even in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood (formerly fairly poor area, but taking off with tons of young artist types and a still very diverse ethnic and income mix - and I love my local Spanish pool hall!).

        Suburbia suffocates me; I grew up there but I will NEVER go back. :-)

  •  Great diary, one quip (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Aramis Wyler
    These can be found in tolls and fees levied on new public transportation to offset those losses along with federal revenue sharing for on time in budget construction.
    One must be careful as tolls, fares, and fees very often end up as regressive taxes.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:50:38 AM PDT

  •  Don't blame Ford, or the automobile itself. (8+ / 0-)

    Your description of mass automobile ownership leading inevitably to sprawl and auto-dependency ignores some important history.  For instance, the 30-year period between the rise of mass auto ownership and the beginnings of sprawl.  Go to any neighborhood built in the 1920s, and you will find a walkable, compact, traditional neighborhood, with little driveways and single-care garages for the cars, and good access to transit (or, at least, evidence that the neighborhood was built with good access to transit).

    Traditional neighborhood and community design and mass automobile ownership coexisted peacefully for decades in this country, as they coexist comfortably in most parts of Europe and Canada.  The shift to sprawl patterns of development and life was the consequence of a deliberate set of polices aimed and producing that outcome, not of mass auto ownership itself.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:51:03 AM PDT

    •  True, but in Detroit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hohenzollern, Only Needs a Beat

      where I grew up, it was the Ford Motor Company itself that lobbied the city to tear up existing electric (perfectly functional, charming) trolly system and replace it with Ford's busses.

      Ford had a lot of influence in civic affairs. Once it had gotten rid of the trolleys, it pushed hard to carve up the city with "expressways". These ditch-like rivers of high-speed traffic sliced through the old established ethnic neighborhoods, making it totally impractical to get from one place to another, and effectively killing them.

      Inner-city property values fell, and suburbia began to grow, eating up more and more prime farmland close to the city, because people could now get there quickly on the "expressway". Oh, and then things just got worse and worse.

      "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

      by native on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:02:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All true. I was using 'blame Ford' as short hand. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native

        I meant it as a reference to the diarist's attribution of the problem to the mass production of automobiles per se.

        Not to the Ford Motor Company, or even Henry Ford himself.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:51:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Honestly... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Only Needs a Beat
    Ford changed that and became the father of modern traffic nightmares and the cause of more death and injuries than all our wars combined. To at least a few of us, these drawbacks far outweigh whatever benefits might have been involved.

    Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

    by ChiTownDenny on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:51:05 AM PDT

  •  Also, if people would just learn to merge, it (6+ / 0-)

    would go a long way to reducing some backups.  Honestly, if more of us would learn to drive with a focus on smoother flow, we'd be in better shape.

    1) Get in the correct lane.  You should be passing the cars to the right of you and being passed by the cars to the left of you.  If that's not what's happening, you're driving too fast or too slow for your lane and you should be in a different one.

    2) Learn to merge.  Take turns.  Don't sweat it if some wanker tries to wedge in from time to time.  If we all just stayed a tiny bit spread out, we could flow together smoothly like a zipper.  Instead, we try to keep that gap tight which makes for more stop and go.  Have you ever noticed that once you complete the merge, you often speed up considerably?  That says that the capacity of the road can handle that speed of throughput, and the bunching up causes the backup.

    3) Use your damn signals - save everyone from slamming on their brakes to let you in.  And when someone in front of you turns on the blinker, let them move over (so they'll continue using signals).  

    It's going to take time to solve the larger social issues, but this is something everyone can do right now.  Look down on traffic from a high vantage point sometime and see what causes backups.  At least you'll learn how to stop adding to the problem.

    •  This is where google controlled cars would (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      txcatlin

      really help.  The problem with traffic is that you have thousands of independent drivers responding selfishly to what's going on, resulting in stop & go situations even when there are no accidents blocking lanes.  A true, integrated traffic control system would be far more efficient and a lot less stressful on the commuters.

  •  if only it were that simple (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hmi, Just Some Guy

    We could just handwave away the problems of petroleum by blaming a conspiracy of the super-wealthy and have a clean, efficient future.

    But it ain't that simple.

    In terms of sheer performance, gasoline is pretty much the ideal energy source for vehicles. It's readily available and inexpensive. It's safe to handle (not very toxic and not easily ignited, as volatile explosives go). And it has TREMENDOUS energy concentration.

    Electric cars are limited performance-wise in two ways. First, battery weight and cost limits their range (and no, you can't handwave that away). Second, recharge time limits their extended range - it can take hours to recharge the batteries. A tank of gas can be filled in minutes, so the quasi-nonstop range of liquid-fueled vehicles is essentially unlimited.

    Renewable liquid fuels are limited in other ways. Mostly, they are expensive and time-consuming to produce compared to petroleum products. Additionally, they tend to be very toxic (methanol) or inefficient (ethanol).

    THESE ARE VERY SERIOUS GODDAMNED PROBLEMS. It's foolish and irrational to pretend they don't exist, but that's pretty much the state of alternate-fuel discussion among liberals - that the fundamental problems aren't engineering and economics, but rather a failure to blame the wealthy enough. No wonder liberals have been so ineffective on this front.

    In capitalist America, bank robs you!

    by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 12:41:05 PM PDT

    •  So the answer to your problem is hybrids. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aramis Wyler

      Most journeys are short enough to be carried out on a single electric charge. Your daily commute is maybe 20 miles followed by 8 hours inactivity, easily enough time to recharge.

      Weekends - trip to Mall, or softball game  - no sweat.

      4th of July - 200 miles on the interstate, kick in the combustion engine. This solution would reduce gas consumption by perhaps upto 80 %- but it needs a plugin hybrid - not the Prius type.

  •  this kind of diary is the reason (6+ / 0-)

    community spotlight exists

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    DEMAND CREATES JOBS

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:32:48 PM PDT

  •  I saw a sign in Italy that changed my views (9+ / 0-)

    on traffic... changed my perspective..

    It was put there by bicyclists, and read (translated):

    You're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic.
    Traffic is something we contribute to, and only by re-examining our contribution can we start to deal with it.  

    This diary starts to get there, by showing us alternatives to driving.  But that's really the second step.  The first is admitting that we are part of the problem.  

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:56:18 PM PDT

  •  What is amazing is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, NoMoreLies, Only Needs a Beat

    how dependent this civilisation worldwide is on the car.  Not just auto production and sales for jobs, but the oil industry, industries for presenting alternative fuels, the insurance industry, driver training, the building and maintaining of roads, the policing of those same roads, the advertising industry (for we all pay for the act of being convinced that we need to buy and pay for all this), and a lot more things I haven't thought of. Until we understand our dependence and figure out a more sensible releationship with the car, we will never overcome the problems generated by it.

    God be with you, Occupiers. God IS with you.

    by Hohenzollern on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:40:58 PM PDT

  •  What a thoughtful (10+ / 0-)

    and thought provoking diary.

    Although I can use public transportation (and both mr. luvs and I do), to get our our downtown Chicago offices, my job demands that I do a great deal of town-to-town-to-town, suburb-to-suburb commuting, which demands a private vehicle.

    (Okay, I could use my alternative 4-legged transportation device, but alas, time is an important factor)

    So I offer an alternative solution:

    Telecommuting.

    Srsly.  

    How many of us have positions that actually demand our physical presence?  Okay, law enforcement, first responders, etc., yes, you do have to be there.  There are certain obligations under our legal system that demand such (right to confront, and such not).

    But what about the rest of us?  We have modems and new-fangled software and Skype and conference calls and all kinds of electronic doo-dads that allow us to work from home - or from a similarly equipped facility that doesn't demand spending 1/7 th of your life breathing in toxic gases.

    Worth considering, dontcha think?

    Don't practice. Train.--Brian Harvey

    by luvsathoroughbred on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:23:05 PM PDT

  •  The diarist is biased to an urban POV... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    realcountrymusic, Calamity Jean

    ...what about out in the sticks?

    Small towns, surrounded by farms. The largest town around being the county seat. Jobs moved away by the like of Bain Capital, so you have to work your second job somewhere else, and then commute home to the farm.

    Railroads? They pulled up the tracks on some lines years ago, and the rights-of-way have vanished into the farmland, or been used for highway bypasses.

    All this I've seen in Stephenson County, IL, from the little town of Orangeville, outside of which we own a mini-farm and will be building a house on, to Freeport, several minutes south, and all points around.

    But since you mentioned urban traffic, and I am a retired traffic engineer, who used to work for the City of Chicago, I'd also like to say a few things about that.

    First, private-benefit signals are usually designed to minimize their impact on the arterial (at least the ones I designed working for the City of Chicago did), and the merchants could easily finagle a less-optimum control in an all-way STOP. This would ruin any effective progression of traffic on the the arterial, increasing pollution and driver ire. This happened/happens here in Chicago, too, especially when a new traffic signal installation will cost you about $280K! All-way STOPS are cheaper...

    And the decrease in public employees has a hand in it as well. From 1983 when I started with the City, to my last day at the end of July, 2010, the Signal Section went from 6-7 people to just three, while the number of signalized intersections grew from 2700 to 2904. Not all of these are on computer control systems, and there are still many that have electromechanical controllers. And the Signal Section doesn't have full access to those signals on those systems, as it was tossed between the City's Dept. of Transportation and the Office of Emergency Management, and back, over a period of 5 years. And did I mention that my position was eliminated last year, and another engineer will be retiring next year? No new engineers. And the Electrical Operations people are low on people, too, so the maintenance and updates don't get done in a timely manner. But hey, it's all good, since my retirement record keeping has gone to hell (having been through all the signal files to populate and maintain our first database had something to do with that!).

    Y`all drive carefully out there!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:58:02 PM PDT

    •  Jeff, I was born in Freeport, see my earlier post! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, txcatlin

      Although I've been in Atlanta Metro for over 40 years, I still remember my home town, tractors, combines and lots and lots of corn. You live in arguably the prettiest area of Illinois and I hope you get to enjoy it for a long time to come.

      Oh, and thanks for writing in about Chicago. It's good to know my disgust with corporate stoplights is shared by a professional!

      If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

      by EdinGA on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:52:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, Freeport, and Chicago... (0+ / 0-)

        ...are both on the ropes, in their own way.

        Private benefit signals are always the lesser of two evils. My biggest rant against them is when a developer hands the City a study by a consulting engineer that projects what might be the traffic coming out of the property, versus actually doing traffic counts after the store(s) are up and running. Proximity to existing signals is also a big minus, IMHO.  But, hey, I'm retired.

        IfmI could only cut the interconnect, er, cord...

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:14:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Stanley steamers ran on kerosene (diesel) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, EdinGA, Aramis Wyler

    which does not burn easily unless it is heated. To start a Stanley, you remove a section of the feed piping, heat it red-hot on your coal or wood stove bolted it back in place and turn on the fuel, holding a match at the nozzle. The large, water-filled boiler could take up to an hour to heat.

    The later Doble steamers had a fan-powered oil burner with oil spray, also used widely for home heating furnaces, and their single water-tube boiler got up to pressure 90 seconds after turning the key.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:16:22 PM PDT

    •  Didn't know that Leo. (0+ / 0-)

      I've only watched Mr. Leno getting his Steamer stoked to run, which, (you're right) took at least 20 minutes.

      If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

      by EdinGA on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:55:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We lived in Germany where (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdinGA

    the Strassenbahn (trolley) connected the smaller towns with Heidelberg and that city with surrounding cities by intercity light rail too. Then there was the actual train that went all over Europe. There were slower locals, faster intercity trains and then the Schnellzug, (the TGV, train a grande vitesse in France) that is high speed rail.

    These are all great modes of transportation, although Germans do love to own a car. The street in our neighborhood outside of Heidelberg was crowded with cars on weekends when everyone was home. It's nice to have options, though.

    Of course people would scream "socialism" if we were to suggest that having so many transportation choices was actually a good idea, even though it is.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:15:59 AM PDT

    •  Lily, that's what I want for our country. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lily O Lady

      A large majority of Americans would benefit from comprehensive public transport and it's past time to start making our wishes known. At this point, it shouldn't be a partisan issue because its for the benefit of all. I believe nothing will come to pass, due to implacable opposition from corporations, unless they are somehow included. That just galls me, but something in the bag is better than zilch. Lets at least get started.

      Thank you for sharing and summing things up so well!

      If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

      by EdinGA on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 11:23:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So how are you voting on the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EdinGA

        transportation sales tax at the end of the month? I'm torn because I'm afraid that it will mostly go to neglected road instead of MARTA and other public transportation projects like the trolly in downtown Atlanta. Also, it's a regressive tax. Republicans keep cutting taxes for businesses because they say it makes Georgia more attractive. But then the infrastructure falls apart and the little guy gets stuck with the bill. And it will be hardest on the little guy.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 01:40:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is a tough call. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lily O Lady

          I do want Atlanta untangled, (don't we all) but I just see big road projects and not much on surface street improvements, which are desperately needed. I've got some studying to do .

          If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

          by EdinGA on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:16:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, I know. I'm afraid the (0+ / 0-)

            Road Hogs (unregistered TM) will hog all the money that might go to public transportation. And any surface streets that are improved will probably be in wealthy areas. I don't look for big improvements on streets like The Boulevard or DeKalb Ave.

            "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

            by Lily O Lady on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:13:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  In Europe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdinGA

    you can get to any small town on a train, and most towns have a central station and trams to get around from there. It was like that once here - many stations are still there, they've just been converted to expensive restaurants and shops. If you had that setup here, plus cheap rental (or even free municipal) electric vehicles at the stations, we'd all come out ahead - that is - except for the fossil fuel and insurance industries. It's nice to dream... You had some thought provoking ideas here!

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 12:39:28 PM PDT

    •  I want what Lily O Lady experienced in Germany (0+ / 0-)

      I want it for all of us, here in the US. Without comprehensive rail, we're going to have some real problems and real soon!

      If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

      by EdinGA on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:11:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well written, and thought provoking diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdinGA

    But if you have a solar-powered car in your quiver - shoot it!

    I snark, because I always snark. We can't bulldoze suburbia, nor mess with the tried and true teenagers humping in the back-seats of cars that emerged in the 50's. Nor can we suddenly build up instead of out because as an above poster mentioned - Many don't want to live near "blah people." They want to watch Maury Povitch and Jerry Springer finding out "who's the daddy" far away from the 15 minutes of fame melanin enhanced contestants.

    Overpopulation is the problem. We have a tried and true and profitable option - War.

    Big, bloody, patriotic , War.

    Then we can rebuild.

    I want a living planet, not just a living room.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:45:24 PM PDT

    •  Anthony, My solar car thing is farfetched... (0+ / 0-)

      ...but maybe some rooftop panels could help keep the batteries charged, right? Takes someone smarter than me to figure that stuff out.

      Thanks for your kind words.

      If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

      by EdinGA on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:08:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site