Here Comes Reality


[ Blue Duwamish, a lighting installation on the Sound Transit Light Link bridge over the Duwamish River; photo: Dan Corson ]

In the same week that the Puget Sound region votes to tax itself to fund $18 billion in transit, come reports that GM and Ford are “running on fumes.” The dots are being connected. All over the country.

Meanwhile, California recently passed SB 375, a bill designed to reduce the greenhouse emissions produced by cars by encouraging more efficient land use. In recognition of the link between vehicle miles traveled and sprawl, the bill offers local governments transit funding and provides incentives for compact, transit-oriented development.

Not the best era to be in the car business.

4 Responses to “Here Comes Reality”

  1. JesseJB

    Its all happening so much faster than I thought it would. I saw Kunstler speak last spring about how all this was going to come about and thought “wow…maybe in like 10 years” but umm…maybe now.

  2. Dan Staley

    There was an excellent conference about the near future in this sort of implied scenario, here. Randall Crane et al speak about post-cheap energy urban design and coping and other such things.

  3. joshuadf

    No doubt it’s bad to be in Detroit, but Toyota is still making money and I suspect they will continue to do so because they are manufacturing appropriate vehicles. Lots of things are easier to do in a car and people around the world who can afford a Prius will snatch them up, not to mention the growth of car-sharing. Just because everyone won’t be forced to use a car for commuting doesn’t mean everyone won’t use a car for other things.

    The great news is that the future looks bright for those of us who love living in dense cities and using public transportation.

  4. wes

    It is only easier to do things in a car because, as Dan B talks about in the link provided above (http://hugeasscity.com/2008/01/13/also-blame-where-the-buildings-are/), activities have been placed so widely apart in large buildings with everything you can imagine based upon the assumption that it is easy to get there by car. I’d like to add to that the notion of the ease of car travel is stuck in our culture as well. Even those within proximity of a service will find themselves traveling by car because they perceive either the time savings or monetary savings (of shopping around) as significant. As I reiterated to myself this weekend through a trip up to Petco for a dog kennel that cost relatively the same at the pet shop in my ‘hood, it just isn’t worth making the trip in the car. I could have walked to the pet store in my ‘hood and brought my purchase back in less time than going to Petco. I could have purchased the kennel at my pet store for a little more money but with an overall savings by not having to spend on the transportation cost. Shame on me. Learning my lesson and instead of giving my money to the overgrown petstore, I went back to my ‘hood and got the kennel.

    Ideally, activities and purchases that require a car should be the infrequent ones (camping, large park trips such as discovery, monthly or less often friends, furniture purchases, giant bag of dog food purchases that only a silly person would struggle to walk the 10 blocks home with…which I did and learned that lesson too), not weekly or daily activities/purchases (grocery, bars, every week friends).

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