An occasional update on items from ‘Motordom‘ – the world of auto dominance.
WHY KIDS DON’T LIKE CARS
Thanks to Stephen Rees for this speculation on why the current generation doesn’t have an affection for driving:
I have the suspicion (but no data at all) that the children of the boomers (Generation Y) were also the first to actively learn to dislike car travel, because they were strapped into car seats as infants, forced to ride in the back and often with nothing to see. Quite unlike the view you get from the front of a double decker bus, for instance.
They were strapped in for the daily commute to school too – not allowed to walk or ride their bikes, due to fear of strangers. No wonder they don’t like cars much to begin with, and then find the whole process of learning to drive really stressful because of the genuine dangers and increasing road rage and intolerance of other drivers.
They get their freedom when they get a transit pass or a bike, or get away to college. But they cannot afford a car and their student fees (which have increased exponentially). It is hard enough to balance the coursework and the need to work to earn some income part time, without shelling out most of it to the oil companies and car finance sharks.
HOW TO DESTROY A CITY’S SOUL
A University of Connecticut study, comparing parking lots in downtown Hartford, New Haven and Cambridge, is getting some play. Here’s a description in Atlantic Cities.
Through aerial photographs, they compared the growth of parking:
… they counted 21,690 parking spots in New Haven in 1951. By 2009, the number was 106,410. Hartford, meanwhile, went from about 47,000 spots in the mid-1950s to about 141,000 today. All the while, both cities lost considerable population, while the number of parking spaces per driver doubled. …
Cambridge offers an alternative view of the path not taken by Hartford and New Haven. That city has grown in population, and it actually has fewer parking spots today than it did in 1985, thanks to parking maximum regulations that go back more than 20 years and to aggressive planning for alternative transportation.
Felix Salmon, a Reuters blogger comments:
Parking lots are — with only a handful of exceptions — the best possible way of destroying a city’s soul. They’re gruesome, lifeless places, and I’m constantly astonished by the way in which governments and developers are convinced that they’re a great idea. Instead, local government should act as a brake on private developers’ desires to build out new parking: while that might (or might not) be good for an individual commercial operation, it can at the same time be bad for the city as a whole.
I’ve often thought that a practical definition of high density, at least for the average, not-a-planning-geek person, was when the car had to be separated from the living unit. The most prominent room – and often the largest – from the front of a single-family suburban house is the garage, seamlessly connected to the rest of the home. When the car has to be parked in a separate, common space – a parkade, as we call them – then that’s ‘density,’ whether a small apartment building or highrise.
A Florida developer has addressed that issue:
The $560 million Jetsonesque tower (in Florida) will … likely will be the world’s first condominium complex with elevators that will take residents directly to their units while they are sitting in their cars.
“You don’t have to leave your car until you are in front of your apartment,” said Juergen Gessler, CEO of Porsche Design Group.
Dezer said his hopes are that many other buildings in the United States and the rest of the world will be constructed following the Porsche Design Tower model.
But this will be the first and last one in South Florida, he said.
“We want to keep this really exclusive and not have this become a McDonald’s kind of style. The tower is going to change the skyline of Miami Beach,” Dezer said. “This is something Floridians should be proud to have in their state.”