Cars Ruin Cities
Cars have become so intertwined with daily life that at first, it can be hard to see the true cost of cars—massive highways, oversized parking lots, traffic, noise, pollution, and more. Our communities were designed for cars, and they’ve left us (the people) behind.
There’s a better way to build our communities. You may enjoy driving, but there is no reason why your car should be a necessity. The overpriced gas you pay every week should be a choice, not a requirement for your day-to-day.
If this is the first time you’re hearing this, our ideas may sound absurd. I promise you, they’re not. Millions of families around the world are already enjoying their people-focused communities. Hear us out, have an open mind, and ask lots of questions.
What's the problem with car dependency?
Over-reliance on cars takes a toll on humanity. We have normalized their pervasive presence so much that we now find ourselves living and working in places that do more to serve the needs of cars than of people. Cars demand more of people than the benefits they provide.
Overcoming car blindness and reducing dependence on driving can help us to reconnect with nature and the human condition and boost our health, happiness, and resilience. — Alex Dyer
Cars create an unwanted economic burden on their communities. The infrastructure for cars is expensive to maintain and the burden for local communities is expected to increase. Learn about how car dependence is bankrupting American cities here.
Infrastructure (Land Usage & Induced Demand)
Cities allocate a vast amount of space to cars. This space could be used more effectively for things such as parks, schools, businesses, homes, but instead we build vast parking lots and widen roads and highways (that don't reduce traffic!).
Independence and Community Access
Cars are not accessible to everyone. Children and teenagers, people who can't afford a car, and many other people who are unable to drive. Imagine the challenge of giving up your car in the late stages of your life. In car-centric areas, you face a great loss of independence.
Self-driving cars can’t fix traffic, pollution, and sprawl. In fact, they may worsen it.
Electric cars continue to cause traffic violence, waste space and perpetuate sprawl, disproportionately burden the poorest and those who cannot drive, and will not be enough to tackle our climate and air pollution crisis. We need cleaner vehicles — but more importantly, we need cleaner built environments. Learn more.
"I prefer to drive everywhere. Why should I care about any of this?"
Would you rather drive to work on a lean, free flowing road or a huge, congested freeway?
It turns out expanding highways and building more roads actually makes traffic worse due to induced demand.
One more person walking, on a bike, or on the bus is one less car you’re stuck behind at a red light. Driving is simply better when people aren’t forced to drive, which is why people that truly love driving should be huge advocates for walkability and transportation alternatives.
Imagine if all those ****ty drivers weren't on the road.Why Drivers Should Support Bike Lanes The Best Country in the World for Drivers
"It's far too cold/hot where I live."
Some of the best cycling is in very cold, snowy Winter climates.
Year round cycling / walking / public transit is a matter of how well your city does Winter maintenance and provides safe infrastructure rather than how cold it gets.
Cars are no panacea to climate extremes: it takes much effort to keep driving possible though the Winter. In the US they spend over $8 billion every year to keep highways clear and maintained from snow and ice.Why Canadians Can't Bike in the Winter (but Finnish people can) Why Cycling Critics are Wrong About Winter
"Wider, faster, treeless roads not only ruin our public spaces, they kill people. Taking highway standards and applying them to urban and suburban streets, and even country roads, costs us thousands of lives every year. There is no earthly reason why an engineer would ever design a 14-foot lane for a city block, yet we do it continually. Why? The answer is utterly shameful: Because that is the standard."
- Charles Marohn, Confessions of a Recovering Engineer
The first step forward is recognize there is a problem. We've been so accustomed to our current city design, we don't recognize how damaging it is to our health, our families, our communities, our time, our freedoms, and our wallets.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every city, but a shift away from car-dependent design and towards walkable environments is possible.
You should have the freedom and independence of getting to choose to drive or not. Your highways and roads should be clear of insecure drivers and congestion. Your city should be, and can be, designed better.
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So I thought, initially, “How can people be this insensible, do they not realize how cars have made life so much easier/practical for society and everyday life”...But really it seems to be about taking a step back - realizing that the entire process of planning a city, did not need to be done in a way which makes cars essential (as a lot of cities seem to be, at the moment), which makes our typical everyday travels dependant on a personal vehicle (at the moment)
Sorry I misjudged you guys!
I realized that the issue necessarily just cars themselves but all the infrastructure and extra waste that comes with them. I have to admit that I never saw it this way and looked at things a bit differently driving to work today. Thanks for opening my eyes to the bigger issue.
You guys changed my perspective.
So I've thought for quite a few years that having cars everywhere is unpleasant and that public transport should be better and more widely used, but I didn't realise how much more there was to this.