Cars, Bikes, and Cities
They do not mix well
There has since grown an increasing awareness of what was lost for the sake of the car, and the rise of a new urbanist movement. Walkable cities are incredibly good for your physical and mental health, and as some have pointed out, Americans spend vast amounts in order to enjoy three or four years where everything can be reached on foot or bike, and their friends are nearby, when this should just be normal human existence. Cars are often destructive of civic life, and even the counter arguments, that restrictions of vehicle use would damage small businesses, have mostly been proven incorrect.
He also links to a page put together by the University of Oklahoma school of architecture that compares Midwestern cities in the United States from the 1950s to the 2010s. It is hard to disentangle the effects of automobiles, Interstate Highways, and race.
The most unique thing about Amsterdam’s urban design — and the thing that dazzles American urbanists — is the way the city is built for bicycles. The city’s masses of cyclists don’t have to share their space with cars; there are red bike paths and convenient bike parking spots absolutely everywhere.
What’s interesting is that this reliance on bicycles can feel like it relegates pedestrians to second or third class.
I think it is simplistic to say that urban life would be great if there were no cars and everyone rode bicycles. My generalization is that drivers are courteous to pedestrians and bicyclists (but not to other drivers), pedestrians are courteous to cars and to other pedestrians (but not to bicyclists) and bicyclists are rude to everyone. This generalization is not always true, of course.
I bike myself, and I have to work to avoid being rude. Maybe it’s because you are really vulnerable on a bike—when you come around a turn and there is a pedestrian on one side of the bike path with her dog on the other side and the leash in the middle, you take a much harder spill than I have ever seen happen to a pedestrian on a path.
Or maybe it’s hormonal. Do you secrete more testosterone as you’re biking?
I thought of this a few days ago when I was biking and two men passed me. First was a white-haired man in a bright green shirt. Next was a dark-haired man in a black shirt. Black shirt then went on to pass Green shirt. The path at that point has a steep hill to the left, and Green shirt drifted left, almost as if he were going to run Black shirt off the road. After he passed, Black shirt turned around and gave a “what’s wrong with you?” look at Green shirt. Evidently, Green shirt did not apologize, because about 100 yards later Black shirt stopped and blocked Green shirt. They confronted one another and started shoving, grabbing each other, and punching one another in the chest. I stopped my bike and yelled “Back off. It’s not worth it.” I don’t know whether my yelling made a difference, but they stopped before anyone got hurt.
I do not think that getting rid of cars and relying on bicycles would all of a sudden enable large populations to get along with one another in cities. It takes a lot of cultural apparatus to make that work.
‘... urban life would be great if there were no cars and everyone rode bicycles.’ Says the urbanist where everything is a short walk or bike ride away and who has never lived outside a city where everything is miles away and when it rains and snows and is freezing cold, walking and biking is no fun. The Netherlands is flat with a small population. Amsterdam is dreary. Rats when made to live together in the equivalent of cities, start killing each other.
Technocracy is a mental defect
"The most unique thing about Amsterdam’s urban design — and the thing that dazzles American urbanists — is the way the city is built for bicycles."
NO you blithering idiot
Amsterdam wasn't designed or built for bicycles
bicycles are the solution the residents of Amsterdam found to deal with the way the city EVOLVED