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Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 10:19 PM
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Nouvellecosse Nouvellecosse is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Nova Scotia
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
It doesn't matter what I believe, but as I see it the general trend among young people is to shy away from the car. But it isn't going to happen overnight, it's a trend that will probably take 50 - 100 years to play out, but then a lot can happen in 50 -100 years that could change everything - like flying cars, or nuclear-powered bicycles, etc. As Keith said, let the market decide. If people want parking spaces with their condos, then the developers will provide spaces.
This isn't just something interesting that we can sit back and casually watch like fashion trends. This is something which affects our energy and resource budget (and therefore economy), our physical health, and overall quality of life. We know we're running out of fossil fuels and we have no replacement option to give us as much energy for as little cost. And we know the effects it's having on the environment. We have to change and the urgency is too great for sitting around thinking "Hmm, it looks like things will eventually change at some point so let's not worry about it". Of course they're going to change at some point because we won't have oil forever. But we need to prepare for that transition if want to make it as painless as possible.

Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Actually, the suggestion of some type of legislation to restrict car use sounds like the opposite of letting it run its natural course. It sounds more like coercing people to make a choice against their will.
No one said anything about legislation, and I didn't advocate letting it run it's natural course (I was interpreting that as your preference). My post was simply condemning what I considered a problematic suggestion that counter made without going into potential solutions.

That being said, I reject suggestion that the concept of planning in the content of a society is anti-freedom or somehow a form of coercion. In order to live in a society and enjoy the benefits of such there are things we must share including basic infrastructure, and we cannot have separate infrastructure to suit every possible taste or preference as it isn't financially feasible. Planning based on the type of infrastructure we can actually afford is our society responding to reality, not an active intent to oppress anyone.

When it comes to freedom, I believe in real freedom, but not false freedom. Real freedom is what I would describe as being able to sustain the cost or side affects of a particular choice or action rather than externalise them (like stealing from someone) or be limited by the costs of adverse affects later on (like choosing to sit around the apartment all day and relax only to be kicked out for not paying the rent). For instance, a real freedom would be to choosing to buy a fancy car when you have $50,000 in the bank or the reliable income to finance it. False freedom would be to take out loans and run up credit card debt to live in a way you feel entitled to when you cannot afford it. Eventually you'll run out of credit.

Now it may not be illegal to manage one's finances poorly, but I feel it should be open to criticism. And that's basically what I was doing with my criticism of counter's suggestion that encouraging more downtown parking is a positive thing, except on a societal level rather than on an individual level. Letting the market decide and having things run their course would be like a consumer living above their means until they run out of credit and are forced to change, and perhaps end up declaring bankruptcy, rather than seeing the trend ahead of time and adjusting accordingly. It isn't just bad planning, it isn't planning at all.

Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
"Focusing their lives around the car" sounds a little extreme. For most people a car is a tool they use for a purpose, much like a refrigerator or a stove.

If I choose to cook my dinner every night, I'm not focusing my life around the stove, I'm just using it to cook my dinner. However, I may choose to not cook dinner and eat out instead - that's a free choice I could make. If I get rid of the stove because I don't always use it, then I've limited my options. If somebody forces me to get rid of my stove, then they've limited my options.

Likewise, if a person chooses to walk or take take transit instead of their car a similar analogy could be made.

Regardless, how I see it going - if people transition into downtown living - they will likely use their cars less and less until someday they will probably decide the expense of the car isn't worth what they are putting into it. Then factor in the younger generation coming up who will not want to get their car license and will likely never own cars. It will transition, IMHO.

It may result in some empty parking garages in the future, but if that happens I'm sure there will be an enterprising person who will find a way to repurpose that space, either for storage, warehousing, hydroponic agriculture (4-season urban farming), or whatever.

Cities always evolve this way, they are built to fit the needs of the current generation, but then the buildings and infrastructure have to be changed to fit changing needs. I see this as running its natural course. Again, if needs have already changed to make a no-parking building viable, then it will be built.
Given the amount of disposable income some people devote to their automobiles, I think saying that they're "Focusing their lives around the car" is quite fair. Not to mention the amount of space allocated for this method of conveyance.

Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
I highly doubt that somebody will buy a car because, you know, they just happen to have a parking space. Also, does not a new condo owner have to purchase their parking space separately? Therefore, if they don't want a parking space they won't buy a parking space.

Again, that said, if you want to make it difficult for people to take their cars downtown, they will still do it. The end result is that, well, you've just made their lives more difficult.

I appreciate the discussion.
I remember reading a study out of Seattle I believe showing the relationship between the rates of car ownership and their mandatory parking spaces laws. I'll have to see if I can find it.

Also, i don't believe that last statement for a second. Most people do what is fastest and most convenient and/or cheapest. Many people use cars now because they're the fastest and most convenient option (because we've designed things that way) but if that stops being the case, most people are not going to put themselves through torment as some sort of political protest when there's an easier way for them to get to their destination. Have you even heard of the concept of induced demand?

Plus, designing things is a less auto-focused way improves the quality of life for other people, and lowers costs in terms of road infrastructure and maintenance, so I would dispute the claim regarding the end result. The net results would include a variety of things with the positives easily outweighing the negatives.
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw
Don't ask people not to debate a topic. Just stop making debatable assertions. Problem solved.
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