Cart – Horse – Yep


Cart – Horse – Yep

Letter to Editor, LA Times:

Yes, parking spaces are a sad waste of space that could be put to much better use. Planting space for trees and shrubs. Parks. Playgrounds.

But until we get serious about effective and efficient (not to mention convenient and inexpensive) mass transit, we’re putting the cart before the horse.


I’m just spitballing here, but what if all the effort to do away with parking and all the PR we see almost daily about parking minimums was spent getting serious about effective and efficient mass transit? I live 10 minutes at most from my office by car, but the best I can do on rapid transit is an hour, and sometimes longer.

Instead of trying for force people out of cars with the removal of parking or making driving too expensive (higher gasoline costs, etc) why not spend all this time and energy on making the time it takes me to get to my office say 15 or even 20 minutes on the bus or metro. If the bus was clean, safe, convenient, and let’s face it, on time, maybe I would use it rather than drive.

Forcing me into a dirty, unsafe, bus that takes four times as long to get where I’m want to go is absurd.

Go Allison


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

8 Responses

  1. John,

    For one, there are many people who are working to make transit better, it’s generally THE SAME PEOPLE who are working to reduce parking mandates and other car infrastructure, for good reason.

    If we build for cars first then we all but guarantee that transit and other modes will be less convenient, slower, and more dangerous. It’s not an either or, it’s not a chicken and egg, it’s a systemic problem in need of a holistic solution.

    Keep spitballing though.

  2. Thanks, Tony — Can you please give me some specifics where “the same people” are working to make transit better, and what they are doing. As usual, I do appreciate your input Thanks

  3. Well, just as one example… the Parking Reform Network is partnered with Transit4All in Chicago and other groups which engage in direct transit work.

    Perhaps you should attend a conference like Shared Use Mobility Summit, Association for Commuter Transportation TDM Forum, Walk/Bike/Places, the National American Planning Association Meeting, the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, YIMBYTown or countless other places where people meet to discuss their work on these issues.

    I know dozens of individuals spending significant time advocating for land use and transportation reforms, transit is nearly ALWAYS a part of their advocacy.

  4. Tony, please help me here. I agree that there are countless agencies that people meet and talk. But can you give me any specific successes that these groups or individuals have had in making mass transportation “convenient, less expensive, effective and efficient” Just what is being done to help me get to work in less than an hour on rapid transit when it takes 10 minutes by car.
    Where has transit been made safer? I’m not sure I would want to take a train in Portland, knowing what I know about crime in your city.

  5. John here’s another example to buttress your point. Driving from Escondido to San Diego takes about 30 min. The “Rapid Transit Bus” takes 90 minutes. Hmmm. I’m driving.

  6. David — I think there is a bus lane, or certainly an HOV lane the buses can use. Even with that…Sheesh

  7. It is 2am and I swore I was not going to get into this discussion. Over the last two or three years I have done a ton of research trying to understand this issue so that if necessary I could debate it with some level of intelligence. I feel strongly I have a detailed understanding but it would take weeks to write the proper response. The people who attend all of the many associations are the car haters who love to discuss replacing POV’s with bikes or some type of mass transit. They never have a solution but it makes them feel important. The problem is geography, weather, population, and distance all are against the viability of a useful mass transit system in this country. They can’t seem to look at the LA Basin, Houston, Nashville, etc, and realize because of all of the obstacles listed above, we are not Europe, and we in the US need to use a little higher level of intelligence and creativity to improve our methods of getting from A to B to C to D all in the same day. My first thought was to just ignore these people. Instead, I took my car camera with me traveling around the country and videoed hours of expensive bike lanes, and hundreds of millions of dollars of transportation funds and was barely able to find more than 3 bikes per hour of video. All of the associations mentioned earlier have become masters at scaring city councils into believing they have the answer to the scourge of climate change. That’s all I can do for now. I do strongly believe that moving from 280 million cars to 500 million and with EV’s becoming half of those is not sustainable. However, bikes, scooters, and buses are not the answer. We have to do better.

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