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Can't we all just get along? The car, bicycle, skateboard, pedestrian et al debate

Admiral Beez

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Originally, the legal rule was that "all persons have an equal right in the highway, and that in exercising the right each shall take due care not to injure other users of the way."
It's still that way. The roadspace isn't analogous with train tracks or airport runways where there is one exclusive user. The reason we have traffic lights, stop signs, HTA rules and layers of by-laws for automobile users is to ensure pedestrians, cyclists, people on horseback, etc. can safely use the same roadspace.

What's changed is that we generally don't care about each other anymore while assuming absolute ROW in contradiction to commonsense survival instincts. Otherwise why would anyone simply walk in front of moving cars, regardless of their ROW. As a motorcyclist I assume that everyone, from the truck behind to the unleashed dog on the sidewalk is a risk to my life and I act accordingly. Same goes when I walk on the sidewalks, I assume and then manage the risk. If I walk across a road outside of a controlled intersections, well, my safety is on me, since the system has already accommodated my needs by providing the controlled intersection and crosswalks.
 

Admiral Beez

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Except that a growing number of pedestrians (1 in 7 with that figure increasing every year for the last 5 years) are being hit while off-road, often on a sidewalk, in a schoolyard or sometimes making a purchase inside a retail store.
Statistically that might make sense. More people on sidewalks, more people in cars with only a 4" curb to separate them.
 

W. K. Lis

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The average speed of horses:

The Walk 2-5 mph, 3-8 km/h
The Trot 7-10 mph, 11-16 km/h
The Canter 10-17 mph, 16-27 km/h
The Gallop 35-40 mph, 56-64 km/h

People switched from horses to the car, because they could be "galloping" more often.

I'm assuming the original 30 mph (50 km/h) was settled on because the average horse could gallop at 35-40 mph or 56-64 km/h, which seemed fast. They also figured police on horses would gallop after any "speeding" motorist. Little did they know that most motorists would be exceeding 50 km/h on a regular basis.
 

Admiral Beez

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I'd support getting rid of most onstreet parking on main streets and replacing it with fully separated bike lanes. We could expand Green P lots (including above and underground) to accommodate the displaced cars (with parking fees adjusted to cover cost), and improve streetcar service to encourage folks to move from their cars. My central point is to get those parked cars out of the way of moving people.
 

W. K. Lis

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In the U.S. cities, because their downtowns have become such barren places, especially in the evenings and weekends, there are a lot of abandoned buildings that have been torn down and replaced by parking lots for the daytime people.

Not so much in Toronto. Any surface parking lots are temporary, before they are redeveloped. Usually, new developments include underground parking. Has there been surveys done to see how many of those parking lots actually ever reach full capacity? Maybe for some sports events.
 

James

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I've always thought it'd be interesting if on-street parking was eliminated altogether on main streets downtown. The caveat is that there needs to be sufficient underground parking that is priced fairly and easily accessible both in & out. But alas, therein lies the challenge!
 

W. K. Lis

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I've always thought it'd be interesting if on-street parking was eliminated altogether on main streets downtown. The caveat is that there needs to be sufficient underground parking that is priced fairly and easily accessible both in & out. But alas, therein lies the challenge!
Why should the parking be priced fairly? The city should add on a parking tax as a new revenue tool, and to increase the price of parking. If the parking was priced higher, maybe they'll use public transit more.
 

Admiral Beez

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Why should the parking be priced fairly? The city should add on a parking tax as a new revenue tool, and to increase the price of parking. If the parking was priced higher, maybe they'll use public transit more.
Since you didn't say exclusively use transit, under your plan they'd still need somewhere to park their cars.

Instead of making the peoples' preferred option so expensive so to force people without means to take the sh#tty option, why not make transit better so that people don't want to use their cars?
 

James

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"Fairly priced" is not equivalent to "under market value". When something is fairly priced, it is priced at a point that is reasonable to the consumer given the competition, the alternatives and other external factors that may affect one's decision to select this option.

I concur with Admiral Beez's sentiments above. Further, the fair price of parking needs to be reflective of the alternative option of travel, i.e. public transit. The better the transit system is, the higher the cost of parking should be.
 

Admiral Beez

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I concur with Admiral Beez's sentiments above. Further, the fair price of parking needs to be reflective of the alternative option of travel, i.e. public transit. The better the transit system is, the higher the cost of parking should be.
That's my feeling. IMO, the better transit should come first, then enact policies to attract (not coerce!) people to that transit.

Can you imagine the inverse, force anyone without the financial means out of their cars onto the existing transit? The system is already bursting during rush hour, where will you put all those thousands of people who move from the DVP to the Yonge-Spadina subway?
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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Well, if parking isn't a public good but a market good, then the goal should be to maximize revenue. Whether public transit is shitty or not would have no bearing on that.

AoD
 

salsa

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Instead of making the peoples' preferred option so expensive so to force people without means to take the sh#tty option, why not make transit better so that people don't want to use their cars?
I thought the whole point of a parking tax is to help turn shitty transit into good transit.
 

Admiral Beez

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I thought the whole point of a parking tax is to help turn shitty transit into good transit.
We pay parking taxes now, they go into general revenue, including presumably a portion that goes to transit. I never like project specific taxes, it's a disingenuous or false show of transparency.

You don't need to invent some inverse connection between the two. You can have great roads and great transit, as any visitor to Germany can tell you. We don't tax junk food more than healthy food to build public parks. What we need to stop doing is inventing ways to coerce people into doing what we feel is the greater public good. Through coercion you're simply relegating public transit to the poor and those without means or ability to avoid it. And conversely, if transit is just the purview of the poor, there's no need to fix or improve it beyond increasing capacity, since the user has massive switching costs.

I know it enrages many an urbanite, but people have free will and will do whatever they want and find a means to get what they want. For example, when Miller enacted the VRT, I simply added it to my travel/vehicle expenses negotiated with my employer, and didn't look back. Instead of changing my behaviour, I adjusted the means to continue it. If you want me to leave my car parked or give up owing a car entirely you need to win me over with convenience, not cost. For example, I drive once a week to Kitchener, if you want me to leave my car then the VIA schedule shouldn't be so ridiculously out of whack (departs Union at 10:30am, returns to Union at 11:15pm).

Or, sticking to within the city, I need to get to Sherway Gardens tonight from Cabbagetown - it's a minimum 65 mins by transit (plus walking time) or about 25 mins by car, https://goo.gl/maps/dPT32WDqf6n And again I don't care what the car costs, so you've got to win me over by convenience. Or how about winning people over to transit with enjoyment?! As a huge rail fan, when I take trains in Germany they are delightful, clean, on time, fast, never stuck behind a freight train or delayed because of precipitation.

We're not ants, we don't operate for the common good of the nest or hive. Make transit convenient and pleasant and you don't need to coerce people into doing what the urban planning crowd wants us to do.
 
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W. K. Lis

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We can make pedestrian crossings (both at intersections, pedestrian crossovers, and school crossings) much more safer.

From this link, we can raise the crossing to become a speed bump, forced drivers to slow down.


From this link, we can also put cobblestones in the raised crossover, to remind the drivers that pedestrian have the priority at this location.


Will not be done here in Toronto, Ontario, because doing so might anger the motor vehicle gods.
 

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