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Passenger Trains > Is there a "legal obligation" to drive automobiles?


Date: 07/10/19 05:53
Is there a "legal obligation" to drive automobiles?
Author: Lackawanna484

Did the automobile squeeze out commuting alternatives like rail?   A law professor attempts to prove that the automobile created shadow segregation, single family zoning, and laws which require parking lots for office building parks killed off alternatives like passenger rail.

I'd say this argument fails on many accounts.  My parents and their relatives couldn't wait to get out of the Newark NJ and Jersey City NJ area after the second world war. They referred to the dirty, crowded city on many occasions.  And use the GI bill to purchase homes in what were then the suburbs. Get out of the crowded cities, even though they were well served by street cars, railroads, etc  Low density in the new suburbs then killed the rails, buses, etc

Attacking the GI bill would have been an unsuccessful argument on many levels, so creating straw men and women, then demolishing the arguments is easier. 

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/car-crashes-arent-always-unavoidable/592447/?utm_source=pocket-newtab



Date: 07/10/19 09:02
Re: Is there a "legal obligation" to drive automobiles?
Author: GenePoon

Another crackpot looking for fifteen minutes of fame...and suckering the gullible press.



Date: 07/10/19 09:09
Re: Is there a "legal obligation" to drive automobiles?
Author: HotWater

GenePoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Another crackpot looking for fifteen minutes of
> fame...and suckering the gullible press.

Agreed!  Besides, the automobile actually replaced the horse & carriage anyway.



Date: 07/10/19 09:20
Re: Is there a "legal obligation" to drive automobiles?
Author: WOPRJim

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Did the automobile squeeze out commuting
> alternatives like rail?  

WOW! Is THIS STILL a reasonable question? 
It's a matter of basic knowledge (both economic and historical) that the "freedom" of personal automobiles ( as related in your personal history) dispersed the "traffic base" of commuting. That's also a known factor for the difference in European Passenger versus American Passenger operations and the "suburbanization" of America's population. Do you doubt that economic conditions and access to that "freedom" varies based on societal factors? Choice is only ONE factor.
The growth of Trucking has had a similar effect on Freight Trains.
Jim



Date: 07/10/19 14:55
Re: Is there a "legal obligation" to drive automobiles?
Author: march_hare

At the time the interstate highway act was passed, there was also a school of thought that held suburbanization was a good thing because suburbs would be less vulnerable to attack during a nuclear war. 



Date: 07/10/19 15:39
Re: Is there a "legal obligation" to drive automobiles?
Author: colehour

During the '50s I was growing up in Whiting, Indiana, a suburb of Chicago that was more or less completely developed by WWII. Car ownership was widespread, but there were families that did not own cars. Even people with cars would walk or take a bicycle to work or shop. We had reasonably good bus service and there were many mom-and-pop grocery stores that were within easy walking distance. At one time several railroads had passenger service to the city, but by the '50s, only PRR had regular (if infrequent) service. The South Shore was a short bus trip away, however. There was a streetcar company, never very successful, that ceased operations in 1940.

Whiting was "suburbanized" prior to the post-WWII boom, partly because there was fairly good rail transportation. Of course, Standard Oil was the major reason for the establishment and growth of the city. (The houses built for the managers at Standard were on a street that paralleled the tracks, conveniently located to this transportation. They must have thought that having railroads in their back yard was a blessing rather than a curse!)

In southern California, the Pacific Electric was built in part in order to encourage people to locate along the tracks and buy property from Henry Huntington and others. Part of the LA sprawl, then, was caused by the convenience of commuting by rail. PE had over 1000 miles of track at its peak.

Of course, the greater affluence in post-war USA led to increased auto ownership and the death knell for many public transportation systems. This encouraged construction of suburban housing in which having a car was a necessity.

Cultural factors have also played a part in our patterns of housing. Europeans seem more likely to prefer living in cities than do Americans, who have tended to view the suburbs as very desirable places to live. That may be changing, as many US cities are experiencing gentrification, and many people find living near a train station or convenient public transportation to be a plus.

 



Date: 07/10/19 21:48
Re: Is there a "legal obligation" to drive automobiles?
Author: justalurker66

Do people forget that the suburban railroads were connected to land sales along their lines?
Build a nice railroad between downtown and vacant fields ready for development. Encourage people to move out of the city and live in new communites. Then as the city sprawls extend the lines a little further and repeat the process. The railroad collects fares from the passengers they have developed along with the money from land sales. A process that worked until running the trains cost too much and the fares had to be raised (or the railroads simply folded).

Suburban sprawl was just a repeat of how transportation spread people across the country. Canals and eventually railroads helped people move from the coasts to the center of the country (and eventually to the other coast!). Along the way vacant land turned in to towns. Some towns turned in to cities. Nearly every town can trace it's roots back to some transportation feature such as where rivers or railroads met. Others were stops along the way that happened to grow.

I would not blame the automobile alone for sprawl ... I'd blame society. People who didn't want to live stacked in a building like cordwood. People who saw the "American Dream" of having a house with a yard and a white picket fence.



Date: 07/11/19 21:02
Re: Is there a "legal obligation" to drive automobiles?
Author: casco17

Salt Lake's Trax light rail Red Line that heads southwest to the Herriman area is repeating that pattern of having rail transit "open up" new residential areas.  Much of the land near the end of the line is still open, however developers are putting up new housing tracts.  Take Trax to tracts?  Sure, why not.  



Date: 07/12/19 05:50
Re: Is there a "legal obligation" to drive automobiles?
Author: Duna

Nutjob article. Look who the attorney author is, not surprised...



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