to think cars should be banned from towns and cities

(144 Posts)
chrome100 Fri 26-Apr-13 19:55:36

I don't own a car, mainly because I am too poor but also because I don't really need one and get around from A-B either on foot (short distances), cycling (medium distances), or bus/train (long distance). I am not a lentil-weaving hippy by any means but I really dislike the way that the dominance of the car has influenced our towns and cities - children can't play out, we are always waiting at junctions and traffic lights, running and walking necessitate several lengthy pauses to cross busy roads etc etc.

Why can't we create some kind of system whereby cars must be left on the outskirts of a city and everyone wanting to move around inside it has to walk/cycle/use the bus? I know this is hugely unrealistic and expensive but the impact this would have on our daily lives would be immense. The general environment would be so much more pleasant, we'd be to roam (ok, maybe I am a bit lentil weaver grin )

I know some people are disabled etc and allowances could be made for that but the vast majority of car journeys within a city (I think) could be avoided if people gave themselves more time to get to where they were going.

I'd love to live in a town town with no traffic, to cycle along with no cars and not have to fight dangerous junctions as a pedestrian.

overprotection Fri 26-Apr-13 19:56:57

I think pedestrians should be banned from towns and cities, they hold up traffic by crossing the road too much.

caroldecker Fri 26-Apr-13 19:58:51

Also buses - blocking the road at every stop

I think we have this already. It's called pedestrian areas ....

And what about those who actually live in the city centre? Are you suggesting I should park my home 6+ miles away from the house even though many of the places we need to get to are in areas not really served by public transport?

Lazyjaney Fri 26-Apr-13 20:02:46

I think people should be banned from towns and cities, they cause nearly all the problems.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 20:04:21

I totally agree. Obviously some towns and cities will need a serious overhaul of their public transport systems to allow for it though.

(We are also car-free, can you tell?)

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 20:05:40

I'd also like to see driving distances that are easily walkable banned (with obvious exceptions for the disabled etc).

nancerama Fri 26-Apr-13 20:06:49

Rather than banning or restricting car use, I'd love to see some real thought going into planning consents and town planning to make the use of a car less necessary.

I used to live in the Netherlands, where everything you need is a walk/short cycle ride away from home and public transport is reliable, frequent and affordable.

Unfortunately the UK seems to prefer the American way of life with massive out of town supermarkets and retail parks taking business from local shops and thereby increasing car use.

dopeysheep Fri 26-Apr-13 20:06:55

I definitely think more pedestrian areas should be created. Also more tunnels/bridges over busy roads so you can move around more freely.

Bowlersarm Fri 26-Apr-13 20:07:47

Won't happen any time soon. Car is king.

overprotection Fri 26-Apr-13 20:09:32

I'd also like to see driving distances that are easily walkable banned (with obvious exceptions for the disabled etc).

To enforce this we could either:

a) Have police follow people around to see if they drive a short distance and then get out of the car.

b) Microchip everyone and put a tracker in their car, to see if they drive it somewhere they could have walked.

A fine use of government resources I'm sure all will agree.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 20:12:06

Ok, you're quite right, in the real world I don't actually think it should be made illegal.

chrome100 Fri 26-Apr-13 20:12:41

You're right - I live 20 mins walk from the city centre so I can access everything I want on foot, give or take and also the train station. I accept this would be harder for those living in the leafy suburbs. However, many suburbs are only 5 miles away from the city centre - an easy distance to cycle or if not bus and possibly walk for those with more time.

Everything would need hugely overhauling but, imho, it would be worth it.

sleeplessbunny Fri 26-Apr-13 20:14:47

everyone can learn to ride motorbikes instead! wink

HoHoHoNoYouDont Fri 26-Apr-13 20:15:00

Everyone should drive these when inner city. I saw one yesterday, they're great.


expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 20:16:49

I think we should bring back horses and carriages, ankle-deep horse shite mixed with horse piss is much better.

HollyBerryBush Fri 26-Apr-13 20:22:29

I think they should do away with towns and cities and make people stay indoors and only interact through theinternet and do shopping online


imour Fri 26-Apr-13 20:24:14

go live in the country then knob

Eskino Fri 26-Apr-13 20:27:17

Holly I thought they had?

<twitches nets>

AngiBolen Fri 26-Apr-13 20:28:13

I agree. And I drive everywhere. Subsidised buses/trams are the way to go. I'd be laughing.

nailak Fri 26-Apr-13 20:30:25

but how would all the buggies fit on the bus?

What happens if you are disabled but don't drive and you use taxis? Also, what would happen if the government decided you just weren't disabled enough but you still couldn't walk any sort of distance?

thereonthestair Fri 26-Apr-13 20:33:58

So what do you do with me. I am lucky, I live in a city centre, and for me I cycle or walk, or get the train. My my ds has cerebral palsy. He can't ride a bike nor walk. What do you want us to do fly. If I had my way more congestion charging, more costs at bringing a car into the centre, better park and ride and much better public transport are all priorities. I am happy to pay far more tax for that. But I have to drive a little when I am transporting ds, and walking, cycling and bus just don't work. If they did I would use them more. But they don't because most people won't pay the tax we need to.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 20:34:17

There would be affordable public transport at the end of every road in this utopia shro

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 20:36:58

thereonthestair exemptions for the disabled have already been mentioned upthread.

If I ruled the world I would be giving all parents Bakfietsen though - free disability adaptations if necessary

MTSgroupie Fri 26-Apr-13 20:37:47

It takes me 90 min to drive to my parents.

It takes me 5 hours to catch a bus to the station, train to Euston, Euston to x and then bus to their house.

I think that I will stick with my car.

StanleyLambchop Fri 26-Apr-13 20:38:40

The vast majority of car journeys within a city (I think) could be avoided if people gave themselves more time to get to where they were going.

And if you cannot drop your child off at school any earlier than 8.30, then have to be in work, the other side of the city by 9.00pm? Or if you live in the city centre and work miles away? What about the elderly? My parents do not qualify for a disabled badge but they still can't actually walk very far, so going anywhere really is impossible without a car. I think there are too many variances to make this a realistic plan.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 20:42:17

MTS that's exactly the kind of situation that would be ideal for joining a car club imho, assuming you don't do the journey on a daily basis.

BackforGood Fri 26-Apr-13 20:42:20

and ridiculous
and clearly got no idea of how my life works

StanleyLambchop Fri 26-Apr-13 20:42:53

Public transport is also aimed at the able bodied. Again, my parents could not manage to walk to & from bus stops. So better buses is not the solution for everyone.

JollyPurpleGiant Fri 26-Apr-13 20:43:28

Commuting by public transport would cost me £19.50 per day. And would take 3 hours a day. Commuting by car takes 1.5 hours.

An online calculator tells me the journey costs me £8.12 in fuel if I drive. Obviously other vehicle costs would have to be added in to the calculation in order for the costs to be accurately compared.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 20:45:05

Stanley in general the elderly are more time rich than others, so free services like Dial-a-Ride can work really well.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Fri 26-Apr-13 20:45:10

I think I would have to cycle as I wouldn't want to mix with common smelly people on public transport grin

Sirzy Fri 26-Apr-13 20:48:37

Lovely idea if places actually had something resembling decent public transport.

I live in a reasonable sized town but the public transport is frankly horrendous with the nearest train station being 15 minutes drive away (or over an hour on the bus) - that train goes to 2 locations only! I will do that when I need to go to Liverpool but anywhere else it is much easier to drive.

MTSgroupie Fri 26-Apr-13 20:49:34

Vinegar - actually when I lived in London that was exactly what I did. However, I live in the burbs now and catching a bus with my weekly Sainsburys shopping and trailing kids isn't a workable situation smile

In my defence I don't drive a petrol guzzling SUV.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 20:50:31

Online shopping!

<car free bore icon>

CloudsAndTrees Fri 26-Apr-13 20:53:15

It might make your life more pleasant, but I can assure you that having to use buses would make my life much more unpleasant. I like being able to park in town. I like that I can shop and then drop my bags in my car then go back for more. And it's quicker.

StanleyLambchop Fri 26-Apr-13 20:56:07

So Vinegar- would car-club cars be exempt from these car free cities then? Surely a car is a car, just because it is owned by a car club does not mean it will not block up busy junctions, stop our children from being able to play out, etc etc .

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 21:00:51

Stanley the car club suggestion was in response to a poster wanting to drive out of town, not in to town.

Although actually yes they do massively reduce the isdues around car use, partly because they discourage "flippant" car use and partly just because of the logistics - 50 or more people share one car, so 50 x less cars on the road, needing parking space etc.

tallulah Fri 26-Apr-13 21:01:05

YABVU. Where we used to live they pedestrianised the town centre. Delivery drivers were allowed through, as were taxis, and cars with Blue Badges. It was more dangerous than when there was a steady stream of cars through, because firstly you didn't expect to see a car and secondly the vehicles that were allowed through drove as if they were on a normal road.

You've obviously never suffered health problems either. I had to go to a hospital right in the city centre for chemotherapy. There was a shuttle bus to parking in the shopping centre but the last thing you want after 4 hours of chemo is to be on a bus surrounded by sick people. Perhaps I should have cycled there hmm

What is this crap about children playing out too? That's what gardens are for.

thereonthestair Fri 26-Apr-13 21:02:48

I am actually quite anti car. I don't need one much. I don't use it much. Backfielts doesn't actually work for a child, a walker and wheelchair. Maybe if I was fitter! It also doesn't always work when I am pushed for time. So I go back to pay more taxes have better public transport, make the choice cost and time neutral then persuade people to ditch their cars some of the time.

StanleyLambchop Fri 26-Apr-13 21:06:46

Stanley the car club suggestion was in response to a poster wanting to drive out of town, not in to town.

But you don't know that the parents house was not in the centre of another town, so they might have to drive in/through that town to get to their parents house.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 21:08:01

Yes indeed, your suggestions are far more sensible! I think measures such as the congestion charge should be balanced with incentives for walking/cycling where possible, purely because of the positive effects on the environment and the rest of society.

StanleyLambchop Fri 26-Apr-13 21:11:40

Thereonthestair, the problem with persuading people to ditch their cars some of the time is that they are expensive to insure, tax, fuel and maintain. Most people accept the costs in exchange for the convenience. If we were encouraged to use public transport for some of the time, it would not maake it cost effective to run the car and pay the bus fares at the same time. Only one or the other really works.

imour Fri 26-Apr-13 21:21:22

who would choose to pay a bloody fortune to be squashed on public transport with slow old people , shopping trolleys,buggies,kids,smelly fat sweaty people, urgh no thanks ill nip to town in my car smile

thereonthestair Fri 26-Apr-13 21:22:29

Stanley. I completely disagree. I do a real mixture, my main method of transport is bike. But this week I have been on foot, in a car, on trains, on buses. The choice is always convenience based, but it does have to be better to go by public transport because it is not yet cost neutral in this country. However if you don't drive much fuel doesn't cost much. And I have to maintain a bike as much if not more than my car. It really is a lifestyle choice. My car is an expensive luxury. I don't really need it (that much - apart from for ds and related needs ) and as such I accept that I pay for the convenience. It would actually cost more to use it more so I choose not to. That's what I mean about incentives. I pay to park in my city centre area, it's part of the cost of where I live, and I'm lucky to have the choice. I accept that I should pay because I believe we should all pay for the congestion. But I am not lucky to have a disabled child who cannot walk or cycle. And for his sake you cannot ban cars. I would like there to be fewer about though, especially if it takes a disproportionate amount of time for me to drive him when others do have choices his disability has taken away from me. When I am already spending hours extra a day doing things others take for granted.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 21:27:17

Re maintenance costs etc, may I bring up Car clubs again

<broken record icon>

BarredfromhavingStella Fri 26-Apr-13 21:28:59

Fuck off, just fuck off-right to the other side of fuck.

StanleyLambchop Fri 26-Apr-13 21:36:30

But insurance/tax costs of a car are the same however much you use it. Once I have paid those costs I want to get my money's worth, not have to shell out again in bus fares to somewhere I could easily drive to. As for car clubs, can I once again bring up convenience. Sharing one car beteen fifty other people means you won't always be able to have use of it when you want. Presumably it is not free either, so some casts are payable. And what do you do once you have driven it to the place of return? Get the bus home sad

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 21:37:55

Get fecking real, OP. The city centre is what it's always been - a place for business and trade, not some fecking Shangri-la where we all link arms singing Kumbaya whilst the children play with the fairies.

The automobile is vital to trade and business. Has been for decades and isn't going anywhere.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 21:44:36

Get the bus home? What?! I'm not sure you understand car clubs at all. There are 6 Zipcars within 5 minutes walk of our flat (closest 30 seconds), that's how car clubs work.

StanleyLambchop Fri 26-Apr-13 21:55:26

Vinegar- I am not sure that you understand that not all areas in every town have nice, convenient car clubs. Having just googled, the ones closest to where I live are a fair distance away. Hence my initial point about there being so many different circumstances, this idea could never work.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 21:58:28

No, of course they don't currently. But lots do, and as a long term solution to the problem of too many cars on the road they are a great addition that should be widely promoted and subsidised.

caroldecker Fri 26-Apr-13 22:04:18

And the weather - the Netherlands is significantly warmer and drier

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 22:09:00

If it's freezing cold or raining you can use the cheap utopian public transport that runs from the end of your road grin

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 22:28:51

yes because we have so much money to throw at this cheap public transport.

what about delivery vans or tradesmen who need a vehicle to transport their equipment to wherever they are working?

can just see a white van man loading all his gear into some panniers (sp?) and getting on his bike.

You're jealous of car owners. Just green eyed jealous and want to spoil all our car driving fun.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 22:43:41

I had a car. Sold it. Now happier, thinner and better off smile

MidniteScribbler Fri 26-Apr-13 22:51:22

So because you can't afford a car, no one should have one? You're an idiot.

cantspel Fri 26-Apr-13 22:55:32

I haven't ridden a bike since i left school many moons ago and i am not going to start again now.

VinegarDrinker Fri 26-Apr-13 22:55:35

Was that to me or the OP?

Personally I could afford a car fine, thanks.

Nah VinegarSprinkles, OP. Glad you an afford a car though.

janey223 Fri 26-Apr-13 23:23:27

Can we at least just ban cutting through the side streets? I waited 10 bloody minutes tonight to cross the 'lets just cut through here' road in the middle of my street tonight. Of course the drivers all stop and wave each other past but ignore the toddler desperately trying to run across the road.

YoniMontana Fri 26-Apr-13 23:26:20

This has been invented. It's called a park and ride. But nobody round here uses them...

chrome100 Sat 27-Apr-13 00:06:33

Um, ok. I think calling me an idiot is uncalled for. And, trust me, I am not jealous of people owning a car.

A lot of the reasons people have given for needing a car are because public transport and other alternatives are so shit in this country. I agree - sometimes it's more of a hassle/expense to get the bus and in those circumstances I can totally see why people choose to drive. My suggestion is that, rather than build carparks and widen roads, we focus on looking at others ways of getting about and investing in these alternatives: better transport links, more car clubs, metro systems etc. I am not suggesting that people who are elderly/disabled/white van men should all pootle about on a bike, but there are thousands of people who are NOT elderly/disabled but just can't be arsed not to drive and can't really see that they don't need to. These are the ones that can drive less and in doing so would make a generally better environment for all.

My colleague, for instance, drives the 1 mile to work every day and pays £40 a month to park her car at work. She is fit, healthy, single - there is no reason why she couldn't walk that distance. It's people like her that I think would benefit from better investment in these alternatives. I think there must be a different way of doing things.

My town is pretty much like this. It has a lot of streets only taxis and buses can use, and very limited and expensive parking in the centre. Unfortunately, once you limit cars, you notice how many buses you need. And how many are full of tourists who wander out into the street, clog up the bike lanes on the pavement because they don't know what these are, etc.

I am in favour of the idea but it has to be pretty carefully thought through.

imour Sat 27-Apr-13 00:32:55

My colleague, for instance, drives the 1 mile to work every day and pays £40 a month to park her car at work. She is fit, healthy, single - there is no reason why she couldn't walk that distance. chrome100

what the hell has being single got to do with her walking to work or not , that made me laugh .there is a reason she doesnt walk its because she owns a car and wants to drive and its her money paying for it not yours .

chrome100 Sat 27-Apr-13 08:14:57

By "single" I mean she doesn't have kids so doesn't need to drive anyone anywhere. Realise that was a poor choice of word, apologies.

Ok clearly IABU and a massive idealist who has no idea about anything. But I still think some people are just lazy fuckers.

StanleyLambchop Sat 27-Apr-13 08:45:21

Chrome, I don't think your idea is necessarily a bad one, but- as a car driver I resent the idea that I should pay all the costs associated with car ownership, and then be expected to use public transport on top of that. The amount of money that car owners generate for the economy could not be replaced easily if everyone switched to public transport, which is why councils/governments are reluctant to consider the measures you suggest. So I think for most people it has to be a one or the other type arrangement.

I would certainly not pay to kep my car taxed and insured just to sit in the suburbs not being able to drive anywhere in it. Having one car between 50 in a car club will not bring in the same amount of revenue as 50 people having their own cars. So it comes down to economy v environment. In the current climate I know which one will be priority.

ItsAFuckingVase Sat 27-Apr-13 09:00:53

Well done OP. You've just banged the final nail in the coffin of the high street.

I don't want to drive into the city centre, because it is a fucking massive inconvenience to be limited in what I can bring back. It's a pain in the ease having to find space for a load of bags on the bus or train, and not have the contents spill out. Even more so when everyone else has a load of bags.

I drive into the city centre for meetings. To use public transport would add hours of non productive time to my working day. And then to add to it, we're not exactly renowned for our ideal weather conditions in this country, so I'd also get to turn up to said meeting pissed wet through. And there's nothing worse than having wet trouser bottoms flapping against your leg. Not sure it'd be a good look professionally either.

ItsAFuckingVase Sat 27-Apr-13 09:01:49

*pain in the arse

undercoversahm Sat 27-Apr-13 09:07:55

I am with you OP It would be transformative. We could have bikes with carts dragged behind for the shopping (cargo bikes). And a few electric taxis for those who really can't manage. But let's make first moves at least to prevent the overwhelming dominance of motor restricts and blights as many lives as it liberates. We are making a start with pedestrianised zones, Trafalgar Square's new design, Queensgate and Boris Bikes in London have made a big difference. The full externalities of car travel should be charged as a starter (this won;t be popular but we need even bigger taxes on car use to properly reflect the harm they cause).

undercoversahm Sat 27-Apr-13 09:09:53

itsafuckingvase Do you need to buy so much? In any case, Most bought goods can be delivered.

In our utopia the public transport would be regular and cheap.

Also, what about video conferencing? Do you really need to be physically present at meetings? That is so last century.

grin an answer for all your gripes.

ItsAFuckingVase Sat 27-Apr-13 09:22:43

I buy what I want to buy. And you know, it's nice to get out of the house and actually see and touch things in a shop, rather than second guessing sizing and wondering whether the colour of something is as shown on a screen.

I like to choose my own food. I buy my meat from a butcher, my fruit and veg from the market, bread from a bakery etc. As far as I'm aware, none of them offer an online shopping service.

And yes I have to physically attend meetings. I'm an engineer, and you can't really manage a project without visiting the site from time to time.

MonstersInception Sat 27-Apr-13 09:23:32

So where are you going to leave all these mythical and troublesome cars? Building swathes of car parks over green belt land would of course be an excellent option.

ItsAFuckingVase Sat 27-Apr-13 09:26:58

Also, regardless of how regular or cheap public transport was, it would still be more inconvenient for me to use.

If I was driving my car and pulled in every half mile or so the journey would take longer. And that's without taking into account the fact that I get in my car and drive straight where I need to go. A bus or train will always serve a large customer base, so the journeys are mapped in a way to be most convenient to the majority, as well as being cost effective.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 27-Apr-13 09:29:51

Who has time to walk everywhere or hang about for public transport that may or may not be on time and may or may not be full (if everyone was forced to use it, you'd end up seeing full buses go past you!) and when you finally got one, it would take an hour to do a 20 minute journey. It would take hours to do anything!

hedgefund Sat 27-Apr-13 09:31:29

'Why can't we create some kind of system whereby cars must be left on the outskirts of a city and everyone wanting to move around inside it has to walk/cycle/use the bus? '

we have these already, they are called shopping malls grin though you can't usually use the bus in the mall granted

more shopping malls!!!

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 27-Apr-13 09:35:15

Last time I had to get public transport to work it took 1hr and 50 mins and cost something ridiculous like £9. It's a 20 min drive. I live in a largish market town and work in my closest city.

teacher123 Sat 27-Apr-13 09:48:15

I hate hate hate hate hate public transport with a passion. I hate having to wait around for buses/trains, I hate not being able to get to my exact destination, I hate having to cart my stuff around and not be able to control the environment that I'm in. Too hot? Air con on, too cold? Whack up the car heating. You don't have to listen to other people's music etc etc.

I can afford to run my car and it is my choice. I have a car that is in the lowest car tax/emissions bracket, and I do not drive it unnecessarily. There is no public transport from where I live to my work, it would quite simply be impossible to get there without my car. That said I am quite happy to walk a long way to do things, and would never drive into town unless I had heavy shopping to bring back.

I volunteer at a Foodbank in the next town. It takes me fifteen minutes to drive there. It would take me about an hour and a bit to walk each way. Despite it only being 5 miles away I would have to take 3 buses. Frankly it's now looking like too much hassle for a couple of hours volunteering a week. I'm sure that's a fairly common experience.

You can't even think about banning cars until public transport is cheaper and more convenient.

That's taking aside the fact I don't actually want the government/smug fuckers further restricting what I choose to do with my life.

Chocotrekkie Sat 27-Apr-13 10:02:05

My oh works for a car company - what about his job ?

Think about the revenue and the potential unemployment from the whole car industry - design/engineering the new car, assembly, sales , petrol stations, repair garages , car park attendants etc etc

lljkk Sat 27-Apr-13 10:02:40

I still think some people are just lazy fuckers.

Undoubtedly true.
I wish your idea could come come true, OP.

I would like all shopping centres beyond a certain size to charge for parking (min. rate). I have a feeling that city centre shopping would have a massive resurgence.

I think cyclists should be banned. Not just from cities and towns. Just generally.
I don't want to be forced to crawl along at 15 miles per hour on a 60 mile per hour road watching their bottoms wriggle unattractively in Lycra.

dreamingofsun Sat 27-Apr-13 10:16:00

the impact of not using a car would be wouldn't be able to do competitive football as there would be no away matches; i'd have to stay away overnight for business trips; no more camping holidays; husband would be jobless so we would have to move house.

we live in a town centre, so you are suggesting we park at the edge and walk through the dark and rain to our house? Great. Sounds like heaven.

you sound like you must have loads of time to waste, unfortunately not everyone else does

My colleague, for instance, drives the 1 mile to work every day and pays £40 a month to park her car at work

Well she sounds like a lazy fucker with more money than sense smile

StanleyLambchop Sat 27-Apr-13 10:58:35

We are making a start with pedestrianised zones, Trafalgar Square's new design, Queensgate and Boris Bikes in London have made a big difference.

But London can implement such schemes bacause it already has a good public transport network in place. Try looking beyond our capital and it is not the same elsewhere. It would be totally impractical to start digging huge great tunnels under our cities to create an underground system.

Come and live in the wee village I live in. We have 3 pubs, 2 shops, a chippy, an Indian restaurant, a Chinese restaurant and 23563 hairdressers.
We are 6 miles from closest town, buses stop at 4pm, none at all on Sundays.
What should I do when I work evenings in said 6 mile away town? There is no path to there and the road is a twisty country 60mph road which is not lit.
Our car is essential!

KobayashiMaru Sat 27-Apr-13 11:08:38

How am I meant to cycle with four small children and some shopping? hmm
Sanctimonious twattery.

chrome100 Sat 27-Apr-13 11:20:00

I've read all your reasons/excuses why you need a car, some of them are valid, some not. I think many boil down to not wanting to inconvenience yourselves. That's your choice, but is the reason why we live in a world that relies so heavily on the car - simply because people can't be bothered for it to take longer for them to get around, they can't be bothered to carry shopping etc which is what people did in the past (and what many people without a car do perfectly fine today). You can dress it up all you like with "but how would I do XYZ without a car" or "it would take me XXX to do a 20 minute journey" - it still amounts to the fact you can't be bothered.

I'm not being sanctimonious, at least not intentionally, I don't think you are all twats for driving, it's perfectly normal to seek out the path of least resistance. The point of my post is that cities and towns would be far better off without cars, or at least with fewer of them, and quite frankly we can't keep going at the rate we are. Improving that requires a certain element of sacrifice on all our behalves.

DowntonTrout Sat 27-Apr-13 11:24:53

Obviously you don't live in a small village in Yorkshire where everything is up/down a lot of very big hills. Cycling is for the seriously fit (the tour de France will come through here.)

Public transport is poor, expensive and inconvenient.

On the other hand, I live in London during the week, where it's mostly flat and the public transport is fantastic. I don't need a car there. But the number 1 hazard as a pedestrian, IME, is cyclists! Who seem to believe that traffic regulations do not apply to them, don't stop at red lights and who come flying through, usually along side a stationary bus so I can't see them, just as I am crossing with the green man. Never mind the cutting corners or even swerving onto pavements.

Disclaimer- not ALL cyclists, probably a small minority, I know many are considerate and that cyclists face their own issues with buses and taxi drivers etc.

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Apr-13 11:25:59

Kobayashi that is exactly what the majority of families in the Netherlands do. Have a look at my link to the Bakfiets site upthread. Or look at Emily Finch for inspiration.

(I have one child, soon to be two. We are planning three minimum. We have no plans to get a car.)

As for those asking who has time to walk, cycle or take public transport, many of us manage just fine thanks. Both DH and I work, in busy jobs. I work shifts including nights and weekends. We also do various voluntary things in our "spare time" eg nursery committee. In other words we don't have much time to spare.

We both commute by bike, including the nursery drop off. It does not take significantly longer, In fact it often works out quicker than driving in London. It also stops us having to spend extra time going running/swimming/to the gym. It is easy to make assumptions that driving is always quicker when in towns and cities (the point of this thread) it often isn't.

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. It can't be at present. But if everyone thought about how they could cut down their car usage, maybe run one rather than two or more cars, it would be hugely beneficial to the whole country.

chrome100 Sat 27-Apr-13 11:29:25

I live in Calderdale actually, which is in Yorkshire and every hill out of the valley is getting on for 20%. I am not suggesting cars are banned from villages where there are no buses, but from major towns where people driving to them or living in them leave their cars in "ports" and use alternative methods of transport.

ItsAFuckingVase Sat 27-Apr-13 11:42:56

OP you're very very wrong. The world is a different place now than it was in the good ole days when we walked 20miles to get to school etc.

Local economies depend on the business generated by their town centres and high streets. Those are dying a death as it is. Making it even more difficult for people to access their town centres and high streets will drive people away altogether. Especially with the boom in out of town shopping facilities.

Aside from the above, our world has evolved and now a lot of us live in a deadline driven society. Time is precious, and it's very natural to want to maximise the things you can get done within a certain timeframe. Employment is far more fluid than ever before, in terms of people being able to commute to other towns for work. And that's before you taking into account people who have to travel as part of their job. And then aside from that, I think most people given a choice would far prefer to have a commute in the car of an hour and spend time with their families, than spend double that trudging around on multiple trains and buses that don't go exactly where they need to be. And probably in the rain.

And finally, drivers contribute an incredible amount of money to the government coiffers. Ever litre of petrol sold generates around 80p in combined duty and VAT. Parking costs in town centres generally go straight to local councils.

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Apr-13 11:50:23

We shop locally precisely because we don't have a car! We don't use supermarkets or drive to big out of town shopping centres. Instead we do smaller regular shops, all in local independent shops and our local high street.

A lot of very fixed mindsets on this thread.

Sirzy Sat 27-Apr-13 11:53:16

Who are you to decide who does and does not have valid reasons for driving or owning a car? Just because you make the choice not to have a car doesn't mean that everyone wants to live the same way as you.

chrome100 Sat 27-Apr-13 12:01:05

It's not about "wanting" to live a certain way, it's about "needing" to. By that I mean changing the way we live in order to improve life for everyone - personal sacrifice for common gain. This is why we recycle, why we pay taxes, why we take the time to pick up our litter etc. Driving less and only when strictly necessary would hugely improve our general living environment for everyone.

Vinegar is right - there are a lot of people on this thread who are exceptionally stuck in their ways, churning out the same excuses. No, it's not up to me to decide who has valid reasons or not - that's my opinion, and one I am entitled to just as you are to yours.

teacher123 Sat 27-Apr-13 12:03:08

Vinegar drinker-you also have a very set mindset! I shop locally, walking into town to go to the butchers etc, but when I need to buy washing powder, loo rolls and nappies I drive to tescos. As long as it is legal for me to drive the car that I pay for wherever and whenever I want to drive it, I will make those choices thank you very much. There is no way that I could do my job and get ds to child care without a car. Even if we moved house. We will be a 2 car family probably forever, and that is our choice.

HerrenaHarridan Sat 27-Apr-13 12:06:05
chrome100 Sat 27-Apr-13 12:06:14

Teacher - so why do you think Vinegar can manage it and you can't? What are the differences between your lives? Do you think yours is more busy? Without knowing either of you I suspect it's because Vinegar is prepared to make sacrifices that you are not.

Sirzy Sat 27-Apr-13 12:07:30

It is about wanting to, it's about you wanting everyone to make the same choices as you when everyone has different lives and different circumstances.

You seem to be sure that nobody needs to drive in a city centre or town centre which is frankly bollocks!

chrome100 Sat 27-Apr-13 12:09:24

No, not that "nobody" needs to drive - sure, some people do, some of the time but not as many that think they need to drive now.

KobayashiMaru Sat 27-Apr-13 12:10:07

yeah, that will work well for a 2 hour cycle in the pouring rain with a newborn baby, and twisty narrow roads with no cycle paths. hmm
The netherlands is mostly flat and set up for cycling.......

Bugger off, I'm keeping my car.

Sirzy Sat 27-Apr-13 12:16:04

But you are trying to decide for other people which journeys they need to make - what makes you think your way of wanting things is right? You have a very high and mighty attitude.

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Apr-13 12:16:33

Kobayashi - you do realise this thread is about towns and cities right?

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 27-Apr-13 12:17:57

Cycling everywhere was fine in the Netherlands, it is flat, really, really flat. Not a bit flat, but table flat.

However, shopping was hard work with two DCs still in nappies. Every other shop was a nappy shop. DH alternated food shopping and nappy shopping and shopping every day. Shopping for 5 is no lightweight matter on a pushbike with two DCs on board.

We sobbed with gratitude when we were able to get a car.

chrome100 Sat 27-Apr-13 12:18:40

I think I am right because no one can possibly argue that having more cars on the road is a good and pleasant thing and that fewer cars would be a horrible, dreadful way to live.

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Apr-13 12:18:41

teacher - how is my mindset fixed? I've done living with a car, and living without a car. I am just giving my examples of how it can work to be car-free despite kids, commuting etc etc. I don't really care what other individual people do, but I do care about the ever increasing number of cars on the road and people's ostrich approach to it.

DeepRedBetty Sat 27-Apr-13 12:19:28

One thing that's only been skirted round is getting stuff delivered. There seems to be an idea that if you order stuff on line and get it sent to you, you've magically cut out vehicle use. But instead you've just transferred the vehicle use to the retailer.

I've been driving round the suburbs and villages round here daily for nine years, collecting up dogs for their walks and taking them home again, and the numbers of delivery vans for supermarkets and parcel deliveries has increased many times fold. From the point of view of other road users, they're a massive PITA; although most drivers are courteous, they are often delivering on narrow streets and are as bad as getting stuck behind the bin lorry, and some companies have them on such a tight schedule (Tesco and DPD are definitely guilty) that they are forced to drive like loons, and I've seen them consulting hand-held computers while driving. I had to jump off a zebra crossing out of a Tesco van's path, he wasn't looking at the road, he was typing something into a tablet!

DowntonTrout Sat 27-Apr-13 12:19:40

Actually, it is about not wanting to but needing to.

I don't want to have to use my car. I manage well without it in London because the infrastructure and facilities are there.

In Yorkshire I need to, because they aren't. I, personally, couldn't cycle, even if I wanted to, because of two prolapsed discs in my back, and I can't walk the 3 miles to town. Neither could I carry anything heavier than my handbag.

You choose to do what you do because you can. I don't have the luxury of being able to make that choice. That's not an excuse, it's how it is.

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Apr-13 12:20:57

Sirzy - the fact you choose to drive impacts on me and my children in myriad ways. It is not value neutral.

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Apr-13 12:27:40

Downton so you do not live in a town, then, in which case this wouldn't apply. Or if you do it is one with no/inadequate public transport?

teacher123 Sat 27-Apr-13 12:28:22

Vinegar said up thread that she lives in London. You cannot compare local transport like with like where I live (not a million miles from London in a market town). My job is 20 miles away down backstreets and I have to be at work for 7.45am having already dropped ds off at child care. Dh works all manner of shifts so cannot be relied on to take ds to childminders every day so I have to be able to.
I. Couldn't. Get. To. Work. Without. My. Car.

I don't use my car for short unnecessary journeys. Petrol is expensive and we pay a Shedload of tax every journey. I pay insurance. All you cyclists, are you insured if you hit a pedestrian?

Sirzy Sat 27-Apr-13 12:28:57

My choice to drive means I can do my voluntary work which makes a massive positive impact on hundreds on young people.

My choice to drive means I can get DS to hospital in 10 minutes when he has an asthma attack which has a positive effect on his health and means we don't need to call an ambulance.

My choice to drive means we can travel to a whole host of places with ease for days out and holiday and support the economies in those places.

I would use public transport if I lived in a location which had a halfway decent public transport system.

I walk when that is a possibility, I am not going to be dictated to about when I can drive or what benefits someone else feels that has. If you choose not to drive fine but don't judge others for making a perfectly legal decision as to how they want to live their life.

chrome100 Sat 27-Apr-13 12:29:17

Downtown - I accept you can't walk/cycle, that's fine. If driving is genuinely easier, drive. But for every person in your position there are many, many more (like my aforementioned colleague) who simply DO NOT need to drive and shouldn't do. This is the point of the thread.

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Apr-13 12:29:28

Betty - true, and in fact I can't remember the last time we did get something delivered tbh, but even so one vehicle delivering many, many products is still much more efficient than multiple cars, both in terms of traffic and environmental impact.

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Apr-13 12:33:57

" I would use public transport if I lived in a location which had a halfway decent public transport system."

This is the crux of it, and I don't think anyone on this thread would say car use should be penalised until this is put in place.

We could not live car free if I lived in a place with crap public transport. Yes we cycle 95% of journeys but decent public transport is an essential back up.

dreamingofsun Sat 27-Apr-13 12:35:53

perhaps you could explain to me how my son and I are suppossed to get to his football fixture tomorrow which is 15 miles away down hilly roads with no public transport?

would you be prepared to cycle 10 miles to work down narrow country lanes at 5am, and do a 10 hour day and cycle back? And thats the nearest job.....the others involved a 90 min car journey.

inconvenience is not really the word.

though i do agree there should be less cars in i can drive mine more quickly.

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Apr-13 12:40:58

Did anyone actually read the thread title? This is about towns and cities people.

(FWIW I currently cycle 6 miles to work, work 13 hour shifts then cycle home. I am 30 weeks pregnant. I don't think everyone else could or should do the same, but it certainly isn't impossible or even especially onerous tbh.)

DowntonTrout Sat 27-Apr-13 12:47:53

Well I do live in a town. In Yorkshire. And have lived in this town for my whole life. It is actually a conurbation of small villages with a "town centre."

At the moment I am spending weekdays in London for a short period. I am amazed at the transport system, the ease of use, and how much money I save as opposed to running a car. My DD travels anywhere for free. It's fantastic.

My town, at home, just does not have this travel infrastructure. To get a bus to/from the centre is more expensive than a taxi if there are two of you. On top of that, buses aren't direct and taking a bus from my home to somewhere across town, meaning two or three buses could take four hours, bearing their infrequency, and maybe £20 if two of us. There are no trains nearby, either walking distance or on bus routes, except in the town centre.

Oh dear, on top of this it's a 4x4. Never mind that we were the only ones to get trough the roads with snow drifts higher than the car this winter. At least I'm greener the other 5 days a week.

teacher123 Sat 27-Apr-13 12:48:28

As long as you're not a person who doesn't have a car for principled reasons and then cadges lifts off people-that really does piss me off something chronic!

Fwiw I do agree that many town centres would benefit from improved infrastructure and regeneration, as traffic is ugly and polluting in cities. HOWEVER, until alternatives exist, I'm not going to even consider changing the way I get myself from A to B. When we lived in London my car would sit unused for a fortnight as I did everything on public transport. Here, it's impossible.

Sirzy Sat 27-Apr-13 12:49:35

I live in a town though as do many people. Doesn't change the fact that the idea of the op is completly unworkable

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Apr-13 12:55:35

The OP didn't say people who live in towns or cities shouldn't drive cars, though. She said people shouldn't drive cars in the centre of towns or cities. So all these posts about country lanes and 15 mile drives to the next town to work/volunteer etc are totally irrelevant to the OP.

ItsAFuckingVase Sat 27-Apr-13 13:01:23

I ordered 2 things online for delivery. They were delivered yesterday, when I was out. They're now at the sorting office, which is in the town centre. I can just about get there before closing after work if I drive. If I don't drive, it is physically impossible to get there. I can't rearrange delivery as there's every chance again that I won't be in.

I think it's great that you don't want to drive. I like people being able to exercise their freedom to make their own decisions. But I don't want mine taken away.

Also, there is no little high street where I live. If I want to go to the butchers, bakers etc I need to go into town.

dreamingofsun Sat 27-Apr-13 13:01:50

i did read the thread and i do live in the middle of a town centre.

however, there is very little public transport, its very slow and doesn't go to many of the places we need to. a simple 40 minute journey by car would change into several different methods of non-car transport and an overnight stay.

DowntonTrout Sat 27-Apr-13 13:13:50

But read my posts vinegar whether you consider where I live in Yorksire as part of a town (it is) or not, my point is that in central London I don't need or use a car. It's great, I feel enlightened.

Still couldn't manage without a car at home though, and bearing in mind you have to drive through the town centre to get anywhere, what do you propose I do? If everywhere had great transport I suspect many would get rid of their cars. But considering London has these great transport links but it is still gridlocked just proves that even with the infrastructure in place, sometimes it's still not practical/ desirable all the time.

KobayashiMaru Sat 27-Apr-13 13:21:05

You seem to missing to point though that people may live in one town or city and work in another, and have other business in still others? So if I am allowed a car, but not allowed to drive into any town or city, how many bikes do I need precisely? I mean, if I am to bike around my own town with four children hanging off me, then collect my car somewhere on the outskirts, drive to the other town outskirts, presumably my 5 person bike comes with me, does it? OR do I have another one there? Or am I to use buses and trains with a double buggy and a load of shopping?

not really thought this through, have you?

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 27-Apr-13 13:40:37


I think that the point of the thread is that you would like to be able to dictate what people do.

Just because you don't think that a journey by car is unnecessary doesn't mean others think the same.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 27-Apr-13 13:45:36

I think that you would be naive to think that achieving this would be about building cycle paths and improving public transport. My town centre is already pretty much dead in terms of daily shopping. Banning cars is not going to revive it.

I occasionally work in a town that is 20 minutes drive away. If I have to do an on-site meeting, I charge my client for my time. If I got the bus I'd have to get 2 buses and the journey would take just under two hours each way. I don't think I'd have a client very much longer.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 27-Apr-13 16:41:31

I do live in a town. I work in the next city. The city even has a park and ride but I don't use it because it's shit. I also drive my dcs to school in my town. It's just over 2 miles, it is walkable (I could get a bus for about 1/4 of a mile of the journey) but I would have to walk an almost 5 mile round trip to come home and pick up my car to drive to work. I would also have to leave early and pay for breakfast club. Youngest dc in nursery cannot stay at school breakfast club so I would have to walk him a further 3/4 of a mile to the before school club. It would cost £13.50 a day for the extra childcare alone. This is in a town.

lljkk Sat 27-Apr-13 20:25:15

All you cyclists, are you insured if you hit a pedestrian?

We have something like that thru CTC.
Awful lot of motorists aren't insured, anyway. Okay it may be illegal, but doesn't stop a frightful lot of people from not bothering.

I wish OP's dream could come true. If only infrastructure was designed differently. Problem is so few ruddy professional jobs around here. We moved here because DH was working locally and I could commute (17 miles) on train & bike. But then my job finished & DH's company keeps moving around. He still cycled 35 miles/day down the main roads but that definitely wasn't for everyone, and we couldn't just move house (sell house) every time his employer shifted elsewhere, or in response to whatever job I got offered next.

China WAS your utopia, OP. But the modern planners have planned all the new cities on assumption that Car will be King & have redesigned the old cities in same way. They could have planned wide cycling boulevards in every city and just a few key access roads for private auto traffic, plus good public transport links. They decided not to do things like that. sad

Plomino Sat 27-Apr-13 20:38:08

Cars being banned is all very well if you have a 24 hour permanently running reliable transport system , because you have to account for the fact that not everyone works 9 - 5 hours . I work shifts . Like so many of my shift worker colleagues , I can't afford to live in London , so I live out in the counties . I finish work on a late turn at about 11pm . The last train home is 2215 . After that , the next option is to catch the trains up until 1am to Peterborough , which is about 50 miles from home , and get a cab . Except that for some shifts ,I now finish at 3 am . Which means without a car my only option is to sleep on a bench at Kings Cross till the first train at 5.45 . Not ideal when I have to be back for work at 3pm .

It's a nice idea , but one that assumes that every town and city is only used and worked in by those who live in it .

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hulababy Sat 27-Apr-13 20:53:14

I used to live IN the city centre. What would have been expected to do? Never drive to my own house?

I drive into town and park as it is cheaper for me to do so than get the bus - plus more than half the length of time taken than if on the bus. nd if doing a big shopping trip I don't want to lug loads of heavy bags about on public transport.

How far from the city centre are we talking about too?

Hulababy Sat 27-Apr-13 20:56:27

I live 5 miles from town.

The car takes me 15 min.

The bus, including walking to/from bus stops, waiting times, etc - 40 min.

Cycle - ages! It is VERY hilly in Sheffield. Way back would be an absolute killer as all uphill; not very practical. And a nightmare with heavy shopping bags!

Walk - well over an hour, and more! Can you imagine with children, a return trip - and with bags of shopping? Hmmm.

Pigsmummy Sat 27-Apr-13 21:13:42

Nice idea but pure nonsense in practical/economic/evolution terms

Ah but. Think of the number of threads it would generate on here. "AIBU to think this journey should have been allowed" "I saw the woman's sister's cousin from across the street driving when she should have been walking"

dreamingofsun Sun 28-Apr-13 10:36:41

having read this thread again, i confess, that like many, I have jumped to the wrong conclusions. The poster is not saying we shouldn't use cars, we can use them as much as we like, just not in town centres. this is so her kids can cross roads more easily.

this would mean:

1. people in the suburbs would have their streets used as carparks by those working, living and shopping in the centres

2. my insurance premiums would go up, as the insurance company would argue its not as safe to park my car overnight in a street as it is in my drive or garage

3. people living in town centres would feel nervous walking home alone late at night from their cars and would be at a higher risk of getting mugged.

4. there would be a massive increase in demand for wheelbarrows (to cart things such as camping kit, shopping etc from cars to people's houses)

5. also a massive increase in cyclists in town centres as people would use them as a means to move from their cars on the outskirts to city centres. So the posters kids would need to be careful crossing junctions anyway

LessMissAbs Sun 28-Apr-13 13:02:23

Perhaps on Sundays as a start. And buses. I hate buses.

Firstly, stop comparing to London. Frankly put - if you drive in central London you are probably a wanker as public transport is clearly better.
Driving in Leicester is another matter.

Secondly, I'm put off giving up my car just by the self-righteous, holier than thou attitude of some non-car drivers on this thread. If you want to live your limited life without the luxury (yes, luxury) of a car then bully for you. But accept that it will be limited and you could be stuck in an emergency. Oh, and that it in no way makes you better than someone who chooses to drive.

In the end, there is such thing as free will. You cannot dictate who should and shouldn't drive. There are too many laws already.

Maybe try North Korea? They sound like they have the same views on controlling the masses.

(disclaimer: I'm in a foul mood, sorry)

Mother2many Tue 30-Apr-13 00:46:18

Interesting... I know, our city buses stop running at 8:00 pm... start up at 6:00 am. So that would screw up alot of people...

Would be better to see more people car pool! SO many people travel alone...

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