NYT: The Demise of Car Culture

The New York Times on the growing disillusionment with the automobile:

For generations, American car buying has been guided by one grand philosophy: which one do I want?

But now, another question has begun to percolate: do I need a car at all?

The recession and a growing awareness of the environment are causing many people to reassess their automobile ownership. After more than a century in which an automobile represented the American dream, car enthusiasm may no longer be a part of Americans’ DNA.

Read the article

6 Responses to “NYT: The Demise of Car Culture”

  • Erik Sandblom says:

    Clearly the end of the world.

  • s0fa says:

    Articles like these are quick to congratulate middle class people in urban centers where it’s easier in many respects to not drive than to drive. I would like to see more media exposure of people who have really adapted out of a car-centric transportation habit. A good example is Jim Thill who has a wife and three kids and only one lightly used car. When I tell people that I don’t have a car I usually get chewed out about whoever I’m talking to’s obligations to their job and family members that 100% obligates them to perform every errand by car.

    I’m shocked that among all of the biking and transportation advocacy that I pay attention to that there has not been much press concerning discriminatory hiring based on having a driver’s license. Again, this article focuses on people with office jobs where employees have the privacy to get to work how they choose, but look at the qualifications for many working class jobs and an overwhelming majority of them will require you to have a drivers license. For man-driving-van jobs like construction the need is obvious but when employers require you to be licensed to drive to work at a static job site you have to ask why. I’m guessing to weed out alcoholics?

  • ToddBS says:

    Anthony over at Longleaf Bicycles (which pretty much has become my favorite online retailer) has an interesting take on this same article.

  • Surly Dave says:

    There’s a handy distinction between having a licence and owning a car I would have thought s0fa.

  • John says:

    There’s an old saying in show business, “there’s no such thing as bad press.” While I agree with s0fa that the media could do much more to publicize alternative modes of transportation, stories like this do begin to raise the visibility of cycling as a viable alternative to the car.

  • radomray says:

    While bikes are great there needs to be a good public transportation system and here in the US it still needs a lot of work . Public trans only works if you live in and travel within a a city or want to go to another city . Oops should have said really large city . I realize whining doesn’t get things done but transportation planners don’t consider that someone that doesn’t live down town doesn’t want to drive a car everywhere . For example I can commute by car 1 hr 15 minutes each way or take a train 3 and 1/2 hours each way and travel 3 times the distance and pollute just as much or more by train . Kudos to those of you who have worked out how to commute reasonable distances by bike , bus or train . I could move closer to work but my other expenses would be far greater then my cost for commuting . The problem is that it’s not just me but millions and millions of other people in the same position .

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