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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

USA Today: Nationals manager Matt Williams was involved in a hit-and-run while live on a radio show

A Beltway driver executes the fundamentals.

Every Wednesday morning, Nationals manager Matt Williams calls into 106.7 the Fan, a popular Washington, D.C. sports radio station.

But this week, he had a bit of an incident while talking to the Sports Junkies (...)

Williams was talking when all of a sudden he calmly said: “Sorry guys, I just had an accident … I got a police officer behind me and this guy’s going to try to escape.”

Wait what?

“There was a police car behind me and a guy in a car and he tried to get by me and he just smoked me,” he added.

Williams is not the first sports figure to have issues while talking on the phone to 106.7 personalities. Clinton Portis got pulled over for speeding while on Fred Smoot’s show on the station earlier this year.

AndrewJ Posted: May 07, 2014 at 08:56 AM | 321 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: accident, matt williams, nationals, radio

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   101. JE (Jason) Posted: May 08, 2014 at 03:36 AM (#4702717)
Yeah, unless you live in Adams-Morgan or Georgetown. Or want to get anywhere on a semi-reasonable schedule during the weekends or after 10:00pm. Whatever else the problems of Chicago's CTA or NYC's MTA, at least they operate on a schedule befitting an actual, you know, city.

The Circulator bus has halfway decent service to and from Georgetown, Eso, provided K and M Streets aren't too clogged.
   102. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 06:17 AM (#4702726)
Yeah, unless you live in Adams-Morgan or Georgetown.

Except I live in Adams Morgan and don't use a car to get around DC.
   103. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2014 at 07:05 AM (#4702734)
I lived in Adams-Morgan for 20 years and it would've been impossible without a car. DC isn't Manhattan unless everyplace you want to go to is within walking distance of a subway stop, and even then it would've added so many unnecessary minutes (over an hour in most cases) to the day that it would've been beyond stupid even to consider it. Being carless in DC is okay if everything you want to do is near a Metro stop with 24/7 service, but not everyone has that sort of neat and tidy life.

---------------------------------------------------------

The Circulator bus has halfway decent service to and from Georgetown, Eso, provided K and M Streets aren't too clogged.

So Jason, do you plan on selling your car and taking the Metro to Nats games in the future? Or are you going to wait until the Nats move their Stadium to the Volta Park playground? (smile)
   104. JE (Jason) Posted: May 08, 2014 at 07:26 AM (#4702738)
So Jason, do you plan on selling your car and taking the Metro to Nats games in the future? Or are you going to wait until the Nats move their Stadium to the Volta Park playground? (smile)

Let's not get started on Metrorail and Metrobus "options" after ballgames, Andy, lest we risk incurring the wrath of McCoy. Rest assured, I will continue driving to my free parking spaces on weeknights and Sundays.
   105. Flynn Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:10 AM (#4702743)
San Francisco's public transit is sort of the bare minimum of what you need to have so people can live without a car. You can do it but you'll face a lot of waiting for the bus or Muni, or walking because you're sick of waiting and where you need to go is only a mile away anyway. SF's small size is key here - when you're 7 miles by 7 miles the bus or trolley just doesn't have to go that fast for you to get from one end of the city to another in less than an hour and where you need to go probably isn't that far away.

BART is pretty good, on the other hand. Caltrain is a lot of fun but just not fast or frequent enough.

   106. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:17 AM (#4702744)
I lived in Adams-Morgan for 20 years and it would've been impossible without a car. DC isn't Manhattan unless everyplace you want to go to is within walking distance of a subway stop, and even then it would've added so many unnecessary minutes (over an hour in most cases) to the day that it would've been beyond stupid even to consider it. Being carless in DC is okay if everything you want to do is near a Metro stop with 24/7 service, but not everyone has that sort of neat and tidy life.

And I live in Adams Morgan now and it is extremely possible without a car. I know a bunch of people that live in my neighborhood that don't even have cars and they get around DC just fine. I've lived in DC now for 3 years and I've put less than 1000 miles on my car in that time. The only time I drive around in the city is when I have a large load of dry cleaning I need to drop off or pick up from my work. Otherwise I walk, take mass transit, or in the rare case of needing to be somewhere far and in a hurry I'll take a taxi.

People with cars think life without a car is impossible and unbearable. Meanwhile people who don't use cars live happy and content lives and have an extra 300 to 500 dollars a month to spend.
   107. JE (Jason) Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:21 AM (#4702746)
And I live in Adams Morgan now and it is extremely possible without a car. I know a bunch of people that live in my neighborhood that don't even have cars and they get around DC just fine.

People with cars think life without a car is impossible and unbearable. Meanwhile people who don't use cars live happy and content lives and have an extra 300 to 500 dollars a month to spend.

In fairness, this doesn't have to be an either/or proposition. For example, many carless souls in DC happily rent wheels through the Car2Go or ZipCar services.
   108. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:28 AM (#4702748)
I know plenty of people that will rent a car to get out of the city or to do some large box shopping. Hell, a lot of the miles on my car in the last 2 or 3 years have come from me loaning my car out to friends and family.

The point is that very few people that live in the main part of DC really need to own a car and use it everyday. The city would be a lot better off if it charged the hell out of commuter drivers and resident car owners and had the bulk of its residents forego owning a car and using one on a daily basis within the city.
   109. Lassus Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:32 AM (#4702749)
I've used my knee to keep the wheel steady plenty of occasions. For txting, no, for turning, no, but if I have to reach for something and I'm on a sparse highway, absolutely.


I'll also echo the positive and negative points, both, of #105. Was three years in San Francisco with no car, was never (well, probably very rarely) a problem. (Granted, I also rode my bike.)
   110. JE (Jason) Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:39 AM (#4702751)
The city would be a lot better off if it charged the hell out of commuter drivers and resident car owners and had the bulk of its residents forego owning a car and using one on a daily basis within the city.

In other words, allow only the wealthy to own cars? The District is engaged in a war on the automobile but at least right now it's being done in a passive-aggressive manner (e.g., bike lanes in the worst places).
   111. Kurt Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:41 AM (#4702753)
The point is that very few people that live in the main part of DC really need to own a car and use it everyday. The city would be a lot better off if it charged the hell out of commuter drivers and resident car owners and had the bulk of its residents forego owning a car and using one on a daily basis within the city.


Very few childless people, you mean.
   112. Lassus Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:42 AM (#4702754)
(e.g., bike lanes in the worst places).

I hear this so much from every city, I'm starting to add by default "like, on the ground".
   113. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:46 AM (#4702757)
In other words, allow only the wealthy to own cars? The District is engaged in a war on the automobile but at least right now it's being done in a passive-aggressive manner (e.g., bike lanes in the worst places).

Exactly. If you want a car and use it in DC then you're going to have to pay through the nose. There will be plenty of wealthy car owners and foreign governments that will pay and in doing so they will help the rest of us by subsidizing our mass transit and the building of larger sidewalks and more pedestrian paths. It's a win for everyone that isn't rich and the rich get better parking and less traffic.

Very few childless people, you mean.


Well, the heart of DC is home to a lot more childless people than the suburbs and a lot of the families in DC don't have cars and use mass transit as well. Again, people who use their car on a daily basis for the most part cannot fathom how people function without using a car on a daily basis. Just because they can't picture it doesn't mean it is a burden or not easily doable.
   114. JE (Jason) Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4702758)
I hear this so much from every city, I'm starting to add by default "like, on the ground".

Maybe, but I'm only referencing DC.
   115. Kurt Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:50 AM (#4702759)
In other words, allow only the wealthy to own cars?


Well, that would change everything. Hardly anyone who lives in Adams Morgan or Georgetown or Woodley or Cleveland Park or Kalorama is wealthy.
   116. JE (Jason) Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:00 AM (#4702766)
Hardly anyone who lives in Adams Morgan or Georgetown or Woodley or Cleveland Park or Kalorama is wealthy.

Hang on: Sure, Kalorama is pretty wealthy. However, many GU students live west of Wisconsin Avenue and many of the apartment buildings hanging over Connecticut north of the Taft Bridge are far from luxurious.
   117. Lassus Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4702769)
Hardly anyone who lives in Adams Morgan or Georgetown or Woodley or Cleveland Park or Kalorama is wealthy.

Whoa. I don't know the last three, but I certainly know the first two. "Hardly anyone"? Georgetown?
   118. Kurt Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4702775)
Whoa. I don't know the last three, but I certainly know the first two. "Hardly anyone"? Georgetown?


Oh sure, a sarcasm detector, like *that* would be useful (rolls eyes)
   119. Lassus Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:18 AM (#4702776)
Oh sure, a sarcasm detector, like *that* would be useful (rolls eyes)

OK, granted, that's a fail. However, I blame Jason.
   120. jmurph Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:18 AM (#4702777)
My experience with DC is that McCoy is mostly right- one can live in most parts of the city pretty easily without a car. And I think the thing he's especially right about it is that if you own a car, it's difficult to imagine going without. My wife and I drive to get groceries, for instance, because we have a kid and it's just much easier to do that and park in a garage for free than it is to walk or carry groceries on a bus. But when I lived in DuPont and parking was much harder to come by, I nearly always walked to get groceries.

But I do think there are pretty large swathes where owning a car dramatically improves your life. We live in Cleveland Park and my wife works deep in Southeast, in a very unsafe neighborhood. She could definitely take a bus to the metro and walk the 15 minutes from the metro line to her work place, or walk a mile-ish to the red line and transfer, but we're talking 30 minutes each way of driving instead of about 75 or 90 minutes each way of walking/waiting/bus/metro/transfers/walking/etc. So for her that's a pretty easy choice, and we can afford the gas/insurance costs.
   121. JE (Jason) Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4702781)
OK, granted, that's a fail. However, I blame Jason.

Take a number and have a seat. It's gonna be a while.
   122. Ron J2 Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4702782)
#81 My dad lived in the upper east side and had a car. Didn't use it for the daily commute, but rather for things like visiting my step-sister or trips to Atlantic City. Course it cost a small fortune to park.
   123. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4702784)
If your parents can afford to send you to Georgetown and can afford to give you a car then they can afford to pay for the privilege of owning and using a car in the city.
   124. Publius Publicola Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4702786)
With all these DC BTFers around, we should arrange a meet-up at a Nats game. Anyone interested?
   125. Kurt Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4702787)
I do think McCoy is partly right - when we lived in Adams Morgan I Metroed to work; my wife walked and it was fine. We drove on weekends, but if Zipcar was around at the time we wouldn't have needed to own a car. Now we're in Takoma (DC), and forget it. Our commutes add up to about 45 minutes driving, they'd be 2-2.5 hours on the metro (each way).
   126. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4702793)
Friday night against the Mets! Though several DC BTFers have gotten together at a game before. With Bluejacket now open the pregame has gotten even better.
   127. ASmitty Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:37 AM (#4702794)
The city would be a lot better off if it charged the hell out of commuter drivers and resident car owners and had the bulk of its residents forego owning a car and using one on a daily basis within the city.


Isn't this how things are done in Hong Kong? My wife's cousin is some goofy pop star of some notoriety over there, and he pays roughly 9 zillion dollars to own a car in the city. I can't imagine it's all purchase price.
   128. Publius Publicola Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:41 AM (#4702796)
Friday night against the Mets


That might be a little too soon to organize things, mcCoy. We'll need to buy a block of tickets.

When you go, where do you like to sit?
   129. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4702800)
Seatgeek is showing that section 104 has 11 seats in row L at 23 bucks each. I've sat there plenty of times and in fact we almost caught a home run ball in that area the last time we had a meetup.
   130. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4702804)
I lived in Adams-Morgan for 20 years and it would've been impossible without a car. DC isn't Manhattan unless everyplace you want to go to is within walking distance of a subway stop, and even then it would've added so many unnecessary minutes (over an hour in most cases) to the day that it would've been beyond stupid even to consider it. Being carless in DC is okay if everything you want to do is near a Metro stop with 24/7 service, but not everyone has that sort of neat and tidy life.

And I live in Adams Morgan now and it is extremely possible without a car. I know a bunch of people that live in my neighborhood that don't even have cars and they get around DC just fine. I've lived in DC now for 3 years and I've put less than 1000 miles on my car in that time. The only time I drive around in the city is when I have a large load of dry cleaning I need to drop off or pick up from my work. Otherwise I walk, take mass transit, or in the rare case of needing to be somewhere far and in a hurry I'll take a taxi.

People with cars think life without a car is impossible and unbearable. Meanwhile people who don't use cars live happy and content lives and have an extra 300 to 500 dollars a month to spend.


McCoy, I think your solution is fine----for you. And if I still lived on Mintwood Place and confined my daily activities to the parts of the city and suburbs near Metro stops, and never stayed out past midnight, I might feel as you do. The problem is that I didn't confine my wanderings to areas and times like that, I've never particularly liked arranging my life around public transportation schedules, and I doubt if I'd have wanted to depend on a taxicab to get me from Silver Hill to Adams Morgan at 2 or 5 o'clock in the morning, especially on weekends.

The point isn't that your way of dealing with transportation is wrong. It's just that it's not any sort of a universal solution for people who may have different lifestyles than yours.

As for those savings of $300 to $500 a month, I doubt if that'd make up for the extra $2500 or $3000 I'd have to put up for that 2 bedroom apartment that we last rented for $546 a month, and is now likely around $3500. The real problem in DC isn't cars, it's the lack of affordable housing.
   131. ASmitty Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4702807)
With Bluejacket now open


This wouldn't by chance be a place that sells "food" or "drinks," would it? I went to a pair of Nats games last year; and while I had a good time, I was pretty surprised by the lack of watering holes in the area.
   132. smileyy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4702810)
Re: the awfulness of Seattle drivers, do people everywhere merge way to early across a solid white line to be "polite early mergers", and thus bring traffic to a halt because they're merging in while almost stopped, rather than merging in at speed where the lone gets dotted? You know, that place you're supposed to merge?
   133. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4702811)
This wouldn't by chance be a place that sells "food" or "drinks," would it? I went to a pair of Nats games last year; and while I had a good time, I was pretty surprised by the lack of watering holes in the area.

It does indeed sell those things called food and drink. They brew their own beer on premise and in fact the entire back bar view is of the beer vats. They brew something like 24 beers on premise. I've never had their food but it looks at the very least passable.

The area is still lacking a lot of watering holes with Gordon Biersch and BlueJacket being the largest and closest in the area with for the most part the two of them being about the only real places to go outside of Half St grounds.
   134. ASmitty Posted: May 08, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4702814)
Yup, I went to Gordon Biersch three nights in a row, as the first game I was supposed to see got rained out. I struck paydirt with one of the other games, though, because inside the stadium they were doing the "cheap beers until the first pitch" thing, and the start of the game got delayed a few hours due to rain. They honored the special all the way through the delay, bless their hearts.
   135. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4702816)
McCoy, I think your solution is fine----for you. And if I still lived on Mintwood Place and confined my daily activities to the parts of the city and suburbs near Metro stops, and never stayed out past midnight, I might feel as you do. The problem is that I didn't confine my wanderings to areas and times like that, I've never particularly liked arranging my life around public transportation schedules, and I doubt if I'd have wanted to depend on a taxicab to get me from Silver Hill to Adams Morgan at 2 or 5 o'clock in the morning, especially on weekends.

The point isn't that your way of dealing with transportation is wrong. It's just that it's not any sort of a universal solution for people who may have different lifestyles than yours.

As for those savings of $300 to $500 a month, I doubt if that'd make up for the extra $2500 or $3000 I'd have to put up for that 2 bedroom apartment that we last rented for $546 a month, and is now likely around $3500. The real problem in DC isn't cars, it's the lack of affordable housing.


As I've mentioned numerous times now I get around just fine. I don't confine myself to just hanging out in Adams Morgan or near metro stops or closing up the day before midnight. The heart of the city is my playground and it is my playground at all hours of the day. My lifestyle is not unique for DC and it is rather typical for a lot of citizens of DC right now.

As for taxis at off hours Uber has come in and filled that need rather well though I've never had to use them yet.

I should also point out that "things near metro stops" contain most of what you want to do in DC so that is kind of a silly knock against not driving in DC.
   136. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4702819)
As I've mentioned numerous times now I get around just fine. I don't confine myself to just hanging out in Adams Morgan or near metro stops or closing up the day before midnight. The heart of the city is my playground and it is my playground at all hours of the day. My lifestyle is not unique for DC and it is rather typical for a lot of citizens of DC right now.

The truth is that if we now lived in DC, I'd probably use my car a lot less than I did before, although I'd keep it for bad weather days and the other times I really needed it. I messed up my knee a few months ago and walking more than a mile or two is a lot less enjoyable than it was before that, but under more "normal" circumstances I'd probably walk to pretty much everywhere between Adams-Morgan and the White House. Driving downtown in an age of impossible street parking (which in DC is only a phenomenon of about the past 25 years) wouldn't be my idea of the smarts.
   137. tshipman Posted: May 08, 2014 at 10:19 AM (#4702820)
San Francisco's public transit is sort of the bare minimum of what you need to have so people can live without a car. You can do it but you'll face a lot of waiting for the bus or Muni, or walking because you're sick of waiting and where you need to go is only a mile away anyway. SF's small size is key here - when you're 7 miles by 7 miles the bus or trolley just doesn't have to go that fast for you to get from one end of the city to another in less than an hour and where you need to go probably isn't that far away.


Seriously: when was the last time you rode Muni? It's improved a lot in the last couple years. Also, I'm not sure what you are expecting. You can get almost anywhere in the city on two transfers.
   138. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 08, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4702843)
   139. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 08, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4702844)
The truth is that if we now lived in DC


My sister lives in DC, and while she and her husband own cars, every time I have visited I have gotten along fine walking and taking mass transit. She lives in the Petworth neighborhood, FWIW.
   140. Publius Publicola Posted: May 08, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4702848)
She lives in the Petworth neighborhood, FWIW.


We looked at a few houses there but decided to pass. Lots and houses were small for what you could get in Annapolis. And I spend about 20 minutes more a day commuting than I would living in Petworth.
   141. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4702878)
My sister lives in DC, and while she and her husband own cars, every time I have visited I have gotten along fine walking and taking mass transit. She lives in the Petworth neighborhood, FWIW.

You should have visited her in Petworth before the two of you were born. You could've hopped on the Georgia Avenue trolley and been at Griffith Stadium in about ten minutes to see your future Twinkies in action, and stopped in on your fellow mice at the Wonder Bread factory just before your final stop.
   142. Canker Soriano Posted: May 08, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4702880)
You should not live in SF. You should probably, but not certainly, live around Daly City for commute purposes. You could take 19th avenue/Highway 1 through the city to the GG bridge, and then take 280/101 to your stuff in the south bay.

But it's like whatever. You don't live in the city because it's convenient for your commute--that's ridiculous. You live in the city because you want to, and you're making some lame justification because you're in an argument on the internet. So whatevs.


The original argument was that I shouldn't live someplace where I have to drive through the city to get to work. Your suggestion is that I drive through the city to get to work, and on the very road (19th Ave) that I currently use.

Skim a little less next time before you put down the joint and weigh in, dude. Or whatevs.
   143. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 08, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4702948)
Dulles demands either 1.) an exorbitant cabfare (I lived in Potomac); 2.) an interminable shuttle-bus/Metro trek that tacks on an extra two hours of commute time; 3.) paying extortionate prices for airport parking.

Get Andy to drive you - maybe he'll let you work the "stick shift". Report back.
   144. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 08, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4702963)
Lots and houses were small for what you could get in Annapolis.


She and her husband are dual income no kids, so they don't need a big house.
   145. Sunday silence Posted: May 08, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4702977)
When driving to see family in Illinois, the driver always has a spouse to unwrap and hand over.


Is this one of those weird state statutes, like you cant wash your pet camel on thursdays or you can't drive a wallaby to a hoe down?
   146. SandyRiver Posted: May 08, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4703014)
When driving to see family in Illinois, the driver always has a spouse to unwrap and hand over.

Is this one of those weird state statutes, like you cant wash your pet camel on thursdays or you can't drive a wallaby to a hoe down?


lol! Did I ever deserve that! Should've been "unwrap the food and hand it over", of course, but then it would've just been boring.
   147. BDC Posted: May 08, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4703030)
How the #### do y'all drive with your knees? Enormous steering wheels? Enormous knees? Adjustable seats hiked up to within an couple of inches of the ####### wheel? If I wanted to steer with my knees I'd have to plant my toes on the car floor, arch my back, and do a pelvic thrust in the direction of the steering wheel.
   148. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4703050)
Are you driving through Illinois as well?
   149. Canker Soriano Posted: May 08, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4703066)
If I wanted to steer with my knees I'd have to plant my toes on the car floor, arch my back, and do a pelvic thrust in the direction of the steering wheel.

Let's do the Time Warp again!
   150. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4703077)
How the #### do y'all drive with your knees? Enormous steering wheels? Enormous knees? Adjustable seats hiked up to within an couple of inches of the ####### wheel? If I wanted to steer with my knees I'd have to plant my toes on the car floor, arch my back, and do a pelvic thrust in the direction of the steering wheel.

Just try it, and unless you're short it really isn't hard if your wheels are in proper alignment. On an uncrowded stretch of interstate you can do it for many minutes at a time. I've done it with every car I've owned from a 62 Beetle to an 06 Focus wagon, though I admit that it's a lot easier with the newer cars that more or less keep going straight on a highway without much need for any sort of driver help.

NOTE: This isn't recommended when you're trying to turn a corner, or switch lanes in traffic, or in bad weather. But It's not like I'm carrying a gun into a school or a bar and pretending I'm making the world safer.
   151. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4703080)
And BTW if driving with your knees as I've described it freaks people out, what do y'alls think of sharing Dupont Circle or the Garden State Parkway with a robo-driven car?
   152. madvillain Posted: May 08, 2014 at 07:46 PM (#4703117)
Re: the awfulness of Seattle drivers, do people everywhere merge way to early across a solid white line to be "polite early mergers", and thus bring traffic to a halt because they're merging in while almost stopped, rather than merging in at speed where the lone gets dotted? You know, that place you're supposed to merge?


It's probably all the people behind the idiot up front that doesn't realize in order to merge into traffic YOU HAVE TO BE GOING THE SPEED OF THAT TRAFFIC.

I have almost been involved in two accidents in my time in Seattle and both have been caused by slow merging drivers in front of me.

Another awesome thing people like to do here is slam on their brakes going down the hill on Denny by westlake. That entire hill should be an absolute no left turn area (it's only a 2 block area) in order to expedite traffic.

Seattle just has the most backwards traffic flow, drivers and everything involved with the roads of anywhere I've driven often and/or lived. Chicagoland, NYC, SE Michigan, hell even Florida, have so much better drivers. Give me NYC drivers any day of the week. They might at times be reckless, but at least they know where the gas petal is and how to use right-aways.

And BTW if driving with your knees as I've described it freaks people out, what do y'alls think of sharing Dupont Circle or the Garden State Parkway with a robo-driven car?


Unlike you gramps, the robots have been rigorously tested for safety and don't have to pull over to pee every 30 minutes.
   153. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4703131)
Give me NYC drivers any day of the week. They might at times be reckless, but at least they know where the gas petal is and how to use right-aways.

Amen. Those East Side cabbies shooting up the northbound one ways making 45 straight green lights are poetry in motion. I've heard some of them even talk on their cellphones while speeding, the naughties.

And BTW if driving with your knees as I've described it freaks people out, what do y'alls think of sharing Dupont Circle or the Garden State Parkway with a robo-driven car?

Unlike you gramps, the robots have been rigorously tested for safety and don't have to pull over to pee every 30 minutes.


I'm looking forward to a futuristic Dupont Circle filled with robo-cars, bicycle couriers from hell, a couple of accordion-shaped Metro buses, about 50 Millennial jaywalkers with their heads buried in their smartphones, a typically mistimed set of DC traffic signals, and maybe even a couple of us old buzzards having our guide dogs shift gears while we steer with our arthritic knees. I imagine it'd remind your great-great gramps of this nostalgic scene from his childhood.
   154. McCoy Posted: May 08, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4703137)
For all this talk about how great and safe taxi drivers are and how silly it is to actually expect drivers to pay attention to driving I should point out that my cousin was killed by a zipping around taxi in Chicago about 10 or so years ago.
   155. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:17 PM (#4703156)
If he's anything like the many taxi drivers I've known in my life, the one who killed your cousin may well have been wasted from a typical week's worth of 11 or 12 hour days.** Cab drivers, bus drivers and truck drivers are all on insanely tight schedules, and it's just common sense to assume that they're not always looking out for pedestrians, just as common observation tells us that pedestrians with their heads buried in their smartphones aren't always looking out for large moving objects.

Bottom line is that accidents are caused by all kinds of obliviousness, which in turn are the result of many factors which can be anyone's fault. There's no moral to any of these stories that extends beyond the particular individuals involved. The cab driver in your cousin's case was the culprit, but how many other fatalities are caused by jaywalkers or bicyclists who wander into intersections without even bothering to look? People don't have to be behind a wheel to imagine that they're immortal.

**When I drove for Silver Spring Yellow, we'd have to be there before 7:00 AM to even get a cab, and our day never ended before 6:30. Three months of that #### was more than enough to last a lifetime.
   156. tshipman Posted: May 08, 2014 at 09:17 PM (#4703157)
The original argument was that I shouldn't live someplace where I have to drive through the city to get to work. Your suggestion is that I drive through the city to get to work, and on the very road (19th Ave) that I currently use.


Silly me, I assumed you weren't talking about driving on an actual highway.

Seattle just has the most backwards traffic flow, drivers and everything involved with the roads of anywhere I've driven often and/or lived. Chicagoland, NYC, SE Michigan, hell even Florida, have so much better drivers. Give me NYC drivers any day of the week. They might at times be reckless, but at least they know where the gas petal is and how to use right-aways.


The worst drivers I've ever seen in the US are near New Orleans.
   157. Publius Publicola Posted: May 08, 2014 at 10:16 PM (#4703179)
If my knees are close enough to the wheel so that I can nudge it to rotate, then I don't have the seat pulled back far enough.
   158. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 09, 2014 at 01:12 AM (#4703211)
Andy I ride a motorbike every day and some of your antics are downright...well...effing stupid. I might speed like a demon, however when I'm on the motorbike the ONLY thing I am doing is riding it. I'm not on a phone, talking to anyone, checking texts or all the other sh*t people do in cars that distract them. I'm focused all the time. And yeah, I do realise the many drivers such as yourself give so little regard for other users of the road network that I just assume you are half-arse knee driving with a burrito in one hand and your penis in the other whilst talking on your mobile.

Here's a tip for you. Next time you hop into your one ton box of metal, please think of the remote possibility that steering with your knees and talking on the mobile is hardly going to help you serve around some kid chasing a ball into the street.
   159. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 09, 2014 at 07:25 AM (#4703236)
Here's a tip for you. Next time you hop into your one ton box of metal, please think of the remote possibility that steering with your knees and talking on the mobile is hardly going to help you serve around some kid chasing a ball into the street.

Kind advice, but I've never steered with my knees in residential neighborhoods or in any sort of conditions where pedestrians are in the immediate area. I do that exclusively on straightaway roads where there's no traffic around me, and even then it's very seldom. And as I noted above, I don't text or surf the internet either in my car or out of my car. I don't even have an internet connection in my car, and have no interest in having it.

There's a huge difference between talking and texting, whether or not you want to recognize it. With talking, your eyes are off the road for but a split second while you punch each number, giving you plenty of time between numbers to triple check for road conditions before you punch the next one. And once you're connected, your eyes are always on the road. Whereas with texting or surfing, you're constantly taking your eyes off the road.

BTW I'd be interested in hearing from people who play with their smartphone toys while meandering around city streets, fully engaged with their toys while totally oblivious to their surroundings, and waxing indignant if a car honks at them to get their fogged out attention. When one of those clowns gets sideswiped because of his stupidity, I've got about as much sympathy for them as Ray does for a Medicare recipient.

(Oh, wait, you mean it's possible to talk or text or surf while walking and still not crash into people and wander into traffic? Do tell! I didn't realize that anyone could be capable of such virtuosity! What'll they think of next!)
   160. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 09, 2014 at 08:09 AM (#4703241)
I for one welcome our robot overlords if they will drive me around. One of the reasons I like mass transit is I can get from place to place while doing other things (reading, texting, whatever). I feel certain robot drivers will be much safer than humans. Can't wait for it.
   161. J. Sosa Posted: May 09, 2014 at 08:26 AM (#4703244)
My vote for worst drivers goes to anyone from Los Angeles in a rain storm. I once witnessed dozens of drivers who evidently had no idea where to find the windshield wipers. Dozens of drivers in a pouring rain, tearing down the road with next to zero visibility. I witnessed multiple wrecks, including one guy that just ran straight into a barrier. It was one of the more incredible displays of mass incompetence I've ever seen. *

*No offense intended to any natives of the city present.
   162. just plain joe Posted: May 09, 2014 at 08:43 AM (#4703249)
I for one welcome our robot overlords if they will drive me around. One of the reasons I like mass transit is I can get from place to place while doing other things (reading, texting, whatever). I feel certain robot drivers will be much safer than humans. Can't wait for it.


The main problem I would have with robot cars is what happens when (not if, but when) the computer crashes. If my cell phone locks up, which it does on a fairly frequent basis, that is a minor annoyance that can be handled with no safety issues. However, suppose you are riding along in your computer guided car, just toking on a number and digging on the radio, when its computer crashes and you run over a station wagon full of nuns. The only people who come out ahead in this scenario are the lawyers, who will be suing everyone from GM and Microsoft, on down. It is going to be a long time before robot cars are anything more than a dream; hell, mass transit runs on a dedicated roadway, driven by trained professionals, and we still have accidents.
   163. BDC Posted: May 09, 2014 at 09:19 AM (#4703271)
no idea where to find the windshield wipers

In addition to wipers :), one of the best driving tips I can give, under any conditions, is to turn on your headlights. Daytime running lights are standard in Europe and (I believe?) mandatory in Canada – at least I see nearly 100% of Canadian drivers using them. Yet the basic American attitude is that if I can see in front of me, I don't need headlights (forgetting that the far more important function of lights, in urban areas, is so that others can see you). Make a habit to turn on your lights first thing, no matter if it's noon and sunny, and you're substantially safer already.
   164. Greg K Posted: May 09, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4703278)
Daytime running lights are standard in Europe and (I believe?) mandatory in Canada – at least I see nearly 100% of Canadian drivers using them.

To be fair, for the UK that's just because the sun doesn't exist there.
   165. McCoy Posted: May 09, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4703279)
Your car already has a computer and a ton of programming in it. If you're worried about a robot car crashing (no pun intendted) then you should already be worried about that.
   166. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 09, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4703289)
Yet the basic American attitude is that if I can see in front of me, I don't need headlights (forgetting that the far more important function of lights, in urban areas, is so that others can see you). Make a habit to turn on your lights first thing, no matter if it's noon and sunny, and you're substantially safer already.

If you can't see another car in daylight without its headlights being on, you probably should have failed the eye test for your license renewal. The best compromise would be to have light-sensitive headlights that automatically turned on when the natural light went below a certain level. But with everyone's headlights on all the time, even in the midday Sun, every line of traffic looks like a goddam funeral procession.
   167. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 09, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4703294)
The main problem I would have with robot cars is what happens when (not if, but when) the computer crashes.


I am an IT professional and I totally get that computers crash. They can be made pretty stable. But more to the point people are not any better. They drink, don't sleep the night before, break up with their boyfriends, eat breakfast, do the crossword, apply make up, and so on (to say nothing of all the various medical things that happen) all the freaking time. The occasional computer system crash will happen, but will it happen less than it does with people? Color me unconvinced. Especially because there will be so much angst over thw whole thing that the end product of automated drivers will be super-tested by the time it is released commercially.
   168. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 09, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4703298)
If you can't see another car in daylight without its headlights being on, you probably should have failed the eye test for your license renewal. The best compromise would be to have light-sensitive headlights that automatically turned on when the natural light went below a certain level. But with everyone's headlights on all the time, even in the midday Sun, every line of traffic looks like a goddam funeral procession.


Should we stay off your lawn too? :)

Seriously though cars are more visible with "running lights" on all the time. Looking like a funeral procession is a small price to pay for fewer accidents IMO.
   169. BDC Posted: May 09, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4703310)
If you can't see another car in daylight without its headlights being on, you probably should have failed the eye test for your license renewal. The best compromise would be to have light-sensitive headlights that automatically turned on when the natural light went below a certain level. But with everyone's headlights on all the time, even in the midday Sun, every line of traffic looks like a goddam funeral procession

And what better way to remind us of the mortality we all are heir to? :) No, seriously, see how you slip there from defensive driving mode to "the other guy shouldn't be on the road if he can't see me." Unfortunately, he is, and it does me only half good if I can see him. Obviously the advantage of running lights at high noon in Texas is extremely marginal. But there are a bunch of people out there driving impaired by all the things the Mouse lists in #167, so why not give them a little edge in noticing me. Even if it's "Whaddaz that guy think, he's in a funeral?" The advantage becomes much greater the closer you get to twilight or overcast – I was struck by that yesterday driving in Arlington in a thunderstorm: grey sky, grey roads, grey rain, lots of grey cars without lights …

I also find it gives the kids an edge in scattering when I drive onto my lawn.
   170. just plain joe Posted: May 09, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4703320)
Your car already has a computer and a ton of programming in it. If you're worried about a robot car crashing (no pun intendted) then you should already be worried about that.


If the computer in my car that controls the ECM has a glitch then the motor quits and you just coast to the side of the road (been there). If the computer that operates the infotainment system in a car quits then you can probably still drive it, you can't just listen to music/read email/get travel directions etc. If the computer that is actually driving the car quits then that is more serious by several degrees. For sure, if the driver is paying attention, then he/she can take over and do whatever needs to be done; but, and this is a key point I think, people in robot cars are not likely to be paying attention. That is the whole point of robot cars, each car becomes its own little transit module that requires no interaction in order to travel.

I have no doubt that robot cars are coming in some form or another, at some point in the future. Experiments are/have been conducted that prove they are practical, at least in tightly controlled environments. I just can't see how they could possibly work unless they have their own, dedicated, travel ways so that they do not have to deal with human driven cars. Given that the various governments are unwilling to finance upkeep of the roads we have now, it is hard to see them ponying up for additional roads that would be used by robot cars.
   171. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 09, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4703324)
So what's the problem with simply making headlights light sensitive, with a manual override for those who feel compelled to be lit up all the time? It's not as if we're talking about 22nd century technology.

P.S. Robo cars are but the latest solution looking for a problem.
   172. McCoy Posted: May 09, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4703328)
They do make headlights light sensitive. My car has it and it is 5 years old.
   173. BDC Posted: May 09, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4703331)
#171: Agreed. And EDIT: Yes, McCoy: there's a nine-year-old Volkswagen parked outside our house with automatic running lights.

I imagine robot cars will be a lot safer than piloted ones and also that sometime early in their general adoption, there will be some hideous accidents recalling early rail, steamboat, and airplane disasters, which won't contradict their essential safeness in the slightest.

   174. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 09, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4703338)
They do make headlights light sensitive. My car has it and it is 5 years old.

So just mandate that solution for all new cars, and presto, problem solved.
   175. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: May 09, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4703356)
There's a huge difference between talking and texting, whether or not you want to recognize it. With talking, your eyes are off the road for but a split second while you punch each number, giving you plenty of time between numbers to triple check for road conditions before you punch the next one. And once you're connected, your eyes are always on the road. Whereas with texting or surfing, you're constantly taking your eyes off the road.
I'm willing to grant your point, but the truth is that I myself always feel more distracted when talking on the phone whilst driving, regardless of whether it's the highway or a more local/residential street. (And besides, Andy, as a DC local you know full well that some of those distinctions are meaningless around here -- 495 is a monkey farm even under the best traffic circumstances.) Tooling around the old neighborhood with a phone held to my ear is one thing...negotiating the I-270 spur in Maryland or the downtown exits of the Kennedy Expwy in Chicago is another. I refuse to talk on the phone in those situations, and I get antsy when Mrsoteric calls me on the road for similar reasons.

People who text or look at smartphones while driving are a different tier of evil. They should have their children taken away.
   176. Greg K Posted: May 09, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4703366)
I'm pretty sure I would kill many people if I talked on the phone while driving. I've accidentally microwaved a carton of milk while talking on the phone...I can't do multi-tasking (or at least, can't multi-task when one of those tasks is socializing).

Of course I suppose this is a moot point as I don't drive anyway. I guess I don't have a cell phone either, so double moot!
   177. PreservedFish Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4703396)
For sure, if the driver is paying attention, then he/she can take over and do whatever needs to be done; but, and this is a key point I think, people in robot cars are not likely to be paying attention. That is the whole point of robot cars, each car becomes its own little transit module that requires no interaction in order to travel.


Wait a second, if I'm getting a robot driver I don't want to have to sit behind the steering wheel. I want a bed in my car. Or at least a table so I can eat breakfast and use my laptop on the way to work.
   178. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4703403)
There's a huge difference between talking and texting, whether or not you want to recognize it. With talking, your eyes are off the road for but a split second while you punch each number, giving you plenty of time between numbers to triple check for road conditions before you punch the next one. And once you're connected, your eyes are always on the road. Whereas with texting or surfing, you're constantly taking your eyes off the road.

I'm willing to grant your point, but the truth is that I myself always feel more distracted when talking on the phone whilst driving, regardless of whether it's the highway or a more local/residential street. (And besides, Andy, as a DC local you know full well that some of those distinctions are meaningless around here -- 495 is a monkey farm even under the best traffic circumstances.) Tooling around the old neighborhood with a phone held to my ear is one thing...negotiating the I-270 spur in Maryland or the downtown exits of the Kennedy Expwy in Chicago is another. I refuse to talk on the phone in those situations, and I get antsy when Mrsoteric calls me on the road for similar reasons.


Here I think you have to allow for differences in driver reaction, which are applicable in other ways beyond the ability to use a cellphone while driving. We all know people who literally are terrified even to merge on a high speed road, and come to a complete stop instead of simply adjusting their speed to the lane they're trying to enter. And some folks refuse go more than 45 or 55 when everyone else is going 65 or more, and cause innumerable cases of lane molasses by their timidity and/or stubbornness. I honestly wouldn't advise those people to drive on high speed roads, but that doesn't mean that 90% of the other drivers share their fears.

That doesn't mean that I'm against laws against cellphone use while driving, and if I'm stupid enough not to have noticed a police car on the horizon or one that's tailing me, then I probably shouldn't have been talking and driving in the first place. But the overwhelming majority of people who talk on their phones while driving are perfectly capable of knowing how to adjust their usage for changing road environments, and the ones who aren't almost certainly have other bad driving habits that they don't need a cell phone to exhibit. Alertness and road awareness exist on a continuum, and using or not a cell phone is but one small part of the package. Driving while drowsy may be the biggest accident factor of all, but how do you regulate against that if the driver hasn't been drinking?

People who text or look at smartphones while driving are a different tier of evil. They should have their children taken away.

I'd just take away their drivers' licenses for about six months to a year, in order to give them time to catch up on the latest ball scores and text messages in less hairy environments.
   179. base ball chick Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:17 AM (#4703406)
all these people who get around a large metropolitan city just fine with no cars
would like to know if they have families, as in kids in school
and how they manage to go shopping for food and carry 30 bags full of stuff home on the bus/subway then manage to carry it all from the subway to home.
oh, taxis
because paying 30 - 40 bucks to go grocery shopping is no big deal
and you manage to pick up your kids from different skools HOW? or is your 6 year old walking home from the bus stop no big deal neither
and your 2+ hour bus ride to and from work, including the 1 1/2 mile walk to the bus stop each way in 90+ heat twice a day no big deal neither, right?

the only places in houston you can live using only feet/buses/trolley require you to be wealthy and have no kidz
   180. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4703409)
the only places in houston you can live using only feet/buses/trolley require you to be wealthy and have no kidz

And even then, it might help to retain a rickshaw driver for those special occasions when flaunting your social standing is a bidness requirement.
   181. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4703410)
Wait a second, if I'm getting a robot driver I don't want to have to sit behind the steering wheel. I want a bed in my car. Or at least a table so I can eat breakfast and use my laptop on the way to work.


Cosign.

P.S. Robo cars are but the latest solution looking for a problem.


There pretty much is a problem. A bunch of them that robot cars solve. Fewer accidents. Less congestion. Less gas wasted (better fuel efficiency). Less parking needed, and in fact fewer cars in total needed.

Everything is not going to be solved by a few high end cars that steer themselves, but extrapolate it out, imagine fleets of robot cars using efficeint driving algorthms with total knowledge of what qall those other cars are doing and in fact knowledge of road conditions, construction and traffic, connected to something like Uber, and suffenly the world starts to change.
   182. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4703412)
all these people who get around a large metropolitan city just fine with no cars
would like to know if they have families, as in kids in school


Kids a a major "driver" for my car ownership. Well that and I live in a suburb (not in a city) and I consult, meaning I need (in theory) to be able to go to a variety of locations to work.

the only places in houston you can live using only feet/buses/trolley require you to be wealthy and have no kidz


I have never been to Houston, but my understanding is it is not the most friendly urban environment for a carless existence. I think it is close to the worst actually.
   183. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4703419)
P.S. Robo cars are but the latest solution looking for a problem.

There pretty much is a problem. A bunch of them that robot cars solve. Fewer accidents. Less congestion. Less gas wasted (better fuel efficiency). Less parking needed, and in fact fewer cars in total needed.

Everything is not going to be solved by a few high end cars that steer themselves, but extrapolate it out, imagine fleets of robot cars using efficeint driving algorthms with total knowledge of what qall those other cars are doing and in fact knowledge of road conditions, construction and traffic, connected to something like Uber, and suffenly the world starts to change.


No disrespect, but this sounds like something I heard from Robert McNamara when he was outlining the Pentagon's strategy for eliminating the Viet Cong and establishing a free and democratic South Vietnam, with lots of butter on the side. But maybe I don't realize just how simple and affordable all this is going to be.
   184. McCoy Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4703420)
In DC students ride for free on mass transit and I believe this is common in most urban areas. I'm pretty sure all school districts in pretty much all of America has a transit system in place to get kids to and from school. I would think driving your kid to school and picking them up to be the rare thing while taking the bus to be the common thing.


As for shopping if you really had to drive or take a taxi in the city it would be rather cheap. Something like 10 dollars for most people in a taxi and I don't recall off hand how much a zipcar would cost but I would imagine it is right around the same price. But in the city you don't go food shopping to pick up 30 bags of groceries from some far off large grocery store. You go to bodegas, small shops, and nearby grocery stores and you pick up 2 to 5 bags of groceries at a time.

As I said before people keep acting like every human being has a car and it isn't possible to live without one and that is simply not true. I live in a neighborhood that has a large segment of poor to lower middle class ethnic families in it. Many of them don't have cars. Many of them have numerous children. They get by and they do so in part because they live in an urban area that doesn't require a car. Within a 1 mile radius of me is something like 3 or 4 schools that range from elementary to high school. There is at least two community centers that I know about. Two pre-kindergarten medical/day care centers. Something like 4 large grocery stores. Numerous bodegas and convenience stores and countless doctors, dentists, banks, salons, so on and so on near me.

As I keep saying I'm talking about heavily populated condensed urban areas. The city of Houston is over 600 square miles. DC is 60 square miles with most of the stuff within a 20 sq mile area. Boston is less than 50 square miles. If you're living in the heart of most major NE cities you really don't need a car and normal vehicle traffic shouldn't be allowed in those areas.
   185. kthejoker Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4703422)
the only places in houston you can live using only feet/buses/trolley require you to be wealthy and have no kidz


Well, that's because our Metro sucks. I just wish more people wanted to carpool.

I have never been to Houston, but my understanding is it is not the most friendly urban environment for a carless existence. I think it is close to the worst actually.


This is pretty much the crux of all the talking in this entire post: different strokes for different folks. As a native Houstonian, I've just never been that wigged out by driving everywhere, suburban sprawl, no zoning, etc. But I acclimated pretty well to New York City during my extended visit there, I could get used to that, and so I totally can see how some outsiders visit Houston and just go slackjawed at the sheer amount of sprawl/traffic/etc.

So sometimes I feel like people are judging Houston (or all of Texas) by assuming we don't know better, when it's really more a matter of taste.
   186. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4703427)
and how they manage to go shopping for food and carry 30 bags full of stuff home on the bus/subway then manage to carry it all from the subway to home.
This is the number one reason why I agree that having a car is so valuable. Aside from the occasional commute to work and weekend jaunt to Wicker/Lincoln Park, it is the #1 use for our car.

On the other hand, I dispute the "$30-40 for a taxi" claim. That makes absolutely no sense if we're talking about, as you said, a "large metropolitan city" (unless that city is, I dunno, Detroit -- where the groceries have all fled the city limits). I live in the heart of downtown Chicago (River North, literally one block outside the Loop) and I can walk to the grocery store (although it's a long enough walk that I'd never want to make it whilst laden like a pack mule with grocery bags). And I'm not talking about one of the frou-frou upscale ones like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, I'm talking about Jewel/Osco. I've had to take a cab from there once when my car broke down and it cost me $4.50. My situation is probably better than most, but in any reasonable urban environment the cabfare to the nearest grocery shouldn't be more than $10 with tip included, and it only has to be one-way (i.e. on the way home).

I want to stipulate that my urban living experiences have been confined to DC, Baltimore, NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Madison (if that even counts). It's entirely possible that the situation is entirely different in southern metropolises like Houston or Atlanta, which I'm aware are famous for their urban sprawl.
   187. Greg K Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4703429)
all these people who get around a large metropolitan city just fine with no cars

I've lived in:
Toronto (technically Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto...takes me around an hour on the train to get to a Jays game which is right downtown on the lake). Pretty big city, 3-5 million depending on how you measure? The transit system is just ok (I think) by North American standards, though Scarborough is a bit of a dead area, but I managed to get by.

Regina, prairie town of about 200,000. Very basic bus system. Lived there for six years, and was fairly limited in what I could do. But within those restrictions I was happy living there.

Nottingham, English city of 300,000. Absolutely amazing transit, reaches everywhere, dirt cheap. Plus the city proper is small enough you can walk pretty much clean across it in under an hour. Not sure why anyone would drive there.

would like to know if they have families, as in kids in school

Nope. That would be a game changer. I'd need a car in Toronto and Regina, but I suspect it would be a manageable issue in Nottingham.

I've generally always lived within a 10 minute walk of a major grocery store. Not a problem to carry 4-5 days worth of groceries once or twice a week. Doing it every day (which would probably be necessary to buy for 4-5 people) would eat up a lot of time and likely not be a viable option. Though in Nottingham my commute route changed buses right at a grocery store. I'd often pick up some stuff on the way home and only lose about 5-10 minutes of my usual time.

Sprawl is also an issue. I lived very cheaply in Nottingham (about $400-500 a month for a two bedroom apartment), which was on the northern edge of the city centre. Walking into the central city square took me 20 minutes. A similar set up in Toronto, or even Regina, would be a long, long, long walk. I once walked home from my friend's place on the other side of Regina, that was a LONG walk. Never tried it in Toronto, though I did walk to downtown Montreal from Dorval airport, and that took a while.

In summation, not having a car limits the places you can live and your lifestyle, but (for me) the sacrifices I have to make to live like that aren't things I really want to do anyway, so it works for me. Can't work for all lives though.
   188. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4703436)
No disrespect, but this sounds like something I heard from Robert McNamara when he was outlining the Pentagon's strategy for eliminating the Viet Cong and establishing a free and democratic South Vietnam, with lots of butter on the side. But maybe I don't realize just how simple and affordable all this is going to be.


Um, what?

A much better analogy is the internet in the early 90s. New fangled technology that has some uses, but not initially thought of as being nearly as disruptive (in the technical economic sense) as it has turned out. Then there was the hype phase where everyone was convinced it would "Change everthing, tomorrow!". And then the crash.

And the whole time steady progress was made that changed a huge amount and continues to change things, but not everything and not right away. Because that is what technology does, it ignores the hype and just keeps chugging along, spreading out in surprising ways and ends up changing everything.

Note: I am not suggestingrobot cars will be a huge a change as the internet is turning out to be, just that it is following a similar model. 3d printing is also following that model as is nanotechnology. All at different rates, btu they are all there.

In another sense though I guess it does not matter if there is a existing problem or not, the technology is coming and will change things.
   189. base ball chick Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4703438)
mouse

can't speak for dallas, but is sure nuff can for houston. i can't think of anywhere a family with kidz could live without needing a car. assuming that prtents don't both only work from home. and kidz are all home schooled and have no outside activities. going anywhere like to the grocery or any other kind of store would be really difficult/unpleasant.
- and actually, i would bet that if you called a cab and you were nowheres near downtown/galleria/airports, it would be beyond expensive and there might not be any who actually showed up

i still would love to know how exactly all these - no car!!! - people go shopping for food for a family and carry all that stuff home with no car.
   190. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4703439)
In DC students ride for free on mass transit and I believe this is common in most urban areas. I'm pretty sure all school districts in pretty much all of America has a transit system in place to get kids to and from school. I would think driving your kid to school and picking them up to be the rare thing while taking the bus to be the common thing.


A large amouint of my driving is ferrying my kids around. Yes they could go to local (close) schools, but they don't. They could go to a TKD place nearer my house, but they don't. Fortunately I have the flexibility to allow them to go farther away, but without my kids I would use my car maybe a third the miles that I currently do.
   191. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4703440)
Variation on a driving theme:

The most confusing city I have ever had to drive in, BY FAR, is Minneapolis and its environs. Nothing comes even remotely close. Washington DC and its traffic circles are a transparent breeze compared to the insanity and illogic that is the Minneapolis/St. Paul highway system and the street layout of downtown Minneapolis itself. I swear to god it was constructed by surly Scandihoovians who wanted to keep outsiders confused and alienated. Sample real dialogue:

- "Mrsoteric, I think we need to get on I-35 West"
- "Esoteric, which one do you mean? I-35 West North or I-35 West South?"
- "Wait, what?"
- "West North or West South? Or is it East North or East South?"
- "WHAT IN GOD'S NAME IS GOING ON HERE?"

Also, the downtown Minneapolis "grid system" (note contemptuous scare quotes) has streets named "N 2nd Street," "S 2nd Street," "2nd Street SE," and "2nd Ave S" all within less than a square mile of one another. And, because logic is something that only Outlanders would use anyway, "2nd Street SE" is actually located to the geographic northeast of "N 2nd Street." It's so confusing that it actually makes me laugh.
   192. Lassus Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4703444)
I-35 West North or I-35 West South

That ain't right.
   193. Greg K Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4703447)
i still would love to know how exactly all these - no car!!! - people go shopping for food for a family and carry all that stuff home with no car.

In Nottingham my local grocery store had a taxi-rank sitting right outside. Depending on where you're going the trip probably wouldn't be more than 5-6 pounds. If you lived further than that you'd be in the radius of a different store.

Alternatively I'd routinely see people laden down with groceries on the bus. You'd have to hit the store much more frequently than you would with a car but people do it. The key is likely having the necessary transit infrastructure. There isn't really anywhere in the greater Nottingham area that isn't within a 5 minute walk from a bus stop, and nowhere that would take more than 30-40 minutes to get to from the city centre. Not all cities have that.
   194. base ball chick Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4703448)
ok

just checked the map

within a 1 mile radius of where we live, there is NO public school of any kind. there is NO grocery store or "bodega" - not that we could afford fancy food anyhow. there is a church, but i don't like that church. the closest bus stop looks to be 3/4 mile away (approx) and it does not pass close to a grocery store. i'm a small female, and even if i made the 3 mile trudge one way to the nearest store, and carried the 3-5 bags back, i would have to do this EVERY day.

you disbelieve me about the taxi prices in houston, check yourself. see if you can GET a cap to go to, say, the 5th ward, drive you to a grocery store, WAIT, drive you home, for less than 30 - 40 bucks. IF they'll even show up.

the school bus stop is a long way from where we live and parents within a 1 mile radius are supposed to get their own kidz - why do you think there is a massive traffic jam around skools when they start and get out.

and you HAVE to pick up your kids from the closest school if they go to a magnet skool because the HISD is only responsible for getting them back to the school that is the neighborhood skool. and i assure you everyone who goes to the neighborhood skool does not live within 1 mile

there are a LOT of people in houston who do not have a car. they get rides from friends/relatives/neighbors, at the convenience of whoever has the car. and you often can't rely on them showing up neither

houston texas has at least a 60 mile diameter in all directions (including burbs with other names) and you just can NOT get by with no car. unless, like i said, you have a lot of money, no kidz, live close to work and have no problem paying for a taxi to take you to pretty much any kind of shopping at all
   195. McCoy Posted: May 09, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4703451)
Again I'm talking about heavily populated concentrated urban areas. I'm not disputing that cities built with cars in mind need cars to get around.
   196. McCoy Posted: May 09, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4703455)
By the way I've got a horrible decision coming up. Next week I transfer to Baltimore and I have to decide whether to stay in DC and commute, not liking that option, or move to Baltimore, which I'm also not liking.
   197. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: May 09, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4703459)
I-35 West North or I-35 West South

That ain't right.
Tell me about it, friend. I think part of the problem is that the Mississippi River cuts right through the geographic center of the city, and does so in an awkward fashion (running diagonally from NW to SE). But dear lord, surely the city planners could have come up with a better solution than the one they currently have. For example, I've never been able to understand why "2nd Street SE" is actually located on the NORTHEAST side of the river. It runs counter to all logical expectations.
   198. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 09, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4703461)
The most confusing city I have ever had to drive in, BY FAR, is Minneapolis and its environs. Nothing comes even remotely close. Washington DC and its traffic circles are a transparent breeze compared to the insanity and illogic that is the Minneapolis/St. Paul highway system and the street layout of downtown Minneapolis itself. I swear to god it was constructed by surly Scandahoovians who wanted to keep outsiders confused and alienated.


Heh. Brussels is the most confusing I have ever been in. Minneapolis is not even the worst in MN, St. Paul is worse IMO. The real problem with both is the river runs through them and for some reason the city planners reacted to the river by going insane (in different ways though). Neither city is a paragon of sense and layout I do admit.

Regarding the whole 35 mess. Highway 35 (a N/S affair) splits south of the metro into 35e and 35w, and then rejoins together north of the matro. Because BOTH cities needed a taste of that 35 magic. So you get 35 West South and 35 East North and all the other glorious combinations. And of course the highways don't connect in any sensible way. Many of the connections you want to make just don't exist, making you go through side streets. It is annoying and ever so slowly being fixed.

And the mass transit issues are also being fixed slowly. Light rail between Mpls and St. Paul is almost ready to go (I have seen test trains already, a couple times). Sadly I am a bit too far north to take advantage of the new light rail.
   199. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 09, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4703465)
For example, I've never been able to understand why "2nd Street SE" is actually located on the NORTHEAST side of the river. It runs counter to all logical expectations.


West St. Paul is NOT West of St. Paul, but is West of South St. Paul (which happens to be South of St. Paul. There is a bunch of that stuff. I hate the configurations of one ways streets in Minneapolis as well. The streets NEVER go where I want them to. I just use Google Maps, because my sense of direction is hopeless until I have been somewhere already.
   200. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 09, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4703466)
No disrespect, but this sounds like something I heard from Robert McNamara when he was outlining the Pentagon's strategy for eliminating the Viet Cong and establishing a free and democratic South Vietnam, with lots of butter on the side. But maybe I don't realize just how simple and affordable all this is going to be.

Um, what?

A much better analogy is the internet in the early 90s. New fangled technology that has some uses, but not initially thought of as being nearly as disruptive (in the technical economic sense) as it has turned out. Then there was the hype phase where everyone was convinced it would "Change everthing, tomorrow!". And then the crash.


I realize you're talking about a gradual transformation to robocars rather than one that takes place overnight, and I'm not confusing your position with some Bruce McCall parody fantasy. I'll just suggest that when you're talking about an everyday situation (traffic) where we're all within a few seconds of a life changing accident every time we step on the accelerator, you should overplan for unforeseen human reactions to the idea of sharing Dupont Circle with an assortment of robots. It wasn't McNamara's technology that failed him, it was his failure of anticipation.

Or to put it another way, what's your backup plan? And what happens if and when a group of dedicated hackers get into the robocars' computers and cause just 1% of them to malfunction for even only a few seconds? If you're saying this is impossible, color me (at least for now) skeptical.
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