This 50's film about how to fix city traffic congestion shows how little we've learned. If we provided a parking space for every car in cities, traffic would get worse! 70 years ago they said: "shift the emphasis of moving cars to moving people."
The talking points are the same ones we have today:
You can't widen your way out of congestion.
Road widening alone won't solve congestion.
Highways alone won't solve congestion.
People buy things, not cars.
We've known this for decades!
I'm screaming!
Lol. They're talking about how every thing they've tried, from road widening to high tech street lights, only induce demand. More lanes and more parking only lead to more cars! What makes anyone think that autonomous cars or smart intersections will change anything? It won't.
"Bus riders are tax payers too. Through the ownership of property & paying multiple taxes, they contribute their full share to the public treasury. Yes, they pay for the streets too." Amen!
"Bus riders are penalized in both time & money because public streets are used as stable yards for private automobiles. When the stable yard overflows bus riders are asked to help pay for public garages at $4,000 a stall." Today it costs $25K - $50K per parking space.
The "this many car drivers would fit on this many buses" meme was not invented recently. It goes back many decades.
In fact, judging by the body styles of the cars, this meme has been around since the 1930's.
"By using buses they are helping to relieve traffic congestion. The bus rider is not nearly a financial burden on the city as the motorist." Because of its flexibility, the bus is the only form of mass transit that fits into this pattern of the automotive age.
Here's a vintage highway bus loading platform in action as proposed in Detroit in the 1940's. A center running rail on highways was opposed by Detroit's own transit provider, DSR, in favor of a highway bus system that was short lived.…
Some remnants of Detroit's short lived expressway bus program can still be seen today.
"When buses comprise 1% of highway traffic they increase the capacity of the highway by 25%. 4% usage would double a highway's capacity." Wow.
"Above all the motor coach requires no fixed right of way. Routes can be added or changed overnight. So at long last, city planners everywhere do have a way out. The prioritize people over cars & base their plans on the modern motor coach." - So why didn't cities listen?
In Detroit, the answer to why the majority favored the car over the bus is simple: racism. Detroit didn't have segregated transit like southern cities although many white residents wanted it that way. As Black people moved north for work, so did southern & Appalachian whites.
In this dissertation, Sarah Frohardt-Lane detailed how frustrated white transit riders were with having to share buses & streetcars Black riders. When WWII was over, most tore up their rationing coupons & rushed out to buy cars.…
Here is an excerpt from the book "White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism" which sums up why white people in Detroit largely fled from public transit, the city itself & the role cars/highways played in creating ghettos & maintaining them.…
The racism was so bad in Detroit during WWII that it spilled into the streets & culminated in 1943 when mobs of white men stormed streetcars along Woodward Ave pulling off any Black riders they found. Some brave transit operators hit the throttle & drove through the mobs.
I'm saying all this to say that if we ever hope to fix our public transit in Metro Detroit, we need to address the racism in our past that is still present today. It is the same reason that Ken & Karen from the suburbs would rather drive to Comerica Park rather than ride a bus.
Another gem from the 1950's suggestion box: "Eliminate street parking wherever possible. Private cars should only be permitted to pause at designated loading zones."
"Public transportation should have top priority in downtown curb lanes for maximum speed and convenience in moving people. Weather protected bus stops should be built by the city for a fraction of the cost of one car stall."
Bus only lanes? Yeah, those aren't a new idea either. Here it is 2021 and Detroit has just painted its first transit lane but its really just to help the streetcar during hockey games, basketball & concerts. We need to get with the times (aka catch up).
Transit only lanes can be painted or marked with cones as shown here in 1950's Newark NJ and downtown Detroit in 2019.
"Talking, writing or wishing about the traffic problem will not solve congestion. Bad as it is today, it will only get worse tomorrow if more & more cars are encouraged to jam their way into the heart of the city." Did we listen? No.
Our best hope for solving the problem (congestion) is getting shoppers & commuters back into buses then instead of merely moving vehicles, we'll be moving people. This is the simple, practical, inexpensive, immediately available solution." - @GM Truck & Coach Division.
@GM Meanwhile the motto at every DOT in the United States remains: "Less transit & more lanes!" Also: "Autonomous vehicles will solve all our problems (except funding)"
As I was saying this morning. 2021 Detroit:

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with David Gifford

David Gifford Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!