Adam Gopnik on car culture

disguised as a review of Daniel Knowles’s “Carmageddon” and Henry Grabar’s “Paved Paradise”

or you can listen at Audm Embedded Player

Maybe we should return to horses for our transportation.

The article is entirely appropriate for the New Yorker Magazine. New York City has a 300 sq mi area. What about the remaining 3,119,585 sq mi US? Some cities have decent public transportation, but a large portion of the population can’t take advantage of it. I have never had a job where I could take advantage of public transportation and never had the desire to live where I would have to to do so with the limited public transportation options on the work end of the trip.


Our 1st 2 homes were on bus lines. When my wife was taking classes, she would use the bus near our first home to commute.

Our second home would have required me to take almost an hour to commute to work where driving took 12 minutes. Why? The bus worked on a hub and spoke model where all routes ran into and out of the city. My job was in a neighboring suburb so I never entered the city.

The gummint run transit authority never modified their model with changing living patterns so their ridership faded away as jobs in the city center relocated to the suburbs.

The fee increases for public transport are part of the problem. In the 1980’s I’d routinely take the train from San Jose to San Francisco, $4 round trip. Now it is $30 round trip. Per person. For a couple, $60; a couple taking the train to SF for the day looks like a questionable plan, when they can drive their car for considerably lesser expense.

Beyond the fee increases, Covid worries is making public transport even less appealing.