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[Comments] (8) Stereotype New York: Car #1 wants to turn left. It is blocked by car #2, which is trying to go straight in the opposite direction but is blocked by traffic all the way to the next light. Car #2 can't move, and it's blocking the intersection. So of course car #1 honks at it. Cars behind car #1 honk at it because its deadlocked desire to turn left is preventing them from going straight. Honk honk.

The occupants of cars #1 and #2 now roll down their windows and begin to argue. Who knows what about.

This argument continues long after the light in front of car #2 turns green, and the cars in front of it have moved on. Now car #2 could move too, but the driver's still arguing with the driver of car #1. Everyone loses! Honk honk. Thats's New York.


Comments:

Posted by Ian Bicking at Thu Feb 23 2006 00:59

Somehow people just don't do that in Chicago. I like to think we are friendlier. People honk all the time in Mexico City, but I seldom see people get mad. I like to think it's Chicago's Latin American influence that makes us ignore these inconveniences instead of being uselessly angry.

Posted by Zack at Thu Feb 23 2006 10:14

Silly people. They should know better than to drive cars in New York!

The one and only time I drove a car in New York, it was a moving van. It's much more pleasant to drive a moving van there than an actual car, because you know that in an accident you will win, and furthermore, you have no emotional investment in preventing damage to the van. So when the prat with the expensive Beemer tries to cut you off, apparently believing that the expensiveness of his car makes him entitled to go first, you have no hesitation about moving to block. He's not going to ram you, after all. He does have an emotional investment in that car.

Posted by Zack at Thu Feb 23 2006 10:16

(I'm quite serious about not driving. They should adopt a no-private-cars rule for, at least, all of Manhattan south of Central Park. Only taxis, rental cars (incl. moving vans), and trucks. No trucks in the daytime, either.)

Posted by Zack at Thu Feb 23 2006 10:17

(Oh, also buses of course, though in general buses should be deprecated in favor of additional subway lines.)

Posted by Leonard at Thu Feb 23 2006 10:19

This was in Queens, where it's allegedly manageable to have a car.

Posted by Joshua Lerner at Thu Feb 23 2006 12:10

Adopt a "no-private-cars rule for Manhattan south of Central Park" - to what end? To reduce overall traffic congestion? Noise? Pollution?

Only taxis, rental cars (why allow rental cars but not private cars?), and moving vans during the day? Doing business in NYC - already an expensive proposition - would grind to a standstill.

Would you increse the number of taxi medallions? It's already difficult to catch a taxi at many times of the day...

The problem is not that some people drive their own cars around Manhattan below Central Park - it's that anyone can enter congested areas of Manhattan at low or no cost.

We need something like they have in London. If you want to enter midtown during the day, go ahead - but you're going to have to pay. Charge as much as you have such that traffic moves well. Say goodbye to gridlock...

Anyway, forcing people to take public transportation - which even in NYC is often a frustrating and baffling experience - is not necessary. Let people decide for themselves - but make them pay for expensive decisions.

Posted by Susie at Thu Feb 23 2006 14:08

People on the East coast use their horns much more than on the West Coast, and people in other countries (such as Romania or Hong Kong) use them even more. West Coasters are too laidback for horn-usage.

Posted by Zack at Fri Feb 24 2006 01:47

Joshua - my admittedly sketchy understanding of London's experience with congestion charges is that it's been a dandy revenue source for the city, but has not helped one bit with the congestion.

I'd increase the number of taxi medallions by a large factor in conjunction with this plan, yes.


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