Home » A Benefit Of ’15 Minute Cities’ Nobody Talks About: COTD

A Benefit Of ’15 Minute Cities’ Nobody Talks About: COTD

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The topic of walkable cities where you can get everything you need in a space of 15 minutes has been a hot button subject for as long as I can remember. As much as I love vehicles, and my 23-strong collection suggests I do, no person living in a city should be forced to own a car just to live. It’s one thing if you live in the literal middle of nowhere, but a city dweller shouldn’t have to wait in traffic to see a doctor or go to work.

Now, talk of 15 minute cities often involve the elimination of cars and their associated baggage. Here’s a different idea: A 15 minute city, but now you own cars for joy, not out of necessity!

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I say this because in Lewin’s article about Massachusetts and the cost of cars, TheDrunkenWrench made an interesting comment:

Bring on the 15 minute cities!

The idea that I can walk or bike for basic amenities and use public transit for work gives me an excuse to own a fleet of impractical but fun vehicles that I can hoon because I WANT to, not cause I HAVE to.

Now that’s something I can get behind.

Sometimes, a brand can make an announcement that gets you super excited, just to deflate you once you reach the end. In recent times for me, that was when Volkswagen announced the 2024 Atlas, which features a much better interior, but kills the legendary VR6 engine. Word on the street is that Cupra is coming to America. Oh, so does that mean we’re getting some hot hatches with Spanish flair?

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Cupra Formentor

I feel you, Angrycat Meowmeow:

Cupra is coming to the US!

Yay!

Gonna send ’em a bunch of fat electric SUV’s though lmao

Sad ????

This morning, Lewin started a debate about the optimal position for a car battery. Some manufacturers, like BMW, make the simple task of replacing a car battery to be way harder than it needs to be. But there is some logic to a car battery that is inside. Tell ’em, V10omous:

Every battery should be in the trunk with terminals under the hood. That way you can jump from either end, and the battery is exposed to much less heat and vibration than it would be in the engine compartment, which equals longer life.

Plus when storing a car on a battery tender it’s super nice to just back into the garage and have a short run from the trunk to the outlet rather than running a cord into the engine bay.

Just, make sure the battery is easy to get to. Then you have the best of both worlds.

That’s it, folks, have a great weekend! Sheryl and I will be spending our weekend in Asheville, North Carolina, for a friend’s wedding. That Scion iQ of hers is such a great little ride! It’s gone to Arizona and and now will go to North Carolina without skipping a beat. Maybe we’ll hit up the Blue Ridge Parkway before heading home.

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Myk El
Myk El
28 days ago

I watched the first few seasons of 24. One of my strongest memories was that it took place in magical LA where somehow every thing was 10-20 minutes away by car. I’ve never lived there, but I have done contract work there for 6 weeks of my life (4 weeks once, two weeks later) and it was enough to make me laugh.

Rock Burner
Rock Burner
28 days ago

Here’s a different idea: A 15 minute city, but now you own cars for joy, not out of necessity!”

err – that’s what a 15 minute city… IS.

There’s a societal disfunction happening here – people who simply don’t listen to all (both?) the details of a “thing” and then simply start ranting. 15 minute cities are a classic example.

Mantis Toboggan, MD
Mantis Toboggan, MD
28 days ago

I don’t care for urban areas because I’m a misanthrope who sees a city as a place to go get money and try not to spend it. That said anyone who likes them is welcome to live there, it’s not my life. I get the attractions, for those that enjoy them.

What I don’t understand is how this is supposed to work economically. It’s essentially distributing services as widely as possible rather than centralizing them. That seems guaranteed to be more expensive. How do 15 minute cities keep from turning into islands of affluence with oceans of poverty in between? Sure, you can pay the people who build and maintain the cities and serve the inhabitants more money but then the services will be more expensive. Unless these are public works projects I imagine someone needs a profit so they’re not taking a cut. Then it just becomes a vicious circle of rising costs.

Basically how is this not gentrification on a larger scale? Because even if that’s not the intention I can see a lot of paths to that outcome.

John Metcalf
John Metcalf
28 days ago

How do 15 minute cities keep from turning into islands of affluence with oceans of poverty in between?

You’ve just described America.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
28 days ago

This is where you’re thinking of scale backwards. Instead of suburbs with a shopping center located elsewhere, you basically design small towns with the amenities in walking distance. A lot of Europe is set up this way. Towns are spaced fairly close together, minutes apart by car, but each small residential area has it’s amenities available on foot.

The traditional city design we have in North America was built around cars. We need to change that approach. Things as simple as making the first 1 or 2 floors of an apartment building shops instead of dwellings. New York, being an old city, uses Bodegas everywhere for basic amenities. Just as an example.

Supermarkets are unnecessary. Small markets that serve the local population are key. As an added plus, it keeps money local and in circulation instead of endlessly lining the pockets of large corporations.

Skurdnee
Skurdnee
29 days ago

I live in a 15 minute city and it allows me to own a 2000 Tundra and a 2001 4Runner, and I’m looking at getting a C4 Vette. This would not be a great stable if I had to rely on one for a long ass commute or drive everywhere all the time.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
29 days ago

I lived in San Francisco for 20 years – 14 of which were car-less.
I was able to get to my office/grocery store/doctors, etc by walking, taking Muni, Taxis and Uber (I was an early Uber user)
Getting rid of the car was like giving myself a huge raise.

I sometimes thought about getting a cool older car – such as a vintage Mercedes-Benz R107 SL.
However just parking the thing in my building garage would have cost me $3000/year- before we even got to licensing, insurance, maintenance, fuel – not to mention the cost of the car itself.

That was money that went to my travel budgets and retirement accounts instead.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
29 days ago

Theoretically, sure.

In practice, no, because you’re too poor paying landlords since housing is so unaffordable, and then you also don’t have a garage for multiple vehicles let alone impractical ones. Also can’t street park anything or it gets trashed by idiots who can’t park.

Mike B
Mike B
28 days ago

“We’re not broke, we’re broken, we’re too poor to even pay attention”.

“Dogma” – KMFDM, 1996.

Last edited 28 days ago by Mike B
ADDvanced
ADDvanced
27 days ago

Buy whatever property you can, you do not need 20% down! I paid $150/month in PMI for 2-3 years, but then my house went up by 100k, so I refinanced and it went away. Get preapproved, and start shopping. Can always refinance at a lower rate in the future.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
28 days ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

Oh the fun little games Seattle parking enforcement and I used to play with my street parked cars in my younger days.

Back when it was somewhat safe to get around a city via bicycle for ninety percent of my travel needs.

Different times…
It didn’t work then due to constant shuffling of cars and ticketing.
It doesn’t work now because riding a bike in the speeding, inattentive, dangerous traffic is no longer worth the risk.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
30 days ago

Re: 15-minute cities, I’ve been living this for almost 16 years now and I love it. I committed to this consciously when I moved from Detroit to Chicago and I never want to give it up. Granted, my office moved in 2017 from a great location a 20-minute bike ride away to a shitty location on the south side – 60 minutes by CTA, 70-80 by bike, 30-60 by car – so I often drive because as shitty as it is, it’s usually faster and it’s practically a door-to-door drive on the freeway so I’m not on city streets for more than 5 minutes. Before that I spend ten years never driving anywhere for anything unless I wanted to, which meant never in the city – I’d drive to work maybe 4-6 times a year, whenever I was going to Detroit for a weekend. I ride my bikes everywhere as my default (except commuting, see above), I live two blocks from the train, ditto several buses, there’s brand new awesome protected bike infra going east, I can walk to several grocery stores, pharmacy, etc. etc, in 5-7 minutes and to a whole ton more in 15-30. Last time I flew, I got from my kitchen to my gate at ORD in 60 minutes by CTA. Meanwhile, I own six cars, because I’m slightly crazy. Four would be better, and I’m trying to get there. I’m not sure I could get under three in the foreseeable future. I very occasionally drive in the city for convenience, but I can do absolutely everything I want to without a car, leaving me to drive them for fun. 15-minute cities are only “controversial” among US right-wing reactionaries who identify themselves by opposition to whatever they think “liberals” are. Such people are free to live where they want to, as always.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
29 days ago
Reply to  Theotherotter

In 1997 I got a job in Chicago and moved there from San Diego. My new employer paid for the relocation and I learned it was no problem for the movers to transport my car to my sister in Connecticut instead of Chicago. So I did that. (I had lived in Chicago for a year a few years earlier, so I knew I wouldn’t need it.)

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
30 days ago

A desire named streetcar.

86-GL
86-GL
30 days ago

It’s so true.

I did the ‘fun/weird/old car as a daily’ thing for years, and I don’t regret it, but I don’t miss it either. You begin to resent your classic vehicle’s flaws more than you appreciate the charm.

The obvious solution is to have a daily and a project car of course, but at a certain point- driving is driving. Sure, your ‘weekend car’ can be something exciting, but the experience really isn’t that different than your commute- Unless you’re putting in the effort to go to car shows, autocross, off-roading, etc. Sadly, I’m going to say these activities are pretty rare among the general population.

The actual freedom to go through your week without needing a car is a huge luxury, and really gives you that novelty and sense of occasion when you do pull out the car for a drive.

During my college years, I decided to commute by train- (even though it was more time consuming and less convenient) and I loved it. TBH, it was actually the first time I made any progress on some of the enthusiast mods and improvements I had been putting off for years.

Unfortunately I live in a rural area now, so cars will be a part of my daily life for the foreseeable future. A big part of the reason I’m pivoting back to mountain biking, road cycling, and exploring other pursuits like cross country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter.

Last edited 30 days ago by 86-GL
Professor Chorls
Professor Chorls
30 days ago
Reply to  86-GL

Having a daily entitles you to have as many terribly running, conditionally-running, and non-running piles as you please. This was the argument I had with myself before I committed to a Normal People Car that can still be repaired from the NAPA parts counter instead of hunting on forums and calling 87 year olds with land-lines.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
30 days ago

V10 is correct

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
30 days ago

Bring on the 15 minute cities!

The idea that I can walk or bike for basic amenities and use public transit for work gives me an excuse to own a fleet of impractical but fun vehicles that I can hoon because I WANT to, not cause I HAVE to.

Yeah, but where are you going to keep them?

BubbaX
BubbaX
30 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

No more than a 15-minute walk away.
In the winter, when the leaves are off the trees, I can see the car from the window. Binoculars help.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
30 days ago
Reply to  BubbaX

I don’t think massive parking garages 15 minutes away is part of the plan. It kinda defeats the idea of people ditching cars in the first place.

This also assumes if those parking garages do exist the fees to park there won’t be massive, roads will be maintained for vehicular traffic and not reserved for commercial/service vehicles only. If personal use is allowed that the fees aren’t also exorbitant.

Also that fuel will be readily available and sold in copious amounts not rationed off at a quart/8 kWh per month.

If any of that were to happen you might as well have a collection of ship’s anchors.

Now if your uncle has a country place that no one knows about. One that used to be a farm before the Motor Law, well then on Sundays you can elude the eyes
and hop the turbine freight to far outside the wire where your white-haired uncle waits

Because lucky you down in his barn your uncle preserved for you an old machine
for fifty odd years. To keep it as new has been his dearest dream.

Just strip away the old debris that hides a shining car. A brilliant red Barchetta from a better vanished time. Fire up the willing engine responding with a roar.

Tires spitting gravel enjoy (safely) comitting your weekly “crime”.

Just imagine..

Wind in your hair, shifting and drifting, mechanical music, adrenaline surge, well-weathered leather hot metal and oil, the scented country air, sunlight on chrome, the blur of the landscape, every nerve aware.

Just watch out for those darn Air cars, two lanes wide.

Space
Space
30 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Dysautopian.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
30 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I live on the northwest side of Chicago and own six cars and this is the first question that nearly everyone asks me when they find out I own six cars. My two normal cars are parked on the street outside my home, one lives in the garage at home (I live in a two-flat and my neighbor has the other side of the garage), two are housed in a 2.5-car garage I rent a couple of miles away, and I temporarily have another garage space a couple of blocks down the streeet until I sell one car. I live in a very walkable neighborhood, two blocks from the blue line and three buses, and about a 35-minute bike ride from the Loop.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
29 days ago
Reply to  Theotherotter

I have a neighbor with a hoarded collection of shitboxes he perpetually street parks because his driveway, garage and RV sized backyard are jam packed full of more crap. It is annoying and selfish as hell. There is already a shortage of street parking which is bad enough but his preferred vehicles are tall sight blockers and he has a bad habit of parking them illegally on the corner blocking critical sight lines.

I hope you are more considerate of your community.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
29 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Well, I did say that my two normal cars are parked on the street. Not a hoarded collection of shitboxes. I only park where parking is allowed. I don’t like tickets.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
29 days ago
Reply to  Theotherotter

Not bad as long as parking isn’t tight and your cars don’t present any safety issues. Personally I don’t care if the street parked is a shitbox or not, unless it stinks or leaks. My ire is for safety and parking…and consistently not moving the damn things for the street sweepers.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
28 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Even most densely packed condos and apartment buildings have parking areas. I had heated underground parking when I lived downtown. Lots of spots were available because, surprise, most people that live in a walkable area tend to not own cars. They use rideshare programs for the once or twice a month they need wheels.
This leaves parking for the enthusiasts.

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
30 days ago

Do believe this is my first COTD here or at the “old site”. I can finally cross it off the list. Yay!

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
30 days ago

I posted my very similar comment before reading yours, which is on me for skipping the assigned reading. Thumbs down to Cupra for getting our hopes up.

R Rr
R Rr
30 days ago

As a life-long Alfa enthusiast (there are dozens of us in the US!), I’ve been betrayed like this many times.

“We’re making a carbon-fiber-tub mid-engine little sportscar, the 4C, and even bringing it over the pond! ..but it has only 2 pedals”
*shakes fist at the sky*

“We’re making a rear-wheel drive sedan with awesome dynamics, the Giulia, and it even has 3 pedals! ..but we’re only bringing autotragics here”

“The Giulia QV will be the only one to have the manual in the US. .. just kidding, not gonna happen.”
*realizes Alfa is now only marketed in the US to soccer moms*

“Dammit, we can’t hit our sales targets.. must be the media’s fault!”
*slow face palm, long sigh*

Cupra: “Hey Alfa, great job out there! Hold my beer!”

Last edited 30 days ago by R Rr
Mechjaz
Mechjaz
30 days ago

Congratulations!! I’ve always admired your username, by the way.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
30 days ago

Yay!!!

Rob Rex
Rob Rex
30 days ago

Cupra…. I can feel the excitement of Spanish and Catalonian ancestors.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
30 days ago

Well. I tried. Much love to the winners, and enjoy Asheville! Papa’s and Beer is way better than it has any right to be.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
30 days ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

Asheville is such a pretty town.

Last edited 30 days ago by Spikedlemon
Matt DeCraene
Matt DeCraene
30 days ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

If you’re looking for a recommendation for a local brewery here, Burial on the South Slope is my favorite. Their Forestry Camp near Biltmore village is cool too.

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