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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:04 PM   #1201
Filou
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Originally Posted by g.spinoza View Post
I don't agree, but I have to admit that remark about people who needs mental doctor was way out of line, especially from him.
I don't know the man, but somebody who makes remarks like that cannot be balanced, I think.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:08 PM   #1202
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Originally Posted by g.spinoza View Post
I can see that, but I think that reducing the possibility to access to that street would reduce the number of buses (or cars) accessing to that street. It would still be the most polluted road in your city, but at least it would have, say, 7000 vehicles per day, and not 10000.
The problem will then move to another street.

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Yeah, who's facts? Never mind, discussion is useless here.
Facts that followed out of extensive research in the Netherlands, research done with a quality that makes me jealous. Calling someone unbalanced is insulting.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:11 PM   #1203
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[QUOTE=Wimpie;79133548]
...Remainings of the old Belgian roadmarking system


Nice set of pictures.
And nice to see a Belgian province welcoming people from other parts of the country in their languages. ;-)
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:12 PM   #1204
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Originally Posted by Wimpie View Post
The problem will then move to another street.
Only if you don't abandon your damn car. (It is a generic you, not you proper)
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #1205
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We come to the same point once again, who says people WANT to abandon their cars
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:14 PM   #1206
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Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
Nice set of pictures.
And nice to see a Belgian province welcoming people from other parts of the country in their languages. ;-)

They have the right to do that, just like we have the right not to
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:18 PM   #1207
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Originally Posted by Wimpie View Post
The problem will then move to another street.
It's not only a question of air quality. It's about roads filled with cars and not with trees, pedestrians and cyclists. It's about living in a city where cars ar not omnipresent.
Examples in other countries have proven that the use of people cars depends on the infrastructure. The more roads are build, the more people will use their cars. When infrastructure is reduced it never results in a traffic disaster, quite the opposite.

Brussels is typical a city where everything is/was sacrificed for king automobile. Car tunnels/citymotorays were build in and around the city center, motorways like the E40 penetrate via an extensive tunnel network until hundred meters from Belgian parliament.

And still, the traffic jams are terrible, even inside the tunnels the cars do not move. I'm glad that the Brussels government decided to correct the mistakes from the passed. It mutulated our city and never provided for a smooth traffic. You can call that mental. So be it.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:23 PM   #1208
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The reason traffic jams increase is that the infrastructure was never adopted to the newer needs. That and the fact the government of Brussels keeps adding buslanes while we in Flanders have already proven that those lanes are not effective if a regular traffic lane was sacrifised.
New York is a city with alot of motorway traffic as well but it is a place filled with marvels.
Brussels is not a village, traffic is needed to keep the city alive like blood does in the human body. If you keep narrowing the veins a major crash will follow, the wealthy Flemmings will stay away and the city is left to its lowest population.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:24 PM   #1209
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wimpie View Post

We come to the same point once again, who says people WANT to abandon their cars
But really, if the numbers and capacity of the roads you drive reduce, and you were be forced into daily jams, wouldn't you be willing to leave your car at home?

Of course, all my reasoning here is based on the assumption that THERE IS a suitable public transport replacement.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:26 PM   #1210
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Well, well well.

Lets sum it up.

Facts.

Freeflowing traffic, ceteris paribus, causes less polution than traffic jam.
Less traffic, ceteris paribus the flow, causes less polution.

I want less polution => I got to get less traffic of the same flow, or same traffic on more flow.


I dont think that this is impossible problem for infrastructure engineers... E.g. the section could be acces controlled based on the traffic flow. There could be peek hour toll. There could be even and odd license plate numbers thing like in Peking... There are many possibilities. Lets compare the other things...

We just get the traffic down, but we cause congestion. => the effect is not obvious. There would be certain trade off between both and we would have to measure and project the trade off.

We let the road be, there will be more traffic, thus more congestion. => clearly negative effect.

We increase road capacity, there will be more traffic and perhaps less congestion => the effect is unclear. There is trade off. (if the congestion keeps same, the effect is clearly negative).


Besides, there are other issues, like noise, opportunity cost of the space used for the road, vibrations, etc.


About Zwolle and its 10 000 cars road. It can be clearly the most polluted place in the city. Now imagine if in the same place would lead the 100 000 motorway, with the same parameters. It would be unlivable.... And thats the point here.

I think that the most car polluted street in Prague is small 1-1 street in the old town where the cars are allways stuck, daily perhaps with 20 000 cars at max? Not the Magistrala with more then 100 000 cars, and not any part of motorway. And why is that? Because there live people right next to that small road, there are buildings right next to it, because you have to walk right next to the exhaust pipes of the cards, becuase there is no wind, etc. What would be the solution? Demolish the gothic, reinessance and baroque buildings around? Make the road 3x3? Man, no one could mean that serious... The only solution there is to make people stop using this road whatsover. Not make it easier for the to use it at expanse of the people that are actually living there.

Very interesting solution is then to make every driver pay the differential in the living standards at there with cars and without them, that are to the people that are living in that area. Do you drive through the city center with your car everyday, alone, sticking half an hour in the traffic jam, causing people walking by caugh, people living by sick, etc... You should then pay this external costs of your behaviour to them...

Last edited by Surel; June 7th, 2011 at 04:33 PM.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:36 PM   #1211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g.spinoza View Post
But really, if the numbers and capacity of the roads you drive reduce, and you were be forced into daily jams, wouldn't you be willing to leave your car at home?

Of course, all my reasoning here is based on the assumption that THERE IS a suitable public transport replacement.
I would never leave my car at home, I would continue to look for alternative roads. Nothing gives me the feeling of freedom as much as driving a car.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 05:00 PM   #1212
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It's a very basic fact that in city centers (especially in Europe where city centers usually have lots of historic buildings and narrow streets) it is literally impossible to provide enough road capacity for free flow traffic. Of course it is not impoissible principally but would have a cost that not any government of the world could pay.
Brussels has one of the best road insfrastructures of European cities and yet traffic is congested always and everywhere.
Why? Ther're two main reasons:
- Too many people commute to some very small areas so that traffic is very concentrated
- Public transport is not comprehensive enough so that people take the car instead of riding the subway or a tram
But the situation is nowadays better than 15-20 years ago. Modal split is much more balanced. Perhaps some decision makers think public transport has reached the level when people can be forced to use it instead of the car. Is it right? Probably not yet. But the trend is this way - no doubt.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 05:14 PM   #1213
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Quote:
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Brussels is typical a city where everything is/was sacrificed for king automobile. Car tunnels/citymotorays were build in and around the city center, motorways like the E40 penetrate via an extensive tunnel network until hundred meters from Belgian parliament.
Well, aren't tunnels the best option? Do you like urban viaducts like in Italy better? Or narrow streets with near-constant congestion, also outside rush hours? Tunnels are the best option for urban traffic, and thankfully Brussels has a lot of them, but I see you rather have intersections that are impassable for pedestrians and cyclists with long waiting times and a near-inaccessible city due to congestion.

Quote:
It's not only a question of air quality. It's about roads filled with cars and not with trees, pedestrians and cyclists. It's about living in a city where cars ar not omnipresent.
Right, so by narrowing a road makes all cars disappear? Come on, you lack a sense of reality. Reducing roadway capacity really doesn't make a city more livable or attractive. I can see that in the historic city centers, but E40 is far from that. There are no cities where cars aren't omnipresent, whether it's in Brussels, New York City, Tokyo or Mumbai. Such cities are an utopia. Cars are a fact of live and they are dozens of times cleaner than they used to be 25 years ago.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 05:21 PM   #1214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attus View Post
But the situation is nowadays better than 15-20 years ago. Modal split is much more balanced. Perhaps some decision makers think public transport has reached the level when people can be forced to use it instead of the car. Is it right? Probably not yet. But the trend is this way - no doubt.
When the extensive tunnelsystem in Brussels was constructed Belgium was still a unified country. It was always a national minister who was reponsible for roads and public transport in Brussels. In general they were not Brusselers and their main interests were the commuters, not the inhabitants.
Since the regionalisation these roads (and tunnels) are now a regional competence. This means that the Brussels government is more interested in the well-being of the city and his inhabitants that the comfort of the commuters. The commuters don't pay taxes in Brussels and they vote in other regions anyway.
It's now a general accepted idea in Brussels that the city is congested, and that there are too much cars in the citie, causing polution, trafic jams, noise, and general annoyance. Reducing the number of cars is thus the number one priority. This will be done, by reducing te capacity of the roads, reducing the number of parking spots on the one hand and improving public transport on the other hand. Also it's a goal to get the % of cyclists to 20 % instead of the 3 % of today. Modal shift is indeed an important part of this plan. In the years to come we will see more things that will change. I hope so, because the car pressure is becoming too much and people will leave the city even more and return to work by car.
Mental maybe? I guess so.

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Originally Posted by Chriszwolle
Well, aren't tunnels the best option? Do you like urban viaducts like in Italy better?
Typical! For you the only alternative are viaducts!

Quote:
Or narrow streets with near-constant congestion, also outside rush hours? Tunnels are the best option for urban traffic, and thankfully Brussels has a lot of them, but I see you rather have intersections that are impassable for pedestrians and cyclists with long waiting times and a near-inaccessible city due to congestion.
No, you don't understand. The city is congested now, because the thousends of cars that enter the city in the tunnels. They must leave these tunnels sooner or later blockin the narrow streets of the citycenter. It's by narrowing the funnel that you can make the flow going.

Quote:
Right, so by narrowing a road makes all cars disappear? Come on, you lack a sense of reality.
You insults do not touch me. I think it's sad the way you discuss.

But yes, if you make it impossible to enter the city, than the cars will disappear. If the total capacity of the roads entering Brussels is reduced there is no other option. If the people are stuck in endless trafic jams, they will reconsider and see that the villa in the suburbs gives them less comfort than they believed. May they will find a job in another city, travel by train or bicycle or maybe move to the city close to work...

Quote:
Reducing roadway capacity really doesn't make a city more livable or attractive. I can see that in the historic city centers, but E40 is far from that.
Yes, the E40 is a road that brings cars from outside the city right to the center via the tunnels (Kortenbergtunnel, montgommery, etc...) Reducing the capacity is the solution. I'm am not going to insult you like you insult me... but I could blame you of lacking reality too. Let's keep it civilised and respect other people's opinion, please?

Quote:
There are no cities where cars aren't omnipresent, whether it's in Brussels, New York City, Tokyo or Mumbai. Such cities are an utopia. Cars are a fact of live and they are dozens of times cleaner than they used to be 25 years ago.
Brussels is a very smal city with only a milion inhabitants and cannot be compared with New-York City, Tokyo or Mumbay. Still, when walking around Manhattan one notices that the city has less trafic Jams than Brussels.





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Old June 7th, 2011, 05:49 PM   #1215
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Transit wackos and the unintended consequences when they succeed

First of all, I should say photo comparisons like those of Seoul don't move me one Yota. Is a worn-out tactic of selecting a grim picture on a bad weather day of a traffic jam, then comparing it to the best possible artistic shot of something that replaced it. It's the same annoying repetition of examples - that of Seoul, alone, which comprises a minor highway spur in the city, I myself have seen at least 20 times in threads discussing these subjects. Too ironic just where that small creek ends there is a major river with 2 expressways, one in each side of the city.

Second, the argument of reducing capacity to reduce traffic is one of the most stupid ever. And very short-sighted. It should be pretty obvious that if you cut, by whatever means (strangled lanes, traffic lights, pedestrianization) traffic capacity, cars can't just overcome such limitations and sure traffic will reduce. Duh. It is the equivalent that say that if you remove a runway from a busy airport, less aircraft movements will happen and thus less noise will be produced in the immediate vicinity.

What most transit wackos ignore, or better saying, the question they refuse to ask, is: what impacts reduced access have on the economy of a city/neighborhood? All Western schemes to reduce traffic via capacity constriction have failed to move everyone to transit. In the long term, you end with unintended consequences.

Amsterdam pursued such policies in the 1970s. Its central area may look lovely, but many serious business and companies' HQs left for outer suburbs, curiously close to - guess - the A10 and A9 motorways.

The only cities that are suitable for massive Park+Ride operations or transit substitution for cars on at least part of the journey are those which have commercial activity concentrated in a few places, so that you can have radial lines carrying people straight to the center. Paradoxically, North American - not European - medium metropolises are most suitable for such plans than European ones because they have CBDs and high-density areas full of skyscrapers surrounded by residential- and very light commerce-only extensive swaths.

On the long term, you might end with areas more easy to access decaying and real estate development moving away to other places. For Brussels, whose administrative structure is peculiar, that would mean losing lucrative commercial developments to Flandres and Wallonia if it becomes a traffic hell.

I could go over on the mathematics of flow theory, but I'll avoid it. I remain with the following statements:

- it is pointless to compare any travel time but door-to-door, which is what people actually do. Station-to-station, junction-to-junction, stop-to-stop, airport-to-airport travel time only makes sense if you are evaluating, on a narrowly defined scope, how to move airplanes, trains, buses, cars. But save for a few, people don't live or work in stations, interchanges airports.

- no matter how ad-hoc arguments are presented, the personal car has some built-in advantages inherent to its nature whose implications on travel time are huge. It has zero connection time, it has a theoretical infinite frequency, its batches of large flows are small and its capillarity is unparalleled. You only need to add two small walks of 10 minutes each, plus 5-min waiting time to end with 30 minutes lost in daily commute not counting time spent moving on transit, which is almost the average time spend by European commuters on a daily basis.

- bad as they might look, traffic jams alone do not warrant transit substitution, once you consider aforementioned both statements. Even if you have 10.000 cars moving at 30km/h average with choke points and bottlenecks in highways, it is usually more efficient and faster for the majority of those drivers to do so than ride transit, because those 10.000 cars have thousands of different origin-destination pairs. Because people are not travelling from Exit 12 to Entrance 18, but from thousand of different homes, whatever lost time cars have on a big, congested urban highway is usually compensated by the immense gains on their last mile, you know, the fact you drive 4 minutes from the highway exit and park in front of your house instead of dropping of a rail station, waiting a bus, riding the bus and walking until your final destination.

This is what I truly wanted transit wackos to get a grip of: it is not the large flows that count so much in favor of car, but the small ones, the last mile, which can't ever be efficiently handled by transit except in very few places like Canary Wharf, Manhattan and Chicago Loop, of which there are only a handful in Western World.

===================

On a cautionary note: beware of what you wish by aggressively removing urban traffic capacity. You might end with a place full of people, mostly tourists, walking around "beautiful" and "livable" pedestrian boulevard but not many folks working seriously and making tons of money for the city. This might push your city towards a situation where only the very rich (who can afford car-mobility, chauffeurs, taxis, € 800/month parking slots anyway) and the poor living in the central areas of the city, which in case of Europe might well mean having an economic dynamic place taken over by low-skilled, low-income people (with over-representation of unintegrated immigrants to add), while most of middle class fly away for places with better infrastructure.

Then, if your city is big enough to attract massive tourism and hospitality guests, good luck, you've got some activity. If not, that might spell doom or at least decay to central locations.

I have witness the phenomena countless times in Italian cities. For a variety of reasons, Italian old cities are hell for traffic: usually hilly, and usually large as they haven't been razed as much in Middle Ages from War and Italian states were poorer in the 17th and 18th Century to make renovations Paris or Wien style. Then, you have all these cities wanting to reduce traffic and parking in medieval areas, but sometimes in central and not medieval areas also. Planners love to brag about new pedestrianized plazas and bike paths, only to, years later, complain and whine that another municipality 10km down the road is building a new "Centro Direzionale" (office park) that is taking business and busting while areas where formerly there were lawyer offices, banks and other business on historical areas now become the domain of souvenir shops, Kebhab and other street food outlets, and housing become dilapidated as families move out and apartments are rented by the room for people working in low-paid jobs.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 05:49 PM   #1216
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The emission standards of motor vehicles have improved significantly in the last 20 years, i.e. 10.000 vehicles per day in 1990 polluted as much as 100.000 vehicles per day today. However, these facts are usually ignored by transit enthusiasts, only adding to the hysteria about how incredibly polluting traffic is and it must be curbed at all cost.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 05:58 PM   #1217
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The fact that cars ar less polluting now than 20 years ago means very little. 10 times less than a lot can still be a lot.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 05:58 PM   #1218
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However, these facts are usually ignored by transit enthusiasts, only adding to the hysteria about how incredibly polluting traffic is and it must be curbed at all cost.
Well, the hysteria of car enthousiast is not less than that. You forget it's not only about polution. Even if every car was electrical the problem would remain the same: the city would not be more livable with electrical trafic jams, cyclists killed by electrical cars, or electrical cars driving around for parking space.

You miss the point entirely, ChrisZwolle.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 05:59 PM   #1219
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I don't want to get into this whole car vs transit thing, but all I can say is there should be a balance of good road infrastructure and good mass transit. Can't have one without other. Also, being forced to drive for every single thing is just as bad as being forced to use mass transit IMO.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 06:11 PM   #1220
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When the extensive tunnelsystem in Brussels was constructed Belgium was still a unified country. It was always a national minister who was reponsible for roads and public transport in Brussels. In general they were not Brusselers and their main interests were the commuters, not the inhabitants.

Since the regionalisation these roads (and tunnels) are now a regional competence. This means that the Brussels government is more interested in the well-being of the city and his inhabitants that the comfort of the commuters. The commuters don't pay taxes in Brussels and they vote in other regions anyway.
Don't forget things might well work the other way around: regional governments of Wallonia and Flandres attracting business from Brussels to their own regions, just after the border, creating reverse commute and draining the tax base of Brussels region.

Quote:
This will be done, by reducing te capacity of the roads, reducing the number of parking spots on the one hand and improving public transport on the other hand. Also it's a goal to get the % of cyclists to 20 % instead of the 3 % of today. Modal shift is indeed an important part of this plan. In the years to come we will see more things that will change. I hope so, because the car pressure is becoming too much and people will leave the city even more and return to work by car.
You already detected on the last phrase the flaws of the first part of this sentence. If you make car traffic even more hellish by reducing capacity and expensive by reducing street parking (essentially leaving underground parking as the only option), people might just move elsewhere where traffic is better. If those people are skilled and earn good wages, employers might well follow them later.

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But yes, if you make it impossible to enter the city, than the cars will disappear. If the total capacity of the roads entering Brussels is reduced there is no other option. If the people are stuck in endless trafic jams, they will reconsider and see that the villa in the suburbs gives them less comfort than they believed. May they will find a job in another city, travel by train or bicycle or maybe move to the city close to work...
If you reduce mobility, you will only increase the cost of housing near employment centers. Which, in turn, will make spacious housing un-affordable for middle class families. Then, again, you end only with the rich (which can pay millions) or the poor (who accept living in cramped flats with not much space, let alone private gardens/yards) will think as attractive to live. Want to see the results of that policy: take a Thalys train to Amsterdam and check for yourself. Take away tourists, and you have few middle-class families living in the central core of Amsterdam. The rest is taken over by either posh, rich living in canal houses or students and immigrants crawling in small rooms/flats without decent space for Dutch standards. Middle class families moved to Amstelveen, Almere, Hoofddorp and other places.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Attus View Post
- Public transport is not comprehensive enough so that people take the car instead of riding the subway or a tram
But the situation is nowadays better than 15-20 years ago. Modal split is much more balanced. Perhaps some decision makers think public transport has reached the level when people can be forced to use it instead of the car. Is it right? Probably not yet. But the trend is this way - no doubt.
You can't "force people into transit". That is already an authoritarian paternalistic proposition. Ignoring its ideological aspect, it is also unworkable under an economic analysis. For starters, local transit is a money loser in all European cities. Larger riderships could bankrupt cities, as the type of transit network that reaches everywhere so that you can "force people out of cars" is very economically unproductive, unless you force them to live in high density areas. Many countries had very bad experiences with housing projects of high density and I don't see that happening.

Moreover, as you can't force people to live in specific places or business not to move elsewhere, cutting off a place from traffic with drastic measures might make a place unattractive for business and then business + employees will relocate elsewhere.

That would only be achievable if people, on a mass scale, severely dropped their mobility expectations, as to think that is would be "normal" not to have prompt access on holidays to other towns or "normal" to move from your house to another whenever you change jobs or "normal" to shop mostly within walking distance foregoing large stores altogether. And honestly I don't see that happening.
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