I began and ended my previous piece agreeing with the premise that modern suburbia is terrible. In between I dunked on a snarky midwit who was making absurd arguments in service of the absurd premise that banning cars is desirable and serious policy. But it’s important not to get Finkled into thinking that our current top down engineered artificial suburbs are anything other than a crime against the people.
To explain how terrible the situation is I’m going to use an experience of my own. When I was in my early twenties I went to Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. Starting in my second year I lived in a house shared with five other guys, that was in an area surrounded only by other houses.
I went and looked up the area again using online maps, and I’ve marked the spot where the house was in with the black X. Since that doesn’t really get my point across properly I found another image that shows the area more clearly. You’ll have to excuse the annoying and unhideable map features. I tried everything to get rid of them but nothing worked.
I lived in the black roofed house directly to the left of the V in Village at the bottom of the screen. The one that’s sandwiched in between two houses with pools. To the right is a large mall complex, the Pen Center, replete with the signature gigantic and mostly empty non-vertical parking lot that is a pain in the ass to walk through. At least you could always find parking.
I had a Mazda 3 at the time, but I almost always walked to the grocery store, even in winter. This was a touch less than a ten minute walk so it wasn’t that bad, but it became increasingly irritating as time went by because of how unnecessary it was. The path I had to walk was the same as driving. I had to go North on Village Rd, then East on Oscar, then South down Jacobson, and then finally East on that small, unnamed street just to then have the pleasure of crossing the parking lot, often dangerous and always time consuming. Making matters worse, the grocery store had the entrance on the opposite side, which necessitated walking all the way around it just to go inside, and often walking all the way through it to grab something off a shelf that was a few feet on the other side of the wall facing where I came from. Then I’d have to walk back to that side of the store, wait in a long checkout line, before walking back the width of the store, then back through the parking lot, and then down the streets on a very not-straightforward route.
I knew some girls who were in a house on Oscar Ave. I would occasionally see them hanging out on the steps when I was out on this walk, and they would make fun of me having to walk the extra distance to their house every time. They themselves were jealous of the people who we knew who lived in the houses adjacent to that little side street, so all they had to do was walk across a parking lot to get to the mall. When you have to make a certain walk every day, or every few days, an extra few minutes each way starts becoming enraging.
But as annoying as this was, at least I lived in an area that was within walking distance of the mall. If we go West just a bit, we find an enormous all residential area.
Yes, this entire area is all residential. There are two schools, a church, and some mislabeled stores that don’t really exist, but are probably the legal addresses for someone’s business. It’s just a bunch of houses. Using Google Maps I clicked on a random spot in the middle of all that and then searched for grocery stores. The nearest was a 43 minute walk away, and it was also the Pen Center. I’m sure if you spent just a few minutes clicking on random locations in the middle of the city you could easily find worse locations. Much worse locations. In fact, since there’s no grocery stores to the South-East, but there are more houses, you could probably double this with some ease.
It shouldn’t be that hard for a college student to get by without a car, especially with the decent public transport that took me to University. But it wouldn’t have been possible had we chosen a house that was in this area. So why is this the case? Is it the natural outcome of muh free market that there are no grocery stores near where people live? It could be, but that seems fairly absurd, right?
It might seem possible if your only experience with grocery shopping is gigantic supermarkets like Walmart, Save On, or whatever the cookie cutter garbage near where you live is called. But after moving back home I got a job at a local produce store called Chans. You can see it below.
The store is, or at least was, owned by the hardest working man I have ever met in my life. He took two and a half days off per year, Christmas, the back half of Christmas Eve, and New Years. Every other day he was in the store early, leaving late, and spending all the time in the middle doing everything he could to make the store as much of a success as possible, including doing plenty of research to make sure that he got the best deals that he could. The store was a success, and he told me that the store made about $750,000 in profit per year. That’s rich, but in this case probably deserved, and I still occasionally think about the owner and wish that he took more days off and focused on his life more.
The store was in a great location, with the area to the South of the store – which you can see to some extent behind the store in the above image – being all residential. As a result, lots of people could walk to the store to buy whatever they needed. There was also a butcher shop two doors down, as well as a bakery across the street, so most of your needs could be met.
Of course, there was also a Safeway across that street, so if you wanted to you could get all your needs served there. This undoubtedly hurt the business of the butcher shop, produce store, and bakery. However, they offered such good service, and low prices, that they overcame the natural price advantage of a big supermarket chain – Safeway, but also the parent company Sobey’s – and offered a competitive product. It helps that Safeway is a poorly managed corporation.
While the store was a success, no matter how hard he worked the phones finding the best deals that he could, he couldn’t outcompete Walmart on price, due to the economics of scale working in their favour. Although he did manage to get fairly close for most items, to the point where, if you lived next to the store, you would be paying more in gas money than you would be saving on produce.
Giant stores like Walmart, big supermarket chains, etcetera, have a fairly small advantage in terms of price due to economics of scale, at least assuming you don’t have to drive far to get there. However, small, local grocery stores have an enormous advantage in that you can just walk there, and probably see a friendly face or two since it’s servicing the local community. Yes, it’s possible that you live right next to a Walmart, and just need to cross a giant parking lot, but more common is you living well outside of walking distance and having to hop into your car.
If we were to predict the winner, I think it’s natural that we would expect people to prefer slightly more expensive but vastly more convenient groceries, that might not even be more expensive when factoring in travel and time costs. But when we look around Canada/US we see these small stores almost don’t exist. Is the price advantage really so great that people are choosing to forgo produce stores, bakeries, butcher shops, or even just much smaller supermarkets that they could simply walk to? Are the economics different here for some reason? Let’s take a look at this video and find out.
Above is a video from Not Just Bikes. He is entirely mediocre, and we’ll get to criticizing him later in this series. But he hits the nail square on the head in the above video.
One of the things I really like about Amsterdam is the shops and restaurants that are dotted throughout residential areas throughout the cities.
But what is interesting is that these areas are illegal to build [due to zoning laws] in almost all of the US and Canada.
The economics aren’t different. Instead, those big retailers went to the government and got zoning laws passed which outlaws smaller, more local competition. They didn’t “win” any competition, they just made not being Walmart illegal.
Because if you can’t build a small grocery store near where someone lives, and instead have to build it right next to Walmart, Save On, and InsertChainHere, you might as well not even bother. You can’t compete with them on price, due to economy of scale. You can’t compete with them by offering people a shorter trip, or even walking, because you are physically located right next to Walmart. You can’t even offer a more personal experience, since you’re drawing from the same enormous region of residents. In short, you have little to no advantage, which is why most people in North America think of gigantic stores when they think groceries.
The government making it illegal to build the things people want near where they live is pretty much the one and only thing that these soyboys are actually right about, and they barely even mention it. You’d think it would be something they would be constantly harping on. But no, they’d rather lecture you about how you’re a bad person for having a car, and demand that they literally be banned, despite them admitting that our countries are artificially engineered to make walking anywhere essentially impossible from residential areas. Then they go on and on over their stupid and ghey pet projects that nobody cares about.
Not Just Bikes is one of the least offensive, but we can see this behaviour in his YouTube videos, starting from the bottom in reverse order.
The first 19 videos of his are soying out over sidewalks, whining about highways, soying over “traffic calming,” which is a really annoying term that we’ll get to later, soying over underground bike parking, and soying out over Amsterdam in about a million different ways. It is only until you get to his 21st video, out of currently just 71, where he gets to the whole “oh yeah but it’s illegal to actually build things within walking distance in North America. So that’s why you don’t have any walkable neighbourhoods, not the lack of sidewalk investment.” Then he never mentions it again.
This would be like someone in 2047 talking about societal decline, briefly mentioning that they’re in the middle of a nuclear war, and then never talking about that again and going on about how the main problem is that nobody listens to jazz anymore. These soyboys stumbled onto an enormous problem, briefly mention it, and then shove that to the side to whine that there’s no high speed rail in Canada.
Making this all the more ridiculous, his third video ever is bragging about how much better grocery shopping is in Amsterdam. It’s so perfectly emblematic of how detestable these little twerps are, and since it’s just four minutes long I can transcribe much of it.
There are a lot of grocery stores in Amsterdam. Like, a lot.
Not Just Bikes (NJB) helpfully includes this map of grocery stores. In contrast, this is what the map of grocery stores in St. Catharines looks like.
I’ve made sure to include the legend top left, so you can see what an enormous area this is. Below is the area I was talking about in the beginning of the article.
We are, without any exaggeration, looking at an area of at least 50 km^2, all filled with people, serviced by just a few giant grocery stores, all of which are located at the Pen Centre. If you’re curious what the Pen Centre looks like, here’s an aerial shot I found.
It’s a gigantic mall with equally gigantic stores and even bigger parking lots. And yes, it needs those parking lots, because people need to drive there. Getting groceries should be something you can do on a walk, but if you’re going to have the grocery stores this far away, you need to buy in bulk. That means not riding public transit and having all your groceries take up multiple seats.
Grocery stores, markets, butchers and bakers are woven into the urban fabric.
As an aside, it drives me up the wall when people talk like this.
So that no matter where you are you’re only a short walk to somewhere where you can buy fresh food. In the Netherlands most people prefer to make small trips to buy food for today and the next day instead of biweekly to fortnight shopping trips by car.
Shops are not set back behind a sea of parking, so it’s easy to stop in if you’re walking by. In fact many grocery stores do not have any car parking at all, and it’s common to see them in pedestrianized areas, accessible only through walking or cycling.
Of course bicycle parking is provided right out front, making it easy to shop through bicycle. Just pull up and lock the bike. Grab some reusable shopping bags and get a basket. Drop the bags back into the bike, unlock, and we’re off!
It’s at this point in time I need to share pictures of the types of grocery stores he’s talking about. They look awfully small, don’t they? That’s because they are, because they don’t need to be massive, because Amsterdam doesn’t have evil zoning laws that make it illegal to build things near where people actually live.
The soycreatures constantly make this argument that if you just stop building car parking spaces and start building bike parking, everyone will start using bikes. But scroll up to the map of St. Catharines and ask yourself how realistic it is for people to start biking 10k to the Pen Centre for groceries instead of driving.
It’s honestly refreshing to live somewhere where grocery shopping isn’t some big ordeal. In Canada, or in the US, I would literally spend more time just waiting at traffic lights on the way to the grocery store, then my entire trip to the grocery store here in the Netherlands.
This is true, but only because he had to travel less than 1/10th the distance in the Netherlands, because the Government didn’t make it illegal to build grocery stores where people live. This has nothing to do with bike parking, no car parking, or public transit. All of that only makes sense if people are already riding their bikes because it makes sense because the places they need to be are close to where they live.
I always found the North American car-centric grocery trip to be really… messed up. Driving out to the edge of town in heavy traffic, waiting in huge checkout lines, buying everything in massive quantities – effectively turning your house into a convenience store just to save a few bucks. And who eats this much food? The truth is nobody does. The US and Canada have the highest level of food waste in the world. Almost one quarter of food purchases goes to waste, and the bulk shopping culture definitely plays a part in that.
You’re much less likely to eat fresh food if you’re buying it in bulk for the week, rather than staying if you stop on your way home from work. Of course when everyone is forced to travel everywhere by car nothing is a quick trip anymore, especially in rush hour.
Why is everyone forced to travel everywhere by car you snarky midwit? Is it because the government makes it illegal to build the necessities of life near residential areas? Yes, yes it is, but Jason Slaughter, the guy behind Not Just Bikes, does the typical soyboy move of snarkily counting the symptoms of the problem without actually addressing the cause, and then pretending people responding rationally to the problem (the government making it illegal to build things in walking distance) are StUPiD AmERicAnS who are fat lazy dumb dumbs.
There have been several times where our family has lived without a car in various cities around the world. When you tell this to someone in North America often their first question will be “but how do you buy groceries?”
I like buying groceries in small quantities. It allows us to eat whatever we’re in the mood for that day. And with two boys who eat a lot, it’s good that unexpected grocery trips are quick. Small grocery trips make it easier for our family to eat healthy, fresh food, and we’re less likely to buy food that goes to waste.
It’s nice to live in Amsterdam where quick grocery trips are not just possible, they’re actively encouraged. And nobody ever asks us, “but how do you buy groceries?”
JFC these people are intolerable.
Four minutes is brief for the Traffic Soyboys, and I didn’t even transcribe all of it. I can make a video explaining why Amsterdam has such vastly superior shopping in just a few words.
Because in Canada and the US, the government makes it illegal for your shopping experience to be local, let alone walkable.
That’s it. He goes this entire video without mentioning that one single time. Instead he just snarks about how North Americans are big dumb dumbs who stupidly have all these soulless department stores. Then the dumb dumb Americans buy food in bulk, because that’s totally an unreasonable thing to do when your grocery trip is a greater than hour long roundtrip due to traffic. Instead, these dumb dumbs should just shop at some quaint little local shop. Unfortunately they chose not to do that because of a little thing called them not existing. And the reason why they don’t exist is because:
The government makes it illegal to build them.
Only eighteen videos later does the snarky midwit admit that the government makes it illegal to build things within walking distance. He doesn’t explain how Canadians/Americans therefore have entirely rational reasons for needing – not wanting – lots of cars. He also makes the annoyance of not having the necessities of life this gay thing about “lively and liveable neighbourhoods,” full of “restaurants and shops” and presumably tons of diversity and a defunded police force.
This is an aside, but Xir fucks up so badly he can’t even condemn zoning laws properly.
Here’s the quick summary. During the industrial revolution cities were pretty horrible places. Someone could literally open a steel mill in the middle of a residential area, and this lead to horrible pollution and a terrible living environment. So zoning was introduced to separate incompatible land uses.
This was probably the single most important contribution that urban planners made to health in the entire history of the profession, and likely saved millions of lives, which is why almost every country has some kind of zoning ordinances.
Don’t take this as a defense of libertarianism, but I can’t let this slide. First of all, the idiotic claim that we need to separate industrial areas from residential areas was always incredibly dumb. Nobody is building a steel mill on highly valuable residential land, for the exact same reason that nobody is buying property in downtown Manhattan and turning it into farmland. There is no economic justification for building industry, or farmland, in these areas. No one needed to be told not to do it, and it insults everyone’s intellect to pretend otherwise.
Above is downtown Toronto. Imagine someone demanding that we pass legislation preventing someone from buying a few skyscrapers for something like $10 billion, demolishing them, and building a half-acre farm worth $100k instead. Then some dipshits justify this by pointing out that farms can smell bad and have pesticide/chemical pollution, so we need zoning laws to prevent downtown Toronto being turned into pig farms.
Secondly, anti-pollution laws and zoning laws are two very different things. Banning pollutants from being released within certain borders of a city is perfectly reasonable. And there are lots of different types of pollution, smell, noise, particulates, chemicals, that are reasonable to ban in a certain area. But zoning laws, which prevent people from making businesses, have always been a grift right from the very start. And there is perhaps no better example of this than you not being able to walk to a local grocery store.
Can someone remind me how our brave capitalist entrepreneurs at Walmart, Sobey’s, and the rest overcame their enormous convenience disadvantage versus smaller local stores and beat them with their dubious – once you factor in travel costs – price advantage? Oh right, they didn’t, they just went to the government and got them to make it illegal to build those stores near where people live.
I want you to think about this every time you are stuck in traffic going down to the grocery store. I want you to think about this every time you forget to buy something from the grocery store, and now have to spend another hour of your life picking up a single carton of milk. It’s important to me that you understand that the reason there is no local grocery store is because the government made it illegal. And they had to make it illegal. If they didn’t, poor downtrodden Walmart wouldn’t be able to compete against the evil empire of locally owned and operated grocery stores.
Everyone responsible for this should be killed, or at the very least sent to deradicalization camps where they are forced to do hard manual labour for the rest of their lives until their backs give out and they get recycled as soylent green for the other deradicalization inmates. I wasn’t kidding when I said this situation was a crime against the people, and this has already had an extreme negative impact on your life.
Having said all that, we live in this artificially engineered society. We shouldn’t, but we do. We live in a society where you need a car to get anywhere and do anything, because it’s illegal to build anything other than houses in gigantic areas around where you live. Under these constraints, the government not investing in public transit, sidewalks everywhere, or bike lanes makes sense. If everyone already has two cars, there’s less demand for public transit. And if things people want aren’t within biking or walking distance, you don’t need to build bike lanes and sidewalks.
On a personal level, the soyboys will whine that you aren’t taking public transit to the goddamn grocery store, as if that’s realistic. They also whine when people put giant pantries in their houses, as well as extra fridges and freezers. It’s because going to the grocery store is such an artificially engineered pain in the ass that people try everything they can to minimize the amount of trips that they make. The traffic soyboys then whine and attack you for being a “carbrain” while ignoring that this is the purely rational response to an artificially engineered situation.
To really drive this point home I’m going to once again talk about my personal experience. I grew up in fairly wealthy area of South Surrey, British Columbia with three older sisters. My parents always had two cars, and as soon as my oldest sister turned sixteen they bought us kids a used Toyota pickup truck. It was similar to this one below.
Despite having three cars for six people, it wasn’t all that rare that we didn’t have enough cars for everyone to do what they wanted. That’s because everything that we did outside the house, aside from going to the local park, required getting in a vehicle and driving there. If Dad was at work, Mom was grocery shopping, and OldestSister was with friends at some event, then MiddleSister needed to chill on the couch alongside the rest of us, no matter what plans she’d made or event she’d been invited to.
Additionally the family home has a very large pantry, two big fridges with bottom freezers, as well as a large stand alone freezer, slightly bigger than a standard fridge, out in the garage. Despite this, we utilized all the fridge, freezer, and pantry space there was, and wished we had more.
The traffic soyboys would say that this is typical wasteful American – or in this case Canadian – culture, and make some snarky asides. But this is just what people do when they’re trying to make the best of a society artificially engineered to make it illegal to build the things people need around where they live. And rather than focus all their efforts on removing laws that make it impossible for people to walk to anything commercial, they demand that cars be totally banned because reasons. Remember this faggot?
There is something so contemptuous with a bunch of uncensored faggots on the internet who make their entire identities about hating cars demanding that the government ban them, waste your taxdollars on infinity bike lanes, remove parking spots in cities, privilege pedestrians to extreme degrees, build trains over every square inch of the Canadian wilderness, also shut down plane rides because “muh global warming,” demand everyone take public transit everywhere, and make fun of the dumb dumbs who apparently don’t understand that cars cost money, all while ignoring that no actually, people need cars so maybe fuck off.
It’s true that Canadians/Americans have too many cars, and they shouldn’t need so many of them. The solution to this is to stop making it illegal to build things withing walking distance of residential areas so that people don’t need to have so many cars. That has nothing to do with public transportation. That has nothing to do with trains, or high speed rail. That has nothing to do with bike lanes or sidewalks, because until we start making things within walking distance there is no reason for municipalities to waste money on sidewalks that people aren’t going to use anyway.
What I’m getting at is a position that might seem nuanced, but isn’t. Cars are one of the greatest inventions of all time. Cars really are all the things that these fags whine about. And yet, people shouldn’t have to spend so much money on cars, not because they’re packed on trains, but just because they should be able to walk to most of the things that they currently drive to. They can’t because their society has been artificially engineered to make this impossible.
Of course, there are other reasons why people don’t want to walk places, or take the public transit where available. There are some people who live in areas populated with Basketball-Americans, or mentally ill homeless people. Occasionally you’ll see a small outburst of reality make its way into the Great Utopia of Traffic Soyboyville.
If these armchair urban planners want us to start using public transportation they should first solve the violent homeless crazy negro stabby problems. Do that, then maybe I’ll take seriously the whining about cars. Don’t start with removing parking in downtown, faggot.
Similarly, if you want me to start walking/biking everywhere, you should first solve the “nothing is within walking distance because the government made that illegal” problem. Don’t start with taxing everyone to make bike lanes and limiting parking spots. Don’t soy out over Amsterdam’s sidewalks before acknowledging that local government are correct in not investing in sidewalk/bike infrastructure because nothing is withing bike/walking distance.
But in reality, it’s the same soy-leftists who want less policing for crimes of colour who also want to force us to use public transit and walk everywhere. And they’re a bunch of spiteful mutants who want complete control over the lives of average everyday people, so don’t hold your breath on them making an issue of removing any of these outrageous zoning laws anytime soon. After all, these people look like this.
And sound like this.
Jaime can we zoom in on that for a second?
In the next piece I’ll show some experiences I have had with public transit, while somehow, magically, using the term “car-centric,” in a negative way without spontaneously growing a vagine and turing gay.