Multi-Modal Activists Against Auto Dependent Development
Caution for the comedically challenged: Chill, we are having fun. Satire, its a thing. On the other hand - everything here is essentially true.
Multi-Modal Activists Against Auto Dependent Development (MMAAADD) is for activists involved in advocating for Walkable Urbanism, Cycling, Transit, Inter-City Transit, Complete Streets, Accessibility, etc... in the Grand Rapids area. If you are any of the previously mentioned then MMAAADD is for you! MMAAADD is a fun-loving beer drinking disorganized association for those sick of ugly, dangerous, environmentally unsustainable, and economically unsustainable auto-dependent development.
As an activist, advocate, or merely a concerned neighbor have you had the experience of attending a meeting where you heard support for a more multi-modal urban-friendly transportation system - but when you read about that meeting on MLIVE the only quote in the article is from that one guy. The one guy at the meeting who was very angry that the city does not use tax-dollars to provide him with a personal dedicated parking space on public right-of-way? Are you tired of the entitlement expressed by motorists about storing their private property where and when ever it is most convenient for them?
Have you experienced the micro-aggressions of "Nobody rides the bus", "Nobody rides a bike", "Everybody drives"? Those people who stand up and tell you that you are Nobody. Aside from being counter-factual [aka "a lie"], it is also obnoxious. And if they can make references to "those people"... why can't we?
Let's get MMAAADD!
MMAAADD's first goal is to aggregate information about meetings so we can get advocates there; enough advocates, and to be loud enough that even an MLIVE "journalist" cannot help but notice. Democracy operates by constituency and constituency is a matter of perception - we need to show up and speak up.
Have you endured absurdist transportation discussions? Any recurring themes? If so, let us know, so we can add them to our FAQ.
Want to join our secret cabal? Join our private Facebook Group. It is private so you can bang your head against the wall and scream; it is OK, you are among friends, just let it out.
Is MMAAADD a "war on cars"?
No! MMAAADD is a rag-tag band of virtuous rebels battling against the hegemonic Motorist Empire. It is Motorists who have waged the war; a war against honest hard working Americans. Motorists seek the destruction of cities and small towns alike in their ceaseless quest for more publicly subsidized storage of their personal property. MMAAADD loves the automobile. Automobiles can carry bikes, take people to train stations, and enjoy the open road (in rural places where the road is, in fact, open). The automobile is great. Storing automobiles is also an excellent source of revenue. What MMAAADD opposes is the Motorist free-loaders who want our city and our neighborhoods to be built for their casual use.
Is MMAAADD opposed to parking?
No! MMAAADD does not even oppose free parking. Parking should be free -> when the automobile is on the private property of the citizen who owns it. This reflects the reality that parking is never actually free; most of the time someone other than the motorist is paying for it.
Aside: Yes, sometimes it isn't worth bothering about. We are not absolutists. A bit of free on-street parking so you can run in to get your Chinese take-out order is a reasonable accommodation. Everyone loves Chinese take-out. For some things we will sacrifice the truth.
Is MMAAADD a bunch of Communists?
No! MMAAADD supports private property rights. That includes the right of developers (aka Capitalists) to build what is most profitable. Allowing the Motorist Empire to regulate what developers can build is wrong. The Motorist Empire uses big government over-reach [aka "parking minimums"] to force developers to provide storage for the private property of the Empire's patrons. Parking Minimums are unamerican! This core value of MMAAADD is consistent with the ideology of true Republicans and other true Conservatives. It must be noted that many operatives of the Motorist Empire masquerade as "conservatives" of one stripe or another; but what they want is to appropriate public dollars for the storage of their personal property.
Is MMAAADD aware that it's name contains "AAA" which is the acronym for one of the principle agents of the Motorist Empire?
Yes! That is intentional. Some arguments are so absurd that satire is the only rational response. We have witnessed, for decades now, the result of Motodom's vision. Those who continue to pursue that failed vision merit little response other than satire.
Is crafting a well reasoned response to an unreasonable objection reasonable? That is a question that requires beer.
Is MMAAADD aware that its name is similar to that of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)?
Yes! That is intentional. Why do we allow people to build drinking establishments in locations where the only means of access is an automobile? There is a simple and effective means to curb drunk driving -> build a robust multi-modal transportation system. America is a nation of builders; we got this!
Is MMAAADD aware that its name is similar to Patricia Pulling's group BADD (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons)?
Yes! That is intentional. If riding a dragon was an available means of transportation... seriously... nobody would travel any other way. Only potential downside for dragon based transport would be "road rage"; the term would take on an entirely new meaning.
And you say "dungeon", I say "subway" - a high-capacity means of transportation unfettered by weather.
Aside: Is there anything more American than Freedom? MMAAADD does not discriminate by alignment, character class, level, or anyone's choice of daemonic patronage. Do you believe the Motorist Empire is above the use of the dark arts? They are the people who want you to believe a monthly payment on a depreciating asset is "freedom". That only makes sense in daemon logic.
But, let's get real, Grand Rapids is an car-centric city...
This statement is uninformed.
Commuter Mode Share Data By Census Tract (2010):
|Census Tract||Neighborhood||Walk %||Bike %||Transit %||Total Non-Auto %|
|14||Monroe North / Belknap||12.6||1.5||8.1||22.1|
Note: Census tracts do not correspond precisely to neighborhood boundaries. The correlation of tract to neighborhood is an approximate one.
Also - these numbers predate the SilverLine BRT service. Ridership on the SilverLine BRT is now 64,000+ riders a month.
But the market has spoken: Americans prefer to drive...
Has the market spoken? YES! And that is NOT the conclusion.
“A 2023 survey from the National Association of Realtors found that 77 percent of respondents would pay a premium to live in a walkable neighborhood, and for Gen Z, that figure shot up to 92 percent."
“Rent data, meanwhile, attests to strong demand for city living,” with rents significantly higher in desirable neighborhoods..”
Car-Free Living Takes Off in Car-Centric Cities (2023-03-14)
“The majority of Americans want to live in car-free neighborhoods,” said Ryan Johnson, co-founder and chief executive officer of Culdesac. “We just haven’t been building them since the advent of the car. The areas that are walkable have just gotten more expensive, which has made the demand higher.”
Paying More to Drive Less (2023-01-27)
What does it cost to live in a place where you can travel on foot to nearby shops, services, and amenities? According to a new report, homebuyers in America’s largest metro areas will pay 35 percent more for walkable real estate. Renters pay a 41 percent premium.
...the overall consensus among the studies and reports reviewed is that “proximity to public transit does lead to higher home values and rents in many cases.”
Property values plummeted during the recent recession, but homes near mass transit lines didn’t take as much of a hit.
It has become increasingly clear over the past decade that the presence of transit increases property values and opens up valuable new development and redevelopment opportunities. ... Investors and developers are catching on.
- In the U.S., Walkability Is a Premium Good
- ‘Walkable urban’ dominates US commercial development
- Leinberger: Walkable Urbanism Is the Future, ...
- For twenty years, Professor Leinberger was the Managing Director and owner of Robert Charles Lesser & Co., a leading firm for the real estate industry.
The issue is not demand. The problem is the use by the Motorist Empire of big government overreach to squelch development of a multi-modal America. The disciples of the Motorist Empire are the ones coercing the marketplace into building a McMansion America. Unfettered by the excessive regulation supported by the Motorist Empire the market would build walkable urban places. The heavy hand of the Empire rests upon entrepreneurs and property owners alike - through "Zoning Codes" - preventing the creation of what the market desires. They also prevent the creation of the jobs which would be available at the small businesses which would populate such places. If there is a secret Socialist Cabal it is the board of directors of AAA and other agents of the Motorist Empire.
I cannot ride a bicycle or use transit because I wear four inch heels!
Huh, Ok. ... Should public policy and urban design be dictated by fashion choices?
Perhaps consider taking the fancy shoes with you and wearing flats till you get there. I know that is asking a lot. But then you have access to more modes of transportation in addition to making a healthier choice.
But what about TECHNOLOGY!!! Apps, autonomous whatevers, etc...
Transportation is a geometry problem, not a technology problem. When technology addresses the issues of geometry it can certainly help solve the problem(s); when it ignores the fundamental problem technology is just another way to waste time, money, and energy. Technology is not magic; if magic was real we would all be riding dragons - see above.
“It’s become very clear that profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are still a long way off,” - The CFO of Ford Motor Company!
- Does Elon Musk Understand Urban Geometry?
- Short answer / TLDR: No.
Addressing the problem only has two possible methods:
- Less use of space - meaning vehicles that take much less space per passengers; like shoes and bicycles.
- Less use of space - meaning vehicles that carry more passengers per unit of space; like trains and buses.
So, really, there is only one possible method: carry more people in less space, either way, or both ways. The great upside is that can make more space for other stuff; like breweries, employers, housing, movie theaters, employers, housing, parks, employers, housing, grocery stores, employers, housing, schools, employers, etc...
The Motorist Empire's pro-automobile-dependent vision is anti-jobs and anti-affordable-housing. At the end of the day the real question is "Why do Motorists hate America?".
It is pretty much impossible to have a transportation discussion without Motorists using vapor [non-existent / fantastical] technology as a hand-wave to dismiss notions that we should invest in proven, clean, reliable, and safe infrastructure today. Most notable of these hand-waves is Elon Musk's HyperLoop [aka: "the vomit comet"]. Here are some interesting break-downs of the HL vapor tech:
- Reality Checking Elon Musk's Hyperloop Nothing Burger—Again
- The Musk of Success, Choking Our Cities
- Faster-than-Conventional Rail: Where Could It Work?
- Hyperloop Delivery Schedule Delayed Again
Mr. Musk may be a brilliant [or lucky] investor, but he does not understand transportation. His proposals do not only brush aside the political complexity of right-of-way they also flagrantly ignore the geometry problem - see #1 & #2 above.