Podcast #49 – Andy Singer Explains Why We Drive

runofcarFor the second week in a row, the podcast conversation with a guy named Andy about his new book. Only this time, I’m talking to Andy Singer, a cartoonist, writer, and bicycle advocate who lives in Saint Paul. For decades, Andy has drawn No Exit, a one-panel cartoon that appears in papers around the world. While Andy’s work ranges all over the usual cartoon territory, over the years he has become famous for his work about transportation policy, drawing panels that lampoon highway spending or reveal the frustrating paradoxes behind our car-centric urban priorities. Earlier this summer, Andy released a new book called Why We Drive, a collection of cartoon and essays about the history and breadth of automobility in US cities. The book combines Andy’s deep knowledge of transportation design with his cynical sense of humor, and makes for a quick and enjoyable read.

A few months ago, after a Twins/Oakland game, Andy and I sat down at Gluek’s Bar in downtown Minneapolis to blab about the book, biking in the Twin Cities, and why MN-DOT remains stuck in drive mode.

Like to the audio is here. Page through the whole funny section via the audio feed.


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3 Responses to Podcast #49 – Andy Singer Explains Why We Drive

  1. Nathaniel M Hood
    Nathaniel M Hood November 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    I really enjoyed this podcast.

  2. Ian Bicking December 6, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    Just listened to this old podcast…

    I think the coalition for transit that Andy talks about at the end is really bad. Too long we’ve let every environmental or public good also take on the goal of full employment, and usually alignment with unions and a general make-work attitude. This is how we’ve built transit, and then people notice that transit is incredibly expensive, performs poorly, ignores potential for optimizing of any of its processes. That’s not surprising when we practically adopt wastefulness as a principle of transit development. Not only is our transit expensive, our transit construction is well above any other country’s construction costs, all creating inferior results (e.g., Southwest LRT wouldn’t be pressured into a substandard alignment if the cost of every part of it wasn’t so inflated).

    I think these coalitions are much more harmful than beneficial. The unions don’t give a shit if transit works, no more than outstate politicians care about how it functions. No good comes from inviting people to a planning process who have goals that are not aligned with the goals of the project. We need to demand quality in our transit, and that’s been much too far down the list of transit priorities.

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