Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile

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Macmillan, Apr 24, 2012 - Transportation - 336 pages

Taras Grescoe rides the rails all over the world and makes an elegant and impassioned case for the imminent end of car culture and the coming transportation revolution

"I am proud to call myself a straphanger," writes Taras Grescoe. The perception of public transportation in America is often unflattering—a squalid last resort for those with one too many drunk-driving charges, too poor to afford insurance, or too decrepit to get behind the wheel of a car. Indeed, a century of auto-centric culture and city planning has left most of the country with public transportation that is underfunded, ill maintained, and ill conceived. But as the demand for petroleum is fast outpacing the world's supply, a revolution in transportation is under way.
Grescoe explores the ascendance of the straphangers—the growing number of people who rely on public transportation to go about the business of their daily lives. On a journey that takes him around the world—from New York to Moscow, Paris, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Bogotá, Phoenix, Portland, Vancouver, and Philadelphia—Grescoe profiles public transportation here and abroad, highlighting the people and ideas that may help undo the damage that car-centric planning has done to our cities and create convenient, affordable, and sustainable urban transportation—and better city living—for all.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - charliemarie - LibraryThing

I found this book to be very informative and readable; it combines the best aspects of a travelogue with detailed surveys of public transit systems around the world- the good, bad and the ugly (*ahem ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kgodey - LibraryThing

This book is fascinating, but I have trouble focusing on it for longer than a few pages, perhaps because the writing style is dry. I'll finish it someday! Read full review

Contents

Prologue Shanghai China
1
Introduction Confessions of a Straphanger
7
1 The Subway that Time Forgot New York New York
19
2 Only Connect Los Angeles California
50
3 The Highway to Hell Phoenix Arizona
79
4 The Salvation of Paris Paris France
105
5 The Copenhagen Syndrome Copenhagen Denmark
132
6 Fools and Roads Moscow Russia
158
8 The Revenge of the Loser Cruiser Bogotá Colombia
208
9 Good Bones Portland Oregon and Vancouver British Columbia
231
10 The Next Great City Philadelphia Pennsylvania
259
Conclusion Montreal Quebec
288
Sources
297
Further Reading
306
Acknowledgments
308
Index
311

7 City of Trains Tokyo Japan
178

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About the author (2012)

Taras Grescoe is the award-winning author of four books and countless articles focusing on world travel. He's written for The New York Times, The Times (London), Wired, the Chicago Tribune Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. He currently lives in Montreal. He has never owned a car.

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