TEASER: Building LEGO Cities with Sean Kenney

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***This is a quick preview of a bonus episode. Become a Patreon Supporter of The War on Cars for access to the complete episode and all our exclusive content. Plus, we’ll send you stickers!***

Sean Kenney, one of the voices in Episode 65, “Where are the Bike Lanes in Lego City?” is an artist and self-described “professional kid” who designs and creates amazing sculpture and other works of art using nothing but LEGO pieces. Sean provided the original episode with a highly informed perspective on Lego’s history and design choices over the years.

In this extended conversation just for Patreon supporters of The War on Cars, Sean explains why he moved his family — as well as his enormous LEGO collection — from Brooklyn to Amsterdam, a city that he described as one that was “fully cooked” before the arrival of the automobile. He also provides further theories as to the longtime lack of bicycles Legoland, dives deeper into the evolution of LEGO cars and trucks, explains the unique design challenges that make adding bike lanes to LEGO road plates difficult and waxes poetic about building his idea of a perfect city.

SHOW NOTES:

Visit Sean Kenney’s official website.

Purchase a copy of Sean’s book, Cool City, and other titles by podcast guests at the official War on Cars Bookshop.org page or at your local bookstore.

Follow Sean Kenney on Instagram.

 

65. Where are the Bike Lanes In Lego City?

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Why are there no bike lanes in LEGO City? That’s a question Marcel Steeman, a regional councillor in the Netherlands, asked himself one day in 2016 while assembling some LEGO sets with his kids. As a Dutchman, he thought the lack of bike lanes on LEGO’s thin plastic road plates was weird. Even weirder, The LEGO Group is based in Denmark, one of the most bike-friendly nations on the planet! How could a Danish company not include bike lanes in its city-themed sets?

When Marcel submitted a proposal for new road plates with bike lanes to the company, LEGO rejected the idea, telling him the idea was too political. What’s political about bike lanes? As anyone who’s tried to change a street in a real city can tell you, the answer is everything.

What happens when one of the best selling toys in history doesn’t offer children the tools to build a world where it’s possible to get around without a car? And why does it matter to a bunch of adults?

***This episode was sponsored in part by our friends at Cleverhood. For 20% off of stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking enter coupon code WARONCARS at checkout.*** 

Support The War on Cars on Patreon and get cool stickers, access to exclusive bonus content and more.

SHOW NOTES: 

Read friend-of-the-podcast Andrew J. Hawkins at the Verge, who’s been covering the quest to bring bike lanes to LEGO City

Check out Marcel Steeman’s bike lane design at LEGO Ideas. And here’s Marco te Brömmelstroet, the Cycling Professor, asking why LEGO City is so “car centric” back in 2019.

Sean Kenney creates amazing sculptures and art with LEGO bricks. Pick up a copy of his book, Cool City, so you can learn to build your own LEGO cities for people, bikes and transit.

Learn more about the New England Lego Users Group

Read Thalia Verkade at The Correspondent. (In Dutch.)

Get official War on Cars merch at our store.

Check out The War on Cars library at Bookshop.org.

Rate and review us on iTunes!

This episode was produced, recorded and edited by Doug Gordon. Music is by Stationary Sign and National Anthem Worx, courtesy of Epidemic Sound. The War on Cars theme is by Nathaniel Goodyear. Our logo is by Dani Finkel of Crucial D.

Find us on Twitter: @TheWarOnCars, Doug Gordon @BrooklynSpoke, Sarah Goodyear @buttermilk1, Aaron Naparstek @Naparstek.

Questions, comments or suggestions? Email us: thewaroncars@gmail.com

TheWarOnCars.org

 

TEASER: Meet Mr. Barricade

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Combine a deep love of cities and urban planning with a penchant for wearing stylish suits, smooth dance moves set to Swedish rap music and a curious fascination with drainage and what do you get? Mr. Barricade, an unlikely TikTok star. Vignesh Swaminathan, who runs his own engineering and design firm in California, has built a huge following on the video-sharing platform based on his unique ability to explain everything from how protected intersections work in busy downtowns to the ongoing impacts of redlining and segregation. In this Patreon bonus episode just for supporters of The War on Cars, Doug talks to Mr. Barricade about his viral videos, tricks for successfully fighting racism online and the power of TikTok to help people see and experience their streets and communities in new ways.

Become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars for access to this episode and all exclusive content. As thanks, we’ll also send you stickers!

SHOW NOTES:

Follow Mr. Barricade on TikTok.

Learn more about Crossroad Lab, Vigesh Swaminathan’s engineering and urban design firm.

Read all about Vignesh in the San Jose Mercury News.

 

 

64. The Driver

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This show usually focuses on the victims of traffic violence, and that is where the focus belongs. But in this episode, we hear the first-person story of a woman, Shane Snowdon, who killed someone with her car. 

It happened more than 20 years ago, when she hit an 18-year-old man named Guillermo Venancio on a scenic road in California, ending his life in an instant. It’s a difficult story to hear. But we think it can help us understand the reality of a transportation system built around cars and driving. When people have to use a machine that’s as deadly as a loaded gun to do everything — go to work, take the kids to baseball practice, buy a quart of milk — it isn’t that hard for an ordinary person to become a killer. 

On some level, we all know this. But when we hear about a traffic crash, we think, that’s something that only happens to other drivers. We don’t like to believe that we could be responsible for taking another human being’s life. It’s a worst-case scenario we keep hidden from ourselves. Shane wants people to know that it can happen to them. That’s why she reached out and asked to tell her story on The War on Cars.

This episode was produced by Sarah Goodyear, with editing and sound design by Ali Lemer. The music is from Blue Dot Sessions.

Learn about how the people at Families for Safe Streets are working to fight traffic violence.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

 

TEASER: The Miracle Pill with Peter Walker

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From cities built for driving at the expense of walking and cycling to jobs that keep people sitting at their desks all day and neighborhoods where children aren’t free to roam, it can be challenging for anyone to get the kind of activity needed to keep them healthy. In his new book, The Miracle Pill: Why a Sedentary World is Getting It All Wrong, journalist Peter Walker chronicles the global crisis of inactivity, the pioneering epidemiologists who first noticed its effects, and the people and places working to get people moving.

The full interview is available exclusively to Patreon subscribers of The War on Cars.

https://www.patreon.com/thewaroncarspod

***Become a Patreon supporter today for access to this episode and all premium content. Starting at just $2/month, you’ll also get free stickers and other goodies.***

You can find the transcript of this teaser here.

 

63. The Emperor’s New Tunnel

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Two years after it was first announced, a tunnel project in Las Vegas by Elon Musk’s Boring Company was finally revealed to the world. Originally conceived as a way to whisk Las Vegas Convention Center visitors from one side of the sprawling complex to the other in futuristic-looking pods, the $53-million project turned out to just be… just a bunch of Teslas in tunnels. Oh, and there were flashing lights. Nevertheless, in a recent CNBC segment, anchor Shep Smith and reporter Contessa Brewer were tasked with making “a highway underground” sound innovative, thrilling and worth the hype. So how’d they do? Not great. Aaron Gordon — senior reporter at Vice’s Motherboard — called the segment, “the most embarrassing news clip in American transportation history.” Aaron, not to be confused with the podcast’s other Aaron and other Gordon, joins all three The War On Cars hosts to discuss the disappointing project, the embarrassing coverage and whether any of it will make a difference in changing people’s perspective on the alleged genius of Elon Musk.

This episode was sponsored in part by our friends at Cleverhood. To celebrate the arrival of spring, listers of The War on Cars can receive 25% off of stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking. Enter coupon code WARONCARS at checkout.

Support The War on Cars on Patreon and get cool stickers, access to exclusive bonus episodes and more.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

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62. It’s Finally Infrastructure Week

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From “sexy bike lanes” to just what constitutes a “bicycle accident,” transportation is making headlines like never before. Aaron, Sarah and Doug are together again to consider the burning questions filling our airwaves and social media feeds right now. Will US DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg force all Americans to ride cargo bikes filled with Dr. Seuss books and dump them in a compost pile, or is that just a Fox News fever dream? Is New York’s congestion pricing plan, the first in the nation, finally about to get rolling? And is it really part of a de Blasio/Cuomo/Biden war on cars? What can Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo teach us all about the harms of highway widening? What should be done about e-bike batteries? Plus, is America down with VMT? 

This episode was sponsored in part by Cleverhood. To celebrate the arrival of spring, War on Cars listers can now receive 25% off of stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking. Enter coupon code WARONCARS at checkout.

Support The War on Cars on Patreon and get cool stickers, access to exclusive bonus content and more.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

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TEASER: Lessons from Copenhagen with Mikael Colville-Andersen

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Mikael Colville-Andersen is an urban designer, TV host and writer whose name is practically synonymous with Copenhagen, bicycling and smart urban design. Doug had a chance to interview him for this special bonus episode.

The full interview is available exclusively to Patreon subscribers of The War on Cars.

https://www.patreon.com/thewaroncarspod

***Become a Patreon supporter for access to this episode and all premium content. Staring at just $2/month, you’ll also get free stickers and other goodies as well as a discount on merch in our official store.***

You can find the transcript of this teaser here.

61. Jamelle Bouie Has Seen the Future of Transportation

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New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie has been riding an electric-assist bicycle around Charlottesville, Virginia for almost a year now, and he is convinced: E-bikes are the future of transportation. Not only has the e-bike transformed his own personal mobility, it has changed the way he looks at his city and gotten him more deeply involved in local planning and policy-making. In this one-on-one conversation, Jamelle and Aaron start off discussing e-bikes and end up talking about what it’s going to take to push America’s sclerotic political system to solve increasingly urgent housing and transportation crises in U.S. cities. Plus, Jamelle offers some helpful advice to anyone accused of waging a war on cars or fanning the flames of America’s culture wars.

This episode was sponsored in part by Cleverhood. To celebrate the arrival of spring, War on Cars listers can now receive 25% off of stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking. Enter coupon code WARONCARS at checkout.

Support The War on Cars on Patreon and get cool stickers, access to exclusive bonus content and more.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

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60. The Power of E-Bikes with Congressman Earl Blumenauer

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Electric bikes shorten commutes, flatten hills and make cycling accessible to anyone who might need a boost. They’re also great tools for replacing car trips and fighting climate change. Unfortunately, they’re still a little pricey for some people. That could change thanks to a new bill in Congress: the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment Act. Co-sponsored by Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, the E-BIKE Act would offer a tax credit of 30% of the price of an electric bicycle, something that could bring the joys of e-bike ownership within  reach of more Americans. Congressman Blumenauer joins The War on Cars to discuss the bill, why commuter benefits ought to apply to bicycle sharing systems, and the economic, environmental and social benefits of bike commuting in general. (Spoiler alert: cyclists typically don’t murder each other over parking.) Plus, he offers his thoughts on Democratic control of the House and Senate and the recent appointment of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. 

***This episode was sponsored in part by our friends at Cleverhood. For 20% off of stylish, functional rain gear designed specifically for walking and biking — and 30% off their new anorak rain jacket — enter coupon code WARONCARS at checkout.*** 

Support The War on Cars on Patreon and get cool stickers, access to exclusive bonus content and more.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

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