Streets Are for People – My Urbanist Transformation

This post is meant to bridge the gap between my past car centered content, and my new city/urbanist focused posts. First a little background:

Growing Up

I grew up in an automotive family. My dad and his brothers raced their Chevrolet Vega at various NHRA events around the country. As that wound down, my uncle opened a performance engine shop, C&S Performance. My dad has been the engine assembler there for most of my life. I attended races/car shows most weekends, and we made an annual pilgrimage to Indianapolis for the largest drag race of the year.

I had my license within months of turning 16, and spent much of high school working on my Camaro with my dad. I was a fully fledged car guy until my trip to Germany as I turned 18.

The Trips

My first taste of international public transit, and non car-centric city planning came on my visit to Germany in high school. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. The family I stayed with relied almost exclusively on public transit. My group rode trains, and buses throughout Munich, Bavaria, and neighboring countries. I was amazed at how easy it was to get around.

Upon my return I still enjoyed working on and driving cars, but a shift had started. I no longer saw cars as the ultimate transit mode.

Since then I’ve been able to travel a lot, and I try to experience as many cities as possible. I focus on staying in walk-able neighborhoods and emphasize car-less or car-light travel.

In the last 5 years alone I’ve used public transit and traveled car-less in:

  • New York City NY
  • Washington DC
  • Boston MA
  • Miami FL
  • Chicago IL
  • Denver CO
  • Phoenix AZ
  • Twin Cities MN
  • Nashville TN
  • Osaka Japan
  • Tokyo Japan
  • Munich Germany
  • Venice/Verona Italy
  • Prague Czechia
  • Dublin Ireland
  • Frankfurt Germany
  • Berlin Germany
  • Amsterdam Netherlands
  • Copenhagen Denmark
  • Playa del Carmen Mexico

    The more I saw of the world, the more I knew what I wanted from a city – less cars.


I finally hit an inflection point. While I still enjoy the sport nature of cars, I don’t believe cities should be built around them as the primary mode of transit. Dad has the Corvette now, and I am a strong proponent of public transit, walk-ability, bicycle lanes, and a stark opponent of extra lanes, and free parking. I write my representatives, and push for more infrastructure in these areas.

Going forward, there likely won’t be much more car content. I will try to write about who I am now: a transit rider with too many bikes who believes that streets are for people.