Barrett, Paul, Mass Transit, The Automoble and Public Policy in Chicago 1900-1930, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1983

p. 140 - "Excerpt 1"

p. 130 - "Excerpt 2"

p. 140 - "Excerpt 3"

transcription of a book excerpt

Mass Transit, The Automoble and Public Policy in Chicago 1900-1930,

Excerpt 1

p. 140

"The urbanization of the auto forced important changes on the city. As the decade (the 1920's) wore on, the Chicago Plan Commission came more and more to consist of efforts to accomodate the automobile. Simultaneously the city came to see the streets in general and certain streets in particular as the special preserves of the automobile. Toward the end of the period, the city sought ways to make the motorist pay a larger share of the cost of the street improvements. Paying for urban highways ceased to be viewed as the responsibility of the real estate owner and the renter. With all of these changes, Chicago and the motorists progressed toward a recognition of the evolution taking place in the role of the automobile: a means of recreation and of rural transportation was becoming a basic mode of urban mass transit."

Excerpt 2

p. 130

"In effect, an understanding was reached between Chicago's motorists and its ruling community. Motorists accepted, for the most part, the modified form of traffic regulation and began to pay a larger share of the costs of the streets through which they drove. The city accepted the automobile as a means of mass transportation and attempted to plan for and accommodate it.

This compromise was far from perfect. The city never really managed to plan for the automobile: its street improvement and expressway policies, with few exceptions aimed at relieving traffic jams rather than guiding the development of the auto's role in urban life. The private car could never completely fulfill the Straphanger's Dream; its cost excluded many, and the dispersion it facilitated brought problems of its own. Yet compared with its transit policy, Chicago's adjustment to the automobile was a model of practicality. Costs were shared in a way in which, if not entirely fair, at least made more sense than that devised for mass transit. Regulation made the auto easier to use. In short, the ways in which the auto's policy definition differed from that of mass transit made it possible for the city to deal constuctively with the private car."

Excerpt 3


"Through the early 1920's the auto industry viewed the private car as a rural and suburban vehicle. The average automobile owner, the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce Found in 1923, was a resident, not of a city, but of a substantial sized town. Furthermore, in 1924 the industry still viewed families with annual incomes under $1500 as poor prospects for automobile ownership. One 1922 study reported the the "average" motorist held a $5000 equity in real estate, had personal property amounting to $2000, and maintained a bank account and life insurance. Investigations in the later 1920's correlated automobile ownership with the possession of other modern conveniences such as phonographs and radios."