Which is amusing considering from my perspective, people who argue the virtues of mass transit are the ones who don't have a frame of reference with regard to driving in a city with a well designed road system.
Yeah, I've never driven a car around the suburbs before. Gosh, how could I ever imagine what it's like!?
You've never lived for any period of time in a city where the freeways and roadways are actually designed to be fast and convenient for car travel. It's not just driving in the suburbs. It's driving through them, or from one suburban section of a county to another. Most older cities use a wheel and spoke design for their freeways (out of necessity). While certainly better than the absurdly narrow and ad-hoc system they'd have trying to build through the more populated areas of the city, it does mean that traffic has to route around things instead of going in a straight line. It also means that the feeder routes (the spokes) tend to be exactly the sort of ad-hoc routes often with the very horrible traffic congestion you were trying to avoid in the first place, making travel in our out of the center much much slower.
San Diego, because it grew mostly during the age of the automobile, and was actually proactively built (mostly) rather than reactive, has a very well designed grid pattern, with several major north/south routes, and several major east/west routes, and a number of diagonal routes between them as well. The major freeways travel directly through the most populated sections of the city rather than around them (literally, the intersection of Interstate 8 and Interstate 5 is just north of downtown at Mission Bay), but because it was designed this way (and the "most populated" areas are still relatively sparse and distributed), traffic is actually much better than in any other freeway system I've driven through. Our rush hour is much shorter than it is in LA, and even at the worst part of it, traffic still flows pretty well.
As the city population grew, we built outward into the surrounding areas, building roadways as we went to connect the various smaller towns in the county, each time making sure that adequate connective routes were maintained. Because of this design even if there's a nasty accident, there are a half dozen other routes you could take to get to your destination that are nearly equal in terms of total distance. Cause... it's a grid (more or less). You get a single bad accident on the wheel part of a spoke and wheel designed highway system, and you're stuck. Everyone in the feeder routes is stuck. Heck. Even just slowness from congestion in one part of the system causes slowness everywhere else.
And don't get me started on LA. Lots of people talk about the LA freeway system, and LA is considered the prime example of the car culture, but the reality is that it's freeway system is terribly designed and was built almost completely reactively. They have too many junctions that intersect too close to each other, and create massive jams where they meet. Their roadways are constantly lagging behind traffic requirements (horrifically so, if you've ever driven the stretch of I5 where it literally narrows to 2 lanes for about 5 miles). If your idea of what a large automobile commuter highway system looks like comes from driving in, or even talking to people who've driven in LA, you're looking at the wrong example entirely.
I'll say it again: Until you've lived and driven for a period of time in a city that actually has a well designed road and highway system, you simply do not understand what it's like and how much better it is than any other means of traveling around a city/county. There's no comparison. Aside from a couple other cities in the south west (Phoenix actually springs to mind as a decently designed highway system), I *hate* driving in most other cities. I'm constantly looking at the ridiculously dense traffic that stretches as far as they eye can see, and wondering how the people who live there put up with crawling along on their highways all the time. So yeah. I get where the whole "cars suck. Let's build mass transit" argument comes from.
I just happen to know that there is a better way. If people would abandon the idea of increased density to support their desired mass transit system, and instead looked at more distributed city designs. There's no need to put everything in a single tightly packed city center. None at all.
I certainly could have ordered it online, and had it delivered. And waited a week or so after making the decision for it to arrive
Seriously? You don't have Amazon Prime? Shoprunner? Nothing? Are you Amish?
Eh. Even Amazon Prime takes 2 days for free shipping (and can take longer depending on stock conditions). And the cost would have been higher than I paid at the store. And frankly, I've had enough issues with stuff arriving damaged (or just with any random problem with it), that I tend to avoid ordering online for anything that has like moving parts. Dealing with returns in a store is easy. Walk into store with item. Drop on return counter. Get money back, or store credit, or direct replacement for the item. Walk out. I'm back home in less than an hour with the item I want. Any online order, no matter how well managed it is (and Amazon is definitely one of the better sources in that regard), still takes a lot of time to deal with if you have to return it.
For me, it's more of an instant gratification thing. I tend to spend quite a bit of time thinking about buying something, figuring out the exact thing I want, etc. But once I make that decision, I kinda want it right now. So part of my buying process involves looking up various stores in the area and checking prices and deals. And when I find something that is what I want at the price I want, I just hop in my car and go buy it. If I get it home and find I don't actually like it, or it doesn't work the way I want (or is broken/damaged in some way), I can just hop back in my car and return it. The point is that I have the thing *today*. Not in 2 or 3 days. Maybe. If everything goes according to plan.
That's exactly what I mean by having to plan things out around the fact that it's inconvenient to shop by car for things. If you don't own a car, or have quick easy access to a large variety of stores, you're going to tend to do more online shopping and have more things delivered. And for you, the extra time involved is just "normal". For me, it's not. For me it's, "Ok. I've decided I do want to buy that thing. I'm going to get it today". And yeah, I can see for something that's a plus purchase, time spent thinking about it versus time spent waiting for it to arrive isn't really a huge deal either way. But what about things that break? I think I mentioned earlier about some light panels that broke into pieces one day. A person without a car would have to either order replacements (not sure how that's going to work anyway), or rent a car/truck, or take a cab (again, not sure that's going to work due to size issues), or pay someone to come out and replace it for him. Me? I drove down to an ACE hardware store, purchased the panels, put them in the back of my car, and drove home. 20 minutes later, I had replacement panels installed.
Could I have waited a few days to replace them? Sure. It's not like my home is unlivable without light panels covering up the fluorescent lights in the kitchen. But again, it's a matter of having to time your life around the limitations
of your transportation methodology. I don't have to do that. Those reliant on mass transit do. I just believe that having a car represents a significant increase in freedom and mobility. I honestly can't even imagine trying to live without one. So many things just become super convenient and fast when you have one versus when you don't.