danger and Jane Jacobs
- I strongly disagree with Bijan's contention that not many more people would
willingly cycle if traffic was removed. Have a look at the levels of cycling in
truly cycle friendly cities like Groningen, as compared with other cities of
Of course, land use structure also makes a difference. If cities are compact
it's easier to cycle everywhere. But compact cities and car-free development go
together because of the enormous amount of space required by cars...
Thanks, Bill T, for drawing our attention to the recent pronouncements by Jane
Any idea how recent the Detour panel discussion is ? The other interview is
dated 2001. I'm glad to see that she still seems to be going strong. I've read
three of her books -- Death and Life of Great American Cities, Economy of
Cities, and Cities and the Wealth of Nations. The first is the best known, but
the third also seems to propound many original ideas. I was a bit disappointed
that neither the second nor the third seemed to take up the themes of urban
structure which form the main topic of the first.
I have sometimes seen her quoted as an apologist for the free market as against
the type of planning advocated by socialists (and I mean Galbraith type
socialists rather than Soviet type communists). I don't think her books support
this attitude. And while I don't agree with everything she says, I think that
because of their wealth of ideas her books should be compulsory reading for all
Anyone read and care to offer opinions on any of her other books ?
- Simon Norton <s.norton@...> writes:
> I strongly disagree with Bijan's contention that not many moreI think you could be right. I might be underestimating the effect of
> people would willingly cycle if traffic was removed. Have a look at
> the levels of cycling in truly cycle friendly cities like Groningen,
> as compared with other cities of similar size.
traffic on people. I just have never seen that as being the problem.
I can only speak from my own experience. Most people I know won't bike
for the same reasons they won't ride the bus:
o It takes longer.
o You have to suffer through bad weather (rain and snow).
Getting rid of cars doesn't fix that. It just removes driving as an
I'm sorry but I think I might be strongly biased. I don't personally see
cycling in traffic as dangerous, so I can't take other people's fear
seriously. I can accept that they would be afraid, but I can't see that
fear as being justified. Because of this I have a hard time accepting
the idea that we should cater to this fear of traffic.
Don't get me wrong I think we should get rid of cars, but I don't think
that this by itself would be a sufficient reason. It would require everyone
to stop driving so that some people would feel more comfortable cycling.
Now this group (people who would cycle) might be pretty big, but I can't
see it being as big as the group of people who would have to stop driving.
I think this sort of thing would work somewhere where there are few drivers
and many cyclists. But where there are many people who drive regularly
it is unlikely that they will be convinced by people who aren't cycling,
but would like to do so.
> Of course, land use structure also makes a difference. If cities areYes but getting rid of cars doesn't instantly make cities compact.
> compact it's easier to cycle everywhere. But compact cities and
> car-free development go together because of the enormous amount of
> space required by cars...
> Anyone read and care to offer opinions on any of her other books ?I read "The Economy of Cities" a while ago. I didn't think much of it.
Not a lot of solid facts. It reminded me of Ayn Rand's work. A lot of
supposing going on :)
Bijan Soleymani <bijan@...>
- Another take on danger, this time commenting on Traci's post. I agree with her
as far as ringing a cycle bell is concerned, but I find that car horns are often
so loud (because they have to be heard inside another car with its windows shut)
as to elicit a startle and possibly a freeze reaction. That's one reason why I
believe that sounding them should be banned except in case of emergency. In the
UK there's a law against doing so at night but I have never heard of any
enforcement of that law -- not surprising, because how are people in bed (the
victims of those who sound their horns) supposed to identify the car involved ?
Jane Jacobs like Ayn Rand ? Now there's someone who really is wedded to free
enterprise. My first reaction on coming across one of her books in a second hand
bookshop was to think that she might have some interesting ideas, but by the
time I'd got halfway through I decided I couldn't go any further and thought I'd
wasted my money (admittedly not much) except in managing to avoid exposing
someone else to that rubbish. No, by comparison Jane Jacobs in "The Economy of
Cities" (which I regard as the least appealing of the three books by her that
I've read) is the epitome of common sense.
- --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, Bijan Soleymani <bijan@p...> wrote:
> I'm sorry but I think I might be strongly biased. I don't personally seeAND
> cycling in traffic as dangerous, so I can't take other people's fear
> seriously. I can accept that they would be afraid, but I can't see that
> fear as being justified. Because of this I have a hard time accepting
> the idea that we should cater to this fear of traffic.
> Yes but getting rid of cars doesn't instantly make cities compact.Doesn't make them safer, either, necessarily.
Huge, FLAT, college campus in Texas, won't name names. At class
change, the pedestrain stands a decent chance, in my humble opinion,
of being runover by bikes. They ride EVERYWHERE and if you don't watch
where you step, you may end up with last week's mud down your backside.
Now compare that with this campus. It was built on a hill. As such,
the problem is not the same at all. Lots of people walk but only a few
die hards bike anywhere they want on campus.
Terrain probably has a lot to do with whether or not people bike.
But it is more than that. We are talking about this fear of traffic.
But if people biked, would it be gone? Maybe the fear but not the
threat. From my point of view, people don't bike as they drive, they
bike with even more disregard of anything but thier point of view.
Why? Probably because the law doesn't catch up with them as fast, as
they would believe, as with a car. A classic is that flat campus
again, but 7 years before the first observation, where a biker went
thru a stop sign, the police officer told him stop, and she
essentially had to tackle him to get him to stop.
Think about it for a moment. If bikers did what you see with cars,
such as disregarding stop lights, riding on sidewalks where it is
posted they are not to ride, and riding against traffic, how soon
would it be before they were busted?
But I don't necessarily believe they do it because they are bikers but
because they believe they can get away with it or because the system
owes them. Why? Because I've seen situations of where drivers have
done similar such as drive against traffic a short distance to get
where they want. Not as many, of course, but it has been done.
Of course, all bikers aren't like that. I'm not. I obey the traffic
law, walk my bike on sidewalks, and so forth. But then again, I've
always been considered a stick in the mud.
Cars are like guns; they don't kill but rather, it is the major part,
the nut that holds the wheel. Get people out of their cars and on to
bikes and only a portion of the problem is solved. If one wants to
remove the danger in the streets (and on the sidewalks, trails), one
has to teach the majority of the bikers to be respectful of
others........or at least the system.
(EVERYONE is riding out to the remote research installation. "Oh, how
much longer must I do this?"--Sid
"Dr. Wolpner says until you get the BIG picture."--Secretary,
- --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, Simon Norton <s.norton@d...> wrote:
> Another take on danger, this time commenting on Traci's post. Iagree with her
> as far as ringing a cycle bell is concerned, but I find that carhorns are often
> so loud (because they have to be heard inside another car with itswindows shut)
> as to elicit a startle and possibly a freeze reaction.Personally, I believe they do it when they are right on top of me to
startle me, scare me, and not because they want to tell me they are
You know, "See that biker with the unicorns on her helmet? Let's make
And that opens up an interesting can of worms. People tell me that
they saw me riding, that they honked to say "Hi", but I rode on
without acknowledgement. Well, after years of riding, the basic point
is that I do see cars as threats and the people in them as jerks who
want to have fun at my expense.
That, however, probably doesn't come from cars but from a long history
of being different, singularly different, and people teasing for their
joke, my expense. It just carries over with cars for two main reasons:
demonstration by at least a few and knowing that if they hit you, it
will be bad.
Now I don't see everyone like that all the time, with the shields up.
I do do 5 and 10K's, afterall and even though I probably do stand out
to a certain degree in such, I don't see people as hostile against me.
But on a bike? Far different because people are jerks whether they are
in cars or others on bikes who believe that the traffic code doesn't
apply to them, such as riding against traffic which then puts me in an
interesting situation. Do I take evasive action and pull out into
traffic, traffic behind me that I can't immediatly see, for their
conveiance or maintain course and force them out into traffic?
On the open road, biking where there are others biking doesn't
increase the trust of one's fellow citizen but runs the equation in
quite the opposite direction. Hence, I don't bike for reasons of
others but my own reasons.
(Data has been kidnapped and is trying to negotiate with his "host".
"You might not be so critical of me if you knew of my childhood
growing up as a beggar in the streets of Kalahan."--Kivas Fajo
"That is regrettable but it still doesn't excuse your current behavior."
"Eh! It doesn't matter, it's all a lie anyhow.", (w,stte), ST:TNG "The
> ... elicit a startle and possibly a freeze reaction. That's=v= Everywhere I've ever lived in the U.S. makes it illegal
> one reason why I believe that sounding them should be banned
> except in case of emergency. In the UK there's a law against
> doing so at night but I have never heard of any enforcement
> of that law ...
to use the horn except in an emergency, 24 hours a day, and
everywhere I've ever lived simply fails to enforce that law.
=v= Car alarms, which have been shown to have no effect on
deterring car theft, are as bad -- and some of them operate
by honking the horn. Another peeve is the remote-control
door lock that honks the horn. Whoever invented that feature
belongs in the Annals Of Horrible Engineers. (That such a
feature would actually be implemented is testament to the
way these laws continue to be unenforced.)
=v= I know a guy whose response to horn-honking was to channel
his anger into haiku, which he calls "honku," and which he
parlayed into a book:
I read about a recent so-called crackdown on honking in his
neighborhood, which is truly a nightmare of nonstop noise. The
police only ticketed six cars, were very apologetic about doing
so, and loudly hinted that the judge will throw the ticket out
> Jane Jacobs like Ayn Rand ?=v= That's so bizarre that I can't really even think about how
to respond. Maybe it's an _Atlas_Shrugged_ thing, in which
some superheroic egomaniac architect doesn't build a freeway?
(We can only hope.)
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