CAR BUSTERS MONTHLY E-BULLETIN #39
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CAR BUSTERS BULLETIN >>>
Edition no. 39 - October 2002 - English version
Car Busters, Kratka 26, 10000 Prague 10, Czech Rep.
tel: +(420) 274-810-849 - fax: +(420) 274-816-727
<carbusters@...> - <http://www.carbusters.org>
This month's bulletin is brought to you by Ivana Jakubkova and our
new staffer from Bordeaux, Aude Vidal. Bienvenue, Aude!
To avoid various unexplainable formatting problems, view our bulletin
Thought for the month:
"Does one bum [butt] need four wheels?"
- slogan on a banner displayed to motorists by two guys on the
Magistrala Motorway, Prague, September 25
- SAN FRANCISCO CRITICAL MASS IS TEN YEARS OLD
- PRO-BIKE/PRO-WALK CONFERENCE WRAP-UP
- DON'T JUMP ON THE MAGLEV TRAIN BANDWAGGON
- THIRD "BREAK THE GRIDLOCK" CONFERENCE
- CALL TO ACTION AT BIRMINGHAM MOTOR SHOW
- SUPPORT POLISH ANTI-ROAD ACTIVITIES
- JOB OPENING: COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, ITDP
- A NEW CAR-FREE NEIGHBOURHOOD IN THE USA?
- SEE WHAT YOU'RE BREATHING
Car Busters Announcements
- WORLDWIDE CONTACT DIRECTORY HAILED AS SUCCESS
- WORLD CAR-FREE DAYS: HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?
- A CALL OUT FOR CAR BUSTERS CORRESPONDENTS
- "HI, MY NAME'S JANE, AND I'M AN AUTOHOLIC"
- TRANSLATORS STILL WANTED
Things To Read
- BICYCLE RESEARCH REPORT
- TRANSPORTATION COSTS AND BENEFIT ANALYSIS
WORLD NEWS >>
SAN FRANCISCO CRITICAL MASS IS TEN YEARS OLD
[a round-up by Paul VanDeCarr]
Car traffic was jammed up worse than usual in San Francisco,
California on September 25, thanks to a profusion of bicycle traffic.
The tenth anniversary of Critical Mass drew an estimated 3,000 to
5,000 riders, which put the ride among the biggest Critical Masses in
the citys history.
Police reports put the ride at 40 blocks long at one point. As
smaller groups splintered off, the overall ride got shorter, but the
variety of different routes people took (about three or four major
splinter rides at most) made for more traffic chaos and rider
excitement! As splinter rides rejoined each other at a given
intersection, and perhaps reformed and splintered off again, riders
in each group cheered each other, as if they were long-lost siblings
rejoining each other after a battle!
Attitudes of and about the riders varied sharply with some riders
seeing drivers as potential allies and others seeing cars as war-
causing, stress-producing pollution monsters that have to be stopped.
Car drivers were perhaps more unified in their views than were
bicyclists, namely that Critical Mass is a pain in the ass
specifically, the one theyre sitting on while waiting for thousands
of bicyclists to pass by! One driver I saw got out of his car and
started screaming at riders "Youre all assholes! I just want to get
home for dinner! Assholes!" Other drivers seemed to take it in
stride, sitting on the hoods (bonnets) of their cars and watching the
parade pass by.
Earlier in the day was the citys first official "Car-Free Day,"
in which a portion of a downtown street was closed to traffic for the
afternoon, making way for bicycle activities, mime artists, and other
eco-friendly fun. The day wasnt entirely car-free, as it turned out;
the mayor showed up in an electric car, amending it to be
"alternative transportation day."
PRO-BIKE/PRO-WALK CONFERENCE WRAP-UP
[submitted by Andy Singer, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA]
As one who attended the 12th International ProBike/ProWalk conference
(September 3-6) here in St. Paul, I can say it was very inspiring.
Every two years, over 300 pedestrian and cycling advocates, traffic
engineers, cycling industry representatives and health department
professionals get together to figure out how best to get people out
of their cars. There are workshops on every subject imaginable:
creating better connections between bicycles and public transit;
effective statewide advocacy; using the media; where to get funding
for pedestrian and cycling projects; bike safety; etc.
One major focus was on the "Safe Routes to Schools" programme and
the health issues surrounding it. The US Health Department and Center
for Disease Control (CDC) report a huge increase in obesity among
Americans, particularly children, with corresponding increases in
childhood diabetes. The cost of these kids for the US health care
system (as they become adults) will be enormous. In addition to
increased use of television, video games and sedentary lifestyles,
researchers blame cars. In the 1970s, 75 percent of kids got to
school by foot or bicycle. Now the number is down to less than 15
So the CDC has made some money available to US communities to
start "Safe Routes to Schools" programs to encourage kids to walk or
ride bikes to school. What form these programmes will take is hard to
say, but cycling and pedestrian advocates see this as a possible
springboard for larger biking and walking campaigns. One statistic
from these discussions that stuck in my head was that "on average,
the typical American walks just 300 yards [metres] per day!"
Another issue widely discussed was the reauthorization of the (US)
Transportation Efficiency Act, dubbed "TEA-3." This law allows for as
much as a third of federal gas tax revenues (US$50 billion) to be
used for non-automotive purposes. Many at the conference have
observed that highway departments are increasingly misusing TEA money
for off-ramps and other highway projects and calling them
"pedestrian" or "safety" improvements. So advocates are urging a
tightening of the rules and regulations for how TEA-3 money can be
spent. Ellen Vanderslice, president of America Walks, dubbed these
proposed reforms "GREEN TEA." The Surface Transportation Policy
Project has more information on TEA-3 on its website:
The next conference will be held in two years in Victoria, British
Columbia, Canada. Check it out!: <http://www.bikewalk.org>.
DON'T JUMP ON THE MAGLEV TRAIN BANDWAGGON
[submitted by Evert Hassink, Friends of the Earth/Milieudefensie
Groningen, The Netherlands]
Sorry, last month we stopped campaigning on cars because our
government has found a means of transport that might beat the car in
stupidity. It is called the Magnetic Levitation (maglev) train, which
is sold by Siemens under the name Transrapid.
The Dutch government reserved EUR 2.7 billion and regional
authorities are looking for another EUR 1.1 billion for buying a line
between Amsterdam (Schipol Airport) and the cute little town of
Groningen where we live. The project is sold as a sound way of
investing in the regional economy, and an environmentally friendly
way of public transport.
But the energy consumption of maglev transport per passenger is
comparable to that of a luxury car and the price will be double that
of a normal railway ticket. The travelling time will be halved, which
will make the train useful for the "time is money" guys.
The major problem with this fast train is that it creates its own
market [induces demand]. Models show that those who will use this
train would not travel if there was no fast transport. Many people
will move to towns farther away from their work. The train causes
dispersal of social and economical networks. This means not only
extra train transport, but also extra car transport.
You can find out more (mostly in Dutch) at
THIRD "BREAK THE GRIDLOCK" CONFERENCE
Saturday, October 12 in Chicago: This is your opportunity to meet the
leaders in Chicago's burgeoning activist community and contribute to
making your city a model for a sane and sensible (and car-less)
transportation policy. More info at
CALL TO ACTION AT BIRMINGHAM MOTOR SHOW
[submitted by Karen Leach, Birmingham, UK]
On October 23, world leaders gather in New Delhi to talk about
climate change. On the same day in Birmingham, with no sense of
irony, a motor show will celebrate car culture with its profligate
waste of fossil fuels. There, Friends of the Earth (FOE) Birmingham
will organise an action against car culture and hypermobility - and
for walking, cycling and public transport.
To take part in the action, contact Birmingham FOE at
<beep@...>. Accommodation available if required.
More info at <http://www.greenbirmingham.com/footwork>.
SUPPORT POLISH ANTI-ROAD ACTIVITIES!
[submitted by Frank van Schaik, A SEED Europe]
In August, the Polish parliament began to work on bills that will
make it easier to build motorways and freeways in the country. A
number of Polish groups have been circulating a petition to urge the
Parliament to drop its intention to build more motorways. This
petition will be presented to the speaker of the Polish Parliament on
the occasion of a demo on October 10 in Warsaw.
Polish activists hope to also apply pressure at the European
level, so they request Western European groups and individuals to
sign their petition and attend the demo.
For support and information: Piotr Bielski
JOB OPENING: COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, ITDP
[submitted by Paul Steely White, ITDP, <mobility@...>]
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy's New York
office seeks a Communications Director to manage ITDP media,
including Sustainable Transport Magazine (annual), Sustainable
Transport e-Update (quarterly), and in cooperation with ITDP's
webmaster, ITDP.org. The Communications Director will also
collaborate with other ITDP staff to devise and circulate regular
press releases, manage the annual year-end fundraising letter, and
perform other communications and fundraising tasks as needed.
Application deadline: November 1. See <www.itdp.org> for the full job
A NEW CAR-FREE NEIGHBOURHOOD IN THE USA?
[submitted by Jeffrey Rosenblum]
Between Cambridge, Charlestown and Somerville, Massachusetts lies an
area known as North Point. For over a century, it has been the site
of railyards and other industrial uses. Now, this area, the largest
remaining undeveloped parcel in Cambridge, is proposed for complete
redevelopment. Being advised by Joel Crawford, author of the book
"Carfree Cities," a group of residents propose North Point to become
a car-free neighborhood. For more info or to get involved, check out
SEE WHAT YOU'RE BREATHING
[submitted by Margot Brinn]
Have you heard of <http://www.scorecard.org>? It ranks counties in
the USA by pollution level and provides analysis of sources of the
pollution. For example, our county, Tompkins, is in the top 40
percent of polluted counties and most of it comes from mobile
sources. How are your county's lungs doing?
CAR BUSTERS STUFF >>
WORLDWIDE CONTACT DIRECTORY HAILED AS SUCCESS
[submitted by Richard Lane]
The international community has been unreserved in its praise for the
Car Busters Worldwide Contacts Directory, up and active on the web
and currently hovering at 253 entries. Leading thinkers and world
leaders have rushed to heap praise upon the tool, and so far the
banana offered as a prize for breaking it remains unclaimed. Register
your group today, and see it there a few days later. Despite glowing
tributes from Nelson Mandela, the Dali Lama, and Gandalf out of Lord
Of The Rings, we're still interested in your opinions about it. Let
us know. This remarkable piece of work is at
WORLD CAR-FREE DAYS: HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?
[also submitted by Richard Lane]
We hope you've got your breath back after this year's worldwide call
to action. So far we've been told about events which took place in 40
cities on four continents. It's all up there on
<http://www.carbusters.org/carfreeday/events.htm>. Action reports are
beginning to slowly trickle in. Please, if you've been involved in a
World Car-Free Days action, let us know how it went! And if you saw
any news about it appearing in the media, we'd like to know about
that to. We'll have a run-down of the world's activities in our next
magazine (no. 16), and on our website before too long.
A CALL OUT FOR CAR BUSTERS CORRESPONDENTS
[submitted by Randy Ghent]
Do you have your finger on the pulse of transport(ation) news and
action in your country or region? Do you have skills in
writing/journalism, research, art/photography, communication, or at
least newspaper clipping? If so, you may be exactly the sort of
person we're looking for...
We at Car Busters Central want to involve people in the wider
movement (that means you) more directly in our projects, and a
network of formal correspondents is among the ways this will happen.
Correspondents will be given clear guidelines - in addition to the
writers' guidelines now at
<www.carbusters.org/magazine/guidelines.htm> - on how to best be our
eyes and ears around the world. They will contribute material for our
monthly bulletin and especially our quarterly magazine, where they
will be listed with impressive-sounding titles such as "The Honorable
Royal Liechtenstein Correspondent."
In addition to an official gold-plated car-busting mallet and the
glory of it all, we will offer correspondents regular contact and
journalistic feedback. Correspondents should, at the minimum,
contribute useful material at least once every three months.
Anyone interested in becoming a correspondent should contact
<carbusters@...>. Act now and you may (or may not) receive a bonus
set of seven stainless-steel Ginsu steak knives. This is a volunteer
position, by the way.
"HI, MY NAME'S JANE, AND I'M AN AUTOHOLIC"
[also submitted by Randy Ghent]
We've got grand ideas for starting a light-hearted, good-humoured
recovery programme for car addicts - and we want to recruit all of
you car-free and car-lite former car addicts to join us.
Autoholics Anonymous will consist of two parts: a secular 12-step
recovery programme and an information clearinghouse providing
resources on how to become car-free or reducing one's car use (plus
how to encourage broader change at the community level).
Autoholics.org, which we've already purchased, would be the
virtual headquarters of this network, and it could eventually be
linked to independent national Autoholics Anonymous websites that
would provide country-specific information. We envision "up-close-and-
personal" profiles of former car addicts (with their names and
photos), explaining how they kicked the habit or "began the lifelong
recovery process." We imagine an on-line forum where people can get
advice and support from those who are already car-free. Some of it is
just providing things our existing Resource Centre should provide,
but putting it in a different "package" - one with more humour and
less perception of being oriented towards confrontation.
So we're looking for former car addicts and recovering car addicts
- basically anyone who used to drive but has cut way back or "gone
cold turkey" - to step forward and tell us your story at
<carbusters@...>. Then we need national or regional AA contact
people. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we need people willing
to contribute time and energy to building the web site and the
recovery programme. So now's your chance. It all depends on you!
TRANSLATORS STILL WANTED
[submitted by Petr Kurfuerst]
We are still looking for volunteers that can help us make our website
as open to people as possible. We have created a short summary about
Car Busters which is currently being translated into as many
languages as possible. This brief basic info will be put onto the
website and will require no updating. It is about 2,700 words
altogether. We already have French, German, Italian, Spanish, Czech
and Esperanto under control. We are still looking for translators
into Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Polish, Dutch and
Romanian. So if you want to help us with this, please let us know and
we'll send you a short Word file with the text for translation. The
above are priority languages, but if you feel like doing any other,
let us know. Deadline: ideally October 20, but a little later is
still okay. Thanks.
THINGS TO READ >>
BICYCLE RESEARCH REPORT
The European Cyclists' Federation produces a month publication called
Bicycle Research Report. In the latest issue (September), you can
find a report on "Research and experimentation on the strategies
adopted by urban cyclists." Check out <http://www.ecf.com>.
TRANSPORTATION COSTS AND BENEFIT ANALYSIS
The Victoria Transport Policy Institute has posted an on-line edition
"Transportation Cost And Benefit Analysis: Techniques, Estimates and
Implications." It's a comprehensive study of transportation cost-
analysis and a guidebook for applying this information in planning
To be found at <http://www.vtpi.org/tca>.
Anyone happen to know of a shelter for a few hundred toads named
Please, our office is heaving with them! We can't hear a word in here
of all the noise they make, can't move without bumping into a dozen
and, most importantly, we can't see what we're typing through all the
schmutz on our screens...
Kratka 26, 100 00 Praha 10, Czech Republic
tel: +(420) 2-7481-0849 - fax: +(420) 2-7481-6727
<carbusters@...> - <http://www.carbusters.org>
Car Busters Worldwide Contact Directory
Register your group on-line now: