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Re: [NewMobilityCafe] Now . . . A not so short list of very bad practices

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  • Pascal van den Noort
    Looking for answers can be done in the CIVITAS MIMOSA Search Engine. You can look up in English, German, Spanish and Dutch; you can paste all kinds of texts
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 18, 2011
      Looking for answers can be done in the CIVITAS MIMOSA Search Engine.

      You can look up in English, German, Spanish and Dutch; you can paste all kinds of texts related to your issue in the querie box; preferably use longer texts and not just a simple word, to get the best answer.

      Many best practices will be reveiled.



      Pascal J.W. van den Noort
      Executive Director 
      Velo Mondial, A Micro Multi-National

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      On 18 jul 2011, at 08:43, eric britton wrote:


      Those who fail to learn history (no matter how painful) are doomed to repeat it *

      Thank you.  The response to this request , through these lists and in private, to this quick weekend call for examples has been instructive, gratifying and has lead me to the following proposal for a small collaborative project, possibly  for selective publication of a certain number of examples on World Streets as well as via these lists.


      1.       First, we have to agree – at least some of us – that though inventories of and information on "good" and "best" practices can be very important and useful, there also is excellent reason for better and broader understanding not just so-so or debatably bad, but truly egregiously, exemplary  bad practices in our troubled sector.

      2.       Moreover, it is my long experience that if we look hard enough at specific  selected cases we will not only have lively stories that deserve to be better known (and not covered up or purposefully forgotten as so often is the case), but moreover that in very many of these cases there are lessons for policy makers and others involved that have universal implications.  That to my mind is the real reason that bad practices deserve to be better known and more widely discussed

      3.       It is important that each of these incidents be understood and presented in a balanced manner – there is no benefit if it is taken as a combination witch hunt and turkey shoot.  Any such treatments should be authoritative (though it also is to be understood that many will be vigorously argued and contested – that indeed  is part of the process.)

      4.       With this in view, I would now like to invite any and all here to consider sending on a first summary note of what they personally know about in their own city or country of one such exemplary bad practice/project. (My own linitial listing below  is, as a number of you have pointed out, presented in too cursory a manner and as such wide open to debate and misinterpretation. )

      5.       Then, we could discuss how this example might be expanded into a short W/S article, say 300 words or so (but your call really). With references for those who will wish to dig deeper.

      6.       The idea is not to tie up a lot of your time . The project should be one you now well and on which you have information at hand. Ideally there will be some coverage from local news sources, etc.


      In this way, our work will be available to all.


      I look forward to your ideas on this.


      Eric Britton


      PS. As you surely know the opening quote here is not quite right. Santayana's actual words in his book Reason in Common Sense were: "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it". But the frequent misquote (without my parenthetic words) is surely close enough. Pace.






      From: eric britton [mailto:eric.britton@...]
      Sent: Sunday, 17 July, 2011 18:43
      Subject: a very short list of very bad practices


      Dear colleagues,


      For a new book just getting underway here, and which is attempting to make a significant contribution as a useful guide for better informed policy and investment in the field of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, I am attempting to develop by way of introduction a small page showing some of the more typical examples of egregious thoughtlessness in our sector by way of setting the stage for better alternative approaches.


      I think it would be effective to have a selection of examples from different parts of the world, all of them short and to the point, and all of them firmly reality-based.  It would be great if you could offer a few howlingly good examples from your own experience for our readers. 


      Here the first handful that come to mind from here, which may or may not make the final cut:


      ·         Mexico: The decision, come hell or high water, of the mayor of Mexico City to create a public bicycle system for his city, or rather to impose a public bicycle system on his city, ready or not.


      ·         France: The decades-long practice of closing of local train stations in many smaller communities across France, (a practice of course in many other parts of the world as well ), with all of the social, economic, and mobility implications that somehow never  entered into the calculus of the decision-makers.


      ·         Bangladesh The decision of the authorities in Dhaka, in cahoots with the Council of international consultants, to progressively extend a ban on the use of rickshaws, despite the fact that these wheeled vehicles are offering every day and at low cost massively important mobility services to people who need another willing to pay for them.  And further that the rickshaws offer a large number of economically and socially useful jobs many of which would disappear if they were replaced by more institutionalized forms of public transport.


      ·         United States: And finally to cap it all with something of all too horrible familiarity, the latest "Carmageddon" episode in Los Angeles as a result of the decision of the authorities there to spend an additional $1 billion to increase the capacity of an already huge urban highway network, further locking in the car and making alternative solutions all the less possible.  (Proving once again that forecast and build transportation planning is not dead, despite all of the abundant proofs to the contrary.)&n bsp;


      ·         China:  Continuing to plan and build additional infrastructure to serve private cars despite the fact that virtually everything that they have done thus far has led to increasingly poorer service for the great majority of all citizens.


      What is to my mind most interesting about many of these bad practices, is that if you scratch a bit you will find that they have a number of things in common. And that already is very useful. And this is what we are hoping to point up.


      The results of this work will be periodically posted and shared in a form that will make it available to all. As always


      Thanks for your examples. And in fact maybe even more useful if you might post them to the group, since bad practices are, in my book at least, every bit as important as all those best practices inventories. And quite possibly even more so.


      Eric Britton


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