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Today's Washington Post and International Herald Tribune h ave got the message!

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  • ecopl@n.adsl
    Today s Washington Post and International Herald Tribune have got the message! Joel Crawford s fine book, Car-Free Cities has just received a first rate
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 14, 2001
      Today's Washington Post and International Herald Tribune have got the

      Joel Crawford's fine book, Car-Free Cities" has just received a first rate
      review and commentary in both, nicely written by our good friend and
      successful activist for the environment Neal Peirce (thanks once again
      Neal). You can check it out today at http://www.iht.com/articles/10523.html

      For those who can't get into it, you have here the purloined text (thanks

      All of which should encourage you all to keep thinking about what you are
      going to do before, during and after Earth Car Free Day on April 19th...
      barely two months away. Check out the latest version of the site at
      www.carfreeday.com and join the earth. It's a great place and needs you.

      With all good wishes,

      Eric Britton

      ecopl@n___ technology, economy, society ___
      Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara, 75006 Paris, France
      Eric.Britton@... URL ecoplan.org
      Day phone: +331 4326 1323 Mobile: +336 80 96 78 79

      = = = = = =
      Are Car-Free Cities a Non-starter Or a 21st Century Possibility?
      Neal Peirce Washington Post Writers Group Wednesday, February 14, 2001

      WASHINGTON Could Americans ever have "Car-Free Cities" - the title of a
      recent book by J.H. Crawford?
      For most Americans, the thought alone is pure heresy. Without a car, how
      would they get anywhere, from jobs to school to shopping to entertainment?
      They truly believe: Cars are us.
      If they waver, there is advertising to hamper deviation. Each year the
      automotive industry spends $14 billion on persuasion, conveying images of
      shiny vehicles floating through grassy pastures or over mountains, with nary
      a traffic jam in sight.
      But cities, clogged with vehicles and polluted by their exhaust, might ask
      about a car-free or at least a less car-dominated future. Just look down
      from a high building and you will see that somewhere between 50 percent and
      70 percent of U.S. downtown space is routinely given over to traffic lanes,
      parking lanes and lots and garages, gas stations, drive-through banks and
      fast food franchises, even car dealerships.
      Just imagine, Mr. Crawford suggests, the possibilities for people and
      enhanced civic places that could be created if an American city excluded
      cars. The pavement markings, the auto-related signs and traffic signals, the
      parking meters, the curbs, the vehicles - they would all disappear.
      Mr. Crawford is realistic enough to know that Americans need to do a lot to
      even reduce vehicle counts in cities. That means radically expanded public
      transit, a big push for biking, even specialized ways to get freight into
      and around town with less need for diesel-spewing trucks.
      Mr. Crawford has written a book the way smart folks should these days - with
      a pictorially rich, constantly updated Web site to back it up -
      www.carfree.com. Along with Jane Holtz Kay's "Asphalt Nation" and James
      Kunstler's "The Geography of Nowhere" and "Home from Nowhere," the Crawford
      book enriches the argument for radically different 21st century approaches.
      The fact is: Many of America's cities and a high proportion of its suburbs
      are among the world's most pedestrian-hostile environments.
      One does not need to advocate a car free society, my colleague Curtis
      Johnson argues, to want to escape the bondage of zero choices. Example:
      Looking out a suburban office window, seeing a short distance to where you
      want to meet someone for lunch, "and knowing there is absolutely no safe way
      to get there except in your car."
      Mr. Crawford says segregate cars to garages at the edge of cities. Mr.
      Johnson would let them into town but hold them at bay. He sites the example
      of the Lincoln Road Mall, the alluring car-free street in Miami Beach.
      People have to park their cars in Lincoln Road perimeter garages and walk.
      The road itself is one of America's prime people-watching spots, offering
      the zenith of Florida chic, a melange of the sexy young and affluent elderly
      mixing with regular folks and coiffured dogs, all a relaxed setting of sleek
      shops, restaurants and theaters in Art Deco style.
      Technologically, adds Mr. Johnson, cars will get better - quieter, cleaner,
      sleeker, more flexible. "That's good. But we need to reverse the
      slave-master relationship." Europeans, he notes, love cars, too - they buy
      expensive ones, spend what for Americans would be outrageously high sums on
      gas. "But they use autos for specialized purposes. They support a government
      that balances road and transit investments. They love their cars, but they
      are not slaves to them."
      There is a fiscal side, too - Americans are spending a constantly increasing
      share of their personal incomes on the purchasing, fueling and maintenance
      of personal cars and trucks.
      The average family's transportation outlay rose 8 percent a year in the
      1990s to reach $6,200 in 1998, according to a recent report - "Driven to
      $pend," from the Surface Transportation Policy Project and the Center for
      Neighborhood Technology.
      Vehicles gobble up $7,000 to $9,000, as much as 22 percent of an average
      family's income yearly in such sprawling, auto oriented regions as Houston,
      Atlanta or Miami. Families in more compact regions, among them Boston,
      Chicago or New York, pay significantly less.
      All this is most serious for the poorest fifth of U.S. families. Thirty-six
      percent of their average income goes for cars and trucks. Result: diminished
      chances to save up for a home to achieve middle-class security. Cars
      diminish wealth, homes add. While homes gained 3.2 percent a year in value
      in the 1990s, cars depreciated at 8 percent a year.
      As a starter, such cities as Amsterdam and Bogota are trying car-free days -
      their efforts met by strong public acclaim. No matter how you figure, it is
      time for Americans to stop throwing a blizzard of dollars at their auto
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