Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

10909Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Latest from Jim Kunstler

Expand Messages
  • Jason Meggs
    Jun 1, 2008
      > [JG] Tis true you cannot negotiate catastrophic change. Unfortunately,
      > the petroleum fuel based transportation system cannot be replaced by
      > either alternative fuels or alternative transportation (land based).
      >
      > Rail based transit systems require a high population density destination
      > model, so that point to point travel is efficient.
      >
      > To achieve a rail renaissance requites consolidation of suburban
      > destinations into compact villages, so that it is cost effective to run
      > track between them and nearby urban enclaves.


      I disagree that there is no viable land-based alternative transportation
      to replace petroleum, even in the near-term (6-24 months), and further
      disagree that rail (or a more likely alternative to rail) cannot
      substitute to allow survival during transition. Human power and grid
      connected vehicles (such as trolley buses and trolley trucks, needing no
      battery) coupled with reogranized travel and delivery patterns have great
      potential even on initial transition during a crisis. Politics, economic
      interests and cultural ossification in a context of ignorance are the
      barriers.

      In the U.S. (Kunstler's locus), freeways provide the primary available
      right-of-way for any inter-urban (short or long distance) transit system
      and are available immediately for transit use. Most development in the
      U.S. and particularly most populations are close to freeways (by the same
      basic principles of densification as direct rail-based development),
      albeit a much more dispersed development than is ideal for rail. But is
      it impossibly dispersed for most? No.

      While the distances to likely hubs is, of course, not ideal (e.g., X miles
      each way for many residences), many of these distances are walkable and
      particularly bikeable. In a crisis, adaptation can occur without
      completely interrupting accessibility of essentials.

      A trolley network for both people and goods transport would be much more
      physically and economically feasible in the short-term than rail, and much
      more able to provide integrated feeder service and be adaptable to
      ever-changing conditions; but the core idea is the same. Trolleys can use
      existing roadway infrastructure and share it with any remaining vehicles
      which carry their own power without the costly investment in tracks,
      heavier-duty bridges, more expensive cars, etc.

      Limited transit service coupled with a reorganization of travel patterns
      for essentials along with delivery of goods would be enough to extend
      basic economic ability quite a bit, to cover many scenarios. Culture,
      business and government willing, of course.

      Transition contingency plans for suburbs are key to best outcomes in the
      coming crises. After the oil shocks several decades ago, there was a
      limited production of energy contingency plans. Unfortunately my efforts
      to raise this topic with cities has fallen on deaf ears in recent years,
      but the time may be right to try again. It's certainly important with or
      without official participation.

      This is critically important: When crises hit, we can expect the worst
      case plans and objectives to be waiting in the wings, already developed by
      industry and other large interests (see the Patriot Act, or the California
      Energy crisis of 2000-2001 for recent examples). Couple that with panic
      behavior in the absence of a clear vision and assurance of some kind of
      individual stability, and we'll see a real mess indeed.

      To prepare excellent comprehensive alternative proposals for response to
      crises, so at least a well-known vision exists and a debate can occur, is
      highly prudent. Where else will change be possible than during crisis, in
      this "wait until it breaks" society? The window of opportunity for
      sweeping policies may be very short indeed before something truly
      catastrophic is chosen instead, which derails options and trainwrecks many
      future possibilities.

      Might I propose that this topic be taken up at the coming conference if
      not before?

      Jason

      BCC: JHK


      On Sat, 31 May 2008, Jet Graphics wrote:

      > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com,
      >> And that's the worst part of our quandary: the American public's
      > narrow focus on keeping all our cars running at any cost. Even the
      > environmental community is hung up on this. The Rocky Mountain
      > Institute has been pushing for the development of a "Hypercar" for
      > years ­ inadvertently promoting the idea that we really don't need to
      > change.
      >>
      >> Years ago, U.S. negotiators at a U.N. environmental conference told
      > their interlocutors that the American lifestyle is "not up for
      > negotiation."
      >
      > [JG] Tis true you cannot negotiate catastrophic change. Unfortunately,
      > the petroleum fuel based transportation system cannot be replaced by
      > either alternative fuels or alternative transportation (land based).
      >
      > Rail based transit systems require a high population density
      > destination model, so that point to point travel is efficient.
      >
      > To achieve a rail renaissance requites consolidation of suburban
      > destinations into compact villages, so that it is cost effective to
      > run track between them and nearby urban enclaves.
      >
      >

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Show all 17 messages in this topic